Kristine’s Family Outing
by Kristine Rivers on May 16, 2019
Of all the families that we saw out enjoying Galveston over Mother’s Day weekend, one provided an incredibly special experience for me – two Clapper Rail parents with six newly hatched chicks! We saw these normally secretive birds late Saturday afternoon after the rain passed, taking their little family for a relaxed stroll in the beautiful weather.
After unsuccessfully attempting to take photos through the windshield, I quietly exited the car, fully expecting the family to scurry back into the vegetation and disappear. When they didn’t react, I snuck silently towards them along the roadside, trying hard not to startle them as the hatchlings explored.
Two of the little ones had gone underneath vegetation across the road from me, and as I started taking photos of them, I was startled to see one of the adults walk into the frame. Putting the camera down, I watched in disbelief as it tended to the chicks and then walked out into the middle of the road in front of me and began preening. Realizing that I was in the middle of a once-of-a-lifetime photo opportunity, I began taking photos again, and then waited until the entire family moved along before returning to our car.
We saw another rail family outing the next day in a different area, from a great distance. This is obviously hatch-out time, so watch for them crossing roads in areas with marshy, shallow wetlands if you would like to see them too.
Kristine Rivers founded Birding for Fun in 2015, and is a popular tour guide and speaker whose enthusiasm for nature is contagious. A lifelong birder, she has been an area leader for the Brazoria Columbia Bottomlands Christmas Bird Count since 2011, & has been President Texas Master Naturalist Cradle of Texas 2017