Monday, May 3, 2010
April 24, 2010 7:30 dark 50` Bold Point Park, East Providence, RI
A Wilson's Snipe is a large chunky shorebird with an infuriating ability of staying hidden right under your nose. Sadly for us birders the only way most of us ever see them is by wading through knee high water-grass and hoping that you will get lucky. I have recently learned from The Big Year that the best way for a birder to get a Yellow Rail is for a group of them to run through a marsh with gravel-filled plastic gallon containers strung together on a rope. As you can imagine the noise that this assault makes usually will terrify any bird into leaving the grass. I think that this method is very cruel and dangerous for the Yellow Rail. Poor Yellow Rails!
The land we were standing on was sign posted private property. According to the online bird reports lots of other birders use this spot as a reliable source for Snipe so we felt justified enough to wander around. The report said Snipe and we were going to find Snipe no matter what! It took us quite a while to realize that we had no idea where to look for the Snipe. Finally it occurred to me that the sublime Snipe habitat that we had been searching for was just to the right of the path. It did not take five minutes for us to see one fly from the grass. Unfortunately I was the only one to see it and laugh at the odd bird with its long bill, pointed wings, the chunky little body and that eccentric quirking call. It is quite the foolish figure of the family. A minute or two later another bird went up. This time my brother got a look too. A good way to end the day. The Wilson's Snipe was not the only species by a long shot as the entire industrial shipping wasteland was filled with birds: Red-Winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Killdeer were all in large number, along with Canada Geese, a pair of Mallards, a Savannah Sparrow, a Mourning Dove and many Gulls and Cormorants we also heard a Song Sparrow.