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)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Wandering Blue Tits

Most of us tend to think of the Blue Tits visiting the feeders in our garden as 'our' Blue Tits. Thinking that we have the same birds resident throughout the winter. A quick trawl through our ringing returns give an insight into what is happening in our local Blue Tit population.

The first thing our ringing reveals is that many of the birds visiting our gardens in winter breed in the upland oak woods of Bowland and the upper Lune valley. We have at least 13 reports in just the last four years of birds ringed as nestlings in our nest boxes in these upland woods moving five to 15 kms to feeders within our villages or towns. There is also some evidence of birds moving from further afield to take advantage of our hospitality with recoveries of birds breeding in Grizedale Forest Cumbria and Catterick Camp in North Yorkshire.

How many Blue Tits are visiting a garden is also revealed by our ringing. In a very small garden in the village of Over Kellet Andrew Cadman caught over the course of the last autumn/winter a total of 148 Blue Tits but the most he ever saw on his feeders rarely
exceeded five. Many of course are doing the rounds of other garden feeding stations.

Two recent reports of birds ringed at a feeding station at Heysham Nature Reserve this autumn and winter and found two and 32 days later 8 and 15 km inland shows that these birds can be quite mobile at this time of year.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Some More Local Movements

The latest batch of recoveries featured some interesting local movements. A Barn Owl ringed as a nestling in our area last spring was unfortunately killed on the road at Penrith in October having moved 57 kms north.

A Goldfinch ringed on the Calf of Man on 17th of May as an adult female was caught while visiting a feeding station in Over Kellet in November136 km east. Goldfinches from feeding stations in our area have been found breeding on Islay and wintering as far south as Sussex and Berkshire.

A Lesser Redpoll caught at the same feeding station in early April had been ringed in Staffordshire 20 days previously. Redpoll moving through our area in spring have been reported as wintering in Sussex, Surrey, Gt London, Hereford and Hampshire.

Two Reed Bunting show the typical movements through our area. a Juvenile ringed in Cumbria in July was at Leighton Moss in October while one ringed at Middleton Nature Reserve in September 2010 was in Cheshire just over a year later. We have had four other Reed Bunting from our area wintering in Cheshire but others have moved as far south as Dorset and Kent.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Red Kite Reported

This superb photo was taken by Richard Whitham at Leighton Moss on January 16th. The Red Kite is wing tagged with Green/white 60 . It was tagged in Galloway on June 21st last year from a brood of three. It had not been reported since it fledged in early July so nice to know that it has survived.

Although Red Kite are seen irregularly in our area each year this is as far as I am aware the first definite link with the Galloway population although wing tagged birds have been seen before and full details not reported. It had been thought that they originated from the Yorkshire release site. Will be interesting to see if it stops in the area.

Many thanks to Richard for allowing us to use his photo.