Nice photos as usual Carl. But are you sure it isn't just a shy, runt Common Snipe? Sorry to be a kill-joy but the shape and colouration of the bill, plumage of the head, tail and general upperparts don't seem to me to point towards Jack Snipe. Any Snipe experts out there because I'm certainly not claiming to be one! Best regards, Nick.
I agree with Nick, all the photos on the blogs seem to show Common Snipe. Rather than size or bill length, the key feature is that Jack Snipe have a wholly dark crown. Common Snipe always have a pale stripe running the centre of the crown and this can be seen at the back of the head of the photographed birds. Jack Snipe also have a thin dark strip above the eye, creating a 'split supercilium'.
Hopefully that helps for the future!
Carl - Common & Jack are hellishly difficult to tell apart without a very clear photo - and from several angles probably!
Nick & Joe - Agree with all your comments - this is almost certainly a Common Snipe.
A rattling good subject though as most of us have seen very few Jack Snipe, either up close or clearly?
Thanks for the replies.
It seems My Jack Snipe was a common or garden Snipe after all!
I'm no expert, yet there were quite a few birders in the hide that first identified a Jack Snipe amongst the Snipe! Maybe I just photographed the wrong bird!
Nice conversation, everyone. Thanks for your attitude Carl. I found the photo very helpful and went looking for it again on your website. Have you removed it? It really did demonstrate bill-length difference between the two "Snipe".
No, I haven't removed the offending picture, it's still there!
I didn't realise common Snipe came in different sizes!! This bird was definitely smaller than the others with a shorter bill, it also moved about a lot quicker!
However, as I said, I'm no expert in Snipe-ology!
Interesting thread indeed. It's funny how some top birding sites often prove fantastic for some surprising scarcer species as well as really rare birds. Scillies, Fair Isle and Spurn for example are all great places to see Jack Snipe and often up close. The 2 snipe species then appear like chalk and cheese in fact. Jacks quietly bob up and down like little clock-work toys as they feed at the water's edge or in a wet ditch, usually just on their own or perhaps in twos or threes; or they freeze completely and let you walk to within a few feet of them! They like very shallow water that is out of site to humans who are out in the open, and on Scillies and at Spurn in the autumn, you can often watch them from hides. On Fair Isle in autumn, there can be good numbers of Jack Snipe on the island and it's then possible to eventually surprise one in a ditch that freezes instead of flying off... Common Snipe, as you know, busily probe wet ground, heads down, (no bobbing) often in sizable groups and often in plain view. Walk up to them and they're off like a shot though.
Anyone know of other UK sites where you can watch Jack Snipe from hides? (it's occassionally possible at Chew, I know)
The small snipe at Greylake is striking in the photos. Thanks for posting.