Woodcocks wintering in France

A characteristic feature of the present wintering woodcock in France — its uneven occurrence. Typically, in the north, northeast and central France woodcock winters in smaller numbers than in the south and southeast of the country.

Woodcocks wintering in France

Photo Richard SCHMIDT

This year, everything turned the other way around.

This is due to the weather. Autumn and early winter in France and in most of western Europe were exceptionally mild and rainy. But in the last days of December came the winter cold, covering mainly the south and south-east of the country.

Impact on woodcock winter cold snap has been noted in Italy (see. «HORN» № 6, 2015), on the Adriatic coast and in Greece, where its main movements recorded on the Mediterranean littoral lanes.

Cold hardly touched the areas close to the Channel and the North Sea as well as Norway and Denmark, so woodcocks were here to spend the winter, that rarely happens. Quite a few weevils in Hungary — for the same reason extremely warm and humid winter. But in the traditional wintering grounds valdshnepinyh (in the Mediterranean provinces) woodcock much less than usual. Maybe he just has not reached there.

These surveys night with a spotlight during banding showed that over the past decade (2003–2013) for each decade of December and early January night occurrence index (INV) was below average and amounted to the first decade of January 2015 4.9 (the average number of woodcocks, seen in 1 hour of the night catching). INV in the north (in the Pas-de-Calais — Picardy) about 5 or above; in the north-east (in Champagne — Ardennes — Alsace — Lorraine) INV rises to 8.5. For the region of Burgundy index remains close to 5.

In the center of France (Ile-de-France) INV ranges from 6.3 to 7.4, and in the Upper and Lower Normandy, ranges from 9.2 to 11.6. This is a very high population numbers. To the west (in Brittany), the index is still high: 5.8–6.1, in the Poitou-Charentes region it is 5.3–5.7. In other parts of France, the index is much lower. In Corsica after cooling woodcock population has increased: from 2.6 to 6.

A characteristic feature of the year is a very low proportion of young woodcocks wintering. Perhaps this is due to the unsuccessful breeding in Russia in 2014.

But there is another hypothesis: due to the warm autumn and a winter in Central and Western Europe, many young woodcocks stayed there for the winter, before reaching the major wintering areas.

Tracking the woodcock in wintering areas will continue, we will inform about the results of our Russian colleagues.

Francois Gossman26 February 2015 at 00:26

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