Kind of hard to mistake them for anything else this time of year, and the white 
wing patches clinch the ID. Glad you were able to see one--few others have in 
spring in Missouri, although they do pop up on wet prairies during prescribed 
fires at times.

----Bill Eddleman

From: Andrew Reago <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, April 9, 2012 1:42:32 PM
Subject: Yellow Rail SEEN, not heard

For those interested

My wife and I SAW the Yellow Rail at Little Creve Coeur yesterday as I reported 
in my post - we did not HEAR it.  We saw it around 2:30PM.  Even if I thought I 
could ID a Yellow Rail by sound, I wouldn't do it by sound alone.  I feel I 
don't have the expertise for that.  The only rail I feel I know well enough to 
ID by sound alone is the Sora.

We were scoping the many Sora feeding along the edge of the reeds that lined 
small mudflats close to the part of the path that seems to cut right through the 
biggest part of the lake, when my wife spotted a 'different' rail.  She 
whispered to me that it was a Yellow Rail.  I studied it through the spotting 
scope and couldn't believe our luck.   Unfortunately, this little Yellow Rail 
was much more shy than the Soras, who seemed to stay out feeding without being 
bothered by us.  I am assuming the Yellow Rail became aware of our presence when 
she/he suddenly did a short flight up and back into the tall reeds after only a 
few short minutes of our study.  We were then able to see the white patch on the 
wings mentioned in the guide books.  Being like many birders who see a bird for 
the first time, I wanted to continue to wonder at this little miracle, so we 
walked around the trails for a few hours studying mostly butterflies (there 
wasn't much bird activity) and came back to the marshy lake area, hoping the 
Yellow Rail had come back out.  Many Soras were still out feeding and calling, 
but we didn't refind the Yellow Rail.   

We knew how lucky we were to see the Yellow Rail in the first place, this being 
a very secretive bird, so we were grateful.  We knew we were being greedy to 
expect more.  After all, it wasn't like we only had a few seconds.  We had a few 
minutes.  This was an incredibly unexpected lifer for us.  It just so happened 
we had studied all the markings of each of the rails extensively before walking 
into Little Creve Coeur that day.  We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the 
Virginia Rail that had been seen there.  I never dreamt we'd see a Yellow Rail, 
even though we'd studied for the possibility.  We'd always heard they were seen 
on special field trips by people wading through the marshes and flushing them 
who then saw Yellow Rails for a few moments and knew they were Yellow Rails only 
by the white patch on the wings.  Or they were heard by folks.  But we were 
simply scoping from the path.  Such fortune!  

For those interested, we parked in the parking lot of the Soccer Fields and 
walked across the soccer fields to get to the area.  But be AWARE.  The Soccer 
Fields are private property.   I didn't know that.   The first time I walked 
across these fields was one other time a few days prior to this, when many 
soccer games were going on and no one seemed to notice me. Yesterday, on Easter, 
there were no games going on and some workers putting down a new soccer field 
tried to stop us, informing me it was private property.  A manager came by to 
check on what was happening and decided that not only was it fine for us to 
cross the fields, but road us across the fields in his golf cart.  

Andy Reago
St. Louis MO
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On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM, Andrew Reago wrote:

Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary - highlights: 

American Bittern (Pintail Marsh area) 
Sora (First channel on the right heading east as you pass the gate on Riverlands 

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area - highlights: 

Little Blue Heron (FOS for me) 
Long-billed Dowitchers- 3  (mixed in with the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, 
Wilson's Snipe, Red-breasted Mergansers, Pectoral Sandpipers, etc. in ponds off 
the gravel road) 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 

Little Creve Coeur - highlights: 

Sora - saw 9, heard at least 5 others coming from behind us (with at least two 
Swamp Sparrows for every Sora) 

Yellow Rail!  
Solitary Sandpipers - 2 
Fish Crows - 2 

Andy Reago 
St. Louis MO 
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: April 27, 2012 in Joplin, MO
ABA Birding Code of Ethics 
------------------------------------------------------------ The Audubon Society 
of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum List archives: ABA Birding Code of Ethics 

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives:
ABA Birding Code of Ethics