Forty years ago I drew a Snipe. I was 13 years old and probably copied it out of a book I borrowed from the local library. I was very pleased with it at the time.
Today I’m out at an RSPB nature reserve in Somerset called Greylake. It’s aptly named.
Somerset is called Somerset because it was only inhabitable in Summer and the rest of the year it was flooded. Draining, or attempting to drain, the land has resulted in the loss of fabulous habitat. People campaign against the loss of tropical rainforest in other countries yet are unaware that we’ve already destroyed our own forests and our own wetlands. Here the RSPB is doing something to bring a small amount of that habitat back and it’s full of overwintering wildfowl. There are beautiful delicate Teal and robust Wigeon. There’s also a Snipe hiding in the muddy field.
It’s beautifully camouflaged but I can see it probing with its sewing-machine action in the wet mud.