Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Snipe!

I don't think I knew a Snipe was a real bird the first time I watched the Pixar movie Up!, but I've since learned differently! They're not big and flashy birds like Kevin in the movie... instead, they're small, dumpy shorebirds. But they're still pretty cool!

I was down at Silver Sands State Park today, doing my Piping Plover survey thing (still no plovers yet), and about 19 Wilson's Snipes were foraging in the mud in one of the marshes there. These birds are kind of ridiculous looking, with their long, long beaks:
 

And they stick that beak all the way down into the mud, probing around for food with its movable tip:
 

Once I got used to their strange proportions, though, I started to think that these birds are really quite pretty -- I love the complex stripey pattern of those feathers.

Here's a video I took of the Wilson's Snipe nearest to me, putting that beak to good use!


I'm thoroughly enjoying my weekly visits to the beach so far, since I get to see new animals and visit with familiar ones. A Yellow-crowned Night Heron was in the same marsh where I saw one last week -- could it be the same bird?
 

And did you know that Great Egrets vocalize with low croaking sounds? Thanks to a hawk, now I do! These big birds got quite agitated when that hawk was swooping down on their pond, but I also got to watch them earlier as they sailed by me on calmer pursuits:


I like the beach, but I'm itching to get back into the woods.... I think there's a woods walk in store for me in the very near future!

4 comments:

  1. Morning E
    We watched 'Up' a few nights ago :-) I love the beach too and find shorebirds very calming to watch. Snipe do have beautiful plummage. But also love woodlands, esp at this time of year. There's just too much to see! Mel

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    1. Agreed! There's so much to see out there!

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  2. Wow! Snipes sure look a lot like Woodcocks. For a long time I never knew that Snipes really existed, since, when I was a kid, to lead someone on a "Snipe Hunt" was to cruelly lose them in the woods. That beautiful photo of the egret is spectacular.

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    1. Wow, like a wild goose chase! What is it with birds and hopeless searches? :P I think snipes are pretty closely related to Woodcocks (or at least, they're on the same page in my field guide), and I think I've read about both of them that they are able to move the tips of their beaks independently of the rest. (Which is totally cool.) Thanks for your comment, Jackie!

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