Badly wounded bird. Probably terminal. Not of species that I have seen before. Possibly escaped clutches of Buzzard seen in area.
No interactions present.
I'd be surprised it this was the work of a buzzard. Water rails are just so secretive and spend all their time in the reed beds. I doubt a buzzard would ever notice it. Very much speculation, but maybe a pike?
What do you do when you find a creature as wounded as this?
Good question. Probably very little, beyond letting nature take its course and hope it will be quick. Even if it was possible to patch it up, I don't think the RSPCA is set-up to deal with a wild bird like this. It won't take kindly and willingly to 'help'.
I did not go right up to it. It was clearly very frightened and kept very still. Wanted to leave it in peace.
My partner is still hanging on to the buzzard theory but I can see the sense of the pike suggestion. It did seem to be wounded from underneath. However, would it have been able to take off from (presumably) the water if its legs had been bitten? It was quite a distance from the very small stream at the bottom of the field.
Water rails really are very elusive, and this is a brilliant spot and great photos, injury or not.
Very close to being my favourite bird the water rail, or by one of its old-fashioned names 'pig in the reeds'. This is because of their amazing array of grunting, squealing sounds (which really can sound like little pigs at times). I have spent many a happy (and some cold, unhappy) nights out in the dark, censusing breeding water rails. It's a very eery expereince, being in a dark wet, reedbed, with unidentifed 'things' making sometimes unearthly sounds, around you, occasionally very close to you.
On the injured bird front, I am afraid that I am of the old shcool. If it the bird obviulsy isn't going to survive (oh, the judgement of Solomon!), and it is not a species that is likely to have a long life-expectancy if it can be 'fixed' by a vet', I beleive that decisive, human intervention (though always an unpleaanst thing to have to do) is the best course of action.
Best way of doing this is, of course, another debate. This is a completely personal thing, and I have to say not for everybody (no value judgements here). I just can't let things suffer. I should add that there is little that puts me as 'at ill with the world' as having to 'despatch' a beautiful wild creature, even if it is clearly mortally injured.
I'd be careful when trying to 'put it out of it's misery'... I always remember the story of my grandmother accidently stabbing a toad with a garden fork and then trying to give it a peaceful death by putting it in the gas oven. After a while she opened the door and it hopped away!!
Virtually all of the water rail I've ever seen have been cat-related - is that a possibility here? I'd deginitely agree, looking at the injuries, that it's very unlikely to be a buzzard attack
Record your ladybird sightings!
No doubt a fox will find it overnight. Sick water rail equals happy fox.
Lat/Lng: 50.412695113097, -5.0329077243805
OS grid ref: SW846613