A Water Rail in Andover

by A warbler a day

This afternoon I had stroll round Anton Lakes in Andover. As I got out of the car I saw flock of 20-30 Siskins in the Alder trees by the car park. Further round the lake I heard a Chiffchaff calling and soon spotted it feeding low down in a tree. At the nothernmost bridge over the River Anton I had lovely views of a Little Egret fishing. It frequently wiggled its bright yellow feet in the water trying to disturb the fish. When it spotted one it dashed across the river to catch and swallow it.

As I followed the river upstream in the direction of Enham I heard a loud ‘pip’ call. Initially I thought it was a distant woodpecker but soon realised it was from low near the river. After couple of minutes watching in the direction of the call I spotted the source. The head of a Water Rail poked out from behind a tussock before turning to show its white bottom. I waited another 5 minutes before it again briefly poked its head out and then disappeared. I have thought I heard a Water Rail in that area but this was the first time I had actually caught sight of it. Fabulous!

I then returned to the lake where there were 22 Tufted Ducks, 7 Little Grebes and a pair of Gadwall. I also saw a Great spotted Woodpecker fly overhead and land near the top of a pylon!

It just goes to show what can be seen without leaving a town.