By Chris Heward, Wetlands Research Assistant
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve received transmission from three of our tagged woodcock, all of which have provided interesting information in one form or another.
Phynodderee must have some sort of affinity for islands! She was tagged on the Isle of Man in March and migrated to Western Russia (not an island, I know) via the Swedish island of Gotland. We couldn’t be 100% sure whether she touched down on Gotland or simply passed over it, but we received two fixes on the same day, one either side of the island.
Phynodderee has now begun her Autumn migration and this time we can see that she is definitely breaking up her Baltic crossing with a few nights on Gotland. She first sent data from the island on the 26th October then again on the 31st. The remarkable spatial memory that brings woodcock repeatedly to the same stop-over sites has become a consistent trait across many of our tagged woodcock.
In Spring, I posed this question about Nellie’s visit to the Danish island of Læsø: had she been to the island before? Admittedly, we’re no closer to answering my question, but recent transmissions on the 24th and 26th October show that Nellie is still at her summer site in Sweden.
This, along with the simple fact that her tag is still working, means there is a chance of observing her Autumn migration and clarifying whether this stop-off on her route is habitual. It’s important to remember, however, that these tags transmit for 10 hours then recharge for 48 – so we can’t guarantee that we will see her on the island, even if she does pass through again.
Wensum has become a dependable favourite. We have tracked her since 2013 and, over the following four years, she has provided some really interesting information on woodcock migration. Each year, she migrates between her summering site in Finland and her wintering site in Germany.
Her most recent transmission, received on the 25th Oct, shows she’s back in Germany now. Wensum is named after a river near her tagging location in Norfolk – a place that she has never returned to. We’ve always hoped we might see Wensum revisit Norfolk if the weather got sufficiently cold, but so far, it has never happened.
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