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Potential breeding record of Jack Snipe on North Uist

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BrianR
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Potential breeding record of Jack Snipe on North Uist

Post by BrianR » 31 May 2016, 23:01

The following was received via Mark Holling Rare Breeding Birds Panel Secretary from Paul Baker: 'with my two equally experienced birding friends Neil Chambers and Tim Bourne (we had all come up for the Black-billed Cuckoo twitch) we came across three Jack Snipe, one of which was calling and in display flight. At 20.30 hours on 27th May we were walking by the north end of Loch Sandary - on this warm, calm evening there was a lot of birdsong including several drumming Snipe. As we approached the NW corner of the loch, we all heard and saw a wader in flight close to the road over the wet, rough meadow on the west side of the road. The bird was emitting a noise which could only be described as a distant galloping horse. It sounded quite ‘unbird’ like as it echoed around in the still of the evening and Neill recognised it immediately as the sound of a Jack Snipe - he had birded Finland in the previous summer. We watched the bird as it flew in a straight, fast and level flight horizontally above the wet area at a height of some 20 feet. All three of us are very familiar with Jack Snipe during autumn and winter. The most striking feature was an obviously short bill in comparison to the Common Snipe coupled with smaller size and more dumpy body structure. It then flew almost straight up vertically fairly high where it flew around in a wide loop at which point it was joined by two others. The displaying bird then folded its wings and almost tumbled straight down out of the sky whilst rotating through 180 degrees before levelling out just above the ground and flying off again horizontally over the meadow.'

According to The Birds of Scotland there are isolated records of birds in potential breeding areas with the most plausible record being two birds at Endrick Mouth, Loch Lomond on 21st May 1975 one of which briefly uttered the 'galloping horse' display call before landing. Jack Snipe breed mainly in subarctic and boreal upper middle latitudes, in mild low-lying regions.

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MisterT
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Re: Potential breeding record of Jack Snipe on North Uist

Post by MisterT » 01 Jun 2016, 20:01

Another rare breeding bird to have bred here in the Uists this year are Whooper Swan. This pair with 3 cygnets were seen today at Loch Ollay (SU) and are probably the same pair that raised 2 cygnets last year.

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Whooper Swans with 3 cygnets

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