With heavy showers forecast overnight I headed out to one of our local winter 'dazzling' sites. The weather once again wasn't as predicted, so catching was extremely difficult. Before too long I was ready to settle for the Skylark and Meadow Pipit that I had caught, when a large long-billed bird got up and landed again. Woodcock I thought, so I quickly went over to try and catch it. When I got to the place it landed, all I could see was an enormous Snipe staring at me. I soon realised it was a Great Snipe and carefully crept through the reeds until I was within 'striking' distance. I couldn't believe it when I took it out of the net, it was an absolute monster.
A fully barred belly.
The distinctive tail pattern.
With only 3 other Great Snipe ever being trapped and ringed in the UK, several measurement and photos were taken of the key features that distinguish it from Common Snipe:
Wing length - 155mm (Common Snipe 127-142)
Tarsus - 39.4mm (Common Snipe 29-36)
Weight - 205.5g (Common Snipe 100g average)
Over the past 5 years, collectively as a group, we've managed to trap a good number of wintering waders on the hills around mid Wales:
Woodcock - 1,698
Common Snipe - 195
Jack Snipe - 99
Golden Plover - 624
and now a Great Snipe. Who knows what else could be lurking around in these parts!!