Saturday, January 2, 2021

First Of 2021

We pencilled in Saturday for Project Linnet and the first ringing session of 2021. 

This proved a good decision because Friday arrived with black ice on roads where early morning rush hour drives are best avoided. The A588 via Pilling, Gulf Lane and Cockerham is one of the most dangerous roads in the UK. If the virus doesn't get you, the A588 Poulton le Fylde to Lancaster road probably will. 

The A588

After a good number of mild winters with just one or two days of frost there's a whole generation of people driving cars whose motoring skills are very poor in even normal conditions. The first days of ice and snow finds them driving fairground dodgems at often breakneck speeds without the slightest concern for their own safety or that of others. 

By Friday afternoon and after a little sunshine, the ice had gone. A check of the Gulf Lane Linnets together with a supplementary seed drop had seen 40 Linnets, 3 Stock Dove, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Kestrel and 1 Reed Bunting. The rapidly thawing fields alongside Murder Mile held hundreds each of Lapwings, Golden Plover, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull and Common Gull. 


Golden Plover

Andy and I arrived this morning to another thick frost but safe and sound at 0815.  At minus 4° degrees there's no point hanging around so we set the whoosh net to “ready” and then retreated to the car for a cup of warming coffee and the first Linnets. 

Linnets came quite quickly and we had a small catch within 15 minutes. We continued in this vein until midday by which time we had caught 25 Linnets, our best of the winter so far. 

It was very noticeable today that we had zero recaptures from the last two weeks. That rather spoilt the idea that the Linnets we saw today were the self same ones of recent days and weeks. In fact what we are seeing is groups and flocks of Linnets on a round robin of local feeding spots that may be a mile or two apart.  It's the old story of the neighbour who tells a birder of the same Robin that comes to their garden every day, every year.

Also obvious today was an influx of adult Linnets including some rather large males. Linnets caught - 11 adult males, 3 adult females, 7 first winter males and 4 first winter females. With snow and frost around here we can be certain that there is a lot of cold weather in the High Pennines and in Scotland with temperatures low enough  to set Linnets on flight paths to relative warmth and guaranteed food. 

Other birds seen but not caught - 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Robin, 1 Snipe, 1 Blackbird, 2 Barn Owl. 

Back soon. Happy New Year and Happy Birding everyone.  Let us hope that 2021 will be a major improvement on 2020.  

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot and Anni's Texas blog.



eileeninmd said...

Happy New year, Phil!

I am glad you could capture some Linnets. My favorite is the Lapwing, the Plover is cute . The Curlew is a bird I would love to see. I am glad you could keep warm in the car for a bit, the minus 4 is too cold for me. Great photos! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, stay safe! Have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

Adam Jones said...

Too many people drive in the same bad way even in snow and ice, without changing for the conditions. I regularly use the road at the top of that list. I daren't go near it in bad weather.
Cracking looking birds their Phil. The Golden Plover is a beauty. Happy New Year to you. Hope you have a good ringing year.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I know you were glad to be out and see these beauties! Take care and stay safe. Happy New year!

Jean said...

Happy New Year! Yes, I don't think I'd have hung around in -4 weather either. Enjoyed all the bird pictures. Hope you are enjoying the first weekend of the new year.

Jo said...

Good morning Phil, thanks for sharing your birding activities. I love the lapwing and miss seeing birds like curlew and stints etc. At the moment we're having lots of storms in the Drakensberg and the rivers are in flood. Dangerous road conditions are the order of the day. Our low level bridges have been flooded; guests had to wait until afternoon on 1 January to cross to go home and we hosts had to wait this side to cross and clean up our accommodation. Happy New Year to you. Stay safe and great ringing to you. Jo

Linda said...

Beautiful birds! We have driving problems in Virginia too. Many people are from other states. The southerners have no idea how to drive in ice and snow, and northerners think they have all the answers, not realizing that we get melting almost every afternoon that equals moisture which turns to black ice in the evening. Even four-wheel drive vehicles go skidding on the icy patches.

Anni said...

I want to be positive that 2021 will be better than 2020! Happy New Year & thanks for sharing your first birding post for the year!!

I always enjoy your experiences with your ringing partner, Andy. You most always capture & record a number of birds I don't get to see, so, I find it all so very educational.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Happy New Year Phil and Sue...It's been a rough year for me, but I often think about you and peek at your shares. It's just been difficult to pull myself up, but maybe I can do better. How are you all doing? We are doing as well as can be anticipated for the high counts we have with rampant illness all around us. Thankfully our family has remained Covid free. One daughter is an RN on frontlines. We just miss our grands so much. Anyway, just wanted to say hi. Take care, be safe~

Rhodesia said...

Well done it sounds like you had a good day. Out walking yesterday I discovered that it was not such a good idea with ice on the road. I already have a bad back so I did not need to do more damage. I need to pick my walks a little more carefully! Happy New Year and keep safe, cheers Diane

NCSue said...

I'm always fascinated to see your bird photos!
Thanks for sharing at

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I call the driving you described as "playing chicken" and I avoid it like crazy. Lovely photos - hope you have more sunny days to bird.

Villrose said...

Oh! Lapwings used to be a sign of spring by a lake near my childhood home.

Photo Cache said...

These are beautiful birds.

Worth a Thousand Words

Veronica Lee said...

Fabulous captures, Phil! My favorite is the Lapwing.

Wishing you a fantastic 2021 with lots of sunny days to bird!

Fun60 said...

Love the photo of the lapwing.

Lowcarb team member said...

Like others I too love the picture of the lapwing.

Happy and Healthy New Year Wishes.

All the best Jan

Related Posts with Thumbnails