Thursday 31 August 2023

Linnet RAS 2022 / 2023

We had to abandon our Retrapping Adults for Survival project for Linnets at Mwnt in 2019 as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent surge in 'staycationing' making continued operation of the site impossible.

In 2022 we were lucky to find a much more secluded site on the Pembrokeshire coast between Cemaes Head and Newport, along with a sympathetic and supportive landowner. We started ringing Linnets there to see if it would support a replacement RAS project.

It soon became obvious that the potential was there. By the end of August 2022 we had ringed 137 breeding adults (80 male, 57 female) and 310 juveniles, using a single whoosh net baited with rape-seed. September and October bought a further 183 captures (of which only 10 were adults) these probably mostly either dispersing or passage birds moving south.

The first Linnets arrived back on their breeding territories in good numbers by the 3rd week of March 2023, and by the end of May over 50 birds ringed in 2022 had been re-captured, at which point it was obvious that registration as a RAS project was more than justified, backdated to the start of ringing in April 2022.

The 2023 RAS breeding season officially finished today, by which time we had recaptured 77 of the birds ringed in 2022 (42 male, 35 female), and ringed a further 159 breeding adults (86 male, 73 female) and 371 juveniles. This suggests that the minimum breeding population within foraging distance of our catching site is 128 pairs, assuming 100% capture - which is of course not likely.

Many, many thanks are due to our hosts Gill and Roger, and to all the ringers, both Teifi-based and visitors, who have helped with this effort so far.  I might add that three dedicated ringers, Wendy and Alison from Teifi, and most recently Wayne from Gower Ringing Group have earned their own whoosh-netting licenses as a result of their involvement with with the projects here and at Mwnt.

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