Friday, 21 November 2014

Monkey III first woodcock to return to UK

Monkey III is now back in the UK making him/her our first to return this winter. His/her current location is within 5 km of the location we caught and tagged him/her in March this year.

Monkey III was expected to be the first bird back – (s)he was the closest of our birds to Britain since arriving in the Netherlands on 11th November. Now (s)he has made the final hop across the North Sea and taken up a familiar wintering site in Hampshire.

His/her outward journey in spring, from Hampshire to Western Russia, saw him/her take a route that included a brief stop-over in Lincolnshire. It looks as though Monkey III did not make this stop on his/her return journey but we cannot be certain of this. (S)he may have called in briefly without pausing long enough for his/her tag to transmit from Lincolnshire.

Finally, to explain the question of Monkey III’s gender: sex in woodcock is determined by bill length. Males, on average, have shorter bills than females though there is an intermediate grey area where the ranges overlap. With a bill of 72mm, Monkey III fell within this region and so, unlike the majority of our other tagged birds, we cannot be certain of his/her sex.

Please help us continue our woodcock research

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