Thursday, 20 January 2011

Linnet, Twite, Linnet, Twite...what will it be.

Well after a slow week at work (it's still slow even though it's now Thursday) and not much going on around the Preston area, the local wildlife had decided to come to me.  So much so that even walking out into the works car part at 4pm to get in my car and drive home to see my 2 girls, I caught sight of a flock of  finch sized birds.  Problem now is identifying them, you see with a bird of such size maybe Robin sized or slightly smaller it's not particularly easy to ID when the light is fading.  So with camera and binoculars in hand I creeped over to the trees were they had settled in.

If anyone from work could of seen me it would of been a strange sight (warn you now fellow work colleagues, if you see me stalking the car park its for a reason!!), with myself hanging out of the car window and camera pointed to the trees I fired of a fair few shots.  Looking on the rear screen I noticed it was going to be nigh impossible to ID due to the low light but could make out a forked tail.  Easy you might think but no, you see the majority of finches have forked tails Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, aswell as hell of alot of other birds of this size, so I conceded defeat and headed off home.  I was hoping they were Twite as cannot remember the last time I had seen one but realised that it could of also been Linnet's, so now you understand the title of this post.

Linnet or Twite? Portway, Preston 19/01/2011
I scoured the books plus online resources and decided I was on the button with them being either Twite or Linnet.  The same as above continued until yesterday (Wednesday 19th Jan) when we had a gorgeous clear day.  So with camera at the ready I headed out into the car park on my way home from work to be greated with a flock of around 60 birds flitting from tree to tree.  After startling one of my work colleagues with me parked at a bizarre angle trying to get a reasonable shot to use as ID, I had nailed it and headed home to transfer the shots to my PC.  After close scrutiny I realised what I was looking at was Linnets, so not the Twite I expected but not to worry as this was another bird I could add to my 2010 Bird List.

Linnet - Portway, Preston 19/01/2011
For people that do not know about Linnets I was able to ID by knowing that they are a small, slim finch, compared to the Twite which is slight rounder.  They are notoriously flighty with an undulating flight pattern with a light, twittering, chattering flight call, "tidit tidititit" with a nasal "tseeoo" song.  Alot harder to ID in the winter months due to its brown mottling, as in the summer months the male has a wonderful pink red chest, with a light grey head and pale red forehead as shown below in a photo taken by once again Cliff!!  They are widespread across the UK and mostly seen on commons, heathland, upland meadows and coastal marshes.

Linnet (Summer) - Taken by Cliff Raby
So another post over and hope to be able to add more over the weekend as the forecast is good.  So get out there and enjoy the weather, it maybe cold but it will be clear but then again the BBC's weather forecasts never seen to be right when I look.

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