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)

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Ground Breaking Recoveries

The recently published Ringing Report for 2008 contains five of the Groups recoveries as follows.
CK97769 5 27.1.2001 Heysham
Controlled 12.5.2008 Parque Natural Bahia (Cadiz) Spain1967 km S
Only the 5th British ringed Knot in Spain.

P312986 3 13.8.2007 Gressingham
Long Dead 21.7.2008 Ihla de Deserta Grande Maderia 2641 km SSW
The first British ringed Swallow from Maderia, where Swallows are vagrants.

V465735 3F 23.12.2007 Walsberswick (Suffolk)
Controlled 5.11.2008 Heysham 360 km WNW
One of a very few records of a Twite to visit both the west and east coasts.

Reed Bunting
X227181 3F 8.10.2008 Leighton
Controlled 3.11.2008 Broxton (Cheshire) 123 km S
One of a very few Reed Buntings to move over 100km.

Bearded Tit
A new British longtevity record of seven years and 22 days. Now exceeded by a male this year of 7 years and 92 days.
John Wilson.

Sunday 20 December 2009

True Grit (3)

The Bearded Tit gritting season is just about over for another year. Thanks to all who sent in colour ring sightings especially Keith Kellet who spent many hours watching the trays.
In total 79 different birds were recorded between September 11th and December 19th. (Although this does not include at least 2 un-ringed birds.) The table below gives the number of days that birds were sighted. Of course these are minimum figures as the trays were not watched all the time. Although numbers only visited once or twice a lot paid multiple visits to the trays with an adult making the record 14 visits. Interestingly four of the birds which gritted early in September came back in December presumably to top up their grit supplies. The same pattern of previous years was repeated this year with adults coming early in the period and birds of the year somewhat later. Also very noticeable how pairs visited together. Bearded Tits form pairs shortly after fledging and seem to remain faithful through to the next breeding season if they both survive.

Number of Days Individual birds were Recorded on the Grit Trays 2009

No of Days Sighted Adult Juvenile
1 7 16
2 3 12
3 3 7
4 1 4
5 1 1
6 3 5
7 2 1
8 2 3
9 1 4
10 1
11 1
14 1
Total 24 55

Wednesday 16 December 2009

North Harbour Wall Twite

The first autumn passage/wintering birds appeared quite early this year, on 15th October. Since then up to a maximum of c70 have been frequenting the feeding site interspersed with periods elsewhere, probably Ocean Edge foreshore, local salt marshes to the south and the Lune Estuary.

Catching them this year has seemed rather like planning a small war (although I have never actually planned a war, big or small). The feeding site is rather public and the birds cannot be relied upon to be there at specific times, although they do seem to be more reliable around high tide - presumably there is less salt marsh area to forage on at this time - although they can be around at any time of the day. The day also needs to be dry (wet whoosh nets and small birds do not go together well) and not too windy.

Unfortunately, high tide during the morning/midday plus decent weather also attracts other less welcome visitors such as unruly dogs being walked, noisy fishermen, ship watchers, birders, walkers and motor bikes etc. etc. Of course, all these people have just as much right to be there as me but it can make things frustrating!

However, 5 catches have been achieved to date, the first on 28th October. In all 89 new birds have been ringed and colour marked, approximately 40 different birds retrapped (5 from spring 2009, 14 from autumn 2008 & 21 from the current period) and 2 controls caught. These last were one bird ringed on the Duddon Estuary on 15/12/2008, and one possibly ringed on Birkdale Beach (this yet to be confirmed).


Tuesday 15 December 2009

Singing the praises of the "unsung heros"

Congratulations to two of our active members:

Richard De Feu was recently elected to the BTO's National Ringing Committee - congratulations, Richard

Alan Draper was reported in last week's Lancaster Guardian as having been named an "Unsung Hero" of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust because he "has bolstered staff in North Lancashire for more than 10 years with vast numbers of daybreak birdringing". It will be characteristic of Alan's modesty to want to keep this to himself, but I'll congratulate him anyway!

Monday 14 December 2009

Continetal Blackbirds

There seems to be good numbers of Blackbirds around this autumn, or perhaps it seems that way because there are so few Fieldfare and Redwing attracted to the good supply of Hawthorn and other berries.

A Holly tree in may garden regularly has up to 8 Blackbirds feeding there. Many are probably of course our local birds. But as the map shows quite a number of Scandinavian Blackbirds winter in our area.
The dots on the map shows the recovery locations during the breeding season of Blacbirds ringed in our area. Some had been ringed while on spring or autumn passage at Heysham Nature Reserve but quite a few have been ringed either at winter roosts or a garden feeding stations. So you are never ceratin wether the Blackbird in your garden is a local or a Scandinavian visitor. To date we have ringed almost 8000 Blackbirds to get these results.

John Wilson

John Wilson

Saturday 12 December 2009

first time for a while

hurrah! Ringing weather at the weekend, for a change. One 30ft net, caught in the garden at Hala, caught 24 birds, 18 of which were Blue Tit, most of which were already ringed including one of Ian Hartley's from the University which was ringed as nestling on 20/5/03 - which makes it 6 years 7 months old - probably the oldest I've caught.