Monday, May 02, 2011

Great Snipe! Another Lifer! Bonus Birds, Wryneck, Tree Sparrow & Quail

Great Snipe!

My day started with a rare bird for Fair Isle... a Tree Sparrow among the Twite.
That made my day and it was only 8:15 am.

A few years ago I would not of been able to tell the difference from a House Sparrow.
I was quite proud 2 years ago when I finally found one in my garden for the frist time.
One had not been seen for a few years at that point. 

 Little did I know that the day was about to get a whole lot better...

Great Snipe!
And it was GREAT...  I could see it!

I was in the house when I saw an Asst. Warden & Bird Research Scientist running down Meowness and I thought I better quick get my socks and boots on! there must be a bird! I soon after got a shout in the door Great Snipe on the Utra Scrape. I didn't have much hope as I have dipped or missed a few sightings. Mostly these birds are flushed by a startled birder, fly away and quickly dive into heavy cover leaving the observer and everyone they tell in some doubt... Not today.  

 The Asst.Warden Will aka "The Ringer" spotted the bird and was waiting for people to gather to see or flush the Great Snipe as a Group. A small group gathered and Will could not wait no longer... there! out in the open! where I don't see it? until it takes flight. Then I clearly saw the white tail patches on each side. we watch the bird land in a ditch in the distance but saw where it landed. Soon more people gathered one of them saw a Quail in the same field on his way over. We walk around to try to flush the "Gripe" again but it was just sitting there in the ditch. It froze did not move for 5 minutes or more. Everyone saw it! and got photos and great views. But we all need to see the tell tailed signs of Great Snipe in flight. We all stood there about 20 feet away with our cameras ready and sent my son Henry to flush the bird so we could all watch it go. click click click... everyone happy? yup! Cheers Will well spotted!

In this photo you can see the white on the tail and the wing pattern confirming the identification.

Minutes later the Quail was re-spotted just in a ditch along the road by Utra. Again we moved within a few feet of the bird before it was flushed. I followed the bird again and took these photos

Quail in the grass seen through the wire fence.
We joked that the grass hasn't grown long enough yet to make it impossible to see these birds...

Quality Quail
Wow! I can't beleave it! I've only seen them fly away never like this!

Warblers of various sorts buzzing about the garden today

What the heck... Why not Wryneck
 Later in the day I found this... as I heard one had been ringed that morning.
You can't see it in these photos but this bird did have a ring on it.

 Three notoriously difficult birds to see... made so easy today.

With this Collared Flycatcher 2 days ago that's a "lifer" every other day! can't wait for Wednesday?

Thank You Birds your a joy to have around.


  1. Good job and great photos! What a day for you.

  2. Well Tommy what a few outstanding days!
    Great Snipe is a bird I still need to see - the most recent one in England arrived when I was at a Conference in Manchester and no chance of getting away! on the day I could go - some silly birders flushed it away!
    So glad you were sucessful with the photo's as well.

  3. Tommy. Brillianf stuff!
    Am thinking your warbler is a Lesser Whitethroat.