Tim Melling – Twite


Tim writes: Twite (Linaria flavirostris) are scarce and extremely localised breeding birds.  The main population is in Scotland but in England they are almost wholly restricted to the South Pennines where fewer than a hundred pairs breed.  They are one of just two British songbirds that feed almost exclusively on seeds, the other being Linnet.  Most other seed-eaters switch to feed their chicks on insects.  They only nest on moorland so need an abundant supply of seeds close to the moors, which is usually in species-rich haymeadows.  In late summer thistledown is a favourite and Marsh Thistle is the earliest thistle to flower and set seed.  I managed to isolate this Twite feeding on a Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre) not far from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire.  They are very similar to juvenile Linnets but that buffy wash on the face and throat is diagnostic of Twite.  But I usually identify them by their buzzing call.

Taken with Nikon D500 with Nikkor 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4x converter at f5.6  1/640 second  ISO 1800


Mark writes: so much nicer than Linnets!

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