Bobbing Jack Snipe

Bobbing Jack Snipe - Reed Bunting
Bobbing Jack Snipe

I had my first Jack Snipe on the patch last week, my friend and I wandered the flooded fields beside the new workings (shhh… don’t tell anyone, it’s a fenced off area), flushing one briefly. Their flight is very short and direct, unlike Common Snipe, you also nearly have to tread on them to make them move. This week there has been one on view at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve.

Bobbing Jack Snipe

Yesterday morning I decided to make a, rather chilly, journey down to see it. Now I used to count the nature reserve as part of my patch, but very rarely get down there.

Entering the hide, accessed straight off the main road, I met two, already encumbered, local birders, and began scanning. Every Common Snipe was carefully examined. Like many birds where there is a similar species, until you see the real thing you are always wary.

Sadly there was no sign, but a cryptically patterned brown bird, hiding in brown scrub can always be elusive.

Along side the Common Snipe, plenty of Canada Geese could be found squabbling with each other; European Teal, hugged tight to the banks;  a couple of long necked Cormorant fished the icy waters; elegant Grey Heron stalked the banks. But no sign of any bobbing jack snipe.

Movement

hanging around in the freezing temperatures that the UK is currently going through was hard work, but eventually I spotted the telltale sign of a Jack Snipe. Deep in the scrub, a bouncing, bobbing movement. Patient examination revealed it was indeed the bird I was after. The bird remained in the same spot from then on, occasionally bobbing but never coming out of deep cover.

And here are the photos of the bird.

Jack Snipe photo, there are three common snipe and 2 teal also in the photo
Jack Snipe photo, there are three common snipe and 2 teal also in the photo

What do you mean you can’t see it?

VERY well hidden Jack Snipe, directly below the arrow
VERY well hidden Jack Snipe, directly below the arrow

 

Still not?

Well hidden Jack Snipe (in a red circle)
Well hidden Jack Snipe

Other Wildlife

OK so those aren’t the best photos ever, but they certainly give you an idea of just how tricky it is to see one of these well camouflaged birds.

While watching the Jack Snipe, a male Goosander dropped in for a few minutes, before a fly over helicopter flushed it off. A further two were spotted as I wandered back to the car park, but little else for a while.

Male Goosander taking off
Male Goosander taking off
Male Goosander in flight - Also Canada Goose
Male Goosander in flight – Also Canada Goose

2nd Hide

I decided to check out the second hide at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve, before my walk home once more. And I am glad I did.

Just outside this hide is a small feeding station, and with a feeding station often comes close birds. And so it was that I had a mad half hour photographing Great Tit, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting and Robin. All very close, and in some lovely light.

Male Reed Bunting in Reeds
Male Reed Bunting in Reeds
Great Tit
Great Tit
Robin
Robin
Blue Tit on Feeder Pole
Blue Tit on Feeder Pole

These were my favourite photos of each one, but the rest are below, under Other Photos.

After having my fill, I decided I had better get back to the pup (lunchtime was approaching), so I headed back. My mission for a Jack Snipe photo not quite complete.

Other Photos

Carrion Crow on overhead wires
Carrion Crow on overhead wires
Male Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting
Face on Male Reed Bunting
Face on Male Reed Bunting
Great Tit on stump
Great Tit on stump
Anther Great Tit
Anther Great Tit
Looking forwards (Great Tit)
Looking forwards (Great Tit)
Two Great Tits
Two Great Tits
Taking to flight (a little blurred by the movement) - Great Tit
Taking to flight (a little blurred by the movement) – Great Tit
immature male Reed Bunting
immature male Reed Bunting
Male & Female (I think although could be a juv male) Reed Bunting
Male & Female (I think although could be a juv male) Reed Bunting
Female or Young male Reed Bunting
Female or Young male Reed Bunting

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bobbing Jack Snipe - A quest to see and photograph a Jack Snipe at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve in Milton Keynes (image is a great tit)
bobbing Jack Snipe pin image

 

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