Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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