Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 9, 2018

A wisp of Snipe

“Lover of swamps,
The quagmire overgrown
With hassock-tufts of sedge — where fear encamps
Around thy home alone”

To the Snipe – John Clare

Normally very difficult to spot, given their superb camouflage, and a desire to exploit it to the full by skulking in the long grass, it was a great delight to see Snipe feeding in the open at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

You can see in the next picture a snipe (top left) with food in that extraordinary long bill of theirs.

You can see how they probe the mud with their bill.

And here is the wisp of Snipe, all feeding in the open.

There were also Black tailed Godwits, a prayer’s worth.

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa)

This bird still has the faint redness of bird in breeding plumage, but the rest are heading into more drab winter markings (all the better to hide in the snows).

Ruff were also with these waders.

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

And Lapwings, where their numbers are slowly building up.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

There was a Green Sandpiper, nestling under a bank of earth.

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

This is an uncommon bird.

Grey Heron were hunting.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

And a Mute Swan was displaying on Paddy’s Pool.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Geese included Canadian, Greylag and Barnacle geese.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Ducks included Pochard

Pochard (Aythya ferina)

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Mallard (in eclipse)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

and Teal, nestling under a bank.

Teal (Anas crecca)

Gadwall came flying in over Paddy’s Pool.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

By the feeders at Wildlife Watchpoint were Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)


Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Blue Tits

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

and Great Tits

Great Tit (Parus major)

Finally the warmth was enough to get Butterflies and Hawkers out in force.

These included

Small Tortoiseshell


Red Admiral


Comma (Polygonia c-album)

and Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

The hawkers included great views of a Common Darter.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

I see the sky
Smile on the meanest spot,
Giving to all that creep or walk or fly
A calm and cordial lot.

To the Snipe – John Clare

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