Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Jack in the reeds.

When I read that a Jack Snipe had been seen in front of the Restharrow Scrape hide I decided to go along and have a look. It's been along time since I watched a Jack Snipe on the ground, rather than seeing one fly away have been flushed.

After a long wait with very little around a female Reed Bunting dropped in close to the hide and shortly after my companion in the hide (sorry don't know your name but thanks) picked out the Jack Snipe moving through the reeds.

There was never a time when the whole of the bird was totally in view, so I took a whole series of the bits that I could see and you have to piece them together.

Having watched this bird for around an hour I have decided that the field guides don't do justice to the complexity of the heard pattern.

Jack Snipe have a unique method of walking, they bounce all the time as if they are on little pneumatic legs. With each bounce it moved just a few mm's or sometimes not at all.

A couple of times it almost arrived at an open space, but each time it went into reverse, turned round and stayed partly hidden.

It was feeding very actively, the bill, only about half as long as a Common Snipe's probing incessantly.
When it turned and faced me the whole bill was in view, still with thick mud attached.

Finally it got back to the thicker reeds and more or less disappeared, by this time I was in need of a bit to eat and left the new group of watchers in the hide to follow its progress. It was a thoroughly entertaining hour, they are one of the most fascinating birds to watch and opportunities like this are limited. More photos here


Graham H said...

Hi Tony

Enjoying your blog, but where is the Restharrow Scrape?

Tony Morris said...

It belongs to the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, and has public access to the hide. It is on the Ancient Highway between Deal and Sandwich, just before you reach the Sandwich Bay estate and the Toll Booth.