Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

TART - Again!

Remember me highlighting that my county list was nearing the point where only scarcer birds were needed? (Leicestershire Low-lister) Today, at long last, I finally got my county nemesis sorted - Jack Snipe. Skulking little blighters they were too. After aimlessly trudging around various bogs over the years, and failing several times to see one feeding openly long the Eyebrook Res inflow, I have been keen to pick up useful news about wintering birds. An initial report from a marshy field just outside Shepshed by the motorway was followed by another a week or so later, so I decided to have a look today. The site is a large open field which intially didn't look great.

Not only that, but the M1 was within earshot, sight and literally touching distance (or at least supporting concrete pillars were).

But a closer look revealed snipe heaven - marshy grassland with plenty of cover.

I started the search full of optimism. I'd even taken the camera as I was sure I'd see one well enough to get a shot as it fed unconcerned in full view. Half an hour later, the optimism was waning and thoughts along the lines of 'where the feck are these bastard snipe' started to cross my mind. Suddenly, from a few meters away, two snipe got up and shot off erratically, calling as they went. Wrong sort. I carried on for another half hour - nothing. In fact, I'd seen plenty of small skulking things - loads of small mammals briefly darting for cover through their runs to avoid Kestrels.

Just after I'd taken this photo - and completely unexpectedly - another snipe got up from within a meter of me. I'd not seen it at all. It shot off silently, and directly. How the feck did I not see it before it flew?!! At last, a Jack Snipe. Buoyed by this I carried on for another half an hour, and put up another couple of Jack Snipe - again without warning and having seen nothing on the ground. Unbefeckinglievable. Also another Common Snipe which went up from c10M.

I was pleased, but somehow dissapointed at the same time. I've seen plenty of Jack Snipe in the past, on Scilly, and really I wanted to see my county first on the deck for a good look like I've seen them before. But these were just impossible - you could have walked through several times easily without seeing feck-all. Still, maybe I'll have more luck with them now.

Aside from the snipe, the only other thing present in abundance was these:
What is the fucking point?!