Thursday, January 19, 2017

If At First You Don’t Suceed

The week has been grey, overcast and quite wet; hardly the best weather for photography, birding or ringing. Tuesday’s forecast looked passable and just about OK to continue with the Linnet project, but when Andy and I met up at Pilling where the overcast sky turned first to drizzle and then rain so within the hour we aborted the mission. 

Wednesday was another no-go with rain more or less all day and we began to feel we’d never get there. Thursday dawned slightly better, in fact perfect for a ringing session by way of 100% cloud cover and zero wind. Bryan joined us today from his normal habitat of south west Lancashire where the red-listed Linnet has suffered a similar decline to the Linnet in our own area of north west Lancashire. 

After a number of weeks of leaving the Linnets a supplementary food of millet, nyger and rape to add to the natural of the set-aside it appeared today that the birds have finally begun to take some. That probably accounted for our improved catch of 30 new birds from the approximate count of 200/250 in the immediate area. Again, not a single recapture from previous weeks, and still just the one to show from 180+ ringed during visits October to 19th January. 

Ringing Linnets
Field Sheet

We were on the lookout again for any males that showed a greater degree of grey towards the rear of the head and so possible contenders for the forgotten Scottish race of Linnet. There’s one below, a first winter male with a very grey head which also displayed the blotchy beginnings of the red breast of spring and summer. 



Shooters were out in force this morning with 8/10 blokes from the six cars parked along the lane. As an aside, and on a point of interest, from many years birding around here, I’ve yet to see a female wildfowler in the midst of the males. Rather like birding, it seems that shooting is a mostly male sanctuary? 

We heard lots of gunfire but the sportsmen returned from the marsh with mostly glum faces and just two pinkies amongst them. The lowly return of just two Pink-footed Geese from the shooters’ combined 40 plus hours of lying in wait in the dark, cold and wet early morning marsh is not so good. Given that several thousand pink-feet flew from the marsh and mostly over the shooters’ heads, the geese and birds in general are much smarter than we think. 

Anyway, thank goodness, the shooting season ends soon. 

Shooting Season

Birders were also out in force this morning on the hunt for the elusive Red-breasted Goose of late and recently spotted White-fronts. We noted more than a couple of cars cruising by, pagers at the ready for news of the target bird. We heard that later in the morning the harlequin escape was spotted near Glasson Dock, on the move but possibly heading back our way. 

Never mind lads and lasses. If at first…………… Alternatively you could try to do some serious birdwatching or a few BTO surveys instead of careering around the countryside on a wild goose chase and adding to all that carbon emission.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Pretty shots of the Linnets. I am glad most of the ducks managed to escape the hunters. I think the Harlequin population has gone down, The last few years we were seeing less Harlequins. I blame the hunters on their decline. Happy birding!

Patrycja P. said...

As usual, beautiful Scottish (?) Linnets. Unfortunately, it is true that geese are very poor in the shooting season. Greetings!

Linda said...

Phil, I am very happy to hear that most of the ducks eluded the hunters. Your Linnets are absolutely gorgeous!

Jenn Jilks said...

It's so sad when it is hunting season...
We;ve been watching our Canadian tennis stars and I figured out, all by myself, it sounds like a Pied Butcher bird. Much fun!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Stuart Price said...

Hope the ducks escaped the gunfire.............

David Gascoigne said...

I am certainly glad to hear that the big, brave gunners had little success. I suspect that any goose would have more brain power than most of those morons.
I note with pleasure your continuing commitment and dedication to the Linnets, Phil. I feel confident that you will add measurably to the knowledge of their distribution and the status of the various subspecies. Good work my friend.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just wanted to stop back and say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Happy Birding!!

Wally Jones said...

You probably don't remember me .....

Good Morning, Phil! Happy to hear the rain subsided a bit so you could continue the Linnet project. I am no expert (of anything!), but I can't help but believe your ringing efforts (and not just for Linnets) will make a difference to present and future scientists and may help change management procedures for the better.

We're doing well and are becoming quite active again in our birding explorations. It's the regimen of regularly blogging I seem to have an issue with. Ah, well. I'll keep trying to improve.

Meanwhile, I shall leave you with a bit of high-class literature with which you are undoubtedly familiar. Mr. Ogden Nash's The Hunter:

The hunter crouches in his blind
'Neath camouflage of every kind
And conjures up a quacking noise
To lend allure to his decoys
This grown-up man, with pluck and luck
is hoping to outwit a duck.

Cheers, my friend!

Rajesh said...

Very cute shots of Linnet bird.

GreenComotion said...

Hi Phil-
Great photos of the Linnett. I like the motto. Perseverance does payoff :)
Have a Happy Weekend!
Peace :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Love wally'spoem and gald the hunters di not get the ducks. GreatLinnet shots

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photo's of the Linnet.

All the best Jan

Related Posts with Thumbnails