Theler’s Virginia Rails

If you want to spot Northern Harriers, Eagles, or Osprey at Theler Wetlands, you have to keep your eyes on the sky overhead. If you want to spot a Virginia Rail, you have to just the opposite — look down into the reeds that line the river bank and mud flats.

More often than not you hear them long before you see them. In fact, you probably hear them twice as often as you actually spot them. Often you will sense they are in the reeds, subconsciously noticing a slight movement in the reeds — a shadow moving through shadows.

If you’re lucky, and quick enough, you see them as they skirt the reeds,

scat through a thin stretch,

or poke their beak out into the sunshine for a particularly delicious snack.