Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hollywell Pond...Jack Snipe

A trip to St. Marys Lighthouse mid afternoon yesterday turned out to be disappointing as i failed to locate the Firecrest that has been around for the last few days. After a dry but miserable half hour, the drizzle started and with that the mist began to thicken. From the prom. the usual selection of gulls and waders. Along to the island, causeway then beach nothing much startling but got my first close up glimpse of one of my favourite wintering birds, Sanderling. I found a nice rock close by to park my bum and spent a delightful half hour watching their keystone cop style antics at the waters edge. No matter how cold it is , i always get a warm glow when i sit and watch these birds. Away from the water there was an abundance of Redwing, Blackbirds and a number of Robins.
This morning i ventured down to Hollywell Pond which was quite busy. Large numbers of gull, Black Headed, Herring and Black Backed which when not on the water formed an endless stream to and from the direction of Seghill Tip. A large flock of Lapwing were interrupted for a couple of minutes when 30 odd Starlings descended on the water and decided to have a collective bathe. Unaware of this, there were 34 Canada Geese, 18 Greylag, 44 Mallard, 8 Tufted Duck and various small numbers of Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, a couple of Grey Heron, a Cormorant, 16 Teal feeding on the shoreline and what looked like a male Shoveller in eclipse. Anyway in amongst this lot over to the left of the public hide in amongst Bull rushes at the corner of the bay i spotted a Snipe. By now the mist was slowly beginning to drop and visibility was OK but starting to deteriorate. I had seen half a dozen Snipe up at Big Waters a couple of times in the last 10 days and i commented to Dave, who frequents the pond, how bright i thought the stripes on the back were. Never thought any more of it but then there were more Snipe that had flew in. By then another couple of lads had joined us and one said that one of them was a Jack Snipe. Sure enough, with a number of birds together you could see how much smaller the Jack was, along with the shorter bill and different colouration. It was also noticed to be slowly bouncing up and down. I must thank Bob Dac for the excellent views i observed from his scope as the mist was spoiling good views from my bins by now. No pics of Jack but couple of Teal and what i think is the Shoveler in eclipse taken on my compact Canon.


  1. The Sanderling are absolute magic, I also just sit still and they come so close it is unbelievable. I think Holywell is also a great place to go, the continual in and out of birds does keep ones attention especially in the public hide, if you go the other hide you definitely need a good scope to see whats going on. With my wealth of birding experience I would think the big beak tips it in favour of the Shoveller also.