Almost immediately after getting out of the car this lunchtime at Voxter, near Brae, Howard called out: “Jack Snipe!” and we turned round, expected to see one fly a short distance away from us and drop straight into cover. Instead, it flew at waist level towards us, between us, and dropped into the short grass a few feet away!
For the next half hour or so, it wandered around on the edge of a shallow pool and the adjacent grass, utterly unconcerned by our presence – presumably a freshly arrived migrant that had never encountered people before? Many birders have stories about fantastically close views of this species, and indeed we’d all seen them pretty well before… but this was nothing short of astonishing. As it walked around, feeding intermittently throughout, it wandered up to us, past us, around us, and ultimately over us!
Despite having dipped the Great Snipe further south earlier in the morning, I think we all enjoyed this experience far more than the more distant, brief view we had expected of the much rarer variety.
Words simply can’t do justice to how stunning this little bird was: but I’ll have a go with some of the many pictures…
(Note that you can actually see my reflection in the bird’s eye in the final shot above!)
Videos to follow when we can upload them!