The Twite population at the Heysham feeding area had been reasonably stable all winter, the feeding group mostly wearing this season's colours. Things are now changing and recently ringed birds are disappearing (not being retrapped or sighted) and there is an increasing proportion of unringed birds. Both of these observations indicate that movement north to their breeding grounds is in progress. Their behaviour is also noticeably altering - they are more "skittish", there is some squabbling and singing as opposed to the winter feeding calls we are used to. They are also being joined by increasing numbers of Linnets. This seems to occur at the early autumn southward passage and during the current northward movement. The Linnets do not remain with the North Harbour Wall Twite during the winter period.
These birds are clearly becoming unsettled and will surely be leaving us in the next week or so until their return next autumn.
An intesting control was caught at Heysham on 28/10/2009. This individual had been ringed at Southport as a young female on 16/11/2008 and retrapped on Sanda Island (a breeding area) on 01/07/2009.
3 previous birds ringed on Sanda have been controlled at Heysham, and 2 Heysham ringed birds have also been controlled there.
Sanda Island is clearly one of the favoured breeding areas for Twite that winter in our area.