April 21st, 2008

At least 2% of all Icelandic Godwits in the world seen in Cork harbour over the weekend

The class received the following report from Jim Wilson:

Becca Hayhow, Peter Wilson and myself were out counting the godwits and checking for colour rings.
Bye the end of the day we had seen at least 2,000 godwits, most in full summer plumage. That is an incomplete count because with just three of us out counting we did not get to all sites within the harbour. At the high tide roost on Harpers Island (South side) in the evening we sat and watched almost 1,200 godwits crowding onto the land spits on the pools. With a world population of c40,000, this flock alone makes up 3% of the global population. They were easily spooked by passing crows while completely ignoring the bright green trains passing within 50 metres of their roost site. We managed to read seven colour ring combinations, including red, lime, double-stripe, seen by the class on the 9th of April. They looked magnificent, ready to head north at any time. Whimbrel, which also breed in Iceland and winter in Africa, were heard calling everywhere we went in the harbour and small flocks could be seen coming in from the sea. Some were roosting with the godwits.