Thursday 15 March 2012


About one year ago, in spring 2011, we reported the sighting of a new species for Extremadura, if accepted: Great Snipe (Gallinago media) [see here]. This was a fleeting observation, still pending acceptance, of three birds in Madrigalejo (Cáceres). We can now report another longer and more trustworthy sighting by Francisco Montaño, Joaquín Vázquez Muñoz and José Antonio Delgado on 12 March 2012 in Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz).

The bird was seen well for nearly an hour-and-a-half at a distance of about 150 m and with excellent visibility. The observers were able to appreciate the subtle plumage differences that distinguish it from its commoner cousin, the Snipe (Gallinago gallinago): wide white outer tail feathers, long and wide wings with a clear wing stripe, darker hue and speckled belly. The bird remained still and in full view accompanied by Snipes, clearly showing its bulkier size and relatively shorter beak. It even spread its wings to show the darker underside.

As if that were not enough, 12 other waders were seen along with it, some pretty rare in Extremadura and inland Spain: Temminck's Stint (2), Little Stint (15), Dunlin (lots), Ruff (1), Black-Tailed Godwit (30), Bar-Tailed Godwit (2), Ringed Plover (9), Little Ringed Plover (4), Kentish Plover (1), Whimbrel (2) and Redshank (14).

To find out more about the Great Snipe and its migratory feats, click here.