Friday, 23 October 2015


After yesterday’s wind it was back to sun and blue skies today with just a slight breeze. I thought that today would offer a good chance for some cracking Jack Snipe photos. Now the taking of cracking Jack Snipe photos is no easy task although I have manage it three times before so feel that I have at least an idea about how to go about it. First one needs to know where there are Jack Snipe which I did after flushing a couple last week and then one needs to locate them and take loads of cracking photos before flushing them. Easy heh?

The necessary technique is to walk slowly and methodically through suitable habitat which means ankle deep marshy ground looking for the white droppings of snipe and then scanning to see if you can see the bird. Most of this scanning is within a 2 metre radius of your feet as Jack Snipe most often flush only just before you step on them. I walked the marsh once without a sign of Jack although did have 6 Common Snipe. I then went through again and had 4 Jack showing how walking just a metre different can result in flushing the bird. The first bird I flushed without having seen any droppings but the next three I had spotted droppings and stopped and scanned without seeing the bird before taking one more step and the bird then flying up from with 2 metres of me. So my cracking photos had to be substituted by rubbishy flight photos.

Walking around staring at your feet can result in you missing other birds which nearly happened with a Short-eared Owl which flew up silently less than 10 metres from me and had me lamenting missing what could well have been cracking views of this bird on the ground. It was more difficult to miss a Great Grey Shrike that was hunting in the area plus a flock of 12 Long-tailed Tits which were very restless and noisy.
Long-tailed Tit (stjertmeis)

the second Jack Snipe (kvartbekkasin) I found today
and the third

and the fourth. Note that the bill is only just longer than the head
A Common Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) with a bill about twice the length of the head

Great Grey Shrike (varsler)

same bird. Note the lack of white in the secondaries and compare to the bird from Værøy in September which had white bar along the base of the secondaries.

GGS with Årnestangen in the background
uncropped blurred picture of the Short-eared Owl (jordugle) showing how close it was when I flushed it

here the white trailing edge to the wing allows it be separated from Long-eared Owl

I just had the owl flying away from me but it did look over its shoulder at me

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