We’re Having a Snipe Hunt

I went to Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge hoping to see the Sand Hill Cranes that had been seen as recently as the day before.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single one in sight during our visit, and Sand Hill Cranes are so large that it’s impossible not to see them if they’re nearby.  Wilson’s Snipes, on the other hand, are so small and well-camouflaged that it’s very easy to miss them. 

Luckily, Leslie spotted several Wilson’s Snipe along the shoreline through her binoculars while I was scanning the lake looking for cranes.  I’ll have to admit that I couldn’t see them for quite a while despite her best efforts to point out where they were. They were barely visible even with my 840 mm telephoto lens, and it didn’t help that my camera couldn’t find anything to focus on even when I finally located one.  

Wilson’s Snipe hiding in plain sight

Judging from how people were driving around us while we were stopped, most people didn’t see them either.  Either that, or they didn’t find them very interesting.  

Wilson’s Snipe

Personally, I was fascinated by how they blended in with their habitat as they fed.  Can you see the second snipe in this shot?

Two Wilson’s Snipe

The only way I was able to get a sharp shot was to catch one with water in the background (and then adjust the exposure in Photoshop).

In the end, I was happier to get these shots than I would have been to have gotten shots of the Sand Hill Cranes because I’ve seen more Sand Hill Cranes than I have snipes.