Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Great Snipe lek - dream encounter!

Sunday was quite a day! It started with a ski trip to a mountain top 4km away over Valdresflye which went very well on the way up. The skiing was easy although very soft and deep snow did make it hard going at times. Birds were naturally to be found around the few areas where the snow had melted but we did work out what they were eating. There were a surprising number of insects of at least 4 species to be found on the snow including a surprisingly large number of ladybirds. We had Shore Lark, Golden Plover, Rock Ptarmigan, Wheatear and Meadow Pipit plus a flyover Lapland Bunting.

Skiing down from the top in very soft snow (or rotten snow as the Norwegians call it) the binding on one of my skiis snapped off! I now had to get back to the car over 3km away with only one ski and in snow that at times my ski-less leg would sink down to my crotch in. I managed to sit on my skis and get a long way down the hill but that technique doesn’t work when it is flat or uphill. My day was saved by Jr Jr offering me one of her skiis (much shorter than mine but worked fine) and she then completed 3km on only one ski. It took us a long time, we got sun burnt and exhausted but she is my hero ūüėä

I did not think I would be leaving the sofa after that but Mrs OB has never previously joined me to the Great Snipe lek and finally wanted to. And I am so glad she did - she is obviously my lucky charm ️. We left early and were there by 20:40 and immediately heard displaying birds and with ages left before the sun would dip behind the mountains. We positioned ourselves carefully and for the first time since discovering the lek in 2012 I got to see them really well in sunlight and record it digitally. They were REALLY active although mostly around rather than on the lek with birds flying in and out and interacting with each other. The absolute highlight was watching a displaying male standing on a stone bathed in evening sunlight less than 10 meters away when a displaying Short-eared Owl flew over and a Bluethroat sang nearby.

The late spring must mean that the start of lek was delayed and explains such early (in the evening) and intense display of the like I have never previously witnessed. Again there were a minimum of 7 birds with 5 heard simultaneously but I think probably at least 10 birds were present.

Great Snipe at 21:12. For once I was able to use a shutter speed of 1/1250s and keep the ISO at 1000 :-)


  1. Absolutely superb Simon. If ever this virus is beaten I am coming to see them

  2. Ditto, need Northern Ireland to play Norway in June!!

  3. Thanks for your kind words! You are both welcome to join me in 2021 :-)