Tuesday, 29 January 2013
News came in yesterday of a ringed woodcock (EX28486) that had been shot only a field away from where it was originally ringed last winter at a site adjacent to the Cleddau Estuary. Site fidelity between winters is not unusual and we have plenty of examples of woodcock recaptured at the same spot as they were ringed in a previous winter, in some cases within a few metres. However in this case initial panic set in because the bird should have been wearing one of the geolocators fitted last winter, and it was feared that the bird must have somehow managed to lose its tag. A few phone calls later and Mike managed to confirm that the geolocator was still on the woodcock (which had not yet been prepared for the table) and it simply hadn't been noticed. So in this case, in due course we will hopefully be able to tell where EX28486 spent the summer. Thanks Mike!
Geolocators are fitted to the bird in such a way as to cause no discomfort using a specially designed harness. Unlike the more expensive GPS tags they cannot transmit positions, but instead record daylight and time. From these data approximate positions can be subsequently calculated but only if the tag can be recovered.