Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Introducing our new Woodcock for 2015

by Chris Heward

It is beginning to look like spring has arrived and so it is with great pleasure (and relief) that we are finally able to introduce the new 2015 batch of satellite-tagged woodcock.

The Woodcock Watch team have been busy throughout February and March catching and satellite-tagging new birds across the UK.

Up on Islay, we have City, Central and Soval, in County Durham, Ariel and in Lancashire, Hugh.

Across in Norfolk there are three new birds, Woody III, Monkey IV and Nellie.

In southern England, we have Pinks in Somerset; Penning and Fonthill Abbie in Wiltshire; Izzie in Dorset; and Ruan in Cornwall.

We have two Welsh woodcock, named Malt and Garth, thanks to the efforts of our long-time collaborator Owen Williams of the Woodcock Network.

As well as these new birds, we have nine woodcock, tagged in previous years, returning for another spring migration. These are Knepp, Wensum, BFC, Remy, Olwen, Quill, Monkey III, Irina and Nastasia.

Knepp and Remy have both started their migrations. Knepp is nearly back on the breeding grounds; (s)he left Sussex on the 7th March and was back in western Finland by the 16th. Now (s)he has just 350km of a 2700km migration left to go (assuming (s)he will return to the same site as last year – this remains to be seen).

Several of the new birds are now following Knepp’s lead though they have only made small starts on their spring migrations. In the past five days, Ruan has made the leap from Cornwall across to Belgium, and Penning and Woody III have both got as far as Germany.

At the moment, most of the UK is experiencing light west and south-westerly winds. Surely this tailwind will encourage the rest of the woodcock to leave? We’re expecting to see the majority of our tagged woodcock departing for Europe sometime soon.

We’d like to thank all of the sponsors and landowners who have made the satellite-tagging possible this year and allowed us to continue this project into 2015!

Please help us continue our woodcock research

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