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)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Where Have All the Blue Tits Gone?

Blue Tits appear to be very scarce this season. At Leighton  Moss our average August catch for the past five years has been 69, this August with a week to go we have caught only 14. Other ringers in our area report a similar scarcity even those with feeders such as Heysham. Garden bird feeders also report low numbers. The breeding population in our nest boxes declined from  160 nests in 2012 to 135 this year but productivity, at least to fledging was good. Possibly they are still in the woods, will be interesting to see what September/October brings. Tit flocks usually have a good number of warblers with them at this time of year  especially Willow Warblers so with no tit flocks to bring them in our catch to date is just 164 compared with 251 last year.

By contrast  Reed and Sedge Warblers are well up. In the whole of the  2012 season we caught 671 Reed Warblers and 186 Sedge Warblers. With three or so weeks to go we have already caught 798 Reed and 252 Sedge Warblers.

August is  always a quiet time for our main study species, Bearded Tits as they all moult and  keep low down in the reeds. One new departure  though was the sighting of two birds on the grit trays on August 24th. From their colour rings we identified them as two adult females. The previous earliest date was September 11th. Adults usually visit the grit trays in the early part of the gritting season, possibly because they know the location of the trays.
John

1 comment:

Simon Taylor said...

The most I get in my garden at the moment is two Goldfinch and two Jackdaw and that's infrequent. Sunday I saw my first Blue Tit for a month!