Sunday, August 29, 2021

Virginia Rail

Virginia Rails are common, but, due to their marshy habitat, hard to see summer residents in Washington. We searched for one, finally listing this bird on 20 July 2021. One highlight of the summer was our finding a black, downy young bird on 27 July. The young bird was one of three with an adult in the Billy Frank Jr National Wildlife Refuge. Note the white tip to its bill. The young ran this way and that, making a decent photograph almost impossible—the last image was the best I could do. This record may be a first for us for a such a young bird. The species molts into a plumage similar to the adults when the young are 12 to 14 weeks old by mid to late fall (Conway 2020).

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