As the title indicates, the Virginia Rail is one of the most elusive of birds to photograph. His habitat is in thick marsh reeds and vegetation. The thicker the Cattails the more likely he's going to set up residence there. I heard a birder making clicking sounds by mouth, once and the Rail answered him but never showed himself. While at a marsh, last week, two Virginia Rails were calling and I suspect they were sitting on eggs. The call of another Rail close by must have been threatening, requiring a look by the local nest owner. Another photographer and I were on the edge of some open water surrounded by Cattails. We spotted movement and one of the callers appeared. He wandered quickly from one clump of reeds to another and would look in the direction of the first call. He was never exposed more than a second or two and then would step back and disappear. There was a lot of shutter actuation when ever he showed his face. When we were done and the Rails had stopped calling, there were two photographers with huge smiles. Here are a few of the shots I managed to get.
If you ever have a chance to photograph one please leave some of the vegetation around it. I really believe it belongs with that bird. But then again you may not have any choice. That's where he's most comfortable.