|Male Linnet - picture from wiki by Joe Pell|
A member of the finch family, the linnet is a bird of history; written about by Wordsworth and Tennyson, featuring in a song in Sweeney Todd, and in darker days a bird much kept in cages for its song. It is widespread, found on heathland, scrubby ground, hedgerows and even parks and gardens. However its numbers have declined steeply in recent years, for all the usual suspect habitat destruction reasons.
I've never had a definite sighting anywhere else other than that little fence; I saw one there a few weeks ago at the same sort of time. It really is a beautiful bird, with its crimson breast like some kind of Lady Gaga costume accessory; an even more intense colour than the breast of a robin. It also has a sort of double breasted appearance, making them look like some saucy prankster has drawn them on the bird with a lipstick.
It wasn't just the male taking in the morning air though. A few metres further on, was a female, a much dowdier bird, with a mere pink tint to her striated chest rather than a brazen blush. Perhaps this was the mate, I have no idea. I was just excited to see them.
I've been waiting to write about them all day.