Sunday, 16 August 2015


What I thought would be a terrific weekend for Tree Pipits turned out to be a bit of a disappointment in that regard with a total of only 5 caught over both days. Surprisingly at least 10 were moving south yesterday despite showers coming in off Liverpool Bay compared to just 3 in the the wall to wall sunshine of this morning. Anyway another 5 ringed is better than none and I still think there is a chance of some good movements to come.

The bird of the weekend turned out to be something completely different and was a bird I had never seen before. However, it wasn't a rarity and was instantly recognisable as a hybrid Greenfinch x Linnet or Linnet x Greenfinch. There was no reason to believe it was an escape as it wasn't ringed or showing any indications of ever having been kept in captivity. It is a first year bird and still undergoing its post juvenile moult with Linnet being the most dominant plumage type coming through. The legs were also more Linnet like but the bill is closer to that of your typical Greenfinch and it also called like a Greenfinch on release. A strange bird indeed and you can see some plumage and structural characteristics of the two species in the photographs below.

More of a juvenile Linnet type head plumage but with a Greenfinch type bill.
Bill and head shape are like that of a Greenfinch, mantle and wing coverts like a Linnet and primaries with yellow outer webs like Greenfinch.
Tail was a bit of a mixture of Linnet and Greenfinch patterns with some yellow just showing
Odd looking to say the least.
Size-wise it was a bit bigger than a Linnet but a bit more slender than your typical Greenfinch.
The primaries are quite Greenfinch like and the wing length of 86 mm is within the normal range for Greenfinch but at the very top of the range for Linnet.

Not Frankenstein's monster but certainly an odd job of a bird that looks pieced together. 

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