Moorhen

Moorhens are one of our commonest water birds, and indeed are quite common worldwide, under names such as marsh hen or common gallinule. These members of the rail family appear fairly undistinguished, so are not first choice photographic subjects. I’ve tried over the years, but he result is usually not particularly impressive.

Here a strong low afternoon sun brought out the brown colours in the body, which usually appears black.

Shadow of rail on rail
2021 Knutsford

Their gait is quite ungainly, which does make for an interesting profile when backlit.

2020 Shakerley Mere

Coot feet

The ubiquitous coot is one of the commonest birds in UK, Europe and US, so often does not receive a second glance. But have you ever looked at its feet?

coot feet martin mere
Coot feet, Martin Mere, Lancashire

The feet are quite remarkable, not webbed like those of ducks, but sectioned and well suited to walking on soft, uneven surfaces, such as water weeds and mud. Do take a look next time you see a coot out of the water.

Coots are of the family of rails, which includes the similar moorhen.