Snipe Identification

To: "'Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge'" <>, "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Snipe Identification
From: "Jeff Davies" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 01:02:01 +1100
G'day Keith, thanks for putting this bird up for us to scrutinize. 

Are there any more photos and is this image at 100%, is my standard question
in these situations.
I can at least age it straight off as a first year bird, an obvious patch of
adult type coverts can be seen contrasting with the retained juvenile ones.
Would have been nice to see the juvenile greater coverts, I'm not sure why
they are not visible, maybe they are being moulted judging by the fresh
adult type inner most greater coverts which are visible. 
It's also disappointing not being able to get a good take on perceived leg
length against body size, have you got other shots that show the legs
cleanly with the body side on.
Possible points in favour of young Swinhoes might be the overall darkness of
those juvenile tertials and also the fresh median coverts moulted in, photos
I have on file for first year Latham's in October still have a full set of
juv wing coverts however Swinhoe's juvs typically have fresh coverts in
What was it when viewing this bird that prompted you to consider it possibly
different to Latham's, was it that the rear end diddn't look long enough.
It's hard to judge rear end from a single image and I have recently been
caught out making a judgement from one image. It's tempting to say it looks
slightly shorter ended but we are looking at a young bird.
Would love to see more photos.

Cheers Jeff.

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Kingfisher
Park Birdwatchers Lodge
Sent: Sunday, 16 October 2011 9:58 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: Snipe Identification

Hi Folks,
Last week I went up to Mt. Carbine on the Mt. Molloy to Cooktown Road to 
a small dam where a Snipe sp. was seen. Whilst it is thought by most 
local birders that the snipe passing through our region of far north 
Queensland areLatham's, Swinhoe's has also been identified here; whether 
this is fact or theory I'm not sure. Most literature I've read usually 
concludes they are only reliably separated in the hand so I'm intrigued 
that many observers are definite about their sightings in the field, it 
would appear that they are going on field guide distribution maps and 
not on field characteristics. I've positively identified all three 
species, which occur in Australia, in the hand but not in the field. If 
anyone can tell me which species it was at the dam I've posted an image 
onto our blog this week.


     Keith&  Lindsay Fisher
     Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
     RN 6 Mt. Kooyong Road
     Julatten QLD 4871
     Ph : (07) 4094 1263
     Web Site:

Winner: Wet Tropics 2010 Cassowary Award for Nature Based Tourism


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