I very occasionally see woodcock flying at Ackworth at dusk but I don’t usually get a good look at one. This week, students in the junior school found this bird lying dead after it had flown into a window.
Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
During the daytime, woodcocks sit motionless on the ground and their plumage makes them perfectly camouflaged amongst dried leaves and twigs.
Woodcocks are native to the UK but most of the birds present during the winter months have arrived for the winter from Scandinavia or northern Russia.
We carried out a check of the tower yesterday, for the final time before the start of the breeding season. We found some of the usual remains, such as little grebe, teal, golden plover and snipe but we also found a couple of unfamiliar items.
One was soon identified as the head of a knot. The peregrines take a lot of wading birds during the winter months but we haven’t identified this species before.
A second head was initially thought to be from a redshank because of the presence of some red and orange on the beak but it was later identified, with some assistance, as coming from a jack snipe. A study of urban peregrines by Ed Drewitt contains some interesting information about their diet. The study contains a list of prey items for urban peregrines at three sites in the south west and it shows that peregrines at Exeter and Bath had taken 7 jack snipe between them, by 2007. For comparison, they had taken 111 common snipe.