An Unexpected Visitor

For many years wild birds have frequented my garden, from the tiny delicate Jenny Wren to the majestic predatory Kestrel, I always enjoy watching them feed and squabble amongst themselves.

However, my ornithological knowledge was stretched to new limits when I spied a bundle of brown and black feathers crouched down by the side of the garden seat. Was it a partridge or a duck perhaps? I really couldn’t tell until it removed its head from beneath its wing and I observed a long pointed beak highlighted against the snowy background. I then realised it was not a common or garden bird but one that is usually found in more remote locations, such as woodlands. I quickly picked up my camera and luckily captured this image, prior to consulting my ‘Observers Book of Birds’.

My suspicions were then confirmed. It was a ‘Woodcock’ and as soon as it spotted me it flew off in a second.

How fortunate I was to, not only have witnessed this unusual bird at such close quarters, but also to have captured it on camera. Had it not been for the snow, to accentuate the unusual camouflaged plumage, I don’t expect I would have seen this extremely timid ‘game bird’ at all.

Glyn Hatfield