I doubt there have been many occasions where four Jacks have been trapped and ringed at the same time, but today was one of those days. After seeing several Jack Snipe while out lamping/dazzling on one of our ringing sites, myself and Silvia decided to have a go at mist netting them as they came in to roost yesterday morning. Despite seeing a couple of them, only one Common Snipe was caught. Time for plan C! So this afternoon we headed up there again, this time with Tony and his drag net. This proved to be a great plan C, as we caught three on the first attempt, and another on the second (narrowly missing a fifth too!!). A total of seven birds were seen, but I dare say there were more. We had also caught two more by lamping earlier in the week, so who knows how many birds are using this roost?
Of the four caught today, three were new birds and the other was a re-trap from last December. Despite catching 15-20 Jack Snipe each year, this was our first different year re-trap! And caught in the same field too. So maybe they are site faithful like the Woodcock that also winter in the UK?
The most reliable way of ageing Jack Snipe is on the under tail coverts. Large dark streaks on the adult (right) and much thinner streaks on the juvenile (left).