There are only two species in the Rail family that you are likely to see - Moorhen and Coot. If you see any of the others, you are very lucky indeed as they are secretive and lurk in the dense vegetation, rarely emerging into full view. Moorhens and Coots can be seen swimming on any pond in the district, or walking about their perimeter. They are quite happy to live in towns and parks as well as the countryside.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus:
Often seen clambering about the vegetation on the banks of small streams or ponds. They are aggressive birds, always ready to pick a fight with other Moorhens, whether they are members of their own family troupe or intruders. They call frequently and posture towards or even attack other Moorhens, both on land and in the water. The nest is usually built on an island of thick vegetation and they may produce three broods in a season, with the older chicks helping to raise the younger ones. They are found wherever there is fresh water and are easily recognisable just by their characteristic ponderous gait. The adults have red bills with yellow tips and flick their tail constantly, displaying the white undertail flash. They appear to fly with considerable effort, flapping their wings wildly for not much apparent gain. Below, an adult and chick (a black ball of fluff) photographed in June in the pond at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris.
Dramatic Decorations at Chenonceau - Over the Christmas and New Year period the Chateau of Chenonceau added to its fairytale image by installing the most dramatic and dazzling seasonal decora...