Wisconsin Ornithology: Wilson's Snipe
In Wisconsin, United States
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This series highlights several of my favorite birds, all of which can be found in Wisconsin. I have found all of the birds included in the series (with one exception). Each cache is somehow related to the highlighted bird. In many cases you will find hints to finding the cache in the information provided about each bird. Each cache is hidden in roughly the environment the bird can be found. None of the caches are hidden in a nesting box or a fake nest (with one exception of a very non-standard nest), so if you find a nest or nesting box—please leave it alone it has nothing to do with the cache.
Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
The Wilson’s Snipe is the only bird in this series that I have not personally seen. But I could not resist sending you on a snipe hunt. However, unlike snipe hunts you might have been on before, there really is a cache at the end--really, I swear it is there! However, be warned the distance from the posted coordinates to the final is approximately 3 miles making the round trip almost 6 miles. If you wish to work with a partner with a second car I have included alternative parking coordinates so you can leave a car near the final. By working with a friend you can cut the distance almost in half.
Many of you having been participants of previous snipe hunts might be surprised to learn that there is really is such a thing as a snipe. You might also be surprise to learn that the Wilson’s snipe is one of the most abundant of all shore birds. The summer range of the Wilson’s snipe begins in central Wisconsin and extends all of the way to the north shore of Alaska. Despite being abundant, true to its elusive reputation it is not easily spotted keeping to the tall grasses and sedges along shorelines, bogs, swamps, and fens.
The Wilson’s Snipe resembles the American Woodcock, but is not related. The snipe is a member of the sandpiper family. The most prominent feature of the snipe is its’ long thin beak which is uses to probe the soil or shore bottom for earthworms, the larvae of insects, and crustaceans. While it can be active anytime day or night, it prefers to feed in the low light of dawn and dusk. Interestingly the female almost always lays four eggs. After the first two chicks hatch the male leads the two chicks away to raise by himself and the female raises the remaining two chicks by herself. From this point on the pair will have nothing more to do with one another. The snipe will raise only one brood a season. The Wilson’s Snipe usually arrives in Wisconsin by end of March and is already on its way south by August 15.
In addition to originating snipe hunts, the bird is also responsible for the term “sniper.” Worldwide there are 25 species of snipe which are frequently hunted. However, because of the birds’ shy elusive nature and its’ highly camouflaged coloration, only the most determined hunters are able to locate the bird. In addition, the bird has a highly erratic flight pattern making shooting the bird incredibly difficult. Only the best hunters and marksmen are successful at becoming “snipers.”
Forgive me for not making the hiding of this cache as hard as the snipe’s reputation, but after leading you on a lengthy trail I did not want to make it too hard.
The Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to the Wisconsin DNR. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource managed lands require permission by means of a notification form. Please print out a paper copy of the notification form, fill in all required information, then submit it to the land manager. The DNR Notification form and land manager information can be obtained at: http://www.wi-geocaching.com/hiding
There is an unregistered travel bug for the first to find.
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Last Updated: on 8/11/2014 7:16:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time (2:16 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum