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What are people's views on flushing Jack Snipe? (1 Viewer)

Andy Lakin

Well-known member
I would imagine there may be a great difference of opinions on this. Personally I think it is O.K with a few caveats I.e not repeatedly flushing and definitely not intentionally putting them up when it gets anywhere near freezing. A lot of places you would never get to see them without flushing. My record on my local patch is 8 in an area c30 metres squared but have only ever seen one on the deck there. What can be a problem is when they are scarce in an area and they are put up repeatedly. Also have there been many about this winter? I haven't seen any in the usual spot on my local patch this winter.
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
I think it is valid to do a 'scientific' flush of areas where it is allowed just to get some idea of the number present. But only occasionally, say once a month at the most, maybe to tie in with the WeBS count.
But best when nobody is around so that others don't follow you resulting in an area getting walked regularly.
And not purely to get any sort of tick.
Thermal imaging devices might make flushing obsolete of course.
 

Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
A remember going out with the site warden at a reserve in Hungary. Some warbler would sing in the reeds, easily identified by voice, but he would pick up a handful of gravel off the path and hurl it into the reeds. Just to get a look, certainly didn't help with identification. I sometimes imagine the looks I would get if I tried that at Leighton Moss.
 

paddyluke

Well-known member
Wales
there's a few " top" birders/twitchers around my way that spread the word that "you shouldn't do this" and "you shouldn't do that" but they don't practice what they preach:eek:
 

jurek

Well-known member
Never seen a situation that a Jack Snipe was flushed often enough to come close to endangering it.

BTW, if you know where you flush it, you can see it on the ground. Jack Snipe is attached to characteristic places, where a muddy ground is visible between thinned grass or weeds, and it is often a very small area, just few square meters. If you want to trample such a place, you can also first scan it with binoculars. And it is often there.

I spotted Jack Snipes on the ground several times at least. I saw such a patch on a wet meadow, thought: wow, it is a good place for a Jack Snipe, then for fun started looking at the grass tuft after grass tuft with binoculars, and it was there. I simply bothered to try. It is easier than many other things one does birding - for example looking through 1000 White-fronted Geese to spot a Lesser Whitefront.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Must admit I've twice flushed Jack Snipe that have fairly quickly been caught by raptors (once a Sparrowhawk and once a Merlin). They (and Common Snipe) are quite vulnerable to predation when flying. These days I use a thermal imager, which is helpful for finding them on the ground allowing amazing views and avoiding disturbance.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
I've twice accidentally flushed a jack snipe on agricultural land - a conservation field margin and a stubble field- both times almost from under my feet, and both times they just flew a short distance around me and settled again. I was lucky to get such excellent views, and I don't think I caused them too much danger. I wouldn't deliberately flush unless for survey purposes (interesting to know how many overwinter in such under-watched habitats...) and agree it is more satisfying to watch them bobbing up and down on a wetland margin, if you're lucky / persistent enough to spot one.
 

edenwatcher

Well-known member
I only look as part of my WeBS count. The therrmal imager greatly reduces instances of flushing of jack snipe but common snipe will flush long before I can pick them up on the ground.

Rob
 

jurek

Well-known member
A tip to all Jack Snipe watchers: Jack Snipe does not like thick turf of grass or sedge, which is typical habitat for Common Snipe. It needs muddy ground visible between plants, where it forages alongside Common Snipes. Most often this is a place where weeds are in process of overgrowing open mud, or existing grass was thinned by flooding or trampling cattle. Jack Snipe also freely forages on mud covered by sparse but tall vegetation, e.g. loose willows or reeds (loose enough for a human to quite easily walk between them). Suitable places are often very small, e.g. few feet across along a riverbank or a muddy pool on an agriculture field. They are often also randomly found in otherwise unsuitable area, e.g. a small patch on a muddy agricultural field. If you see such a place, look there. Given the relatively open nature of this habitat compared to an average wet meadow, Jack Snipe can often be spotted on the ground too.
 

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