As I was scouring our woods for the invasive (and sometimes evasive) garlic mustard (about which I posted 4 times last spring), I was startled by a Timberdoodle taking flight. I looked down where it flew from and eventually discovered the nest resting on a mound of moss with four shiny, brown spotted eggs.
So what looks like a shore bird (three inch bill) but nests on the ground in an emerging second-growth forest? Sometimes it is difficult to key out a bird, but with the long beak, unusual flight profile and ground nest with unusual eggs, this one was easy.
The more common term for Timberdoodle is American Woodcock. As I typed this, I realized that the same jokes could be made about both names. An internet search produced other common names: bog sucker, bog or wood snipe, and woody. I also learned that its brain actually lies upside down in its skull and its ears are in front of its eyes.
I also found a nest of garter snakes. They were wrapped around each other and I counted four heads. I thought it was some type of perverted reptilian activity or a Medusa in the making but hubby said they were keeping warm.