A pair of these birds were flitting about on a fence bordering a sheep grazing field. 7 comments.
No interactions present.
It's at times like these that I really appreciate the power of iSpot, where people far more knowledgeable than I are able to look at a bird about which I have no clue and immediately tell it is a certain species. Even having now looked at the RSPB species page (http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/l/linnet/index.aspx) I'm finding it difficult to make the connection. I assume that, from the lack of crimson forehead and breast, this is a female?
Are there any specific characteristics that indicate that this is a Common Linnet, or is it more a case of recognition through experience?
Have a look here www.ibercajalav.net/img/433_LinnetC.cannabina.pdf, a very useful site.
Thanks Ray - an incredibly useful resource. Is it too late to take back what I said about the crimson colouring (seeing that it's a summer colouration)? Still reckon it might be a female though (although I say that with no expertise whatsoever).
It's the grey head with that little creamy pale spot on the cheeks, and that brown back that stands out. The white flash in the wing, too. It just takes time looking and getting used to the jizz of species like Linnet, as you suggest.
Most birders identify on call/song first, so learning those is a great way to pick up on what is around...really, you need to get out with someone who knows their stuff, and learn from them.
It's worth getting a good field guide, like the Collins Bird Guide, as that will have accurate pictures and will show different plumages. What sites like the RSPB one lack is an indication that immature birds look different to adults, and that sexing them is not always straightforward. Young Linnets are only reliably sexed in the hand on the amount of white on the inner primary feathers, for example!
The site Ray mentions is excellent, but the Collins guide would be my suggestion , first.
My Flickr photos...
Hi Pete thanks so much for sharing your comment about iSpot, this is exactly what it is aimed to do.
I agree with Collins being a great guide, and noting down about behaviours you have been observing.
Have you tried the iSpot keys for other taxa?
I love an observation that gets so many helpful responses from users. It is what makes iSpot a community :-)
Biodiversity Mentor for London
Thanks Ian, those are just the sort of pointers I was looking for. I've also had a listen to the species' audio file on the RSPB page and will keep an ear out for it!
I've had a scrummage around the attic and found a dog-eared large-size AA/RSPB "The Complete Book of British Birds", at least 20 years old, which will keep me going until my copy of the Collins Bird Guide arrives.
Indeed it does. I learn far more from people's input (and my making mistakes) than reading words in a book.
Lat/Lng: 57.16, -2.2
OS grid ref: NJ880076