Tuesday, May 29, 2018


A Linnet 

Readers who follow this blog may have read about the Linnet project at Pilling/Cockerham. Over two winters we have caught and ringed over 500 Linnets hoping to find out more about Linnets that spend the winter on local farmland and coastal marshes of The Fylde of North Lancashire. 

We have suspected that many originate from Scotland with previous evidence of a summer nestling from Shetland recaptured at our one ringing site in winter. Now comes news of another Linnet and its connection to Scotland. 

We ringed Linnet S348682 as a juvenile/first year female on 2 December 2016. In the both the following weeks nor the next winter did we recapture her. Fast forward to 27 April 2018 when S348682 was recaptured by another ringer at Clachtoll, Lochinver, Highland, Scotland, a distance of 496km and an elapsed time of 511 days from the ringing date. By now the ringer had aged and sexed the Linnet as an adult female with the spring date suggestive of a possible breeding locality. 

Linnet - Cockerham to Lochinver


Clachtoll is a coastal fishing and crofting village, situated on the Bay of Clachtoll, on the north western edge of Scotland. Almost certainly the Linnet had returned in April 2018 to the actual locality in which it was born or somewhere close.

Results like this motivate us to continue with the Linnet project for 2018/19. Such returns make all those cold morning starts and freezing fingers worthwhile. 

A Sand Martin 

Readers may recall that just last week on 23 May Andy and I suspected we caught a rather old Sand Martin. The martin bore a ring beginning with the letter “D”. So I punched in D350512 into Demography Online and hey presto, a few days later came a result. 

Sand Martin D350512 was ringed as a juvenile at Icklesham, East Sussex on 2 September 2103, four and half years, or to be exact, 1724 days prior to our recapture at the Cockerham nesting colony. Here we were able to sex it as a male. 

Sand Martin  

Sand Martin - Sussex to Lancashire

The comparatively short journey between Sussex and Lancashire is dwarfed by the yearly journeys of Sand Martins. D30512 has already flown several times between Africa and England and vice versa.

I make it ten journeys of about 2,500 miles each time, by road or as the crow flies. You do the maths.

Lancashire to Sahel

Millions of Sand Martins spend the Northern winter in the belt of hot and dry land immediately south of the Sahara known as the Sahel. Here they depend on areas of water in river flood plains and when rainfall is high, more martins survive. But in times of drought the Sand Martin population drops quickly. 

In the late 1960s, numbers in the British Isles fell by around 70% as a result of drought in the Sahel. Recent wetter winters have allowed numbers to recover but the species is very dependent upon climate and its effect, both here and in Africa.

An aside. Are other bloggers having problems with comments not appearing in their designated email accounts? It seems it's a Google problem but I wish they would fix it soon.

So apologies in advance if I am a little tardy with replies. I am having to go into the blog comments via Google + rather than read them in the everyday email account.        


Rhodesia said...

Bingo, what a great result, it must be heartwarming to get news back on birds that you have ringed from great distances away.
Re comments, I am not having problems with Goole blogs, but I certainly am with people on WordPress!!! Enjoy the week Diane

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Brilliant news Phil

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Phil: As I have said before I envy you these recaptures. It adds a whole other dimension to banding and makes it seem more real somehow when you are connected with other locations. Your Linnet project has certainly turned out well and is exemplary in every respect. Contributing knowledge is what it is all about.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

And to answer your question I am having the same issue with notification of comments no longer going to my designated email account.

A Colorful World said...

Such great sightings and captures, Phil! Loved that the sand marten was identified! So fascinating about the Linnets!

Angie said...

Very interesting news on the bird re-captures. It is mind-boggling the distances these little fellows travel! And yes, I am no longer getting comments via email - I have to go into my dashboard within blogger to see comments. Some folks on other blogs have said this is a change blogger had to make due to privacy laws.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, wonderful new on your banded bird. I love your header photo. The Sand Martin is adorable. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Mascha said...

Never senn these birds before, very interesting.
With the comments it seems a global problem, I think, google has permanently deleted this function since friday 25th may.
But you can go under the comment form of your own post and click on "Email follow-up comments to..." and you get them again on this way.
Greetings from Germany

sandyland said...

hoopoe header fascinates me . so different from anything Fl

Adam Jones said...

I love reading about these amazing travel journeys and that you actually have records of individual birds. Shows how ringing is so important for our understanding of the future safeguarding of some birds.

Lowcarb team member said...

Good about the banded bird.
Yes, many bloggers seem to be having problems at the moment!
It seems that there are a few tweaks being made here and there!
I'm sure (hoping) that it will sort itself out soon ... it usually does.

All the best Jan

Fun60 said...

What an interesting post for us non-ringers to find out the whole story. By the way, I think many of us are no longer receiving email notification of comments.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm sure you've put in more hours than any of us can imagine, Phil, so I'm glad you're seeing some success with the linnets — they are such sweet little birds.
And the elderly Sand Martin — amazing!
Meanwhile 'back at the ranch' as it were...I do hope you are both well.
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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