Surprise new data for 2020

Woodcock Watch Apr 20

The Woodcock Watch satellite-tagging project, that we began back in 2012, is over. Or so we thought.

We’ve not satellite-tagged any new birds since March 2018 and we are moving away from satellite transmitters in favour of more efficient GPS loggers. Since GPS loggers do not transmit their stored locations, they don’t provide the same ‘real-time’ location updates and the Woodcock Watch blogs have grown more infrequent as a result.

Transmissions from our satellite-tagged birds have become fewer and further between since 2018. We received no new updates over the 2019/20 winter. In fact, believing the tags’ batteries must have expired, we have started analysing and writing up the data. An article summarising our tracking project will be published in the journal ‘British Birds’ in early May, and we are well on the way to completing a more in depth analysis of the migration data.

So it came as a complete surprise to find that we’ve received a steady stream of new transmissions in the past few weeks. Three different birds have resumed transmitting and provided us with interesting new updates. These three woodcock, Holkham, Nellie and Abbie, will each be given a blog of their own in the next week or so. In the meantime, you can see the new data yourself at www.woodcockwatch.com. These new transmission add valuable ‘multi-year’ records to our already large dataset, allowing us to measure how consistent migration is from one year to the next.

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