All eyes are on the weather as woodcock spotters everywhere await the UK’s first arrivals. Professor Colin Trotman is among the many enthusiasts up and down the country wishing away the next few months and weighing up the prospects of how good the 2006/07 season will be. It is said that we are a nation obsessed with weather watching and there is no truer description than this when it comes to the growing band of woodcock obsessives in the UK and Ireland. For the weather is everything be it during the breeding season or in the weeks leading up to the first waves of migration.

Some birds will come irrespective of weather conditions in Scandinavia or the Baltic States, but we will rarely see them in sizeable numbers unless a cold, hard spell drives them out of their breeding areas. The weather on the Continent will determine whether we get significant falls of woodcock or a steady trickle throughout the season. Ultimately, weather patterns during the main period of breeding activity determine numbers seen.

Each month during the season Shooting Times will publish a “Woodcock Broadcast”, detailing where the woodcock are and what they are doing. In this way we try to assess how the population is faring. If you’d like to contribute to the “Woodcock Broadcast” simply e-mail stwoodcock@ipcmedia.com stating your name, estate, region and any comments.

Glenfarclas.