By Chris Heward, Wetlands Research Assistant
Andrew (the boss) and I visited one of our regular field sites on Saturday night, where we are conducting a long-term ‘mark-and-recapture’ study of woodcock. We both saw a few birds – but nowhere near the mid-winter densities we might expect for this site.
Over the area I surveyed, I saw 4 birds, perhaps 20-25% of what I might expect to see in January. This is quite normal for November though, with the numbers of migrants increasing as the month progresses. Sometimes we don’t see peak numbers until after Christmas.
My first bird of the 2018-19 winter fieldwork season was a retrap – a woodcock that I originally caught and ringed as a juvenile in January 2018. There’s no way of knowing whether this bird has migrated to the continent in the intervening 11 months or has remained resident in Hampshire.