Snipe at Duncombe Park.

After half an hour or so watching the Waxwings I decided to walk a stretch of the River Rye where it winds through Duncombe Park. Soon after leaving Helmsley I flushed a Woodcock which flew low through the park against a backdrop of Helmsley Castle which was brightly lit by the low wintry sunshine. A little further upstream my attention was drawn to a small wader near the fast flowing current. It was a Snipe in an area I would not have expected to find one. Its usual damp meadow habitat would now be hard as iron. Also this bird was in a wooded area so unlike its usual open habitat. The Snipe did not look too good. Its eyes looked rather lifeless and it fed slowly, presumably finding a few morsels of food in the river. Like the Waxwings, Blackbirds and Redwings this Snipe was doing what it could to suvive, finding a new habitat to as a last resort. The temperature was still minus 11 and sketching was all but impossible but I did manage to produce the following icy image. The river was flowing with slushy ice and ice had formed on its edges away from the strong current. A pair of Goosander flew downstream, the male looked stunning with its soft peach coloured breast feathers contrasting with the dark cold water. A pair of Teal was flushed further upstream and a Dipper betrayed its presence with a harsh call as it flew swiftly downstream in its quest for food.

Snipe in the River Rye- watercolour in sketchbook

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