Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Above: One of many Wilson's Snipe foraging along the roadside channels in coastal Delaware (3/2/2008).
Below two: Photographed near Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware (4/7/2007).
Below: Photographed near Brinkley, Arkansas (4/2006).
Below: Photographed at dusk in rural St. Mary's County, Maryland (3/19/2005).
Below two: Photographed just after dawn on Assateague Island, Maryland (1/16/2005). Note the distinctive lateral stripes on this species' back.
Below: A Wilson's Snipe well-camouflaged on Assateague Island, Maryland (11/12/2010).
This interesting shorebird is more common than its secretive habits let on. Here in Maryland, we are south of its primary breeding range, and at the northernmost part of its winter range. An old joke in many parts of the country is to trick someone into going "snipe hunting," then leaving them out in the woods confused. It's humorous that many of the tricksters do not realize that snipe are, in fact, real animals that are really hunted. When flushed, the birds fly in a wild zig-zag pattern.