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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

May 5, 2011

Virginia Rail: a stow-away

On the window frame
I was on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and wouldn't have spotted this bird if I didn't have a habit of waking at 4:30 or 5 am daily.  I was up on deck with my coffee waiting for the sun to rise, having discovered early on in the cruise, that in the Caribbean the sunset and sunrise are absolutely gorgeous.  This bird quite simply startled me by landing on the railing on the side of the ship.

We were in the middle of the ocean at the time, so the bird had to have been hiding somewhere on board.  Unless of course this species regularly crosses the ocean by flying from island to island, and just needed a convenient place to rest.  However, there was no land in sight.  At least not on the side of the ship that I was on at this particular moment.  Because the bird was obviously distressed by my presence, but stayed anyway, I am going to assume that it couldn't leave.
Perched on the lounger

What ever the reason for it's visit, I was delighted and soon enough the bird relaxed enough, that it actually wandered around deck within a foot or two of where I sat.

Virginia Rail
Virginia Rail - A Close up

The sun wasn't quite up yet, so a flash was still required and this frightened the bird at first, but as you can see I still got some decent, if not excellent photos.   Which was really good, because I never saw the bird again after I returned to my cabin, and assume that it took off for the beach at our next port, several hours later.

The Virginia Rail makes it's home in marshes of Nova Scotia, California, as well as Central and South America.  It is a waterbird which feeds on mollusks in the mud of the marsh.



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