Tuesday, January 5, 2021

More Of the Same

After the latest visit to Gulf Lane Pilling/Cockerham today I carried out a quick audit of results to date. 

The DemOn program produced a table in seconds detailing the species and numbers caught at this single wintering plot since January 2016. The program itemised the number of “new”, N birds and the number of subsequent, “S” birds. N is self explanatory as “New”, the very first capture of an individual which is then fitted with a numbered ring. “S” refers to a bird that is caught on a subsequent occasion, one previously ringed by ourselves and later recaptured, or a bird ring elsewhere by another ringer and recaptured by ourselves. 

Linnets and others -2016 to 2021- via BTO DemOn

The 786 Linnet captures broken down into years equate to: 
2016 - 153 
2017 - 276 
2018 - 79 
2019 -113 
2020 - 138 
2021 - 27 to date 

The 11 subsequent captures relate to just 6 Linnets ringed at Gulf Lane and then recaptured at a later date. The remaining five individuals relate to exchanges between Gulf Lane and Northern Scotland and one between Gulf Lane and Walney Island. One of the birds was captured twice on North Ronaldsay, Orkney in the same spring. 

Linnet connections to Scotland
While it is interesting to attain “subsequent” records, our own birds, or better still a bird ringed elsewhere, the fact that we have so few as 11 “subsequent” Linnet records may surprise readers who follow our exploits. They will know that our winter ringing here is as regular and committed as the weather will allow and perhaps think that we catch the same birds many times over - we don't. 

Even during the weeks where more than one day is doable, we rarely capture the same bird twice. Catching “one of our own” is quite a cause for celebration. These results tell us that our winter Linnets are highly mobile, probably on an hourly, daily and possibly weekly basis and that the numbers we count are mere snapshots in time. 



Our latest effort this morning of 5 January proved unproductive with just 2 new Linnets, an adult male and an adult female. The male proved to be the biggest of the winter so far with a wing length of 86mm, a figure close to the expected maximum for a male, a measurement that points to Scottish origin. 

Gulf Lane - Pilling/Cockerham 

This morning's flock maxed out at 30, most of which were reluctant to feed in the target zone: we thought that some must be recent captures that have learnt the ropes of when to visit and occasions to avoid the largesse.  Roaming Linnet flocks are social units containing a diverse, variable membership of individuals and numbers at any given time, units that are able to remember regular feeding spots and to use them according to their own requirements.     

Other visitors today - 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Stonechat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Little Egret. 

Today was a slightly disappointing result on a visit that may prove to be the last for some weeks if the nation is to be placed under lockdown again. 

We remain optimistic that during this latest lockdown small-scale bird ringing will continue to be seen as a necessary and essential activity. Bird ringing makes a vital contribution to society and to conservation while promoting mental and physical well-being to those taking part.



Angie said...

Phil - I can't imagine why the government would restrict birders going out and ringing - who is going to get infected? Happy New Year to you and yours!

Breathtaking said...

Phil, I Just stopped by to say hello. I made my first post in two years today! How many people are there at the ringing sessions? Not many I'm sre!! It looks cold in that country lane. Take care!

Wally Jones said...

Happy New Year!

In reviewing your recent posts (and again, apologies for not keeping up), I am struck by two things.

First, kudos for your dedication to citizen science and loving what you do. We are all better for it. Each post you offer is a nugget of education from the front lines of helping improve the lot of our planet's birds, who have no way to advocate for a better life on their own.

Second, we just finished helping with a bird census of the area during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. During our second day, I was amazed at the large number of Palm Warblers we were seeing. Your comment "... the numbers we count are mere snapshots in time" describes the situation perfectly!

We go out on any given day, see birds, perhaps jot down how many we saw and send a report somewhere for inclusion in a data base - but just think how many birds are actually moving about us that we never see!

It boggles the mind!

Be careful out there with icy roads and those who have learned to drive from watching a video game.

Gini and I are doing very well and are extremely busy enjoying life!

All the best.

Lowcarb team member said...

Always enjoy seeing your bird photographs, but I enjoyed seeing the view of Gulf Lane.

I hope you may be allowed to continue in our present lockdown.

All the best Jan

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