Tuesday, March 8, 2016

First Woodcock of Spring 2016

While walking with Kodi and Henna on a woodland trail in Durham, NH today I looked to my left at a clump of alder growing in a wet swale. Something on the ground among the dead leaves and twigs caught my eye. I had to stop and stare, for there sitting tight to the ground was a well-camouflaged woodcock. I tried to get a little closer for a photo before it flushed.

Can you find the woodcock in this photo?
Now is the time to get out just before dawn or just after sunset to listen for the peenting of male woodcock. More than the return of robins (since many robins spend the winter here), the return of the woodcock is a sure sign of spring. So too were the arrival of red-winged blackbirds last week and the swelling of aspen buds.

These weeks of late winter and early spring are one of my favorite times to be outside. So many sounds and rich smells and emergence of life.

Here is the woodcock, in a very murky zoomed in iPhone photo. Is it where you thought it was?


  1. I am so impressed that caught your eye! It was virtually impossible to find in the non-zoomed photo. I'll be listening for them on my walks at dusk with my dog. What's their preferred habitat? There are lots of hemlocks, beech, and oak in our woods. Lots of wet areas, too.

  2. Hi Emily,

    A combo of big open fields and wet meadow edges, preferably alders or other shrubs. Not typically in mature forest, and not hemlock. They are a fun bird to watch and listen to at dawn or dusk. Hope you find some.

    Good to hear from you.