Jack Snipe

jack snipe

Reedbed Hide, RSPB Old Moor, 10.30 a.m.

jack snipes

Six jack snipe, bills tucked in, are resting right by the water’s edge, blending in perfectly with the dry reeds. They appear to be about the size of a starling.

It’s a good example of how useful it can be to have other birdwatchers about as we would never have picked them out and our binoculars don’t bring out the detail that the telescope, set up and trained on them, gives.

gadwallWhat I could see of the eyestripe doesn’t look very conspicuous but the stripes on the back showed up well, even through my binoculars. They’re white beneath with a dull brown breast that I’d describe as mottled rather than speckled like a thrush.

Jack snipe breed in northern Europe and join us in the winter.

Two pairs of gadwall are dabbling nearby.

golden plovers

golden ploversA large flock of lapwings and two hundred or more golden plover wheel around. A marsh harrier has been hunting over the reedbeds but we don’t catch sight of one today.

The golden plover do their own version of the famous murmurations performed by flocks of starlings, though not in such tight formation. As the flock decides on what direction it will head, a V-shaped chevron forms along its margins.

They pass directly overhead, filling my field of vision as I look up.

teal drake

wigeonTeal are dabbling around a little island.

Wigeon have come ashore to graze on a spit of land that divides the lakes.

wigeons grazing

shelducks

We’re surprised to see a pair of shelduck upending on the wader scrape lagoon. In the background there’s a smaller, squatter drake shoveller, which sits lower in the water, so we have a chance to compare these two conspicuous ducks.

wigeon

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