By Chris Heward, GWCT Wetlands Research Assistant
We have received data this morning indicating that one of our woodcock has begun its return trip to Britain. This is the first sign of autumn migration we’ve seen from the tagged birds this year.
Fonthill Abbie II was tagged in Southern England this March and migrated 2,500 km to Western Russia. She spent the summer at a woodland site around 250 km from St. Petersburg. Now, Abbie is in Germany, having covered roughly two thirds of the distance between Russia and her tagging location in Wiltshire.
The rough location of Abbie based on the raw data received from the ARGOS satellite company. When higher-quality data is received, it will be plotted on the Woodcock Watch map.
This new location has not been plotted on the Woodcock Watch map yet. Our map filters out fixes of a ‘low’ quality and displays only the data rated as highly accurate. The most recent data we have received from Abbie is not quite of a high enough quality to have been plotted, but it appears to be ‘realistic’.
It shows Abbie very close to a site she stopped at on her outward migration and we have observed this behaviour before – woodcock seem to return to the same stop-over locations on both spring and autumn migrations.
We often receive a few low quality fixes when a tag first transmits, particularly after a long period of movement. Usually these are followed by more accurate fixes once the tag finds its bearings. We hope that this might happen in Abbie’s case, allowing us to confirm her exact location in Germany.