Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Wot No Snipe!

Alarm bells were ringing (metaphorically as well as those of my alarm clock) when I got up at 0430 this morning and I could see that there was a hard frost. Would the frost have put the Jack Snipes and Snipes off from returning to the pools after their night time feed?

I met Ian at 5.00 a.m. and we headed off to the pools in the dark. We opened the net and retreated to dry land to sit and wait for any returning Snipe. It was a long wait and gallons of coffee were consumed as we watched the sky brighten from the eastern horizon. We checked the net after a while and not a single Jack Snipe or Snipe had been caught. There was the odd Jack Snipe about, but no Snipe at all.

I think it was a combination of factors; the heavy frost (- 5 degrees Celsius) resulting in low numbers of birds returning before light and the fact that the net once up became coated in frost so that it would be very obvious as a dayglo white feature across the pools which every returning Snipe would be able to see and avoid!

You can't win them all and we will be returning for round two soon and hopefully we will be successful then. Having said all that it was cracking listening to the sounds of the estuary in the dark; whistling Wigeon, the bell-like calls of Teal and the 'wink-wink' of Pink-footed Geese flying in from frozen fields to feed on the estuary in the dark. Magic!

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