Saturday, 13 April 2013

This year's woodcock migration has been very slow.

Last year I saw the last bird on my ringing site near Aberystwyth on March 21st, on Thursday night (April 11th) I went to have a look and there were still 20 woodcock there! I caught 6, 5 were juveniles and 1 an adult. Three had weights which were below average, and the other three were pretty fat.

 There can be little doubt that the cold weather and endless easterlies are the reason for this late departure, but now that conditions have improved we should be seeing them move off.

There is plenty of evidence from the continent that woodcock are on the move. Here is a chart showing sightings on the excellent website, it shows a large peak in woodcock seen on April 9th.
What is really interesting is that the pale blue part of the bar are woodcock flying over. Normally this is only a few compared with birds encountered on the ground, but on that day they were very much on the move. This also proves that woodcock don't always migrate during the hours of darkness, our satellite data is showing the same thing with birds departing in the early morning.

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