Those Linnets Again

It was Wednesday of last week the 29th of September when we arrived back in England following two weeks in sunny Greece. Since then it’s rained every day, sometimes very heavy and unpleasant, so there’s been no opportunity for birding or ringing, until today. 

The forecast for this morning looked OK and suggested a slightly blowy start at 10-15 mph but quickly dropping to 5 mph by 10am. For once the prediction was spot on and I had a really interesting ringing session. 

Once again the main target was Linnets with the intention of adding to knowledge about the movements of Linnets between here (Pilling Marsh the location for DemOn database) and the Northern Isles, a recently discovered phenomenon between us and the Scottish Ringers. The recently published Scottish Ringers Roundup featured several movements between the North West England and the far north of Scotland. 

Scottish Ringers Roundup
I added another 13 Linnets to make the total caught here this autumn into a nice round 111, with zero recaptures, hence birds on the move. As well as the Linnets I caught 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Blue Tits and a single Robin. 

Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit

Flocks of Linnets came and went during my four hour watch. My best estimate was 200/240 individuals but with mobile Linnets always difficult to be precise. 

Such a lot of Linnets in the air attracted in a number of predators with a Merlin, two Sparrowhawk and a male Peregrine all having a dash at a meal. It was as I sat unseen in the lee of the car that overhead I heard the rush of Peregrine wings in pursuit of a Linnet. The Peregrine was incredibly close and gave tremendous views for several seconds before it flew out towards the marsh.    

As the morning sun warmed up a good number of flies found the metal of my car a good place to warm their bodies. 

Sunbathing flies

There’s more ringing planned for Thursday. Let’s hope the weather holds.