Evan's amazing KING RAIL was discovered around noon today at Fundy National Park. The bird was foraging for what appeared to be earthworms along the edge of a thick patch of red dogwood shrubbery just to the southwest of the amphitheater beside McLaren Pond near the Fundy Park Administration Building. It was observed by a number of respectful birders during the afternoon who watched the bird quietly from a distance and got great looks through binoculars and scopes and many nice documentary photos.
The great nice thing is that the rail spends much of its time within the depths of the shrubbery but makes periodic forays to the edge of the lawn and sometimes out onto the lawn. Observers can observe from the area of two picnic tables that Park staff kindly placed near the southern edge of the pond, well away from the area the bird is feeding in. This enables good observations while keeping a respectful distance from the bird.
King Rail is an extremely rare bird in the Maritimes, breeding well to the south and west of us (east to southern Ontario, north to New York state). In NB there are only three previous records; one struck the lighthouse at Point Lepreau and was picked up dead on September 21, 1952; another was found dead at Gardiner's Creek between Saint John and St. Martins on October 6, 1994 and a third was photographed along the Petitcodiac River at Moncton in early June of 2007 by Chris Kennedy who was doing breeding bird atlassing at the time. No other birders ever got to see that rail. So this fourth King Rail record is the very first where birders can go and hope to see a living King Rail in this province.
Nova Scotia has three definite records of King Rail strays that I can find and I know that a pair of King Rails was reported in spring in a freshwater marsh area in southern Maine within the past couple of years.
Rails are secretive birds and quick to hide if alarmed or startled. Your best approach is to quietly approach the two picnic tables near the water and simply sit/stand there and wait quietly. Give the bird its space and keep its welfare in mind. Park rules prohibit the playing of digital recordings but even if the bird wasn't in a Park one should not do that as it would only disrupt the rail and cause it probable stress. Just let it come to you!