Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clapper Rail

When I stopped on the prairie to photograph sulphur butterflies puddling on a cow patty, somebody else caught my eye.  At first I thought it was one of our juvenile Attwater's Prairie Chickens!  But one glance at the long beak corrected that idea.  It was a large brown bird slowly stalking through the grass near a culvert and drainage ditch.  This was a spot where there was usually standing water, but now the ground was hard, dry and cracked because of our scorching, dry weather.  He took cover in a thicket of short Rattlebox trees to preen briefly, then strutted back into the culvert beneath the gravel road.  The Preserve Manager identified him for me - a Clapper Rail.

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