QUAIL If you thought that the Water Rail was an elusive bird, then the Spotted Crake is simply invisible, at least during the breeding season. They are most frequently seen as juveniles, having dispersed in the late summer. However, now is the time to hear their distinctive song, which is usually described as a loud, repeated ‘whip!’. Males don’t start singing until late in the day, when it is already pretty dark, and the sound emanates from ditch-side vegetation or a vegetated marsh, so don’t expect even a glimpse. There are only about 80 singing males in the country, at selected sites from southern England to northern Scotland, so find a suitable site to listen after dark.