Wintertime Wilson’s Snipes in Snow

Wilson's Snipe in snowWilson’s Snipe in snow – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 200, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Wilson’s Snipes are medium-sized, stocky shorebirds that can be found in Utah year round despite the ice, freezing temperatures and heavy snow we have here during our winters. Yesterday I had two of these snipes buzz by close to me as I photographed a Great Blue Heron in a marsh at Farmington Bay WMA and then they landed not too far away in the snow-covered parking area. These shorebirds have been clocked going 60 mph so when I say they buzzed by me it wasn’t an exaggeration, they move fast. Most of the time though they use their cryptic coloration to hide from predators and people and then when you get up close to them they flush when you get too close.

Once these two Wilson’s Snipes settled into the snow of the parking area they were approachable and I was able to take way too many images of the pair.

Winter Wilson's SnipeWinter Wilson’s Snipe – Nikon D500, f9, 1/640, ISO 200, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I had a difficult time photographing Wilson’s Snipe in Florida because they would flush before I could take a single decent image of them and most of the time all I had were butt shots of them flying away but here in Utah I have found them to be a bit less skittish during the winter and I have had several opportunities with them but not as close as these two were yesterday. I have also photographed them in the Centennial Valley of Montana during their breeding season calling from fence posts.

There are plenty of jokes around about people setting out to “snipe hunt” in a marsh with a nothing but a bag hoping that snipe would flush into it but I hunt snipe with three things and not one of them is a bag. My eyes, my ears and my camera.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover December 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Beautiful images. I recall an episode of Spin & Marty (Micky Mouse Club in ’55) going on a snipe hunt.

  2. Elephant's Child December 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Glorious subtle plumage.

  3. April Olson December 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Very Nice.

  4. Patty Chadwick December 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I’ve been on a few snipe hunts…always at night with flahlights leading a troop of gullible kids, but never in the snow. I especially Iike the first shot, hunkered down in the snow…

  5. Liz Cormack December 27, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Love the pattern of the feathers. Beautiful images.

  6. Bob McPherson December 27, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. Appears to be really close.

  7. Roger Burnard December 27, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Very nice images Mia… Ya gotta be loving that new Nikon D500.
    The .5x crop factor, and 10 frames/sec can come in real handy
    for wildlife photography… Hope you had a great Christmas, and
    will have a Happy New Year… Thanks for all your great images
    through the year….. ;-)))

  8. Stewart A Megan December 27, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Great set of closeup images Mia. I also like the central focus and the snow detail adds to the location.

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