Water Rail Tragedy

On Saturday morning I decided to check on the Western Water Rail in the Olympic Forest Park.  When I arrived on site, my heart sank.  All of the small areas of reeds that had been left uncut at the beginning of the winter had disappeared, including the section favoured by the Water Rail and its Moorhen companions.  There has clearly been some ‘management work’ over the last few days and, for some reason, these reedbeds – which were also a haven for other species, including Chinese (Light-vented Bulbul) and Black-faced Bunting – were given the chop.  Needless to say, there was no sign of these birds today and, with a brisk northerly blowing, I recorded very few birds at all.  A couple of Red-flanked Bluetails and a male Daurian Redstart were as good as it got.

The reedbed at the Olympic Forest Park in February. The closest clump, on the left, was the favoured haunt of the Western Water Rail.


The reedbed today. Everything has been cut. Consequence: no Water Rail.