WILSON'S SNIPE?? Martin Goodey
Nearly three weeks ago, 15th September, Kevin Rylands and Ivan Laken, told me about a pale looking snipe at Lowe Moors. On the views that they had at the time, they said that it looked a good canidate for Wilson's Snipe! They went on to say that it's a striking bird with a dark underwing and at least 3 bars on the white outer tail feathers, instead of barring on buff outer tail feathers of Common Snipe. They would of scrutinised it further, but had to leave for the mainland, returning over a week later. Again they pointed out the bird to me. but again there was no sign of it. However, in the past few days, a snipe showing very similar features has been observed frequenting both Lower Moors and Porth Hellick. Both Kevin and Ivan have also seen this bird and say that this is the same individual.
I managed to go and have a look at the snipe in question this afternoon and what I did notice is how grey the bird looked in comparison to the 4 Snipe also present. Whilst in the hide, there was a photographer showing a detailed close-up shot of the tail feathers. Everyone in the hide who had experience with wilson's, were very happy with what they were looking at feeding in the mud outside and when they were looking at the photo, they could not see why it was not a Wilson's Snipe! Apparently it showed all the right features going for it. I've no experience with Wilson's Snipe, except for the '98 individual, which was also at Lower Moors. That's a long time ago don't you know.
In the hide, an old couple came in. They both asked which one was the Wilson's Snipe? It took them a long time to get onto it, but when they did, his wife said, 'Is that it? What's it called again?' Everyone replyed in the hide 'Wilson's Snipe' The old lady came back with 'Is it named after Harold Wilson!?' Like everyone else, I thought it was a good joke. She went on 'He did use to come to Scilly a lot you know' She wasn't joking and I told her that Mr Wilson's is buried in Old Town churchyard. She didn't know that and after a few minutes, they opened the door and moved on.
This shot clearly shows the stark difference in plumage tones between Common and the possible Wilson's Snipe
Before all this happened, everything that I saw this morning of interest, was all seen from the control tower. First I picked up, only 2 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER with a Golden Plover. Returning later found the first Lapwing of the autunm, 70+alba wagtail and the SHORT-TOED LARK. I also managed to get the HONEY BUZZARD from up here over Parting Carn. Not a bad start to the day!
Lapwing at the airport
This evening, Chris and I walked across the airfield, being blown all over the shop by the strong NWwinds and found the juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER feeding with 2 Golden Plover. Martin joined me, whilst chris walked off to see the possible Wilson's Snipe at Lower Moors and on the way, got the Short-toed Lark near the terminal building. We both got a little wet, after the brief shower, but it was well worth it with the close views we got of all 3 plovers.
The Juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and Golden Plover at the airfield in the fading light
The BLACK KITE that I missed from the control tower today
This classic song has been in my head all day. Genesis were a great british band, until Peter Gabrial left and they fell apart and became a very succesful pop group. Great lyrics and this song is for Nigel Wheatley.