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Woodcock Hunting at Derry Quay Lodge

230811 777At Derry Quay Lodge we are proud to be able to say that we provide the best woodcock shooting in the west of Ireland.

This is due to the 4 key elements the first is that we are situated in an area that gets a high population of woodcock and also has a good population of native woodcock.

The areas we hunt are a mix of natural woodland and some carefully selected forestry around Derry Quay Lodge and the local area. The January 2011 036woodcock generally arrive at the beginning of November when we have the first full moon and stay for the months of November, December and January.

The second key element to the success of hunting the woodcock is that we do not over hunt our land, usually the land is only shot over twice in the season and sometimes once.

The third element is Derry Quay Lodge has three generations of experience in, woodcock and the owner today (Jonathan) has vast experience and knowledge of the woodcock and together with his guides and beaters make sure you hunt is a memorable one.

January 2011 035The fourth is our loyal dogs we only use Springer Spaniels and we have eight all together the reason for so many is to make sure that we do not used the same dogs every day and that we alternate them every second day.

After we return to the lodge if you wish the woodcock may be prepared for the following evening’s dinner by Siobhan.

As with the snipe when you have tasted this beautiful game bird, it will remain with you as one of your favorites.

Should you decide to come and shoot woodcock at Derry Quay Lodge we are sure that you will not be disappointed and maybe even join the club at Derry Quay Lodge of shooting both a left and right. 

Shooting Woodcock dec 2011 027Just a little about where the woodcock found at Derry Quay Lodge come from. 

It is said that 30% of the woodcock found in Ireland are native and the remaining 70% that migrate to Ireland come from Scandinavia

Where do the majority of woodcock that migrate to Ireland come from? 

Woodcock which winter in the Western and Southern parts of Europe come from Scandinavia, Central Europe and Russia. The migratory flyways follow a general direction North-East - South-West. So, the majority of woodcock that migrate to Ireland come from Norway and Sweden. This has been proved by ring analysis.

Shooting Woodcock dec 2011 038What prompts the migration of woodcock to Ireland is it climate change or is it inherent in the bird? 

As for all the migratory birds, this phenomenon is inherent in the bird. It is probably the result of a genetic program which "indicates" the direction and the travel duration to the bird. However, the date of departure is linked to the duration of the daylight. I would add that amongst the woodcock populations some are totally sedentary, some are partial migrant and others are long migrant. In winter in Ireland, you have sedentary (which breed in Ireland) and migratory woodcocks at the same time.

January 2011 046When does migration start, in what month, how regular is this? 

I take into account only the woodcocks which winter in Western and Southern Europe. The birds which come from the further breeding sites (Oural mountains) begin to migrate in mid-September. In North-West Russia, they start at the beginning of October. Usually the first migratory woodcocks reach our countries Ireland at the end of October but the peak of migration occurs around mid-November. So, you see that the migration may last two months. From the ringing analysis, we know that a woodcock can travel 500-600 km in one night. So, of course, the birds stop during several days during this travel. They need to stop for resting and storing fat which is a source of energy. These are the average dates. But many factors can affect migration, especially the weather conditions. If it is warm and/or if strong winds hamper the flight, the migration can be delayed. If an early cold spell occurs, the migration can be advanced.

050Is the migration continuous or in large groups phased over a specific period? If it is in groups, what is the age profile, are groups mixed age birds or are groups comprised of young birds in one group and older birds in a later group? 

Indeed, the migration is in groups of 5-12 birds. As far as we know, these groups seem to be randomly made and you can have young and/or adults, males and/or females in the same group. These groups don't correspond to a family, parents and their young. However, there is a general tendency in the succession of classes of age and sex. During the IMG_3602autumn migration, the young are more numerous in the beginning and the adults reach the wintering sites last. Likewise, the females arrive before the males. This is a general rule, but of course you can find some adult male at the beginning of the migration. The opposite is observed during the spring migration : the adults reach the breeding sites first.

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