Wednesday, 23 December 2009

HAPPY CHRISTMAS.... all who visit Birds2blog - I'm hoping the 'Flag Counter' will top 1,000 Union Jacks before/on Christmas Day, but probably pushing that hope a little too far - and the kind people who also photograph the birds we love and permit me to use on the blog, I really appreciate you and thanks very much for your help in adding some colour and flavour to Birds2blog with some stunning and always excellent photographs.

OK so the pic is of a Song Sparrow in BC Canada and not at all related to the species/country I'm about to make a few brief notes on, but at least the image has a nice holly border with a Christmas feel about it and thanks to Paul Baker for that....Happy Christmas Paul.

The Twite (Mountain Linnet) is always popular with birders in the winter months when you might come across the species in our area, and if you try really hard and visit the right area's will probably have some success. I'm not an authority on ornithological history and wouldn't know whether or not things have changed any with regard to their distribution over 100 years as I've  done no research prior to penning this, but I do know it was then a bird inhabiting the Arctic Regions, Scandinavia, and Russia travelling south in the autumn to breed from Derbyshire northwards and was then referred to as very common on the Lancashire Moors and in the winter months could be observed assembled in very large flocks.

How things have changed since those days at the beginning of the 20th century, the Twite is now one of England's most vulnerable birds with a breeding population no more than a fraction of what it was 100 years ago. The species is dependant on the moors for nesting, and the moorland fringes for feeding and is very vulnerable to habitat change. However, there is a project in place which aims to increase the numbers of Twite by helping landowners to restore nesting/feeding conditions on their land, having suffered a severe population decline in recent years you would want to wish the project good luck in the quest to bring back the Twite to its former glory and numbers.


Anonymous said...

Happy christmas to you too, Pete and all the best for the new year.

Warren Baker said...

Happy Christmas pete, hope you get out birding over the festive period.

Ray said...

A very happy Christmas to you and all who sail with you.... may the road rise with you. This from a remarkably cheerful Ray.

Colin Bushell said...

Happy Christmas Pete; looking forward to more "Birds2Blogging" in the New Year.

Pete Marsh said...

Happy Christmas Pete

Just a gentle reminder to any readers that the vast majority of the Lancashire coastal Twite which people see in the winter months are from western Scotland - mainly Mull of Kintyre and inner Hebridean islands. Most of the Pennine birds head south-east and winter coastal Lincolnshire to Kent where as you point out, they have seriously declined

Ironically, the number of Scottish birds wintering along our coast (& Cumbria) may (note MAY!) have increased in recent years due to 'enforced migration' due to unsuitable winter feeding on the breeding grounds. In this respect, there is not a lot of history of wintering Twite in coastal Lancs, perhaps the farming methods at that time encouraged them to stay put in Scotland.

Pete Woodruff said...

Dean/Warren/Ray (the cheerful) /Colin/Pete.

Thanks for good wishes and looking in on Birds2blog. I'm aware I must be becoming a little boring and repetative in my 'thanks & appreciations' for comments and looking in replies, but it's just that I really mean it and so you may well have to put up with it.

Brian Rafferty said...

Hope you are doing your best to enjoy the festivities !! Soon be time to get out birding again.

All the best to you and Kathleen and look forward to Birds2blog in the New Year. Take care.ter