The snipe is a small wading bird with richly patterned brown plumage and a distinctive long, straight beak. 

It breeds in Ireland, though in relatively small and declining numbers, but at this time of year there is a large influx of winter migrants. These come from all over northern Europe but with a high proportion from western Iceland (birds from Eastern Iceland seem to prefer Scotland as a winter home).

They are often under-recorded in surveys and there is a lack of recent data for Ireland but the species seems to be declining all over its range and is amber-listed. Part of the reason for the under-recording is that they are shy, nocturnal birds that spend the daylight hours roosting on the ground in bogs, wet pastures and other damp places. When they’re flushed they take to the air with a characteristic rapid, zig-zag flight pattern. They eat invertebrates which they locate by probing soft ground with their beaks, and some vegetable matter. There is another smaller, and less common, species called the jack snipe.


Incarcerated in Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps Zuzana Ruzickova somehow survived and went on to create the complete recordings of her beloved Bach, writes James Lawless.Book review: Nazi horrors replaced by brutal Soviets for piano player

The Menu was delighted to make recent mention of a new UCC postgraduate diploma in Irish food culture and is equally pleased to announce availability of two new bursaries for same.The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

George Orwell’s classic novel foretold a lot, but the manner in which we’ve handed over our personal data to faceless corporatocracies is doubleplus-ungood, says Suzanne Harrington.How we sleepwalked into George Orwell’s nightmarish vision

Esther N McCarthy has her eye (and ear) on party speakers for your BBQ, spots a rug that’s out of this world, and revels in all that’s on offer for Heritage Week and Cork Craft Month.Your interiors wish list: Party speakers, Heritage Week and Cork Craft Month

More From The Irish Examiner