Mississippi River, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa -------

It was a great day for bird watching and in particular the migrating waterfowl along the Mississippi River. On my way south my first stop was at the John Deere Marsh in Dubuque. On the pond north of the little parking lot I saw a couple Northern Pintails, several Gadwalls, Ring-necked Ducks, and lots of Mallards, American Coots, and Canada Geese. I may post a couple pictures from this location tomorrow.

My excitement grew when I arrived in the Green Island Wetlands and found dozens of Northern Shovelers and a pair of Hooded Mergansers beside the other “regulars”, like Canada Geese, Mallards, American Coots, and Killdeer.

As I was ready to turn around and head back home I suddenly discovered four Wilson’s Snipes in the pond across the gravel road from the DNR facility. They were probing the mud with their very long bill in search for food. This was the earliest I have ever seen this bird in the Green Island Wetlands. All older photos in my archive were made during the month of April.

I admit both images are a little soft due to distance and the fading light. When the snipes have the bill in the water or mud the movement of their heads hardly ever stops. There was a moment when they all stopped feeding suddenly. I quickly added the Sigma 1.4x teleconverter to the 150-600 lens. As it got darker with every minute, autofocus became a problem and the lens started hunting back and forth from time to time. Luckily a few clicks could be made nevertheless.