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I have seen many woodcock over the last couple of weeks. Have I got my dates wrong or are they a bit early this year ?

Does seem a bit early - usually it takes a good hard frost to get them moving westwards.

Normally the first full moon in November is the yardstick in West Wales to see woodcock.

Had our first shoot 10 days ago in Devon but didn't see any Woodcock, still quite early.

what does one look like please

gunners71uk wrote:
what does one look like please

The first migrants have come accross the north sea but they wont reach me till mid December.
According to Chris Packham on Autumn Watch they wait for favourable winds to carry them accross the north sea & the winds where favourable last week.
I dont see as many here as I used to the winters have become to mild.
When the rest of the country freezes they move South West to find unfrozen ground.
I used to see loads at night when I was lamping for rabbits.
They hide in the woods in the day & come out into the fields to feed at night.
Can't remember the last time I saw one feeding here but still see a few flying over at dusk in Dec/Jan.
Beautiful little bird.

What can be done to encourage them to your land and help them? They like dense cover but are we talking bramble thickets, young coppice or something else? Do they also need open space to feed, shallow water or anything special? I've looked but I can't find any specific advice and it would be good to do something in return for the odd one for the pot.

They like dense undisturbed cover. Typical ground would be a wettish willow bramble area -sometimes thick old hedges alongside a ditch with a little running water.Often tucked in under a hollybush.But having said that if the weather is very wet they will move to drier ground -bracken fringes of the wetter margins. Very secretive they will run a little and make a clap noise with their wings when taking flight and quickly swerve behind the next bit if tree/cover out of sight.

Depends where you live -mild/frost is the key. Because they use their long beaks to poke in the ground while feeding they move to a milder area as soon as frost comes.
Very active feeding at night - they move out from their daytime resting place around dusk which is a good time to see them although then they are not a testing shot.

Both snipe and `cock like rough pasture that is rich in cowpats. I remember as well one book advocating spreading of waste abbatoir blood onto the fields Surprised

No it wasn`t a vampyre book Laughing

On a similar vein (did you see what I did there ?) we have been seeing 100`s of golden plover resting in fields at night when lamping and I haven`t seen anything like that in all my years.
May be related ?

We planted a small area up with trees about ten years ago and were rewarded by having our first woodcock last year. I was absolutely over the moon.

Whilst we do have many migrants come to the UK for the winter, there is a population of residents here all year round. We need good hard weather over on the continent to send them across the sea to here.

ta for the pic

Went beating today and saw the first woodcock of the season.
Reached West Wales.
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