Sora, Green Island Wetlands, Mississippi River, Iowa

Yesterday Joan and I went on a “Sunday cruise” along the Mississippi by car and ended up checking all the known locations in the Green Island Wetlands that have led to some wildlife photography in the past. At the end of a short hike on one of the levees our little dog Cooper started barking and ran down to the water. First we thought a muskrat had triggered his instincts, since he usually ignores all the birds, but then we saw a Sora foraging on top of the driftwood and between the old reeds. We called him back immediately. It was the same spot in the wetlands where I had photographed this species last year after another photographer had made me aware of it. A little later we saw finally a second bird.

A look at the range map in my bird guides reveals that the Sora is widely distributed and is the most common rail in North America. The Green Island Wetlands are about at the southern border of their summer range.

It wasn’t an easy process to make this photo. I was shooting against the sun and all the reflections on the water made it a challenge to deal with exposure. The Sora moves fast while searching for food between the floating vegetation and quite often old stalks were in the way for a clean shot. The background is not very nice but it is it’s natural habitat. Last year I watched the Sora while it was raining and thought that was not easy. Well, I take the rain any time over the harsh light from last Sunday…