Baillon’s crake nesting

This is a video of a Baillon’s crake taking a bath in Zevenhoven, the Netherlands, 14 June 2009.

Baillon’s crake is a rare bird. Lately, there have been Internet reports of this species nesting in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands: the two parents, three chicks. Photos have also been published on the Internet.

Polders Poelgeest became a nature reserve only recently, in 2007. Yet it is already beautiful.

As I arrive at the southern end today, I pass ‘t Poeltje, a windmill built in 1787. On its upper sails, great cormorants; on its lower sails, jackdaws. Barn swallows flying. A common tern flying.

In the water: coot, moorhen, black-headed gull, shelduck including juveniles.

Wading or standing on the mud: black-tailed godwit; lapwing; greenshank; redshank; ruff; wood sandpiper; snipe.

Where are the Baillon’s crakes, the reason why there are six birders with telescopes here now? I hear that just before I arrived, a grey heron came close to the crakes. The parents and the chicks then moved to water plants on a bank where they are difficult to see.

I hear a little grebe sound. A female shoveler duck swims past.

Then, suddenly, the male Baillon’s crake is clearly visible. It stands on a mudflat, then it flies to the left. A quarter of an hour later, the female goes to the left as well.

A spoonbill flying overhead.

The female Baillon’s crake swims to the right, with food for the chicks in her bill.

We hear a reed warbler’s song.

The grey heron starts wading to the left, causing the Baillon’s crakes to make alarm calls. But the heron looks for food mainly in the water, and finally wades off towards to the left, where it is no longer visible.

Then, suddenly, panic in the marsh. A sparrowhawk diving from the sky, then flying away fast, surrounded by furious godwits, lapwings, and other birds. The bird of prey dived closely to where the three Baillon’s crake chicks must be hiding. Did the sparrowhawk catch a Baillon’s crake chick? Did it catch something else? Or did it not catch anything? It all happened too fast for us to see.

According to this update, the sparrowhawk did not catch a Baillon’s crake chick.

9 thoughts on “Baillon’s crake nesting

  1. White-eared Night-heron breeding in Vietnam – The Endangered White-eared Night-heron Gorsachius magnificus has been confirmed breeding in Vietnam for the first time. A team from BirdLife International in Indochina, Vietnam Birdwatching Club and Vietnam Birding made the discovery, when two adults, and two fledged juveniles were found roosting near a nest in Ba Be National Park, Bac Kan Province. This Endangered species has a very small, fragmented population, limited to southern China and north-eastern Vietnam. BirdLife believes that global population of White-eared Night-heron to be between 250 and 999 birds. The species was believed to be possibly extinct in Vietnam until members of an earlier BirdLife survey team observed a bird in 2001 in Bac Kan Province.


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