We are now getting some interesting date from the satellite tagged woodcock. Despite reports of good numbers of woodcock appearing at bird obs up and down the east coast, our tagged birds have only just started moving back west.
The first 'Busy', one of the 4 Cornish tagged birds, has made it back to blighty after an interesting journey down the English Channel. I have managed to get a wind map for 28th Oct and it's intersting to see that most of this journey, which took Busy across land twice without him stopping for a rest, was done with a steady headwind. Maybe this explains the sudden U turn mid Channel and the run with a quartering wind to the Isle of Wight.
There are clear issues with some woodcock going "off the map" once on their breeding grounds, this is probably due to poor light conditions preventing battery charging where there is heavy vegetation. It seems that this has been less of a problem for the Scandanavian birds than those in more southerly locations. Once the birds start migrating the batteries come back to life and we get data, this appears to show that woodcock are migrating through daylight hours, and not at night, which was previously thought. There is no doubt that our woodcock satellite tags and geolocators will reaveal a lot more about the migration of these secretive birds over the next few years.