Tuesday, February 12, 2019

An Improving Picture

Monday is something of a no-no for me with Grandparent duties the priority so I declined Andy’s offer of the first ringing session of 2019 at Oakenclough. He caught the first Siskin of the year plus several Goldfinch and Chaffinch, but otherwise he was not troubled by too many birds during a very frosty morning. 

There are now bird feeders in place and if the weather warms up as predicted the next few weeks should see an increase in the numbers of Siskins, Redpolls, Goldfinches and Chaffinches. 


For Tuesday we arranged to meet at Gulf Lane, Cockerham at 0730 for yet another crack at the Linnets despite their preference for playing “hard to get” during the whole winter. The morning was cold and overcast with occasional bouts of unwelcome drizzle. During the spasms of drizzle the Linnets disappeared but returned when the sky brightened. 

On Sunday when I topped the Linnets’ supplementary food with fresh millet and rapeseed, I’d counted circa 150 Linnets, 4 Skylark and a marauding Merlin. There was a similar count of Linnets today but with the vegetation now at ground level we changed tactics by employing a whoosh net in cleared ground in place of the usual single panel nets. 

The plan proved successful, albeit with one catch but with 23 at once Linnets under the single net - 11 first winter males, 7 first winter females, 4 adult females and 1 adult male. At 1015 this had been a two and a half hour wait before the Linnets finally dropped into the catching area after several dummy runs on their part. Linnets are "cute" in many ways. 

Included in the catch were two recaptures, AJD6523 and AJD6370 from late November and December 2018 respectively. These two were only the third and fourth recaptures of our own Linnets from 570+ captures over three winters. 


Today is very near the end of the shooting season with just another week left for shooting below the high water mark. At first light the number of sportsmen parked nose to tail along the roadside was a little worrying - exactly from where we needed to release the net. Luckily, and thanks to their cooperation, all the cars had gone by 10am. 

Most times when we are at Gulf Lane one or more of the locals stop to chat: Jim The Keeper, John B or his missus, Philip the nearby farmer, Richard who owns the land, the Ten O’Clock Bus Man (every two hours), or in midwinter, a steady stream of shooters on their way back to their vehicles from a morning on the salt-marsh. Many times they share snippets of local knowledge, information or experience that proves valuable to our enquiring minds. Every so often we hear of breeding birds that they know of, occasionally a pair of raptors, or even owls. 

All are keen to learn about our Linnet catches and often simply amazed at the fact that their tiny Linnets migrate so far. The chance to show them a Linnet in the hand and discuss the biometrics, plumage and sexual dimorphism of Linnets is something they appreciate and enjoy. 



Log in soon for more news, views and pictures from Another Bird Blog.

Linking this post to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, love the pretty Siskin. Happy Birding, have a great day!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It’s good that the hunters are cooperative and that you are helping them learn to appreciate nature for a reason other than shooting at it.

Rhodesia said...

Why is hunting allowed at all? Guess the fact that they cooperate is something though. Sounds like you had a good time with a number of results.
Have a good week, Diane

Tanza Erlambang said...

glad to read your post...
have a great day

David Gascoigne said...

I have never seen a whoosh net deployed, but I can imagine it would be quite effective. Must be critical to get the birds released quickly. I am happy that it worked for you. As you know, I am a great believer in educating all who care to listen as to the aims of bird banding and its potential impact on avian populations, so I am sure you did a great deal of good by interacting with these people. As for the grandparenting chores, Phil, I have not been greatly exposed to a regular schedule of child care since they all live out of town. I am sure you are a wise old grandpa!

Tanza Erlambang said...

thank you for introducing "Linnet"...awesome.

Margaret Adamson said...

It is good to educate others about birds an glad they enjoy that.

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

lovely little birds

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely to see the siskin and the linnets.

All the best Jan

Angie said...

Phil - delighted to hear people stop and chat with you, and get some good education into the bargain. I had oodles of siskins on my Nyjer seed today, with more waiting in the aspen trees nearby. We are in the midst of a snowstorm, so I made sure to top up all the feeders today!

Related Posts with Thumbnails