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)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Recent Recoveries

A further batch of recoveries from the BTO included some interesting returns.

A Chiffchaff caught at Leighton on October 1st /09 was re-caught on its breeding area near Edinburgh in May proving that some at least of our passage birds are of Scottish origin.

A Brambling, caught wintering in Northumberland last winter had moved to the west coast this winter and was caught at a feeding station during this winter's severe cold spell.

The now familiar movement to the south coast by our migrating summer visitors with reports of two Reed Warbler and a Sand Martin caught at south coast ringing stations this late summer. This makes a total of 140 Sand Martins reported along the south coast on autumn migration and 56 Reed Warblers, ringed or re-trapped by the Group.

Our study of Twite wintering on our feeding station at Heysham has been one of the most successful of the Groups activities. Further confirmation of their breeding area came with three further reports from Machrihanish Seabird Observatory in Argyll. One was ringed there as late as October 2nd and caught 13 days later at Heysham. That local movements take place in winter in this species was proved by the catching of one of our birds at Askham on the Duddon 25 days after ringing at Heysham.

Last month we received details of a October ringed Goldcrest moving 140km in 29 days to Doncaster. this month we had a similar report with an October ringed bird falling victim to a cat in Wakefield 27 days later and 94 km to the SSE'

The colour ringing of Coot by Kane Brides in south Lancashire established a link to our area, with two birds from Southport and one from Blackpool seen at Glasson Dock during the cold spell.

Finally an Oystercatcher was found dead at Arkholme 10 year after it was ringed there as a nestling.



Friday, 4 February 2011

How Many Birds Visit Your Garden ?

In the wake of Big Garden Bird Watch many people will be totting up the numbers they saw over the watch period. However a snapshot like this can give a very limited view of the birds visiting your garden. Ringing data can help reveal both the numbers and the diversity of birds visiting a garden. One of our members Andrew Cadman regularly rings in his small (10mX 10m) well provisioned back garden towards the edge of a small estate in Over Kellet village.

He rings on average about once a week with one 30' mist net. The numbers he catches are revealing. This account covers 2010 and gives the totals for each species with new birds and re-traps from previous year making up the totals.

Tits of course feature highly in the totals with Blue Tits totalling 236. Quite a number are returning birds, one caught this year on several occasions is just over seven years old. Great tits numbered 66 and Coal Tits 31.Two Blue Tits and a Coal Tit were ringed as nestlings in the Lune valley upland woods and had moved to gardens for the winter.

Finches though predominate with Chaffinch at 106, Greenfinch at 180 but perhaps surprisingly Goldfinch comes out as the most abundant species with an amazing 333 caught during the year. Andrew rarely sees more than 10 at once on his feeders. Vey few are re-trapped suggesting a movement through the area.

Bullfinches(17) and Lesser Redpolls (24) have only recently taken to visiting garden feeders but look like fllowing Goldfinch as regular garden visitors. In some previous year Siskins have been regular visitors in late winter. The record year was 2006 with 306 ringed. This year only two were caught suggesting that there was plenty of natural food available.