Sunday, 12 January 2014

A yellow snipe

Yesterday Bruce Mactavish found a very suspicious looking snipe in Ferryland (about an hours drive South of St. John's). Today, Bruce, Lancy Cheng, and myself returned in hopes of re-finding the bird and getting photos to determine whether it truly was the hoped for Common Snipe. Truth is that Bruce already got great photos yesterday, see here, and personally I think the ID was already nailed based on those pictures.

After getting less than 2 hours of sleep, we were parked in Ferryland before sunrise at the spot. Even though it was still quite dark we were able to see a Wilson's Snipe foraging in one of few open green patches. 40 minutes of searching from within the car revealed only 1 more Wilson's Snipe and no sign of a yellow snipe. Lancy and I decided to stealthily walk around the grassy patch to make sure the Common Snipe wasn't tucked away. We couldn't find anymore snipes. Just as we returned to the car a 3rd snipe flew in and landed about 15m away. Even without my binoculars I could tell that it was a much more buffy looking snipe. I never expected it to be that obvious!

Over the next 90 minutes we enjoyed very close looks at the bird in direct comparison with the very similar looking Wilson's Snipe, and we feel very confident that the yellow snipe found by Bruce is a Common Snipe!

I was planning to write a something about how to identify the bird, but I need to study and sleep so I'll save that for another day...

WISN on right, COSN on left:

Common Snipe:

Wilson's Snipe:

Common Snipe on right:

Common Snipe at back:


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