The Woodcock Network

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Patron ~ The Duke of Northumberland, DL, MRICS

Scientific Advisor ~ Dr Andrew Hoodless, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Veterinary Advisor ~ John Chitty, BVetMed, CertZooMed, CBiol, MIBiol, MRCVS

Veterinary Advisor ~ Chris Davis, BVM&S, MRCVS

Director ~ Owen Williams

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First Birds of the 2009/10 Season Ringed

Tony Cross ringed the first two woodcock of the season on the night of 2nd November, no doubt motivated by the reward of a pint from myself!

So far reports are showing a patchy picture of woodcock around the country. Here in West Wales there appear to be between 50 and 60% of the normal numbers on the fields I work on near Aberystwyth. Numbers have varied over the four outings I have made this week. There was a notable drop in numbers after the weather settled for a while on the 8th with only 5 birds seen on fields where there were 15 the previous night. This might indicate that once conditions were suitable the birds that had weathered the rain and gales of the previous week had taken the opportunity to move on. It is good to know that 10 of these are now ringed.

It is interesting to also note that the first 25 I ringed over one site in November last winter were split 20 juv to 5 adult, whereas this winter the split is 11 juv and This may be due to a poor breeding season, or just a variation in migration patterns between adult and juvenile, it will be interesting to see how the picture emerges over the next month when all our birds should be in.

Overall the birds appear healthy with an average weight of 308 gms for the first 17 caught, compared with 320 gms last winter.


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