Tuesday, 28 February 2012

North Wales Woodcock!

Over the past couple of weeks you may have read that I have been out lamping several nights on my twitter feed. This has been highly successful and I am now a competent dazzler and have no trouble in catching several birds in a night.

I have recently gained permission to 'lamp' on the whole of Mostyn Estates on Glanwydden Lane in Llandudno and I would just like to say a massive thank you to Mostyn Estates for allowing permission and to Marc Hughes for sorting this permission out for me. This is site is ideal for lamping as I have a wide variety of habitats in which to catch birds; short grazed grassy fields with an abundance of Woodcock. A small pond, woodland, marshland and stubble fields.

I have made 2 trips here in the last week or so and have managed to lamp, catch and ring 4 Woodcock. These birds have been relatively easy to catch once I got used to catching. Just 1 Adult caught with the other 3 birds having been Juveniles. I have also learnt that ageing Woodcock is fairly easy so in a future post I will outline the ageing criteria for this species.

Seeing as though I have always wanted to see one of these birds in the hand and I have never had the privilege of ringing one, I thought I would include a picture of myself and my first Woodcock. I have also had the misfortune of missing 4 Woodcock and I can assure you when that happens you can hear me from far away. Walking the hills at night is peaceful and there seem to be Woodcock in every corner of the field. Taking people out is also rewarding as they can't see the birds sat on the deck as clearly as me so showing them what I look out for is great.

Whilst out lamping on this site I have also managed to lamp and then hand catch a Jackdaw in the dark which was rather interesting. Although I have missed 4 Woodcock and a Moorhen which I netted but the little bleeder dived under and out of the net.

Here is the Juvenile Jackdaw that I lamped and hand caught - a little beauty!

Huge thanks to Mostyn Estates for allowing me permission and to Marc Hughes for sorting the permission out for me. Thanks also to Alex Jones and local birder Tony for accompanying me on several nights lamping.


  1. For Woodcock ageing, you might want to refer people to http://www.ringwoodcock.net/ageing.shtml

  2. Hi Chris,
    Thanks very much for getting in touch and leaving a comment. I am already aware of the Woodcock Network and their work but thank you for pointing the site out for an ageing location. Cheers Chris.

  3. Nice one Chris.
    Its about time you started getting some results on your dazzling trips mate :)
    Well done buddy.

  4. Thanks very much Kev! I am definetely reaping the rewards after all my nights when I blanked! Cheers for now..

  5. Great stuff Chris!
    It's fantastic to hear your news about catching your first woodcock and that you have such a good site to work on.
    I hope you get a few more when the moon goes and before they migrate.We have 81 to go to reach our goal of 1000 caught this winter!

  6. Thanks very much Owen! The site is a large game keeping/shooting estate with large numbers of Woodcock, so a productive and useful site for the future. Hoping to get another 10 birds or so before they migrate! Best of luck with the 81 - I am sure you, Paul and Tony can pull it off! Cheers Chris.