Saturday, October 29, 2016

Linnet Lite

At 0700 I heard a steady drizzle on the conservatory roof. The arrangement was to meet Andy at 0730 for a ringing session at Cockerham where a Linnet flock home in each day to a tiny set-aside crop. A look at the online forecasts, a quick exchange of texts and we were on our separate ways if a little later than planned. 

The weather played ball and quickly brightened up but the Linnets didn’t. Although we counted up to 300 Linnets in at least 4 separate flocks the birds seemed a little “net-shy” and we caught just eight to add to the 73 caught so far this autumn. 

Linnet

Linnet

On the Internet of late I have not read of any other local Linnet flocks and suspect that the concentration at Cockerham may be the only one for several miles. There is the danger that the Linnet is still seen as a relatively common bird and as such remains unreported by many bird watchers. 

A quick look at several online snippets of information reminds us that the Linnet is not as common or widespread as it used to be. Via the BTO - “The breeding population of Linnets declined steeply between 1965 and 1985, before the last breeding and winter atlases, and there has been less change in recent years. Numbers nationally then rose slightly in the ten years after 1985, possibly associated with the increased cultivation of oilseed rape. Since 1994, when the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) started, we have been able to detect regionally-different trajectories, with English and Welsh populations exhibiting a decline of slightly more than 30%. Looking at the demographic reasons for change in the Linnet, there is clear evidence that this is one of the species for which we have seen a reduction in breeding success, with higher rates of nest failure at the egg-stage during the period of greatest decline (1965-1985).“ 

Most of the UK Linnet population stay all year round although those from upland areas probably undertake an altitudinal migration to lower and warmer areas. Two previous recoveries from our own ringing group records point to the fact that a number of our Linnets, as winterers or passage migrants, originate from the Isle of Man, some 150kms west of here and out in the Irish Sea. 

Some UK Linnets migrate to Spain and western France for the winter. At the same time some Scandinavian Linnets are thought to come to Britain for the winter which might account for larger than average numbers of the species in North East England and South East Scotland. Here on the west coast the Linnet is now much less common than 20, 30 or 40 years ago, hence the need to monitor the population and if possible record their movements. 

This morning we saw 30+ Whooper Swans flying off Pilling Marsh and heading inland. Ditto the Pink-footed Geese but we made no effort to count their numbers except to possibly agree with a shooter returning to his car with an estimate of 30,000. 

Pink-footed Geese

Whooper Swans

When the rushhour traffic abated along the main road we were able to hear and see a steady passage of Skylarks flying over and also heading south. 

There's more news soon. Be sure to take another look at Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's Blog and  http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.co.uk/.



20 comments:

Jenn Jilks said...

So sweet!!!!

David Gascoigne said...

I live and learn from your blog. It is sad to read of the decline in the UK Linnet population but it mirrors the decline of many other passerines around the world. The area in which I live is respected for its environmental awareness and we still have many local areas where birds thrive. But the inexorable spread of housing developments keeps gobbling up more land. Land use planning studies are undertaken and little sections are set aside as protected areas, but the simple fact is we are working from a smaller base each time new tracts of houses are built. Short of a decline in human population I cannot see how we are ever going to reverse this trend.

Lowcarb team member said...

Reading your blog and also hearing various pieces of news items it does seem that many areas of the natural world are being affected by our modern way of life.

The bird numbers appear to be down and I do wonder if more awareness needs to be given by planners etc.

As always I loved the photo's of the birds and look forward to seeing more soon ...

All the best Jan

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Glad the sweet little linnets are doing well in your area at least if not elsewhere. Beautiful flight shots of the geese an swans. Such a lovely time of year for birds and landscapes. "A steady passage of Skylarks" sounds like the title of a poem.

Margaret Adamson said...

The Linnet is such a lovely little bird and I am sad to hear of its decline. I stil have not seen any Whoopers here yet but yesterday I saw about 30,00 pale bellied Brent to make p for that

Stuart Price said...

Sad to hear about the Linnets. One of my fave birds on the farmlands near the Ribble.

Stewart M said...

Another bird that will be lost if we don't get our act together!

Strange how the birds can be net shy on some days - but like fishing really!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, it is sad to hear of any birds decline. Pretty Linnet, great captures of the geese and swans in flight.

Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

Wow, what numbers of swans and geese, bet the noise was amazing. Interesting info about the linnet.

Phyllis Oller said...

Thank goodness for people such as yourself who are monitering these birds,we do not have them here.It is sad our country has not made progress on solutions to help any wildlife in danger,thanks for sharing,phyllis

Jeanne said...

Love your shots of the swans and geese in flight. Beautiful to see.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You're doing great work, Phil. Love your reports and your pics.
~

Anni said...

Well now...THAT was scary to read today. The Linnet population is in decline?!!! And with F. Wilde's post last week, another bird [the harrier I believe it was] is also much less seen?!! I do hope people get wise and realize the loss we are creating.

Love the swan photos too Phil.

We birders appreciate your participation this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin'!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I love you bird photos as always. Your posts always make me smile.

Laura said...

Such a lovely little linnet!

NC Sue said...

Lovely photos as always.
Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/10/guess-where-i-went.html

mick said...

Great photos of the linnet but sad to hear of their decline. I wish more people would understand that we can't keep putting in roads and houses and and keep on losing habitat and expect to keep the same beautiful birds and wildlife.

Mary Cromer said...

Such a sweet little fluffy bird in hand, lovely face.

Felicia said...

that little linnet looks so lovely and delicate sitting on those fingertips.

Esther Joy said...

I hadn't heard of the Linnet... Not sure if we have ever had any sited here in the Ozarks...

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