American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Common Snipe – Newfoundland

On January 11 while leading a tour group, Bruce Mactavish discovered a Common Snipe at the spot he describes as “the famous snipe spot made infamous by [a] Jacksnipe three winters ago” in Ferryland, Newfoundland. The identification was not confirmed during the first sighting, but birders refound it on January 12 and obtained diagnostic photos. Common Snipe is a Code 3 species, based on it being somewhat expected around the Bering Sea region in Alaska. Away from there, it is much, much rarer.

Common Snipe at Ferryland, Newfoundland

Common Snipe at Ferryland, Newfoundland. Photo by Bruce Mactavish.

Wilson's and Common Snipe at Ferryland, Newfoundland

Wilson’s (left) and Common (right) Snipe. Note the overall warmer coloration of the Common Snipe. Wider pale bars on the tertials and lighter barring on the flanks can also be seen. Photo by Bruce Mactavish.

Ferryland is about 50 miles (80 km) south of St. John’s. The snipe is being seen in a wet area on the east side of Route 10 about 100 m south of the Irish Loop Restaurant (map here). The road is narrow here, and the birds may flush if you walk around, so it’s best to stay in your vehicle if at all possible.

As mentioned, this spot hosted a Jack Snipe three years ago. During that same winter, another Common Snipe was in nearby Tors Cove, the only previous record for this species in Newfoundland and apparently anywhere in the ABA Area away from the West Coast.

There are additional photos of the snipe at Mactavish’s blog, and he promises to post a few more, so you may want to take a look at it. It’s not often you get to see photos of Common Snipe next to Wilson’s.