Wednesday, 9 November 2011

More Woodpigeon information

It seems that most of the Woodpigeon movement seen recently is from our own UK population. Looking at the BTO statistics we seem to have a steadily increasing population, see

Tom Brereton, who does alot of vis mig in Dorset, contacted me with this useful information:

Hi Mark,
We get this passage every year (I've seen 50-100,000 per annum every year of counting since 2002, whilst missing some good days) and there has been a lot of discussion on vis mig

I am sure it's been overlooked in the past, because this year has been no more than average - though birds concentrated in high numbers as there have been few good days for migration. It does seem to have been a good year though in some areas e.g. 100,000 through Cardiff Sunday, with Dorset missing out a bit (only 8,000 West Bay Sunday, though I missed the likely big day on Saturday).

These are almost certainly GB birds from the huge population. The southerly movements get tracked annually through middle Britain in October then we get the big numbers in November in Dorset and Devon. At the same time Scandinavian birds seem to go straight through Mainland Europe with no ringing recoveries in England and no North Sea crossings.

We are short on woodland down here in the SW, and I've always speculated that the key roost sites are therefore the New Forest (due to high Poole Basin Counts ) and Haldon (unwatched) - the Haldon counts provides a bit of proof for the latter.

I am sure some of these birds cross over to northern France, though again ringing evidence is scant for this, as we see large flocks heading out south high over the sea, a funnel effect has been apparent at Portland and
Durlston when we have done co-ordinated counts (see 2006 Dorset Bird Report) and large flocks have been recorded in-off in Normandy and Brittany.