Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Battle Of Wits

The latest battle of wits Linnets versus Ringers took place at Gulf Lane, Lancashire on the morning of Thursday 30 January 2020. Here the village of Pilling merges with Cockerham village at the A588 Murder Mile junction where regular ringing challenges take place in the set-aside plot owned by Farmers Richard and Helen Jones. 

Murder Mile 

Gulf Lane

Before today and throughout late 2019 and into 2020, the Linnets have taken all the honours by soundly beating ringers on 99% of occasions. The day began with a pitiful total of 46 birds caught during the whole of the winter and the Linnets probably cock-a-hoop at their ability to stick two feathers up at their opponents. The Linnets’ daily and prolonged use of the site coupled with their knowledge of how, where and when to still find natural food while avoiding mist nets is mysterious but wonderful to behold. 

The regular team of two Andy and Phil arrived in the dark at 0730 armed with bacon butties fresh from Pilling Stores, keen to redress the balance of recent disappointments. Tactics agreed they set a whoosh net in preparation for the arrival of Linnets and then dropped a bucket of millet & rape seed in the penalty area. Surely this week, as the hunger gap widens, they could win the match? 

Whoosh Net 

Linnets arrived in dribs and drabs of fives, tens and twenties, until by 1100 hours their numbers had swollen to 120 or more. There followed the familiar end-to-end stuff as Linnets flew back & forth and around the plot while coffee supping Andy and Phil grew more frustrated at the Linnets’ reluctance to sample the rape and millet. 

And then just as it looked like the game might end in a draw, at 1115 the flock made a dreadful mistake. One of their number rested in the penalty area and began to feed, closely followed by more. Whoosh! Too late, the ringers had scored a last minute goal. 


A total of twenty-five Linnets was the best of the winter; this comprised of 11 second-year males, 9 second year females and 5 adult males. No adult females.

There seemed to be a few Scottish participants today by way of a couple of noticeable dark, streaky females and also three males with wing lengths of 85 mm. 

Linnet- adult male 

Linnet - second year female 

Twenty-five Linnets represents 20/25% of the morning’s spot counts so the catch is unlikely to be repeated soon, the Linnets are too cute for that to happen. 

The meaning of “cute” - attractive in a pretty or endearing way. 

Or - clever or cunning. 

Take your pick. 

And anyway, the weather forecast is not good for the next few days or more. Back to normal.

Linking this post to Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday.


Rhodesia said...

Well done it sounds like you had a good day in the end. Your weather must be better than ours. It just keeps raining here!!!

Almost the weekend so hope you have a good one. Diane

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

I love the closeups of the Linnets. I would assume they are both clever and cute. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend! PS, thank you for the visit and comment today.

Wally Jones said...

Good show on your late game victory! I'm sure the extra adrenaline due to an injection of caffeine helped overcome your opponents' quick escape reflexes.

Many may think it unfair to capture and ring such "cute" creatures, but it is exactly that "cuteness" which obscures dangerous and formidable traits in some beings. (On the off-chance Gini is perusing this post, "Of course I don't mean you, Sweetheart!")

All is good here and we're spending more time birding and exploring than blogging.

I became a bit emotional last night as I watched representatives of the United Kingdom fold the flag and depart Brussels and celebrations across Britain. Congratulations!

Angie said...

Phil - glad to see the ringers got a win! Keep Calm and Ring On!

Hootin' Anni said...

First off ...congrats on your new exciting for me to witness this in my lifetime.

Today's post was like seeing it all live. I really enjoyed it ALL. Our weather is similar. I'm late coming to visit - couldn't connect to the internet 'til now. Thanks for linking in at IRBB thus weekend.

Tanza Erlambang said...

nice story to read your report...
great job

NCSue said...

Congratulations - your patience paid off!
Thanks for linking up at

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing! Have a grand week!

Lydia C. Lee said...

I've never heard of any of this. Not even the bird! But I'm most curious as to how murder mile junction got it's name!!??!!

Veronica Lee said...

Awesome closeups of the Linnets! I've never seen or heard of them before!

Happy Tuesday!

Fun60 said...

I enjoyed following your exploits.

Lady Fi said...

Such a pretty bird. Nice shots.

likeschocolate said...

Lovely little birds! Have a fantastic week!

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photographs.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

… I was referring to the Linnets, such a nice looking bird.

All the best Jan

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