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)

Friday, 21 November 2014

A Bumper Year

With some submissions yet to come in the group has just passed 15,000 new birds ringed which is almost 4000 more that the average for the last five years. With ringing effort being roughly the same this suggests excellent productivity for both residents and migrants. The table below compares the 2014 catch with the five year average for species ringed regularly in good numbers.

Species                   5 Year Average        2014 catch
Chiffchaff                      185                       462
Willow Warbler             434                       585
Whitethroat                    116                       257
Lesser Whitethroat          46                         71
Blackcap                        109                       300
Reed Warbler               1010                     1300
Sedge Warbler               416                       410
Goldcrest                       129                       211
Robin                             132                      326
Grey Wagtail                   49                      162
Wren                              134                      258
Reed Bunting                196                       364

Of these 13 species only Sedge Warbler has not shown any increase. The fact that both migrants and residents have increased suggests excellent productivity and survival no doubt due to the good warm weather especially later in the breeding season. In the case of residents last winters mild weather also helped.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Bearded Tit Gritting Season Interim Report

Its been an interesting season this year to date . With 269 sightings of colour ringed birds logged so far which is 78 up on the whole 2013 season. A total of 36 adults (21 males and 15 females) and 43 juveniles (21 and 22 females) have been recorded to date. There are also a number of unringed birds around with a maximum of 5 being seen at any one time. These are almost certainly all juveniles.

The birds this year have used the path for gritting much  more than in recent years. Possibly because it was very dry when they started gritting in late September and also because some new filling was put down to repair holes in the track. However most sightings have been  on the grit trays. Another reason for some birds switching to the path was that Chris Packham in Autumn Watch tried an experiment with different sizes of grit  in three bowls. The birds  certainly didn't like this until they replaced the bowls with a partitioned grit tray. However most of the birds using the path are  juveniles.
Birds usually  visit the grit trays on 3-5 days but as usual some  birds visit more often. The record this year is a young female D752024 which has been recorded on the trays on 15 different days. Birds regularly visit in presumed pairs as is shown in the photo. This year we have a young male and a female which we ringed in the same nest box on May 2nd . They appear to be a pair as they have been seen together on the trays nine times. This is the first time we have recorded brother and sister remaining together into autumn, they were still  together today.will be interesting to watch developments.

Many thanks to Keith Kellet and the Gallagher Family for logging most of the sightings.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler Make a Late Appearence

To date the group has ringed an unprecedented 8 Chiffchaff in November(4 each at Heysham and Leighton). The most we have ever ringed in November before was 3 in 2010. The occasional bird winters in our area , so it will be interesting to see if more stop this coming winter.  Judging by our ringing Chiffchaff have had  excellent productivity this year. Our average catch over the past five years was 185. This year we have caught 462 so possibly the record numbers to date in November are a spill  over from this excellent productivity.

This weekend we caught a further three Cetti's Warblers bringing our Leighton total to 13, the highest yet recorded. The fascinating thing is that although  at least 6 pairs were located in the breeding season we only caught one during our spring and summer ringing which produced a total of 1240 Reed warblers so the effort was there. The others were caught in October and  November. Historically this has been the pattern; of 40 ringed in previous years only four were caught in summer.

A Cetti's controlled at Heysham on 28/9  was not ringed by any of our local ringing groups. So we await with interest full details from the BTO.