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 20 January 2010

Bearded Tits End of Term Report

It has been a very successful season for our Bearded Tit Study at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve.

Breeding Population and Survival
The breeding population increased from 18 pairs in 2008 to 26 pairs this year.In total we re-trapped or sighted 27 adult males and 18 adult females. Suggesting a small surplus of males. Females appear to be harder to catch than males. Survival of adults from 2008 was extremely good with a survival rate of at least 73% - one of the best rates to date. Survival of 2008 young was also good at 59%

This was excellent with 103 fledged young ringed - the best number since the population crash in the 2000-2001 winter.One unusual feature was the catching of 2 birds still in juvenile plumage as late as October 17th. Suggesting a very protracted breeding season.

Re-traps and Grit Tray Sightings
We recorded a total of 323 re-traps and no less that 337 sightings of colour ringed birds. Previous postings have detailed the grit tray sightings. The only addition is that a few birds have continued to visit the grit trays in January, the first time we have recorded them so late in the season. The birds appear to have survived the cold spell well, there were 9 birds around the tray on Sunday.

John Wilson

Sunday 10 January 2010

Historic colour ring sightings

This appears to be turning into a colour ring sighting blog! Recently I have been asked to trace some old sightings of birds from Seaforth. One stands out as worth posting on a blog. A colour ringed Turnstone was seen at Seaforth on the 24th August 2001. After 3061 days of the record being unresolved the Turnstone history was resolved - it was ring just 24 days before in Alert, Canada (82 degrees North).

As always I'm always happy to try and sort out unresolved sight records of waders in the area.

Many thanks to Steve White and Guy Morrison for the details of this bird.


Friday 8 January 2010

Colour ringed little egret

This summer and autumn 2 colour ringed Little Egrets were seen in the area. The first one was ringed in Kent in 2003 and not seen until it appeared in the North West. This equally the longevity for a British ringed Little Egret.

Shortly afterwards another bird (Green F, Yellow T) was seen at Leighton Moss between August and October 2009. This bird was ringed in Gwent in 2008 and represents the second colour ringed Little Egret for the area.

Slightly further south on the Ribble Estuary a 3rd colour ringed bird appeared in October which was ringed near Bangor in June 2009 as a chick.

All these sightings show a Northerly movement of Little Egret however interestingly these are of birds that are 6, 2 and 1 year old. For most species rapidly expanding their range it can be expected that the major movement is in the first year with them settling in an area within the first winter. As Leighton Moss is so well watched I very much doubt these birds have been around locally in any previous autumn/winter.

Many thanks to the Richard Hearn for the details of these birds.

Monday 4 January 2010

Recent wader colour ring sightings

Over the last few weeks there have been several sightings of colour ringed birds. These include:

2 Knot ringed in Norway. Both had a yellow flag with 3 black letters. They were ringed in spring passage near Porsanger in Northern Norway
A total of 12 knot from the Waddensea have been seen at Heysham, Morecambe and Hest bank. Some have colourful life histories including one bird having been seen in the bay 3 years running with additional sightings in Norway.
1 Ringed Plover from Snettisham (Norfolk) which has been seen at Heysham for 3 winters running and also seen on its breeding ground every summer between.
1 Black tailed godwit is dominating the colour ring sightings in the area. Originally ringed in the UK at as yet unknown location was colour ringed in Iceland in May 2009. Since then it has been seen at Leighton Moss, on the Dee and various other sites in eastern side of Morecambe bay.

Many thanks to Tony Riden, John Wood and Pete Marsh for the sightings of Knot, Ringed plover and black tailed godwit. Also thanks to Jim Wilson for details of the Knot from Norway, NIOZ for the details of Dutch ringed birds and Pete Potts/Farlington Ringing Group for details of the Godwit.

As always sightings of colour ringed birds are hugely valuable for understanding the importance of the area for many species of birds.