Getting a picture of a Jack Snipe has been on the top of my wish list for a long time. I have probably seen them before but but only in flight and I could never be sure. There was always that nagging doubt that I was seeing what I wanted to see and not what was really there.
On Wednesday I finally nailed it, a photograph and the confidence to claim the life tick. To get it we ended up travelling into the centre of London, to the Greenwich Ecology Park. Not my favourite place to go birding but actually a little oasis of calm and tranquillity in the middle of a huge housing estate and industrial area.
The park volunteers pointed us in the direction of the East hide and we duly spent some time searching the reedbed and banks around the pool but without any luck. Fortunately the warden then arrived, opened a window on the side of the hide and after a bit of searching declared that it was there. Great, except that neither of us could see it. It was only fifteen feet from the hide but so well camouflaged that it took about five minutes and the use of binoculars before I could pick it out. Put the bins down and it just disappeared again, very frustrating.
It was sleeping most of the time but fortunately did move around a bit, it also did a bit of bobbing and at one stage was disturbed by a Water Rail. It was always in cover and picture opportunities were limited but I was happy. I have my picture and it is clearly a Jack Snipe.
Our quest finished by midday, we decided to call in to the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve on the way back home. A quick walk round to the far side of the East Lake and we had the Black-throated Grebe in view. Good views but unfortunately back lit by the sun.
Our first time at the Sevenoaks site and it was really quite impressive. We didn't have the time to explore it all but I think we will be going back for a good look around.