Forty Year Wait Is Over

February 7, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Jack Snipe

Yes I have spent the best part of four decades trying to photograph Jack Snipe and on the fourth of February it all came good as I achieved my fourth Grand Slam of the Winter. The day started with twenty eight Waxwings in Middleton in the morning followed by two Woodcock on Hopwood and then a Jack Snipe flushed in the afternoon. I looked carefully where the Jack Snipe was feeding and noticed another one crouching in the vegetation. I did not have my camera with me so I went home for it and returned and the Jack Snipe had not moved! I took all the photos I required and left the star bird where it was, still thinking I had not seen it! A once in a lifetime encounter and of course it was not present the day after. In addition the day also produced a female Peregrine and a male Sparrowhawk carrying prey,Buzzard, Tawny Owl and two hundred Pink Footed Geese flying North – it must be the best Winters day I have ever had.

On the second it snowed all day so I made the most of it by filming the garden birds from the garage. I particularly wanted them on video with snowflakes falling and the Goldfinches on the teasel looked superb. I then walked around Hopwood in the raging blizzard at dusk and forty two Reed Buntings were going to roost in long moorland grasses out of the wind.

On the seventh we had a record fifteen Blackbirds in the garden at dawn. I then spent two hours at Dovestones reservoir in spectacular Winter conditions but only saw a Grey Wagtail on a partially frozen stream. However Chaffinch and Mistle Thrush were in full song. Perhaps Spring is not too far away?