Tuesday 21 September 2021

Common Snipe

    The other day I noticed this bird pecking around in the banks of my pond.  I didn’t know what it was and after some research discovered it was a “Common Snipe”  (I don’t know what an Uncommon Snipe looks like).   I didn’t know that Snipes were shore birds.  The only reference to Snipes I had ever come across in my life was a “Snipe Hunt”.  That is a trick you play on people.

    My cousin and I heard about Snipe hunts in a western, I think.  Some cowboys were going to play a trick on some dude that came into town.  They started talking to him about going on a Snipe Hunt and he became interested in going.  They told him he could be the one to hold the bag.  They took him way out in the middle of nowhere and told him to stay there, holding the bag close to the ground, while they spread out to herd the Snipes toward him.  

    Of course, what they did was all go home and leave the poor guy out there all night holding the bag like a fool.

    Upon learning all about a Snipe hunt, my cousin and I thought it was a good trick, so we sought out someone to “hold the bag”.  When one of my cousin’s relatives, a younger kid who seemed naive came for a visit, we organized a Snipe Hunt. 

    We told him we would let him take the prized position of holding the bag.  In the evening, we walked him out to the end of my grandfather’s pasture.  We gave him the bag, told him to stay there and we scrambled off to “herd the snipes”  toward him. 

    We left him there in the pasture as dusk creeped slowly into night.  He eventually found his way back to my grandparent’s house, crying.  My cousin and I got bawled out for leaving him there and I have always felt guilty for doing it.  

    I knew a Snipe was some kind of bird, but since I had first heard about a Snipe Hunt in the context of a western, I always assumed it was some kind of dry land fowl.  It was a surprise to me to find out it was a shore bird and to have one come visit my pond.

Take a gander at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


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