Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Guest Blog: Smithy's progress

Jerry Barnes
Jerry Barnes, Chairman of the Bristol and North Somerset branch of the GWCT and Chair of the Landed Estates group at accountancy and investment management group Smith & Williamson, discusses the progress of Smithy – one of the latest birds to join the exciting Woodcock Watch project.

After a slow and on my part nervous start, I am beginning to feel like Smithy is one of my sons on a gap year before university and I can only get second hand information about him via his Facebook page. I want to know more than just where he is!

From watching Smithy being captured and tagged on land at my shoot in North Somerset on the 3rd March to the last recorded sighting of him on the 25th June, he has travelled over 3,500 km from his feeding grounds near Bristol to Tamogsky district of North East Russia. And what an adventure he appears to have had along the way.


First up was a non-stop flight to somewhere near Krakow in Poland. He then made a few short stops in Western Poland before embarking on another non-stop flight to Belarus, close to the Russian border – probably for a few days of much-needed rest and relaxation! Smithy seems to have settled into his new life in Russia with three extended stays in different territories. The first lasting a couple of weeks was near Uglch in the Volga Valley, the second near to the River Sukhona for around a month and finally, his current location near Sergiyevskaya where he has been for the last three weeks.

It would be interesting to hear Dr Andrew Hoodless’ views on why he hasn’t set up home for his roding rituals in any one particular place.

I’ve noticed that many of the other woodcock have remained static for quite some time. I would like to think this is because they’re females and are staying with their nests during daylight and only moving in darkness, which is why there have been no new sightings.  I do hope so.

My uneducated conclusion from this personal research is that Smithy is clearly Russian, he is young, very fit and energetic. He also likes river valleys (salmon preferred) and has a fondness for motorways!  Just like with my gap year son, I have so many questions that for now, will remain unanswered!

I am looking forward to hearing Dr Hoodless speak at the CLA Game Fair on Friday, 18 July at 3pm in the GWCT’s tent. I have so many questions!  Smith & Williamson, which sponsors Smithy, will be hosting a drinks reception earlier at 2pm, at the same venue, so if anyone would like to swap woodcock stories, they are very welcome to come along. I look forward to meeting you.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic Post!! Very interesting to hear Dr Andrew Hoodless’ views.