Tuesday, 22 October 2013

And they are off! Follow satellite tracked woodcock on their long journey back to our shores.

Head project scientist Dr. Andrew Hoodless with one of the stars!
In autumn and continuing through December and January, Britain and Ireland see a large influx of migrant woodcock escaping freezing weather in northern Europe. ‘Falls’ of woodcock are often most noticeable around the full moon in November, commonly referred to as the ‘Woodcock Moon’. As many as 700,000 to 1,200,000 migrant woodcock from Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic States and Russia may spend the winter with us.
GWCT scientists have been radio tracking woodcock and have revealed that these birds can fly up to 750 miles over a 30 hour period, averaging almost 25 miles an hour. It has also shown the birds are faithful to their breeding grounds in Eastern Europe and Russia, returning to the same sites each year.
One male Woodcock called Monkey, tagged in Cornwall last year, recently completed what is at least his third annual migration, and researchers estimate he has flown more than 24,000 miles (39,000km) in his lifetime. Monkey, has returned to exactly the same breeding ground in Siberia for the last two springs after over-wintering in the UK, the satellite tracking has shown. It will be fascinating to follow his progress and the other radio tracked birds as they make their way back to our shores to spend the winter months here – often to be found feeding in the exactly the same field that they were originally caught in!!

Most of the Woodcock have now started their long journeys - you can follow their individual routes back to the UK by going to: http://www.woodcockwatch.com/index.php

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