“There’s two of them birds with long beaks in the garden!” Tina exclaimed. “Snipe?” says I “No Woodcock”. Sure enough there on the snow covered lawn were two of my favorite birds. It must be twenty five years, in similar weather conditions, when we were last visited by these beautiful birds.
I crept into the conservatory, and with a lot of patience recorded this very shy and wary visitor. Woodcock are not rare but they are not often seen out in the open. These are birds that are usually nocturnal, leaving the safety of woodland to feed on marsh and field at dusk.
At the last boatyard I worked for there was a wood behind the dykes. Every evening during the winter months we would count the Woodcock flying out to feed, the record was forty eight. During extreme cold weather these birds will seek food in country gardens, probing the lawns with their long sensitive bills looking for worms. And they are very successful, the two in my garden caught lots.
The day just gets weirder. This afternoon, a call from the kitchen “Quick come and see this!” And there on the front lawn was a Snipe! The first we have ever had in the garden. Quietly I went in the bathroom and photographed this little gem through the open window, it was barely twenty feet away.
Snipe are waders you will mostly find on marshland, like Woodcock they feed by probing the ground for worms with an action like that of a sewing machine. I felt very privileged to have this bird in the garden and to get some lovely images.
It has been a crazy few days with this bitterly cold weather. However being stuck at home and not being able to get to work has had it’s advantages, I would not have seen these birds!