Sunday, April 10, 2011
Skaaap! yelped the plump bird as it exploded from a swampy matrix of weathered cattails and flattened sedge. "SNIPE!" bellowed my friend Jonathan, pointing at the fleeing bird. We pressed farther into the marsh, the boggy ground trying to suck my flip-flops off my feet with every step. Sharp cattail stalks scraped my bare legs, but I pressed on, hoping for more snipe. Crunchcrunchcrunch, a few more steps. Then--skaaap! another snipe burst up, an aerodynamic dart of a bird seemingly woven from wet, muddy grass.
Skaap! Skaaap! Another, and then another. Haphazardly they'd shoot across the marsh, eventually crashing back into the vegetation, invisible until flushed again.
Snipe hunts are one of my favorite spring experiences. Don't miss out--the snipes won't come to you. Trudge through a flooded field or skirt the edge of a pond and await that hoarse cry. And if it fails to materialize, enjoy spring anyway: try to spot frogs before they plop into the water, listen to meadowlarks sing, or--if you're lucky--find some Blue-winged Teal to appreciate.