Jack Snipe

To: <>
Subject: Jack Snipe
From: "Barney Enders" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:24:04 +1000
Someone wrote the other day of a fairly large flock of Latham?s Snipe seen
which I feel would be gathering to head back home to Japan to breed. 


Years ago they were keenly sought after by hunters to shoot and they were
then known as Jack Snipe, then Jap Snipe and now Latham?s Snipe.

Years ago when farming in Northern Victoria I had a swamp behind the dairy
where the effluent flowed when the cow yard was washed and was 

known as one of the best haunts of Jack Snipe in the district.

The Snipe loved the swamp with 2 foot high grass cover with the manure
through it and would come in the hundreds to spend the Summer there.


A few would come in on a full moon and were always called  the ?Call Birds ?
and woe betide anyone that interfered with them, there would be

between 20 to 30 and some years 40 to 50 sitting quietly during the day and
moving around just on dark or at dawn.

Over the few days around the next full moon they would call in hundreds some
years 5 to 6 hundred would be feeding in the swamp approx. ½ a km

long by 200 mts wide to 400 mts wide in the widest spot.


Just on dark they would work there was up the drain that was taking the
manure into the swamp and would become immune to whoever was
working in the cow yard.

They could be seen probing with their long beaks, head bobbing up and down
rapidly chasing a 15 mm long sausage shaped grub with a 10 mm long

narrow pin shaped tail, each morning the manure in the drain would be a mass
of holes.


They were considered by shooters as the best game bird to hunt as they would
take off in a flurry  from the long grass with a Peep and a Poop and a zig,
zagging  very fast flight, I don?t know if the Peep made them Poop or the
Poop made them Peep ?????

They would burst from cover, sometimes climbing  very high and then drop
like a stone into the long grass to freeze where they landed or run for

some distance not moving till flushed again.

Tiger snakes were always a problem at that time of the year and were a good
deterrent to city slickers wanting to shoot the swamp.. 


The Snipe would group up in the hundreds at the end of March into April and
would be gone around the full moon not returning till late spring.


I was away one weekend and a group of Ethnic Chaps came in without
permission and shot up the ?Call Birds? and there was never many Snipe to be

seen in the swamp ever again.


A few years later there was dramatic drop in numbers of birds to be found in
the area and the powers that be stopped the hunting of them here in 

Australia and Japan followed suit in the early 70s

It was around the time the French were testing their Atomic Bombs on ?
Bikini Atoll ? (Mururroa ) and Jack Snipe were found to have Radioactive

in their brains caused by flying over the Atoll and it was felt at the time
it had a detrimental effect on the Snipe numbers.

Sixty years later and the Islands are still unliveable.

The dramatic drop in numbers has never been reversed due to habitat removal,
drainage of swamps etc here and the destruction of breeding areas in Japan.





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