Saturday, August 5, 2017

Linnet Kick-Off

The wind and rain finally eased, opening a tiny window of opportunity for Andy and me to kick off Linnet Project 2017/18 at Gulf Lane. We hope to increase last winter's total of 210 Linnets, a project that came to a halt when avian flu intervened. 

From a birding point of view the summer is a washout but the crop of wild bird seed is in fine fettle. The days of often torrential showers followed by spells of hot sunshine have produced a profuse crop in both garden and the countryside. The field of seed crop is no different and at this time of year provides a useful height of four feet in which to set single panel nets. 

Wild Bird Seed field

We started at 0600 but by 0900 the wind had picked up to 12-15 mph and we closed the nets. By then we had caught steadily and ended up with 49 new Linnets, zero recaptures from last year and zero recaptures for the morning. 

The catch consisted of a single adult male and 48 juveniles/birds of the year with a ratio of 25/23 in favour of males. Those figures might suggest that adult Linnets have sent their young off to explore and allow the adults a second brood.  Most certainly today, a number of the youngsters were not long from the nest whereas others were several weeks old. Sexing of the Linnets is carried out be examining the amount of white in the primary feathers.

Field Sheet


Female Linnet

Male Linnet

Observations today over three hours suggested upwards of 70 individuals on site at any one time but a catch of 49 would indicate the actual numbers involved to be much higher. The lack of same day recaptures also points to the well documented mobility of Linnet flocks and their ability to fool bird counters. 

It was just nine-fifteen so I drove back home via the moss roads and picked up a few birds near the summer flood. On the long shot there are 80 or so Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls, a couple of Pied Wagtail and a good number of Starlings. Out of camera range I noted 3 Buzzard, a male Sparrowhawk and a juvenile Marsh Harrier. Nearby I found a party of Whitethroat, a couple of Greenfinch and a Yellowhammer. 

Pilling/Rawcliffe Moss
Mainly Lapwings 


Now please excuse me while I enter those linnets on the database. Back soon with more news, views and Linnets on Another Bird Blog.

Linking this post to Anni's Birding Blog.


Gordon said...

Not a bad mornings work Phil, it will be interesting to see how the next session goes, love the Whitethroat pic,
All the best, Gordon.

Linda said...

The Linnet and Whitethroat are beautiful, Phil!

David Gascoigne said...

Good afternoon, Phil: Congratulations on a fine start to the Linnet banding activity. Based on these preliminary numbers I would say they have had a fine breeding season. I will look forward to reading more accounts of your banding operation as the year progresses. I think that seeing all those Lapwings on the way home was a real bonus. Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Wally Jones said...

Hello Stranger! Long time no visit.
It seems your summer has been almost as wet as ours. Hopefully, your temperatures and humidity have been a bit less.

Your Linnet project is off to a great start! Looking forward to keeping up with it and certainly hope there is no repetition of last year's abrupt ending. The Whitethroat is a beauty and of course I'd love to see a Lapwing!

All is well here, just lazy when it comes to blogging! Okay, just lazy when it comes to most anything requiring effort!

I truly hope you are well!

Prunella Pepperpot said...

I was looking forward to this post as I find it difficult to recognize linnets. I must be driving my husband mad asking him if that's a linnet or a sparrow!! Their chests seem to look more speckled like a thrush. Your whitethroat is lovely.
Have a woderful Sunday :)

Stewart M said...

They are a nice bird - is that field left to grow 'bird seed' a deliberate thing?

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

♥ Anni ♥ said...

The whitethroat is certainly cute!!! To me, tho, 49 'tags/bandings' is a pretty good number considering the previous weather pattern.
Love the field view from after you left shortly after 9:15.
The buzzard, we call hawk, the sparrowhawk we call kestrel, and the marsh harrier, I'm wondering if that is like our Northern Harrier?

You shared some great photos today, and I appreciate you sharing them with us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend!! Thanks.

Patrycja P. said...

Bird ringing is very interesting. I didn't know that we can recognize the sex of Linnets looking at their primary feathers. Greetings!

Lowcarb team member said...

Pleased to read you had a good morning.
Your whitethroat is fantastic.

All the best Jan

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Bird seed fields - I'd not thought about this before. Are yours specifically for doing counts like the one you describe or are the seeds harvested and sold on for feeders etc.?

carol l mckenna said...

Love the beautiful photos of the Linnets ~ being a birder seems like a full time job? ^_^

NC Sue said...

Your photos always fascinate me, both because many of your birds don't exist here and because they are always excellent!
Thanks so much for linking up at

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Beautiful photos as always, and very informative post.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It was interesting to see how you can tell their sex from the amount of white on the wings. And I found the data sheet interesting (when I enlarged the photo so that I could read) . I like learning how experts do what they do.

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