I have seen Spotted Crakes before on a few occasions, but its been thirteen years since my last sighting, and time to reacquaint myself with this lovely little water bird.
I had spent the morning walking around Rainham RSPB saw a few good birds, but the main topic of conversation appeared to be the Crake just up the road and by all accounts showing extremely well.
It was too much to bear, I had to see the Crake for myself, I had a short time slot of a couple of hours before I needed to be back over the Queen Elizabeth bridge and back into Kent before the Rush hour traffic builds up and the inevitable delays ensued.
I eventually found the Ingrebourne Valley Park which was deceptively signposted Hornchurch Country Park for some unknown reason.
Just a matter of a short walk to the viewing platform and a wait for the Crake to show.
As it turned out, the viewing platformed was raised above the reedy fringe of a relatively shallow lake, there was warm sunshine on my back, the reed bed was superbly lit, and I had an excellent view of its favored feeding area. Just a matter of waiting for it to show.
An Hour had passed and no sign of the Crake, my cut off time was approaching, that feeling of disappointment was starting to creep in.
Then that murmur of excitement moved through the small group of onlookers that had been patiently waiting, " there it is " they muttered. pointing down from the viewpoint.
And there it was, the Juvenile Spotted Crake moving slowly through the muddy fringe of the reed bed, it appeared much smaller and delicate than I remembered, but well worth the wait. the view was short and sweet before it again disappeared into the taller reeds and was lost to view on the other side of the viewpoint.
But as the Crake disappeared a surprise sighting appeared out of nowhere, which will be covered in my next blog entry.
Ten minutes before my departure time, I made it safely back into Kent.