Friday, November 2, 2018

Wot! No Redwings.

It’s the start of a new month at Oakenclough following 237 birds caught here in what proved to be a rather quiet October. The most ringed bird was Redwing with 84, followed by Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll almost tying on 24 and 23 respectively. Lots of twos and threes in that total of 237 but disappointingly, only 19 Chaffinch and 10 Goldcrest in what should be a peak month of migration for both species. 

I couldn’t make it on Thursday when Andy kicked off November with a very nice 30 birds that included 4 more Redwings, a single Fieldfare, 3 Lesser Redpoll, more Goldfinches, and a “cracking” Bullfinch. 

Fast forward to Friday as Andy and I met up for another 0630 start. The morning was slow and slightly disappointing in the way of both migration and the number of birds caught. We finished early at 1100 due to the slowness of the session with just 16 birds captured: 7 Goldfinch, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Goldcrest , 1 Dunnock, 1 Chaffinch and 1 Lesser Redpoll. 

Lesser Redpoll

We tried to catch thrushes this morning but the few that were around simply did not play ball. There was an early rush of c125 Fieldfare and 40 Redwing from the west but by 0900 even that spurt died out, after which we saw none. Similarly the visible migration of finches was pretty much non-existent and limited to handfuls of Chaffinches, one definite Brambling, and the arriving Goldfinch likely to be more local birds. 

During 2018 Goldfinches proved to be the staple ringer’s diet here and elsewhere with around 300 captured by group members at various locations, including members' gardens where the Goldfinch remains omnipresent and widespread.  A quick glance at our data shows that of the 300, only 50 were full adults and the remaining 250 sub-adult or juveniles, an indication of the runaway productivity and continued success of this species.     


I called in at Gulf Lane, Cockerham where has been an unavoidable delay in our ongoing project to ring wintering Linnets. After the two winters 2016/17 and 2017/18 when we caught over 400 Linnets through the winter months, the corresponding season of 2018/19 has seen very few Linnets return to this regular site. 

The lack of Linnets here on the west coast this autumn is something of a mystery as good numbers have been reported at observation watch points on the East Coast. The graph below shows counts of migrating Linnets for the autumn period 2018 from Spurn Bird Observatory, Yorkshire. While most of these Linnets are likely to be of Scottish origin, a proportion will originate from Scandinavia, with their overall route south taking them to the south of England, France & Spain.

Linnets at Spurn 2018 -  Trektellen   

Only in the last weeks of October did I notice that the field of bird seed mix at Gulf Lane was beginning to entice a few Linnets with irregular counts of up to 35. In addition there had been a Stonechat and a handful of Tree Sparrows. 


We are now hopeful that numbers of Linnets here will build as the winter grows colder, wider food availability recedes and greater numbers of Linnets discover the ready-made field of finch food.

Linking today with Anni's Birding and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Margaret Adamson said...

perhaps the warmer climate has made a difference to seeing some birds at present Phil. Have a wonderful weekend.

italiafinlandia said...

Always interesting to read your info. The Lesser Redpoll is seen in winter in Finland too: they come in small flocks to our feeders. On the contrary, Goldfinches do not stay. :)
Have a nice weekend!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Beautiful little birds!

Anu said...

Hello Phil. Very interesting post. In Finland Linnets breeding population is only about 10 000 – 20 000 pairs.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, sorry you had a slow day banding. The Red poll is beautiful and one of my favorite. I also love your Goldfinch. The Linnet is pretty. Great birds and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

David Gascoigne said...

Good morning Phil: As always your reports of the Linnets is both interesting and informative. For those of us who have followed your activity with these birds via the successes at your mist nets, and the stream of information you have provided, it is always something to look forward to. I think that vicariously we are banding with you. We are done for the year here and last evening I held a wrap up at my house for the whole crew (I should say “we” not “I”) and it was good to have everyone together, and to appreciate the fine group of people who are involved with us. I will be sure to send you an invitation next year!

piyush sharma said...

I have shot a beautiful photograph of WIHITE BELLIED DRONGO
Take a look

Adam Jones said...

Good to see the Linnet returning in numbers. Never easy to photograph, so I enjoyed yours here. Also good to see a Lesser Redpoll. They seem a little scarcer where I am.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That Goldfinch has the prettiest face...all of my finches will be jealous! Hope you have a good weekend!

Jean said...

Hope you start to see more of your Linnets soon. Always interesting reading about your adventures. I'm taken with your goldfinch, so colorful! Hope your weekend is going well.

Anni said...

I see a good banding future for you two...the wintering birds are just around the corner, heading your way!

This weekend you've made us at I'd Rather B Birdin very pleased with your bird species and commentary...thanks! As always great pictures.

Rhodesia said...

I just looked up Linnet and I see we have them here. I doubt though if I had seen one that I would have identified it!! I must take more note of the little JBJ's, Have a good Sunday. Diane

Wally Jones said...

Although it appears your bird activity level is somewhat low, I really enjoyed the variety you've been observing and ringing. The Linnet study is very interesting and hopefully you'll begin to see higher numbers as the season progresses.

The Goldfinch numbers must be encouraging. Hardy species evidently.

Thank you for being a stable blogger, as I have not mastered that art. I just asked Gini what I could do for her today and she responded, "nothing". I love it when she hones in on my particular specialty! It may take the rest of the day, but I'm determined to do my best at fulfilling her wish.

Take care, Phil! Our weather is milder and we shall hopefully find birds who enjoy it as much as we do.

Amitava Nath said...

Nice blog and nice pictures.Birds of Indiagives you thanks for sharing.

Lowcarb team member said...

I always enjoy seeing your photographs and the birds colourings, the Goldfinch is amazing.

All the best Jan

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