Saturday, April 12, 2014

Snipe success!

Elena and I were having breakfast and deciding where to go today. We had settled on the Ramble, to look for a Bluebird reported there a couple of hours earlier. I checked the NYNYBirds texts web page on my phone, and saw a very recent report from Karen Fung:
W Snipe in the Loch, found by John Wittenberg
I showed the phone to Elena. "Snipe hunt?" I asked.

She considered briefly. "Snipe hunt!" And so off we went to the North End.

It turned out to be easy. We got to the Loch, and found a group of birders. They described where it was hiding in plain sight near a log across the stream. It took some scanning, but I eventually recognized its stripy back, and then it turned its head and the beady eye came into view.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for it to decide to move out into the (relative) open for a photo opportunity. After a few minutes, a Robin walked close by and it moved out and started to forage.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Wilson's Snipe, The Loch, Central Park
Sweet mystery of Snipe, at last I've found you!

It was interesting to watch the bird moving forward in a crouch, occasionally pausing and probing the mud deeply with its long beak. The probing movement was very smooth and deliberate; a Woodcock probing into leaves is a bit jerky by comparison, for instance. The Snipe is a life bird for me, my 198th species in New York County (and 99th of the year).

We also got an added bonus, a Blue-Headed Vireo, also a first=of-year bird.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Blue-Headed Vireo, Central Park
Number 100!

We made our way back to the Ramble to look for the Bluebird. No luck, but there were compensations, such as this very cooperative Palm Warbler at Tupelo meadow.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Palm Warbler, Tupelo Meadow, Central Park
Almost within reach

In all, a beautiful day for birding.

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