Bird watchers in Lancashire are being asked to play a vital role in the conservation of one of Britain’s most secretive and elusive birds, the woodcock.
While the bird has been on the decline in recent years, the North of England remains a stronghold for the mysterious ground-nesting species.
And the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust is asking twitchers to go out at dusk counting woodcock during the summer months when the males are performing their enigmatic roding activity to attract receptive females.
In the last survey roding woodcock were encountered in just under one third of woodlands surveyed. Northern and eastern England (68 per cent) northern Scotland (48 per cent) remained stronghold areas. The lowest occupancy levels were recorded in Wales (13 per cent), south Midlands (16 per cent) and south west England (18 per cent).
The 2013 national breeding survey estimated that the current breeding woodcock population in Britain is around 69,000 males, which represents an 11 per cent decline over 10 years. In England, woodcock numbers are down from 37,330 to 27,490.