At this time of year the amount of incoming data is never particularly high. This is always the case during the winter when the short days and low sunlight intensity are unable to keep the solar-powered batteries fully-charged. But there is always the hope, that if the conditions are right for long enough, the inactive tags will find receive enough sunlight to recharge and send new data.
After over five whole months of silence, one tag has managed to do just that. Knepp, a bird caught one year ago in Sussex, has returned new data for the first time since September. This surprising news shows that Knepp successfully completed his/her autumn migration and returned to winter at Knepp Castle; the site where (s)he was caught. This is yet another clear illustration of impeccable site-fidelity. Woodcock which, for the most part, seem loyal to particular breeding sites, wintering sites and stop-overs.
We’re incredibly pleased to receive these new data and we only hope that more tags will follow suit in the coming weeks. However, for those frustrated with the small amount of data being received at the moment – don’t fear. The new tags we’ve ordered are arriving shortly and will be deployed in a fortnight’s time. Once this is done, a new class of 2015 will go online and their spring migrations will be broadcast live from March onwards. Hopefully though, amongst these new birds, there will be one or two returning characters, like Knepp and Olwen, who we can track for a second or third year.