As Greeting to the New Year ,
so that it shall not put you off
“ Usually the common snipe keeps quiet, however, at breeding season it is all the more lively on the fens, and superstition has crept upon many a nightly wanderer believing to hear distinctly an invisible goat bleating up in the airs above him. For this sound the male gives with the help of the tail feathers … Beside these sounds the huntsman will have become acquainted with a sound which sounds exactly like ‘etsch=etsch!’ and is uttered by the snipe taking wings. The fine shot is not much touched by this sound, the bad one, however, is vexed by it …
“ The same is even more vexing by the way as it is a signal for all snipes lying in the vicinity, which now sound their gloating ‘etsch=etsch!’ in chorus, while the hunter probably just has sunk up to the belly into the morass ”
So far Oskar von Riesenthal 1882 in his Hunt Lexicon on the sky goat.
Grudging no pains, however, Eugen Krüger, when he added the Common Snipe Hunt as chalk lithograph printed with beige tone plate to his 1861/62 set The Hunt. What was obvious for the Hamburg artist (Altona 1832 – Düsternbrook/Kiel 1876), for the common snipe appreciates the fens and wet meadows of the North German lowlands. That Hamburg then virtually was at the doorstep of the ridinger gallery and 1735-41 in Ritzebüttel Castle even Ridinger’s friend Barthold Heinrich Brockes resided as Hamburg senator and magistrate in one just as an aside. For from 1393 to 1937 Cuxhaven was Hamburg possession and only 1993 also the America Harbor was handed over finally, so that today Neuwerk together with Scharhörn and Nigehörn are Hamburg’s last remaining bulwark at the mouth of the Elbe.
Doubtless to his vexation entirely unavailable to the great nimrod Schwerdt and known to literature largely in its second edition from 1867 distinguished by the Prussian Medal for the Arts only, the painterly set as a whole, especially in its original edition spread over 7 issues from which also the present copy has been taken, is
of greatest rarity .
As extremely annoying, however, the common snipe feels the steady decline of wetlands and marshes particularly in Germany where of 100,000 breeding pairs scantly 50 years ago just 5500-6700 have remained. Most important breeding range in Europe today Poland where two thirds of Central Europe’s estimated 24-45,000 breeding pairs fight for their survival. In all Europe – and here especially further to the east and north in the still less spoiled, industrialized vastnesses of Russia and Scandinavia – there still shall be between 930,000 and 1.9 million breeding pairs.
“ … for their fast and desultory flight hard to shoot, it is in a manner of speaking the fowler’s ne plus ultra … if he kills, without missing, some consecutively … A snipe shooter has to shoot very quickly and to act as if the ammunition costs nothing! ‘Not shot is missed just the same!’ is a golden rule on snipe hunt! ”
Oskar von Riesenthal wrote in the 1884 5th edition of Friedrich Ernst Jester’s Small Hunt completely reworked by himself. What is gladly observed in the wintering and resting grounds from Greece via North Italy to Southern France bagging unperturbed more than 500,000 common snipes annually.
However, protected full-year in Germany today, before the holidays a couple could safely pay the ridinger gallery their first visit as German
Bird of the Year 2013
Roused in the snow finally by the buzzard not caring a thing about Red Lists or any other honorary titles.
“ Thank you Mr. Niemeyer – I will take it! … It should look very nice in my new office. Best regards ”
(Mr. J. R. L., January 6, 2006)