Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wilson's Snipe - Vocals Fill the Sky

For weeks now, it has been a common occurrence to hear the near and distant winnowing of snipe as they zoom through the air at high altitudes.

It was a pretty unusual event to have one come so near. As I stood in a farm field yesterday with Ed Hayden and Alison Mews, we got great looks at this single Wilson's Snipe flying frantically overhead.

We thought, perhaps, we had stumbled upon a nesting area, and this bird didn't much like it.

After marking its territory, it zoomed down into an adjacent field and was heard no more.

Hearing snipe is very common, seeing them flying high overhead is the norm, but there are those opportunities that arise that allow a full view on the ground.

On Sunday past, while waiting and watching for the return of the Franklin's Gull, I began to drive around Witless Bay. I found myself at a playground and ball field at the top of a hill. To my delight, I found three Wilson's Snipe feeding in the field. It is remarkable how they are able to drive that long, stiff bill into the ground and come up with food. There were three feeding very nicely in the constant drizzle of the day. These odd little birds, very wary of people, are always a pleasure to see.

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