From Xplor for Kids
June 2010 Issue

Photos With Nop and Dave: King Rail

Publish Date

Jun 01, 2010

Nop Paothong likes a challenge even when it involves extreme heat and mud. He wanted to photograph the king rail, a bird rarely seen. Rails hang out in thick marsh grasses and smartweed. Their rusty-colored feathers and stripes along their sides help them blend in to their surroundings.

When Nop learned that rails were calling at B.K. Leach Conservation Area in Lincoln County, he grabbed his electronic calls and camera and headed for the Mississippi River marsh.

After several days of hiding in smartweed, he heard a response to his calls: “kek, kek, kek, jupe, jupe, jupe.” Unfortunately, the sound was behind him. As he slowly turned, he saw two rails pecking his camera bag. They ran away before he could take a shot.

Now Nop knew where the birds lived. The next time he was ready when a rail came to his calls. As long as he didn’t make sudden movements, the bird stayed close by. When Nop slid through the mud or adjusted his camera, the rail scurried into the grass, but came right back to have its picture taken.

“Many days I spent 12 hours under the hot sun and under constant attack by mosquitoes and ticks,” Nop says. “I got some unique pictures and, for a wildlife photographer, there’s no better reward.”

To see more rail photos, go to

Also in this issue

You Discover

There’s tons of fun in the sun for you to discover in June and July. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

My Outdoor Adventure

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! "The sun’s not up," Brooke groaned. Fishing at the trout park was fun. Getting up early was not.

River Runners

A whole universe of life exists in places we normally don't look. Roll over a fallen log for proof.

Missouri's Fastest

In nature, fast animals have an edge. Migrating birds that reach their destination fastest get the best food and nests. Speed helps some animals outrun danger and others catch food. Read on to learn why Missouri’s quickest creatures have a need for speed.

Xplor More: Make a Somersault Cobbler

What to do with the blackberries you’ve picked? Sprinkle them on top of a cobbler, and watch them somersault under the batter as it bakes. You’ll flip, too, when you taste how yummy it is.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Joan McKee
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Alicia Weaver
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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