Rallus aquaticus – Resident.
We had numerous Water-Rails at Stone Hall, and often saw them feeding on the lawn in company with Moor-hens. In the dusk, when they were running on the garden paths, we sometimes took them for rats. We used to see plenty of them by the Cleddy when fishing, and in the winter sometimes flushed them from little ditches bordered by brambles and furze, when we were after the Snipe.
We do not think they were more numerous in winter than at any other season, although some people might imagine them to be so because they are then more often seen, as much of the cover they can skulk in has then died down. Unless the spots frequented by the Rails are actually visited with a good dog accustomed to hunt them, they might be altogether undetected and considered rare, although in point of fact quite numerous, and that close at hand. In many parts of the country, where to our knowledge it is a common resident, the Water-Rail, for the above reason, is regarded as quite a rare bird, and we have once or twice had one sent to us to be named.
A Water-Rail was seen on the Smalls Rock, by the Lighthouse, October 15th, 1880; others on November 6th, 1883 (“Migration Reports”).