A Woodcock Or A Common Snipe

A Marsh Marigold growing by the stream in the woods

The water was low under the Gulley Bridge.  This is the plank of wood I walk over that connects the farm to The Orphaned Woods.

There’s still plenty of mud on either side of the stream, and my boots sunk into it making a deep impression when I got to the other side.  Zinnia and Fate ran ahead of me and that’s when the bird flew out of the bush.

It was low enough that I thought it was probably on the ground when it started, it went right past my head at eye level.  I’d never seen this bird before.

Dark brown with some black and white specks, maybe on its wings.  It was moving too fast for me to get a good look.  It was bigger than a Robin and smaller than a mallard, but it seemed something between a bird and a duck.  Its flight was awkward as if it had a hard time getting lift.   One thing was for sure, it had a very long thin beak.

Before I could watch it fly out of sight, Zinnia had her nose in the same bush it came from, and then two more smaller birds few out of it.  One was flying parallel to the ground only as high as Zinnia’s nose.

Zinnia chased the bird and could have snatched it out of the air, the bird was that close to her mouth.  But she didn’t.  Unlike Bud, Zinnia isn’t a hunter.

I called the dogs away from the bush and we headed into the woods, where everything was much greener than the last time we were there.

When we got back to the farm I looked up the bird in one of my books.   I think it was a Woodcock. Either that or a Common Snipe.  It all happened so fast that I didn’t get a really good look at the bird.

I might go back and look for it without the dogs.  If I’m quiet and still and keep my distance it might show itself without knowing I’m there.  I don’t know if I have that kind of patience. Maybe if I have some time over the weekend, I can think of it as a meditation.

And if I don’t see the Woodcock/Common Snipe, maybe I’ll see something else.

4 thoughts on “A Woodcock Or A Common Snipe

  1. Maria-If you make “pheet” sounds about 5-10 sec. apart, and get an answering “pheet” back than you’ve got a woodcock. The males make that call when they are looking for a mate-usually after dark.

  2. Could be either, what fun! One special thing about a snipe is that when if flies there are tiny gaps in the barbs of the flight feathers that make a distinctive sound. Commonly described as “winnowing”.

    1. Ah good to know Emily Lee. I’ll pay attention to that. A friend told me she used to go watching for Woodcocks, so Now I’m thinking since they are around here, that’s what it might be.

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