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Post Info TOPIC: Species in focus - Linnet.


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Species in focus - Linnet.


Henry Cook wrote:

There's several tetrads on Carrington Moss which still need confirming still I think.
Henry.

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Monday 30th of May 2011 07:48:02 PM






That's right Henry. Linnet has already been confirmed in SJ79K Carrington Moss and SJ79L Shell NR. However, only recorded as probable breeders in SJ79F Sinderland Green and SJ79G Carrington Moss. I'm not sure if Carrington Moss extends beyond these 4 tetrads.

As we are now at the half way stage of the 2011 breeding season, many new confirmed breeding records will have been added since the 10km summaries (available to download from the Atlas section of Manchester Birding) were produced. So if anyone wants to check which species still need confirming in a particular tetrad, just log on, or register if you haven't already done so, Bird Atlas and you can access the up to date tetrad summaries. Either via Any Square Summary (if you haven't already submitted records from the tetrad) or via My Square Summaries.

Steve

-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Tuesday 31st of May 2011 02:46:58 PM

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I can confirm that this pair is breeding at Ringway this year. smile.gif

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I confirmed them breeding at Ringway last year Tony for the atlas (SJ88C). Nice to see they are still present though.
There's several tetrads on Carrington Moss which still need confirming still I think.
Henry.

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Monday 30th of May 2011 07:48:02 PM

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There's a pair hanging on at Ringway so will keep an eye on them to see if any young appear - they are very mobile so no sign of an obvious nest site.

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We first looked at the Linnet last summer and having recently spent many, many hours "working" late into the night, poring over and analysing the mountains of data on this species from the first three years of our current GM Breeding Birds Atlas project, then from the information gathered it might suggest that late May is the best time for us to have a quick reprise on the Linnet. Late into the night? wink.gif....mountains of data? wink.gif....who am I kidding! laughing.giflaughing.gif The initial post on this thread made mention to the national and local long-term decline of this species and that it is unlikely to be as widespread or as numerous as at the time of our last atlas publication - Breeding Birds in Greater Manchester (BBGM). The fact that we only managed to confirm breeding for an additional 17 tetrads in 2010 proves that it has been, as expected, pretty tough going. The new total of 39 tetrads with confirmed breeding equates to only 27% of the 143 tetrads where breeding was confirmed at the time of BBGM. The latest breeding activity/distribution map for this species, (which can be seen here) shows the Linnet occupying approximately half the number of tetrads that it did at BBGM. Although there are plenty of gaps everywhere across the map and even allowing for this species decline, I feel sure that this is still an under-representation of this species true distribution in Greater Manchester. If we do come across Linnets in suitable breeding habitat in 2011, let's try our best to get every single record that we can into our atlas database and only then will we be able to find out if these gaps are apparent or real ones.

The data to date appears to imply, as was suggested last year, that the "easiest" way to confirm breeding for this species is when we catch sight of adults with recently fledged, dependent young (code FL). These FL coded records accounted for three-quarters of all confirmed breeding records between 2008 and 2010. Early June appears to be the best time to start looking for these family parties, with records for these three years reported between the following dates:-

4/6/08 - 27/7/08

7/6/09 - 17/7/09

4/6/10 - 16/8/10


The total number of sightings was apportioned accordingly: - June 47%, July 47% and August 6%.

It has to be said that the above dates are only a rough guideline as to when young might be seen and remember that they may also be occupying areas where we might not expect to see them or that we generally don't visit regularly as birdwatchers. As if to back up both of the above points, it was really pleasing to read Paul Risley's post on 12th May 2011, on the Wigan Town Centre thread on the County Bird Sightings Forum, of his sighting of a recently fledged juvenile Linnet at Wallgate. A terrific find and most welcome record Paul. thumbsup.gif

As mentioned a little earlier, please try to report all sightings of Linnet in 2011 - be it for possible, probable or confirmed breeding categories. Good luck and thanks for helping out with our atlas.

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Ah the lovely, lively and "twangy" song sing.gif of a male Linnet - surely up there with the best sounds of any of our summer breeding birds? Granted it may not be heard as often as it used to be and indeed the long term statistics do suggest that this species has been in decline both locally and nationally for a considerable while now. However, we might ask ourselves do the figures we have available at the end of the 2009 breeding season for our current atlas projects accurately reflect this decline or is this decline being exaggerated because we are simply overlooking or under-recording it? confuse.gif To many bird watchers Linnets and Gorse seem to go hand in hand. We don't have great swathes of Gorse across our recording area and therefore we probably need to be looking elsewhere for breeding Linnets - farmland, the moorland fringes and yes, even in our more built up areas. As our last atlas publication (Breeding Birds in Greater Manchester - BBGM) succinctly put it "its willingness to use rough-land supplies of weeds for food and small bushes for breeding means that the Linnet frequents urban areas....."). This may come as a surprise to some and probably as many of us choose to spend much less time bird watching in our more urban areas, are we possibly overlooking a sizeable percentage of this species breeding population? At the end of the 2009 breeding season Linnet had only been confirmed as a breeder in 22 tetrads in our recording area - a mere 15% of the total recorded (143 tetrads) at the end of our last atlas project. Once again a plea is being made to all GM birdwatchers, requesting your urgent help in pinpointing the locations of our breeding pairs of Linnet.

So what might be the best strategy to obtain confirmed breeding for Linnet? Apparently there appears to be some degree of disagreement/debate as to the diet of nestling Linnets, with some studies suggesting a largely seed based diet and other suggesting a much more insectivorous diet. So adults seen carrying food (code FF) might not be that easy to spot, dependent on what diet they raise their young on! However, like the commoner finches, especially Greenfinch and Goldfinch, this species becomes much easier to confirm as a breeder when adults are seen with recently fledged begging and usually quite vociferous young in tow (use code FL). To quote BBGM again "like other songbirds, its nesting attempts are frequently unsuccessful but perseverance from April to July will enable most pairs to raise some young". From my own experience of this species, young are less frequently seen and heard in the earlier part of the breeding season and we are now approaching the time when we might have the best opportunities to confirm breeding for Linnet.

Please please.gif do keep your eyes open and ears "tuned-in" for Linnets and report all sightings. Records of confirmed breeding would be best but even those sightings indicative of possible and probable breeding will be welcome. I'm sure we all know by now where to go to report our sightings but just in case anyone needs a gentle reminder please visit................... http://www.bto.org/birdatlas/index.htm

Please please.gif don't forget that whilst the national BTO 2007 - 2011 breeding birds atlas is being done at the 10 km by 10 km scale, that for our very own (and therefore much more important!!) giggle.gifgiggle.gif GM breeding birds atlas, for which we are collecting data concurrently, that we need the location of species sightings down to the tetrad level - i.e. the relevant 2 km by 2 km square. If anyone wants any help on how they work out what tetrad they are in, then please send me a private message via the website forum and I will be pleased to help. Likewise if any clarification is needed on which types of record are indicative of possible, probable or confirmed breeding and the coding system that is used for these breeding categories, again please feel free to contact me.

Finally ...just think of that commonly used emoticon...lol.....yes, you might have thought it stood for laughing laughing.gif out loud...or maybe even lots of love but to us GM birders it certainly should be.........Love Our Linnets! laughing.gif

Many thanks,

Bill.


-- Edited by Bill Myerscough on Wednesday 23rd of June 2010 09:54:25 PM

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