3/10/2018

An Island-hopping summer

Holkham 's Island Hopping

The Oslofjord connects the Norwegian capital to the Skagerrak Strait to the south. Across the mouth of the fjord there are dozens of small islands and it is on these that our satellite-tagged woodcock Holkham has spent the summer.

Holkham arrived in Norway on the 7th April. She takes her name from her wintering location – the Holkham Estate in North Norfolk – which lies 900 km to the south-west.

She first arrived on Rauer, a 4-km long island on the eastern side of the fjord, where she remained for two weeks. She then took a tour of neighbouring islands, spending a few nights each on Gåsøy, back to Rauer, then Hvaløy, before finally settling on the Bolærne archipelago.

If Holkham is a female, as suggested by her long bill and short tail measurement, then it’s likely she attempted to breed on Bolærne. It should take around 60 days for a female woodcock to raise young, from the laying of the first egg to the point where her chicks reach independence. We know she spent at least 29 days on Bolærne, but her signal went missing between 6th June and 16th July making it impossible to say whether she was successful.

She eventually resurfaced on the larger island of Tjøme, where she remained until the 5th of September. In the past few weeks Holkham has been island-hopping again, revisiting the isles of Rauer and Bolærne. Her most recent transmission, received on Tuesday, came from a peninsula of the Norweigan mainland, south of the city of Sandefjord. This is 28 km from her first settling point on Rauer.

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