Monday, 13 April 2015

Doc heads north to Sweden

Last week, via our Woodcock Watch Twitter feed, we asked this question: “DOC waits beside the Kalmar strait. Will the next move be northward, further into Sweden or across the Baltic?”

Doc has answered over the weekend by travelling 300km north. (S)he is still in Sweden, and if remaining there to breed this year, Doc will be only our fifth Swedish bird since the Woodcock Watch project began.

We expected a large proportion of Britain’s wintering woodcock to hail from Fenno-Scandia but up until this year, only 9 birds have (3 from Norway, 4 from Sweden, 2 from Finland). That is around a quarter of the birds we have tagged. Obviously this is still a significant proportion, but it is not as many as predicted by our isotope analysis, which estimated 39% of wintering birds would have Finnish or Scandinavian roots.

Perhaps this is because a large number of our satellite-tagged birds have been caught in Cornwall and Southern England? Scandinavian migrants may be more likely to winter in Scotland and Ireland – this relationship appeared to be supported by our isotope work. Full analysis of our satellite-tracking data will tease out these finer details. Click here for more details on the stable-isotope analysis.

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