1/11/2016

Exciting new Woodcock Watch data received

Two weeks ago we posted this blog about Fonthill Abbie II. Abbie was the first of our tagged birds to start her autumn migration. This was clear from raw data received from Abbie’s tag but her location was not plotted on our Woodcock Watch map because of its low accuracy (our map filters out all but the highest quality data).

I’m pleased to say that Abbie’s current location is now visible on the Woodcock Watch website. She’s still in Germany, just west of Berlin. At the moment, the forecast for Berlin suggests that temperatures are between 4 and 10 °C, dropping at the start of next week. We might expect to see Abbie carrying on westward towards the UK soon, particularly once the weather turns colder.

Monkey IV has also begun his/her autumn migration. Monkey IV was tagged in Norfolk in March 2015 and has summered in Russia close to its tripoint with Latvia and Belarus. In the last few days Monkey IV has travelled over northern Belarus and the whole of Lithuania into the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Monkey IV

Monkey IV stopped at a nearby site in Kaliningrad when heading towards the breeding ground in spring. For those who are a little rusty on their Baltic geography, the map above illustrates Monkey IV’s recent movements.

It’s possible that these two birds aren’t the only ones on the move. It could be that some of our other tagged birds have started their migrations, but are moving ‘under the radar’ if their tags don’t have enough battery to transmit. We may find one or two birds suddenly reappear in Britain if and when their tags recharge.

We know for certain that some of our birds have yet to begin their migration. Nellie II has spent the summer close to Monkey IV on the Belarussian-Russian border. We’ve received transmissions very recently indicating that she is still in this area. Temperatures here are currently hovering around freezing point – if she is to migrate, she ought to be starting soon!

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