Saturday, December 3, 2016

Friday on Saturday

I’m a little late with yesterday’s blog post. That’s because Friday evening was the annual Fylde Ringing Group Christmas dinner, a chance for members to get together and discuss birds for a change! A good time was enjoyed by all at The Farmer’s Arms, Great Eccleston. 

Farmer's Arms

Meanwhile the Linnets don’t get any easier to catch even though there are up to 300 birds present at any one time. Another session at the set-aside on Friday saw us add another eight birds to the project total. 


Male Linnet

We recorded our first recapture - a first year male originally caught on the very first visit of 3rd October 2016, now re-trapped 2 months later, despite eight other visits in the intervening period. This is the first real indication we have that some of the Linnets probably visit the field on a regular basis. Our overall total of new birds ringed is now approaching 150 individuals out of a seemingly unchanging flock of circa 300. Almost certainly the daily flock is comprised of a mix of regular visitors, periodic callers but also a steady stream of new arrivals to replace those which moved on to other locations. The total number of Linnets involved in the two month period must number in the high hundreds rather than any daily count.

In the field is one plant in particular that the Linnets appear to favour; it looks to be a member of the Cruciferae family of plants and is known as Fodder Radish which at this time of the year displays brown/straw coloured pods containing rows of tiny brown seeds. Many of the now dried up pods have split open or are partly broken so that the seeds are still visible or have popped out onto the ground below. 


Fodder Radish

A local farmer stopped to talk and invited us to take a look at his own set-aside plot half-a-mile away and for us to judge if this plot might be suitable for additional or complementary ringing. We found the spot, a strip of land located next to a drainage ditch of phragmites reed and other vegetation plus a substantial but cropped hedgerow along one side. It does look suitable for a spot of ringing so I will in the next week or two make regular visits to assess the species and number of birds present and take it from there. 

Afterwards I looked at the fields near Backsands, Sand Villa and Braides Farm where the wet fields have attracted a good selection of waders and wildfowl. In particular were good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, a species which has the knack of finding partly flooded fields in which to feed. 

Black-tailed Godwit & Redshank


 Counts – 120 Black-tailed Godwit, 480 Curlew, 330 Lapwing, 380 Golden Plover, 80 Redshank, 55 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 15 Shelduck, 300+ Starling, 200 Black-headed Gull, 1 Merlin.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Saturday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! The Christmas dinner sounds like a fun get together. Awesome shots of all the birds, the Curlews in flight is one of my favorite photos. It is nice you may have a new ringing spot. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Marleen said...

Wonderful captures, Phil. I love the last photo!

sandyland said...

lots of linnets ,we have many eagles and sandhill cranes here today

Margaret Adamson said...

I'm glad you had a good annual Christmas dinner with other birders. That certainly is a lot of minutes in your area and interesting about the recapture of the one from October. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Linda said...

Hello Phil! The Christmas dinner sounds like a delicious and fun time! And your photos always bring me such joy, and this series is no exception. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It sounds like a very nice event! And I've enjoyed your photos, especially the flock of linnets!

Anni said...

Anyplace, anytime, to talk 'bird talk' sounds like a fun time to me.

Once again, it's been an enjoyable read here today. The Godwits do show up wherever there is water, I agree. They have a knack.

Love the flock of Linnets in the field of seed pods. And how interesting to read about their favorite dining area/specialty of the house [seed].

Great photos, and educational to me.

Have a blessed week ahead, and thanks for sharing your link at I'd Rather B Birdin'!

David Gascoigne said...

Hi Phil: Congratulations on a successful season of banding with more to come. A festive dinner together for all the banders seems like a wonderful idea. I might try to organize something similar for next year here.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) I'm glad you enjoyed your annual Christmas dinner. Your country pubs are great places for congenial gatherings. Lovely bird photos, especially the Linnet, and Curlew in flight captures.

Lowcarb team member said...

Always good to get-together with friends at this time of year ...

Great to see your bird photo's you've shared here.

All the best Jan

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