Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finches At Last

This morning was perfect for a spot of ringing, no wind, no sun and no rain. Still hoping for an increase in Goldfinches I went to the moss to top up the feeders and try a few nets.

For February the catch proved quite good, with 21 birds, 13 new and 8 recaptures. New birds: 5 Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 1 each of Reed Bunting and Blue Tit. Recaptures: 5 Goldfinch and 1 each of Dunnock, Chaffinch and Lesser Redpoll.

I thought a Redpoll spring movement might be underway when early on I heard several flying over and the first look at the net yielded 3 Lesser Redpoll and a Goldfinch. One of the Lesser Redpoll turned out to be a recapture from late November so I think that it’s likely that all of this morning’s birds had wintered close by and had simply called in for a Niger seed breakfast. I didn’t see or hear any more Redpolls this morning and despite 30 or so coastal Meadow Pipits yesterday I’m still waiting for a more obvious larger scale migration to begin.

Lesser Redpoll

Goldfinch

The Linnets caught this morning were part of a wintering flock of 50+ feeding in a nearby field, the flock having shrunk from 140 just a week ago. I dedicate the Linnet pictures below to my pal Errol who lives in a part of the UK where I believe Linnets are even harder to come by than they are in these parts. Keep looking Errol.

Four of this morning’s Linnets were males, just showing first signs of their brick red breast feathers. In the winter the method of separating males and females is to compare the amount of white in the primary feathers, the white in males extending closer to the feather shaft.

Linnet - female

Linnet - female

Linnet - male

Linnet - male

Linnet - male

With 9 Goldfinches caught this morning maybe the spring Niger feeders are beginning to finally work. Other birds seen this morning: 2 Kestrel, 2 Grey Partridge, 7 Yellowhammer, 2 Raven and 1 Hen Harrier.

9 comments:

Cardew Ellis said...

Thanks, Phil. Too many sheep, horses and cattle and not enough oats keep those Linnets confined to the tops of the moors. I'll let you know if I catch one 'winging it' along the coast! Take care, matey. Errol

Rohrerbot said...

Great finds! We have so many finches here that I take them for granted. But they are so beautiful to have around. I have a shot coming up of one flying to a bird feeder. Incredible birds. I would like to do this eventually and help out. But I'm not at that point yet....but I'm thinking in December of this year, I'll help out an organization to take a count of the birds in the area. Looks like you had a nice time.

Paco Sales said...

Me alegro que tuvieras un buen día de sol y sin viento, preciosas fotografías Phil, me gusta mucho el primer plano del jilguero con su elegante pecho rojo. Un gran abrazo amigo

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Got to love those Redpoles and Linnets very much...what special birds they are. We have had such terrible weather today and I have been awake since 2:32 AM. Tornado watches and warning everywhere...very frightening, yet we are all fine here~

Christian said...

You keep spotting that Harrier - never seen the Ringtail once yet!

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful birds, I love the redpolls and that Goldfinch is just beautiful. I am glad you had a perfect day.

Gary said...

Your goldfinches are beauties!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Ari said...

As usual Phil, your blog is a real joy to visit...

Errol said...

Found some Linnets on a piece of land/sea cliff where we found out the owners name - but not where he is living now (was HMP)

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