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)

Tuesday 5 April 2022

An Amazing Avocet and Recent Recoveries

A French ringed Avocet has just returned to the Allen Pool at the RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay Reserve. This bird is in its 14th year and excluding the regular sightings from the Allen Pool it has been recorded 138 times so we know a great deal about its movements.

It was first colour ringed  as a nestling on 20 June 2008 at Saint-Moule Brittany France and remained in this area for the next three and a half years being sighted 100 times. Then it was sighted on the Allen Pool for the first time on 26th March 2012.It paired and nested that year but was back in Brittany by September. It followed this routine for the next five years usually arriving in late March or early April and  departing when its chicks had fledged or when it failed. In 2013 it was back in France by 11th July. In 2014 it was  back on the reserve on March  22nd but it was near Scunthorpe Lincolnshire on 31st July then to France for the winter. It followed its usual routine in 2015.  In 2016 it was on the Allen Pool on April 3rd but moved to Ribble Estuary 13 days later, it was not seen the following winter but was back on the  Allen Pool by March 28th 2017 then back to France until it returned to the Allen Pool on April 5th 2017 with a very similar pattern in 2018 . But  for the next two years it was not seen on the Allen Pool but it was seen still in France in May 2019 and May 2020.Did it breed there?  It was welcomed back to the Allen Pool in April 2021 and again this year on March 24th it has been displaying and nest scraping


 Another colour ringed wintering bird was a  Black-headed Gull from Norway which has also been a regular visitor to our area. Spring migration though is getting underway. Lesser Redpolls have been a feature so far with two controls to date.Both had been ringed in October one in Cheshire the other in Worcestershire. They fit in well with other recoveries showing that many winter further south and pass through our area in spring heading for the breeding areas of Scotland and Norway,



Monday 21 March 2022

Group Update and Recent Recoveries



2021 was another difficult year for the group due mainly to the covid restrictions, in total we handled 7012 birds. The largest numbers ringed  was 795 Pied Flycatchers in our 725 nest boxes that we have in the  Lune valley and Bowland woodlands. Second came Goldfinch with 548 mainly ringed at garden feeders. Recently we have caught some numbers of Siskin as they move into well stocked gardens as their natural food supplies dwindle. We know from our previous ringing that most of our passage or wintering Siskins come from the Scottish breeding population with 39 from North Scotland    and 21 in the Galloway area and just one each in Norway and Sweden. But they have certainly increased as a breeder locally, we have ringed 97 in May mostly juveniles in recent years. All bar one have been recaptured locally except one which was ringed as a first year female on May 5 was caught again in Moray 401 km north 11 days later! A late mover which probably didn’t breed that year

Another unusual recovery was a Starling ringed as a juvenile at Flamborough Head on 12 June  and caught by Aidan Branch in Morecambe in mid-January. This is our first British bred Starling to show an east to west movement. All other movements have been south in autumn or north in spring. Possibly it was caught up in a flock of visiting continental birds moving west in autumn. Certainly, many of the Starlings wintering here are drawn from as far away as Russia for we have had over the years 75 recoveries in the breeding areas right across Northern Europe.

The wonderful information that colour  ringing birds can give is so well illustrated by a Black-tailed Godwit which was seen on the Allen Pool twice this week. It was first colour ringed on 15 July 2010 in North Iceland as a breeding adult male. Since then, it has been reported 203 times over the past almost 12 years. It has followed a regular pattern, leaving Iceland and going first to the Wash and Suffolk coast as early as late June in one year but usually in July and August.  They moult there before moving across to the Dee estuary for the winter and then to our area in March before moving back to Iceland. Thanks to the careful observations of Richard du Feu, Phil Grounds and Neil Harris we have some amazing information about their journey from here to Iceland. in 2015 it was sighted on the Allen Pool probably on the morning of 29 March, next day it was in Iceland! That’s 1370 km in probably about a day and a half! Amazing! In 2017 it was last seen on 26 March on the Allen Pool and was in North Iceland four days later.

Other recoveries reported included Lesser Redpolls ringed on autumn passage were in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Hampshire in winter. A Goldfinch in Pas-de-Calais France in December, only our third Goldfinch from France, another one wintered in Shropshire. Back to colour ring sightings, an adult Dunlin ringed on 1 August along the mid Wales coast was perhaps unexpectably seen on the Allen pool 10 days later and 200 km NNE at a time when it would be expected to move south. One of the most fascinating things about ringing is finding out what movements birds really undertake.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Recent Wader Movements and Greenfinch Populations

 Three recent colour ringed sightings show unexpected movements. 

An adult Dunlin ringed in North Wales at 23.40 on August 11 was sighted on the RSPB Eric Morecambe Complex of wader pools on the edge of Morecambe Bay. It had travelled ca 200 kms north in ca 40 hours. It remains there at present.

A recently fledged Lapwing ringed in May 2020 was sighted on the southern edge of Morecambe Bay in mid August this year  a movement of 385 km NW.

An Avocet colour ringed before fledging on  June 1 as part of Ian Hartley's study on the south of Morecambe Bay moved  ca 25 km north along the Bay edge on 14th Julyto the Eric Morecambe pools. Seventeen days later it  was sighted in Lincolnshire then seven days later at Stockton-on Tees. So quite a mobile youngster.

Greenfinch  used to be one of the commonest birds caught at feeding stations, but numbers have declined over the last two decades due to the disease trichomonosis. Recent catches  though suggest something of a recovery. Typical was a catch of 16 in two  hours with a small net making it the commenest bird caught compared with just 11 Blue Tits. Increasing number have been reported from several local garden feeders. One reported that there had been no sightings of Greenfinch over the last two years, but this year they  are"eating him out of house and home"!


Wednesday 11 August 2021