Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Linnets Please

Just yesterday I entered some recent counts of Linnets at Gulf Lane into the BTO’s Bird Track. The system flagged up that the counts were of an “unusually high number”. Well BTO it’s good to hear that, especially as discovering more about winter Linnets is the objective of our project here. 

BirdTrack - BTO

Throughout September and October spot counts here varied between 50 and 100 Linnets during a period of poor and mostly wet and windy weather. In the last week and into November and with more settled weather there have been nearer 200 birds at any one time. 

Wednesday 15th and at last a morning of less than 5 mph winds. I met Andy at 0715 and ten minutes later the single panel nets stood ready for the Linnets as they arrived from roosts ready for their first feed of the day. 

Parties arriving varied between 3 and 30 individuals until our best counts of the morning realised 135 Linnets at any one time, a reduction from the most recent count of 200 on 11th November. Past catches tend to equate to approximately 10% of the spot count, just as today with 13 caught. This brought our running total to 190 Linnets for this autumn period. 

Today’s catch comprised 1 adult male and 12 first winters, 4 female and 8 male. In addition we caught a single Wren. One of today’s Linnets came in at a healthy 85mm wing and 19 grams, another two at 84mm and 19.4 and 19 grams, leading us to again speculate that such individuals originate from Scotland. 


More time, more captures and more recaptures of Linnets ringed elsewhere may help us to prove the theory. All we need is more ringers catching and ringing spring, summer, autumn and winter Linnets.  

For the benefit of ourselves, the farmer and his Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme we record all bird species using the site on each and every visit. Today the list was restricted to Linnets, a Sparrowhawk and the aforementioned Wren. 

Fly overs today were Whooper Swan, Lapwing, Skylark, Kestrel, Buzzard, Meadow Pipit and Pink-footed Goose. Geese flew off the marsh and inland throughout our four hour stay. We were reliably informed that recent counts have been in the region of 40,000 Pink-footed Geese!

Pink-footed Geese

Seems like we have enough pinkies for a while. But if anyone would like to send more Linnets our way, we'll do our best to accommodate them.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, It would be nice if we could wish for certain birds to just appear. Neat shot of the Pink-footed Geese. Have a happy day!

David Gascoigne said...

Good morning Phil: I think that it is great news that your banding operation is turning up exceptional numbers of Linnets and I congratulate you and your team on the fine work you are doing, and the contribution you are making to the storehouse of knowledge about this species. As Oliver Twist might have said, "More Linnets please!" indeed.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

'Linnet' is such a lovely word one expects the bird to be lovely too without every having met it. A bit like 'Oriole'.

Bob Bushell said...

Hi Phil, that is fantastic, my favourite is the Pink-footed Geese, beautiful.

Stuart Price said...

I remember my first linnets...........on a barbed wire fence in the hills near Ullswater in 1978 (?). Great looking and underrated bird.......

Stewart M said...

Just shows what local studies can do. Looking forward to doing my bit - but with waders - during the Christmas break.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Lowcarb team member said...

Love your photograph of the pink footed geese ...

All the best Jan

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