December 12, 2017

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)

Not your classic bird pose this one, but I’ve always been interested in capturing pictures of birds at this stage of flight. Whether the slow power of larger birds as they beat the air into submission or that fizzing burst of energy which propels the littler ones, for me there’s something magical about freezing the action at the point when they actually defeat gravity.

Linnets used to be popular cage birds, the male having an intricate, and slightly ethereal twittering song, but thankfully that sort of thing doesn’t happen any more. Just as well as this is now listed as an RSPB red list species, breeding numbers having fallen significantly over the past 25 years in this country, as well as being a Species of European Conservation Concern.

Again its changes in farming practices which have so dramatically affected a bird which exploited non intensive arable practices. The increased use of herbicides and monocultural approaches to grassland ‘improvement’ have eliminated a lot of the seed rich native plants or ‘weeds’ as they’re often called. The widespread use of another monoculture, the increasingly widespread bane of hayfever sufferers, oil seed rape, has been beneficial during the summer, but the lack of stubble fields during the winter months has robbed them of habitat and food, when they need them most.

Just in case you’re not convinced about the ID of the blurry blob in the first picture, here’s the one I took fractionally before.

Nice, but not quite so much fun in my opinion.