The Accidental Snipe Hunt

One of the first things I did this past weekend was run to the store to buy seat covers for the new car. I had a feeling we’d be headed out on a little adventure with the new Adventuremobile on Sunday and while my husband is good at so many things, not spilling coffee in the car is not one of them. With lighter colored seats in this car, I didn’t want to tempt fate. Seat covers deployed, I felt confident that we were ready for adventure.

And adventure we did.

Just about a 35 minute drive south of us lies the Sandhill State Wildlife Area. We’d visited once before about a month ago, but it was cold and raining and the auto tour was not open yet as it was only mid-March and it opens later in April. The move was not kind to my bad hip and I’m trying to recover slowly and carefully so as not to do any lasting damage, so the auto tour with a few little short hikes was just perfect.

We were greeted almost immediately by one of my favorite birds to see this time of year (truth be told that covers most migratory birds in spring)…

An Eastern Towhee, singing away. His  song of “Drink-your-tea!” never, ever gets old.

The wide open marsh & many flowages were those gorgeous brilliant blues and straw-y yellow-tans that I adore. If you look closely, you can pick out a Great Egret in this photo, too.

Moose liked the view, as well.He really likes the windows in the Adventuremobile because he can see out of them more easily. Our daughter, still on the tiny side, agrees with him on that point.

We did some rambling about in the woods…

And unfortunately collected a few ticks each, but thankfully we got them all removed without incident. We had one child very freaked out by them and after talking it through we discovered our boy was under the impression that a tick bite would be fatal. We’ve since clarified the implications of a tick bite and we’re all much more relaxed now.

We saw some meadow foxtail…And more than a few deer, this one having a little drink…

And a sleeping porcupine.

The wildlife photos are all done by Mr Knitting Sarah — isn’t he awesome at them?!

We climbed a couple towers built to allow for a bigger horizon, allowing you to really take-in the grand vistas of a prairie and marsh…

The steps were very steep, but the views were grand.

We even spotted this very large snapping turtle from one of the towers!

From another tower, we spent at least a half hour viewing and calling out birds as our youngest checked them off our bird list.

She’s a master at the job and it keeps her fantastically engaged.

We also spent way too long trying to identify an unknown creature. We couldn’t see anything, but we could hear it calling back and forth across the prairie. Little did we know we were on our own personal snipe hunt! While a snipe hunt is most widely known as a practical joke, we found out the hard way that trying to figure out where a snipe is calling from in a brush-filled grassland (and what the heck it is if you aren’t familiar with the sound) is no joke at all. We never actually saw these birds, but we heard them making their signature weird and eery noise with their tail-feathers plenty. About an hour after departing, we finally figured out what we’d been hearing. What a fun mystery, though!

After a long morning, we returned home for lunch, a few minor chores, and a trip to a playground for the kids. I spent a little time with my handspun Find Your Fade Shawl again.I’m almost ready to join my 5th color. I’m running a little short on yardage with this skein (again), so there’s been a bit of ripping and re-knitting in order to make sure I use the most of each handspun skein I can while blending it the optimum number of times for a good transition between colors. I think I’ve got it now, but as of this photo I need to rip back a half of a row, join the new color one repeat early and then carry on. I’m so nervous and excited to see it all come together.

I think it’s fair to say our weekend was pretty productive and full of new beauty and excellent family time. I hope each of you had a great weekend, too!

Oh, and for those wondering, yes, Mr Knitting Sarah did spill coffee in the Adventuremobile (although mostly just on himself). He also made a half-hearted attempt to create a crude version of the Bellagio fountains in our front yard while trying out a plumbing fix. But that’s a long story for another day.

12 responses to “The Accidental Snipe Hunt

  1. I found a Wilson’s Snipe hanging out on a sandbar in our creek this past January and I, too, was a bit surprised by its call once it flushed. Such a neat bird! Enjoy the spring birding, Sarah! Love your girl’s curls!

    • Our issue was they were in a fenced area where we could hear them, but we couldn’t flush them. It was insane because the tail feather ‘winnowing’ — they must have been turning maybe because the sound bending like a boomerang. I don’t know. It was bananas and infuriating that we couldn’t find them.

      In any case, the birding this year is fun all around as they are all new places. Even our yard has different birds!

  2. I was so excited to see cardinals and chickadees at our feeders this weekend, but they pale in comparison to the Towhee – we don’t get to see those down here. And the sleeping porcupine! WOW, the coolest thing – indeed, now with seat covers, Mr. K. S. should get to continue to come along so he can use his photographic prowess! We have a young o’possum that comes and eats with our outdoor cats at night – he’s really cute, but a sleeping porcupine? Tooooooo cool.

    I’m glad you guys are having such fun adventures. AND the shawl is moving along swimmingly!

    • You get really cool birds in Texas! Hubby & I actually went to Southern Texas for our honeymoon to birdwatch! I’m guessing it’s different up where you are, but you should have Towhees around. They can be really elusive — once they are no longer singing to find a mate, they quiet down and are mostly just hopping around in wooded undergrowth.

      And YES the sleeping porcupine was awesome. Hubby had to seriously bushwhack for the photo, but it was worth it!

  3. Love the sleeping porcupine~! And your shawl is gorgeous. Glad your adventures continue…sorry about the ticks.

    • Hubby had to bushwhack with the scope to get that photo — so worth it! The ticks… I think they are just an inevitable part of life around here. Honestly, they are hardest to locate on our brown dog, so I will have to be more careful about flea and tick meds for him, but other than that we can check carefully after we are in the woods. 🙂

  4. I don’t miss those snipes! Back in the USA I lived near a bird sanctuary and I loved walking through there seeing the birds. And then the call of the SNIPE!

    • It is distinct!

      And on a funny, related note. I was jolted out of bed this morning by what sounded like something catastrophic about to break in the house or at least I had no idea what would be making a very loud hammering sound. I grabbed my robe and ran outside just in time to see a Flicker fly from my house’s back gutter to the neighbor’s front one where it proceeded to hammer away. I’m guessing maybe bugs from the tree stuff have fallen in the gutters or I have no idea why he’d be doing that!

  5. What an awesome adventure, with such greyt finds, especially the porcupine in the tree!. Also, love your fade. I will be starting my in a few days.
    Mr. K took some really greyt pics.

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