Saturday, December 2, 2017

Linnet Project 200 Up

I almost turned around and went back to bed when the drizzle wet the windscreen. But then close to Pilling village the drizzle suddenly stopped and the sky looked lighter. I carried on to Cockerham and Gulf Lane where I hoped to add more Linnets to the year’s total. 

No Andy today. He’s with Sandra sunning himself in Mexico so I was alone. It’s rather a shame we have no trainees at the moment to help with the load and for them to learn more about birds through ringing. But to become a bird ringer involves a time commitment, self-discipline and a willingness to sometimes forego the attraction of twitching or having a lie-in. Ringing also demands a responsible, sometimes discreet approach towards the often private places where ringing takes place so as to safeguard the birds and to respect the wishes of the property owners who grant us permissions. 

All the young birders seem to want to do nowadays is twitch rarities or chase around the local area following Tweets or pager messages and then tick off the latest “good” bird. Some of the older birders are just as bad if not worse in seeming never to have moved on from their stamp-collecting days. Either way, there doesn’t seem to be much desire to learn about birds beyond the latest field guide or text message. 

Whinge over, back to the ringing. 

After the first hints of cold weather it was good to see over 300 Linnets today, maybe up to 350 at one point. But I didn’t catch too well with just 6 Linnets caught, 2 adults, one male and one female, plus 4 first winters - two of each sex. However those six Linnets did push our autumn total of birds ringed here to 200 Linnet, 9 Goldfinch, 1 Wren and 1 Stonechat. 

Of those 200 Linnets, just 25 have been adults, the remaining 175 first autumn/winter birds, a ratio of 1/5 in favour of first year birds. 

During the week and following recent heavy rain our catching area became both waterlogged and flattened so when Andy’s back we need to cut a new, drier ride. That will give a little more cover to our single panel nets and hopefully improve catches into the New Year. 

Linnet - winter male

Linnet - winter female

Linnet - winter tail - Adult, December

Immediately above is a good example of an adult tail, something not really visible in the field with flighty Linnets. Note the very black centres, still fresh almost rounded tips and the well demarcated fringes. At this time of year first winter tails are more pointed and also show more wear. 

A bit of a short post today but there's more soon from Lovely Lancashire.

Linking today to  World Bird Wednesday and Anni's birding.


David M. Gascoigne, said...

We literally have more young people wanting to learn about banding and join our corps than we can handle. Shall I send some over to you?

Anni said...

Ohhhhhhhhh, if only I lived nearby. I would volunteer to help when Andy is in Mexico sunning himself and enjoying the warm tropics.

I could learn so much, I know!!

As always, I found your post most pleasurable. The photos are the winter tail feathers too...see? I could learn so much!!!!! Thank you kindly for sharing with us at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

A Colorful World said...

You have a lonely job. Too bad more young people don't show and interest in learning this skill. Loved your photos of the Linnet. Keep up the good work!

Prunella Pepperpot said...

You do a valuable job and it's always a pleasure to see the beautiful birds you photograph. Keep up the good work and have a wonderful new week.

Jean said...

Those are beautiful birds!

Stewart M said...

Nice birds - shame you can't get a trainee - once I saw birds in the hand I was hooked. It's one of the things I hope to be to do a lot more of when I finally stop work! (one day!)

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

betty-NZ said...

I love it when the weather makes you fell better about what you need to do!
Lovely photos of these beautiful birds.

It seems that the younger generation doesn't appreciate the results of commitment, but I'm hopeful that they will change when they get older.

Rohrerbot said...

I'd help out! I know I know. It's frustrating. It's the same thing over here. Those days are slowly coming to an end. I'm more interested in local data. Don't get me wrong. I still chase birds if I'm traveling BUT I'm saving gas money now and doing local studies which have much more meaning to me. Still, I'd love how to learn how to ring/band from someone who has been doing it for years!

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