Sunday, October 18, 2009

Snipe Hunting at Lake Wichita

When I was growing up in Indiana, "snipe hunting" was a euphemism among teenagers for parking on a dark country road. Although I was a hobby birdwatcher even then, I didn't know there really was a snipe (and yes, their distribution includes Indiana, although I doubt one would see them at night.)

So, when I moved to Texas I was a little skeptical of reports of snipes. But sure enough, there is such a thing as a snipe. In Texas, the Wilson's snipe. They are here in the winter and are one of the birds I especially enjoy seeing. Although fairly common, you don't see them everyday. I often see them on the east end of the tank at Lake Wichita park (pictured above). I saw my first of the season today. I cut around the end of the tank where I normally will find them if they are present, and stopped to watch a pair of White Pelicans take off and fly over my head. If I had not stopped for that minute, I would have missed my first of season (FOS) snipe coming out of the reeds as I it would have passed behind me. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. A lot of ducks on the tank this morning.

Another special treat today was a small flock of 3 wild turkeys at the entrance to the chat trail.

In addition to the birds noted already, sightings this morning included: European starling, great-tailed grackle, Eurasian collared dove, blue jay, sharp-shinned hawk, northern cardinal, killdeer, great blue heron, green-winged teal, coot, white pelican, American wigeon, pied-billed grebe, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, and song sparrow.

Good birding!

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