Clapper Rails in Meeker Slough & Bay Trail

Sheila Dickie

Hi everyone

Last evening August 4 at about 7:20 p.m. I saw a juvenile and adult Clapper Rail in Meeker Slough, Marina Bay, Richmond.  (See below for directions).  I first saw the juvenile on a mud bank standing very still.  It then sprung into a run and I saw the adult rail it was headed for just a couple of yards away.  They disappeared into the reeds, then reappeared, then disappeared and finally the adult wandered off up a narrow channel alongside the mudbank.  The juvenile stayed out, followed a Snowy Egret then ran around the mud bank highly agitated.  It calmed down, took a bath, preened and finally disappeared too up a channel.

I then walked out to the bay and down the Bay Trail heading South. On the east side of the trail, in the marsh that comes after the Richmond Field Station marsh, I and another birder watched two Red-necked Phalaropes swimming in a shallow pool.  I walked further down the trail and turned just before the 51st Street Path. Coming back at about 8 p.m.  in the same marsh as the phalaropes but further down among grass and reeds, I saw another Clapper Rail.

On the bay side, there was a good showing of shore birds: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Black-bellied Plover, peeps, sp., Dowitcher, sp. and a fly by of three Black Oyster Catchers.  The tide was just about right to allow some mud around the dilapidated pier.   I did not see the Black Skimmers previously reported.

Directions:  From 580 West (heading toward Richmond Bridge), take the Marina Bay Parkway/So 23rd Street exit.  At the end of the ramp, turn left back across the freeway onto Marina Bay Parkway.  Cross the RR Tracks and Regatta Blvd. and look for Bayside Dr. on your left.  It is a dead-end street.  Park at the end of the street and walk through the condos to the trail.  On your left you will see two benches, and a toxic substances sign on the fence.  Directly opposite on the other side of Meeker Slough you will see a muddy bank, if the tide is right.  The first two Clapper Rails were there.  By turning right, you walk out to the Bay and Meeker Bridge from where you can head south, or also north along the trail.

Good birding
Sheila Dickie

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