Friday, 24 February 2012
A WOODCOCK NETWORK FIRST
On the night of Feb 21st on my ringing site near Llanilar I fitted a Woodcock with the first of 10 geolocators that the Network have bought to help in a project to study Woodcock migration. It was decided to fit these on retrapped birds because they are more likely to be site loyal thus increasing the chance of catching them again over coming winters and downloading the data. This will give us an indication on migration routes and stopover times. I also made sure that the birds selected were fit and healthy of a good weight, two juveniles were released due to weights below 305gms
The geolocators are fitted using a Rappole style leg loop harness with the device sat between the scapulars on the synsacrum of the bird. The leg loop harness has proved to be a good system as six geolocators have been recovered a year after a trial in Cornwall with no adverse effects.
On Feb 23rd I also fitted a satellite tag to a Woodcock near Llanilar, again a large and healthy individual was selected. This is one of two Woodcock being sat tagged in Wales as a part of a wider UK study by The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
The tags are made by Microwave Telemetry Inc and will transmit data via the Argos Satellite on a cycle of 10hrs on 24hrs off.
Over the coming year we will learn a lot more about the dynamics of Woodcock migration as we follow these birds on their journey to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia and then back here next autumn.