By Roy Little
He is a native Light-footed Clapper Rail living in the Kendall-Frost Preserve in Pacific Beach, and she is a documented immigrant who arrived sometime in the middle of last year. After what some might call a whirlwind romance, they decided to raise a family in the marsh near my condo. The following are photographs taken from the balcony, documenting their activity from March to June. Typically, these birds have two broods annually, making for a relatively long breeding season.
Light-footed Clapper Rails are an endangered species both federally and in California. They live only in salt marshes where there is an adequate supply of cordgrass, and eat mainly crabs and snails. They are about the size of a small chicken and there are some 20 to 30 pairs in the combined Kendall-Frost and Northern Wildlife Preserve, located south of Crown Point Drive and connected to Mission Bay. In this marsh the cordgrass is somewhat under-nourished so artificial nests have been built for the rails. That being said, this pair ignored the artificial nests and raised their first brood of at least four in the detritus near the marsh edge. Three chicks have survived so far.
All photos by Roy Little.