NLRG was formed in 1957 to help in the study of birds in the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society area. There are currently 12 active ringers. Species currently being studied include: Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Sand Martin, Twite, Goosander, Oystercatcher and Grey Wagtail. Migration has been studied for 28 years at Heysham. We welcome anyone who wants to observe, help or perhaps wish to become a ringer. Photo: A Heysham-ringed Twite on the Mull of Kintyre (thanks to Eddie Maguire)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Where are all the Goldcrests?

At the Heysham obs ringing site we generally catch a good number of Goldcrests during the Autumn southward passage. This year, however, we have managed to capture just 5. This compares with 61-2008, 36-2007, 24-2006, 108-2005 & 119-2004.

Although the ringing effort may have been less this autumn owing to the atrocious weather recently, this is still a very low number. Lack of Goldcrests is also backed up by regular observations at the site which have recorded very few seen or heard.

Recently, a ringer from Hilbre Island has reported NO Goldcrests ringed this Autumn (they have ringed an average of 50 birds per autumn over the past 10 years). This report has resulted in a flood of replies from around the country in similar vein.

One suggestion put forward has been that the windy and wet conditions could have prevented the birds from using the normal passage route southward and they might have moved south on a much more easterly line, avoiding the UK altogether. However, at Falsterbo in Sweden, they too have ringed only a quarter of their normal total so another explanation may be a very poor breeding season in the northern forests.


1 comment:

Matt said...

The prolonged cold snap last winter is generally thought responsible for the big decline in breeding Goldcrests here too - breeding birds on my sites were down substantially this spring. But this would also have affected the Goldcrests wintering here. So if the population that winters here was decimated, then few would have returned to Scandinavia to breed and therefore fewer would be available now to come back to winter again. It may just take a few years for numbers to build again.