Saturday, 13 April 2013

Commons and Jacks

This winter at Amwell I have been lucky enough to photograph both Common and Jack Snipe at close range, which gives an ideal opportunity to compare the two.

Common Snipe used to breed in Hertfordshire but the last year, certainly at King's Meads, was in 1990. Since then they are fairly common winter visitors. They have a distinctive long bill, a single eye-stripe and a golden stripe down the middle of the crown. When feeding they tend not to bob up and down, but if they do it is only a very gentle movement.

Jack Snipe, on the other hand, breed in north-eastern Europe and Siberia and are scarce winter visitors to the UK. They are smaller than the Common Snipe, have a shorter bill, a double eye-stripe and no golden stripe down the centre of the crown. Also when feeding, they bob up and down by as much as an inch.

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