My Snipe Hunt Finally Ends

I’m not sure whether I should admit it or not, but the highlight of my week-long trip to Malheur and Big Bear was a shot of two little birds I saw while driving on the main road in Malheur Wildlife Refuge quite early in the morning of my second day there.

At first I didn’t even think too much about them because there are a lot of birds on the road at Malheur, usually doves or sparrows. As I got closer, though, I had an “aha” moment, suddenly realizing they were Snipes, a bird I’ve been trying to photograph since I started birding several years ago, one of the last birds in my favorite birding book that I haven’t gotten a shot of.

With that, I opened the door and started to get out of the car, only to realize it was still rolling forward. After quickly stopping the car, I stood behind the open door trying to get a shot before they disappeared into the thick grass. Luckily they didn’t just dive into the grass, and I was able to get several shots, though none of them is a particularly striking shot.

This is the best shot of the group,

Snipes

while this was the best shot of a single bird.

Snipe

They were quite distant, though, and the pictures have been heavily cropped, but they are certainly Snipes, and, in this case, that’s what was important. I must admit I was shocked at how small these birds turned out to be; I've always been looking for a larger bird.

As much as I claim not to have a “life-list” of birds, there are definitely birds I want to see, both ones I have never seen before and ones I have seen before but particularly enjoy seeing. This was my “trophy” bird of this trip. It was especially a treat because I did not have any expectation of seeing snipes here, though I might in the future. My disappointment in not getting any good pictures of White-faced Ibis or Avocets at Malheur, the birds I did come to see, was outweighed by the good fortune of this sighting.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.