Surprise Water Rail

Yesterday, I popped one to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust’s reserve at Arundel to see what spring was revealing.  Not so much spring though as it was very cold in the hides.  I was fortunate to watch a pair of peregrine falcons on the ridge behind the reserve and a pair of kingfishers on the lakes though nothing was close enough to photograph.  However, while on one of the reedbedhides, a water rail popped out of a group of mallard ducks and quickly shot into the protection of the reeds.  That was a pleasant surprise because, while they are not super rare in number terms in the UK, they are super difficult to see because they are very shy and hide themselves in thick reed beds; flying is almost exclusively done at night.  So a sighting is great treat and a decent photo is (for me) quite rare.  It think this one was only visible for two or three seconds and I wasn’t even sure I had a clear shot until I reviewed the photos I grabbed (only 3 in a burst I took which is about a quarter of a second elapsed).  

Gear: Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF lens.  Shutter 1/1600 sec at f/5.6, ISO 640.