I have been up here in West Yorkshire for the last few days. As usual my quest, apart from seeing my Granddaughter of course, is to see and photograph the Twite, a seriously threatened species of finch. They are hanging on as a breeding species here on the upper Penine Moors local to Huddersfield. Their diet is entirely the seed of plants such as Dandelion. More intensive farming practices over recent years has led to a loss of wasteland where weed plants such as dandelion thrive. There is a "Stewardship" scheme, funded by the RSPB I think, where farmers are paid to leave fields uncultivated. These fallow fields are critical feeding areas for Twite who rely on them when foraging with newly fledged young in July and August. I have read on several occasions that the closely related Linnet - Carduelis cannabina is not found in the same habbitat as Twite but that is simply not the case becuase I see Linnets and Twite together constantly here on the moors. Even the RSPB web site says that Linnet are absent from upland areas............ not true. Interestingly the Twite was at times formally called the upland Linnet. Anyway here is a record shot of Twite taken on Thursday.
As an aid to identity, it is quite possible to confuse female Linnet with Twite and I have on several occasions been excited to see "Twite" that turned out to be female Linnet. However you could never confuse a nice well coloured male bird with the predominance of rosy chest and pink on the head. This is a very attractive bird. (picture to follow)