Every winter, huge numbers of woodcock arrive in the UK from Russia and Scandinavia escaping the severe winters there. For many years it was believed that woodcock migrate at night during the November full moon, which is sometimes described as the ‘woodcock moon’.
It used to be believed that woodcock flew to the moon during the months when they were not seen. Traditionally in the UK, the early arrival of migrant Woodcock in autumn was said to mean a good harvest, especially if they stayed until spring.
Sadly among some conservationists, the conservation status of woodcock is causing concern. It is therefore very exciting that this winter the Woodcock Network has been involved with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in a pioneering satellite project. The project involves the tagging of a number of UK wintering woodcock with both geo-locators and satellite tags that will reveal details of migration to and from their breeding grounds in Russia and Scandinavia. This is the first time that woodcock have been tracked on their migration and one of the most spectacular findings to come from the research is the sheer distance some woodcock travel. It is also interesting to note that although there seems to be peaks in migration during a full moon, evidence gained from the satellite tagging shows that woodcock fly during daylight hours as well as night.
At Lark Rise Farm, the first migrant woodcock was spotted yesterday (13th November 2013), a few days ahead of the ‘woodcock moon’ on the 17th November 2013.
For more information about the woodcock research please follow the link http://www.woodcockwatch.com/project-information4.php