Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A closer look at the veterans

Eight of the woodcock we are tracking this year were caught and tagged prior to 2015 – either in spring 2013 or spring 2014. This means we are currently following their outward migration for the second or third time.

Irena's journey
Three of these birds are already at the breeding sites they visited last year. These are:

Irina – who has travelled from Ireland to the exact same site in Norway in spring 2014 and 2015.

Wensum – who was tagged in Norfolk in spring 2013. Wensum has wintered in Germany the past two winters and has returned to the same wood in Finland each year.

St. Brendan – who flew from Ireland to Latvia in 2014 and 2015.

Unsurprisingly these three, who have already finished their migrations, are those who travel the shortest distances.

Knepp and Olwen are both pretty close to the breeding sites they have used in previous years (Finland and Russia respectively) and appear to be heading in the right direction. Nastasia also appears to be plotting the correct course but still has 500 or so km left to travel before she reaches her Russian breeding grounds.

Remy has not transmitted data for some time so we are unsure of her exact whereabouts. Assuming she is a) still alive and b) returning to the same breeding site she ought to be en route to eastern Latvia. The last we heard she was in Belgium, but that was on the 22nd March.

The final bird is Monkey III. Monkey III should be heading towards Western Russia by now. Last year he/she had arrived on his/her breeding site by 30th April. This year, however, Monkey III has not yet left the UK and is still sending regular and accurate data from Hampshire. This seems very strange – we didn’t expect birds to ‘opt out’ of migration! Either Monkey III is leaving it very late to leave or there is something wrong with him/her.

Whilst Monkey III appears to be alive and moving around on a regular basis, there may be an issue that is preventing him/her from achieving the condition required to migrate – perhaps the result of a parasite, illness or old injury.

Please help us continue our woodcock research

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