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Jack Snipe

The jack snipe (Bokje - Lymnocryptes minimus) the smallest of our snipes is hard to find. It breeds mainly in north eastern Scandinavia and Siberia in wet tundra habitat with sedges, willow and other low vegetation. On migration we can see them here in our Low Countries, but they stay mostly unnoticed. Usually they are only seen when they are flushed when walking around and you almost step on it. They stay still and extremely camouflaged till flying off in a straight line low over the ground in a direct flight.... and then they settle down and they disappear again...and you can retry to find it.

On Oland in Sweden were they pass in good numbers this time of year I was lucky to spot a bird resting on the mudflats. This was my change to get some pictures. I took my time and slowly approached it getting down on my belly and crawling closer little by little. The soil was wet and full of goose droppings (my dog was very in interested in my trousers when I came back in our camper!).

Normally they stay in the same position for hours and hours unless disturbed, but that was the last thing I wanted to do; but after a while my patience was rewarded as he started feeding. This was a great opportunity; I also tried to film it and please excuse me for the shacking of the camera but but I was lying in a most uncomfortable position without any support for the (heavy) camera. The fascinating bumping behavior is supposedly meant to bring his favorite food like springtails within reachable distance to the surface.

More pictures of this birdwatching trip on Oland are available here:


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