The Clappfields and McRail’s saga continues…dark shadows

      The Clapper Rail, an illusive, seldom seen, but often-heard marsh bird, is one of the few birds on the marsh this time of year. This is in part due to the nesting season. Some of you may recall my past stories of the “Clappfields and the McRails” (for my old roomie, this is a pun on "The Hatfields and McCoys", and published under protest by the Editor). I thought I would bring you up to date on the family saga of the feuding Clapper Rails of the Broward. It is a tale of shadowy figures.

     To recap the past, “Clyde Clappfield” almost scared the feathers off of little “nervous Nellie” last fall. Nellie swore she would get even some day. Well she did. I will give you some dark secrets of how and why she did it. Clyde Clappfield was from “the good side” of the channel. You know, lots of land, green marshes, and scenic views. Poor nervous Nellie McRail lived on the “the other side” in a secluded marsh island in the middle of the Broward. It is muddy island surrounded by water with dangers of every kind; marauding raccoons, dangerous hawks, and snakes, to name just a few the trials the McRail clan face each day.

     What happened is Clyde Clappfield actually felt sorry for what he did to poor Nellie. In truth, he kinda liked her cute little feathers. And Nellie, well, she knew a good thing when she saw it too. While sitting on the dock one morning about a month ago, I saw them both walking together (ok, slogging), through the mud. Nellie looked up at me and began to "Rail". At first I thought she was scolding me for pointing the doohickey at her. In truth, she had a little secret she wanted to share. Out of the dark shadows of the marsh came five recently hatched little fuzzy black feather balls awkwardly walking through the mud to keep up with their parents. Since then I have been watching these little fuzz balls grow.

     It is said all things work together for the good. Our trails and tribulations seem daunting at times. I am going through another one as I write this story. But things worked out for the Clappfields and the McRails. They are no longer feuding and united in a happy family with five wonderful new babies that I hope, will grow up and face the challenges ahead with two loving parents. The way things outta be but not always are. Those dark shadows turned out to be blessings. So I know it will work out for me too. Be Blessed. Harry

Mr and Mrs Clyde Clapfield take a morning slog through the muddy Broward....

Nellie looks at me and begins to "Rail" first I think she is mad about the Doohickey pointing at her.

In the dark shadows I suddenly see five little black fuzz balls answering their Momma's call..

These little Clapper Rail Chicks are only days old I think..they have a tough time walking in the mud.

At two weeks the chicks have doubled in size but still have trouble keeping up with Mom..

Baby Clapper Rail at about two weeks old..

At about four to five weeks the down is beginning to be replaced by feathers and these "three mud-skateers" are having no problem running through the mud. 

The parents teach them how to hunt for morsels in the muck..this one is a bit camera shy I think..


Family portrait

Now I know why we have the big feet...

Just call me Mud Foot!

Wonder how long it will be till I can use these wingy things?

It's "Bathtime on the Broward."..Be Blessed



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