Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Nailed On?

On Wednesday morning I met up with Andy at 0815 to a cold, frosty start of minus 1.5° degrees – not the best conditions for messing about with metal poles, pegs and cords. We had coffee, five layers, the will to succeed, and as usual, lots of theories. Ringers will know exactly what I mean.  

Sunrise at Pilling
A Frosty Start 
Setting Up

The catch seemed as they say, pretty much “nailed on.” I’d been topping up the Linnets’ supplementary winter diet for days without an opportune day for catching purposes. Topping up trips of 27 December and 29 December had given counts of 50+ and 70+ Linnets respectively. Even better, recent cold mornings had witnessed the Linnets hunger by their wasting no time to drop onto the niger, millet and rape seed mix. Gangs of 20 to 40 birds in the immediate catching area had been regular, if as flighty as ever. Timing pulls of the whoosh net would be crucial if we wanted a good sized catch today. 

However, the schemes of mice and men rarely if ever turn out exactly as planned. The Linnets were less in numbers, a max count of 35 all morning and they seemed reluctant to stop in the catching zone. 

Eventually we caught a couple of times and finished up with just 8 new ones - 3 first winter males, 2 first winter females, 2 adult males and 1 adult female. 


Although the catch was poor a series of such numbers and a winter total in excess of 100 Linnets will help our ideas about the proportion of Scottish Linnets in this winter’s birds. Although for now we have rejected the concept of their being a proven Scottish sub-species, Linaria cannabina autochthona (in litt) previous winters have shown that a proportion of the Linnets we catch are definitely darker, bigger, and longer-winged than their archetypal English cousins. We are sure that such variation is clinal rather than species driven. 

In between our ringing we noted other birds as 1 Wren, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Robin, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechat and 2 Little Egret. 

Barn Owl
Meanwhile back at home Sue had been busy going through the Christmas cards in readiness for recycling. I had plans for one card in particular. 

A Blogger pal, Rain Frances who lives in New Brunswick, Canadian Maritimes, had posted us a card of one of her original and signed pen and graphite sketches. This now sits framed on my office window sill. 

Lucille Ball by Rain Frances

For those of a certain age, the portrait is immediately recognisable as Lucille Ball in the 1952 B&W episode of Lucy & The Chocolate Factory. 

Rain is a talented amateur artist with plans to sell her work soon through an Internet market place like Etsy.  You can visit Rain's blog and admire her creativity at  Rain Frances.

Here's wishing Rain and all my blogging pals a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

See you soon.



eileeninmd said...


You are brave to go out so early in the freezing temperatures. The Linnet is a pretty bird and I love the Barn Owl. Great photos. I think Rain is very talented, the Lucky sketch is awesome! Happy New Year to you and your family!

italiafinlandia said...

Happy New Year! :-)

jp@A Green Ridge said...

Phil, braving the cold in the wee morning hours is something I do (although it seems to take me forever to warm up afterward!!) as well. I'm glad your mission was successful adding to your count. The photo of barn hour is amazing! I have fallen in love with Owls! There is one in our woods that I can hear during the night but have yet to see it or where it hangs out!...:)jp HAPPY NEW YEAR...stay healthy

Mike Attwood said...

Thankyou Phil and I hope 2021 is something special for you. Stay safe.

Angie said...

Phil - as they say, the early bird gets the worm! Kudos to you and your pal for getting out early and braving the elements! Love the Barn Owl photo!

I wanted to let you know that my husband bought me the Britain's Habitats book for Christmas. I am enjoying it very much, and looking forward to the day that I can see my adopted country first-hand! Happy New Year to you and yours!

Rain said...

Happy New Year Phil and Sue! :) Thanks so much for the words...I'm so honoured that you framed our Lucy! :) And happy you enjoy it so much. Your barn owl photo is just lovely! All of our snow has melted (yay!) but it's still pretty darn cold out there.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

That Barn Owl...So Beautiful~

Lowcarb team member said...

That sky is such a wonderful colour.

All the best Jan

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