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, 2 November 2008

The value of a single colour ring for each site

A quick check of the Twite on the nyger seed during the chaos on the Heysham north harbour wall this lunchtime (a mixture of police/fire/sightseers attending/staring at a sinking dredger) revealed a yellow ring above the split colour.

In the micro-seconds available before the flock was flushed, this immediately indicated it was not a Heysham bird (pale blue above assorted colours) and indeed it comes from perhaps the most logical source, the Duddon estuary area in Cumbria.

The current details should indicate which winter period it was ringed. Unfortunately an attempt to pin it down by reading the metal number, when it returned to the seed a few minutes later, was foiled by a loud 'can you get out of the way' just as I was focusing the 50 x wide angle. Further human activity indicated it was not worth hanging around. This bird should be traceable on the last three digits of the ring if anyone gets a chance.........or it appears in the hand during the next ringing effort!

Unfortunately, due to the large number of different colour-ring sequences being used on Twite, we have had to resort to split (i.e. a narrow band of two colours) on the lower colour ring. Feedback from birders suggests they have great difficulty discerning the split colours through telescopes/binoculars and this was indeed the case today wih the lower 'pale' colour, despite 'point-blank' range.

Please DO report any Twite you do see with colour rings, even if you can only read the site ring. Some of the recent Heysham birds have had the site ring placed below the split ring. Thanks

Pete Marsh

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