Keep an eye on your local snipe

Subject: Keep an eye on your local snipe
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 09:06:58 +1000 (EST)
Anything interesting skulking around in your local swamp?  There has been 
a report of strange snipe doing strange things here in Geelong.  Lawrie C 
will give you the details, but he saw and heard a couple of things he 
found surprising for Latham's Snipe (G. hardwickii).

I had a look myself on Saturday night/Sunday morning and did not find 
anything particularly conclusive, but then again you don't with Snipe 
unless you're holding one.

Things I noticed:

One flew STRAIGHT (most Latham's zigzag a bit) without calling, then made 
a shorter, higher 'rip' sound as it landed.  That is, shorter and higher, 
but not much, than the normal Latham language.  I also heard this sound 
another two times, but the direction etc was not clear.  A fourth time I 
heard it, I saw a snipe on a flight of about 70-80m.  I was side on and 
could not pick much in the way of flight path.  But it seemed to have 
darker primaries - which really messes up any other Snipish possibilities 
as far as I can tell from my library.

This all happened at Belmont Common.  I counted between 70 and 120 Snipe 
on Sunday am, and Mike Barter reported 200 at the same spot Saturday 

If any of you are in the region, drop in and have a look/listen.  If you 
arrive very early or late, you may get birds coming right up to the hide, 
but there are plenty of places from the paths to get a reasonable view if 
you're lucky.  The embankment at the southern end is a good spot - sit in 
a car near the council works depot and wait for the snipe to come out 
onto the grass.

A Mars Bar for the first person to clearly ID a second snipe.  2 Mars 
Bars if it's Common or Great....


Russell Woodford

PS This is coincidental, but it appears the area may be mist-netted later 
this week, to determine the proportion of snipe of different ages, and to 
check them for previous banding.

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