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)
Saturday, 18 September 2010
A Morning to Remember
With all our ringing gear packed and ready to go with a good weather forecast - light winds and cloudy. I woke at 05.30 to the sound of steady rain but this had stopped by 06.15. With Andrew and Aidan we set the nets, very little to start with then two un-ringed Bearded Tits both still in full juvenile plumage were caught making 74 young for this year. It is somewhat unusual to catch Bearded Tits in juvenile plumage in September. Over the last 18 years we have only caught a total of 47 juveniles in this distinctive plumage in September and interestingly in only seven of those years did they occur. This suggests that they have late broods in some years only. Judging by the eye colour ( which changes as they get older) and the fact they had just started to moult these birds probably fledged in early August. Bearded Tits can breed quite late we have also caught 6 in juvenile plumage in October in past years which must have fledged in early September.
A flock of Long-tailed Tits were caught next, rather unusually well out in the reed beds with them were four chiffchaffs and two Willow Warblers but as we returned along the nets Aidan shouted Cetti's Warbler and sure enough there was one in the end net and surprise surprise it was already ringed. Its measurements were taken and it fitted the biometrics given for females in Svensson( Identification Guide to European Passerines.
Later we caught a further seven Bearded Tits all ringed as juveniles in June and resplendent in their new plumage.
On returning home I dashed to the computer to see if the Cetti's Warbler was one of the four we ringed at Leighton Moss last year. Yes it had been ringed at exactly the same spot on September 22nd last year. So this raises the question where had it been over the past year? There were no records of singing males at Leighton this spring. Did this presumed female not find a mate? Or has it bred elsewhere and returned here to winter?
All but one of the eight Long-tailed Tits were ringed -they had been all ringed together in late June and this suggests that they have survived the summer well.