"A snipe hunt is a type of practical joke or fool's errand, in which an unsuspecting newcomer is duped into trying to catch a nonexistent animal called a snipe. Although snipe are an actual family of birds, a snipe hunt is a quest for an imaginary creature whose description varies.
The target of the prank is led to an outdoor spot and given instructions for catching the snipe; these often include waiting in the dark and holding an empty bag or making noises to attract the creature. The others involved in the prank then leave the newcomer alone in the woods to discover the joke".--Wikipedia
We four photographer gals were not off on a snipe hunt; we were traveling 200 miles into the Interior of Alaska to find grouse, in particular, sharp-tailed grouse because this is the time of year the males perform their mating rituals in an attempt to woo the females.
Looking like birds possessed, as one fellow said, the males gather in what is called a “lek” and begin their dances, puffing out feathers to reveal inflated purple neck sacs, stamping their feet 20 times a second, rattling their tail feathers, cooing to attract a female.
My journey to the lek had me driving through Turnagain Pass where the snow stake indicated the snow depth was still over seven feet deep, and the road signs beginning to emerge from snow banks.
Passing through Anchorage, I spotted something and had to go back for a photo. There are huge piles of plowed snow here and there and the melting reveals the debris of winter.
One pile in particular indicated how tired we are of the never-ending winter.
My feelings, exactly.
Driving north to Palmer to meet up with Leilani took me past a plowed field waiting to be planted. This valley is where 203 families were resettled by the federal government in 1935 in a project under the New Deal. Things didn’t work out as hoped, but today the Valley is well-known for wonderful potatoes, record-setting cabbages, sweet peas, and crops amenable to a cool climate and short growing season, with plenty of daylight.
The next morning, Leilani and I headed northeast to Glennallen, almost two hundred miles away, to find the dancing sharp-tailed grouse. Janet and Jane would follow. First-hand reports did not bring hopeful news, so we were hopeful, but prepared for disappointment.
This is going to turn into a snipe hunt, I thought to myself. BUT! A road trip with friends after all the masking and social-distancing was worth the miles. And, hey, photographs of those cute little Wilson’s snipe were an award in themselves.
Even from the backside, they're cute.