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)

Saturday 27 March 2010

Scrabbling through obscure buntings

Didnt want to make a complete fool of myself this morning with the attached so checked all the various eastern buntings as much as possible & came to the obvious conclusion that it was a Reed Bunting with later thought & digestion sending it in the direction of a female with the darker ear coverts & surrounds being replaced by black (see 'normal' pic for comparison - hoicked off the LDBWS site and credited to "peter"). Any comments or similar birds would be very welcome. The wing length was 73mm & there are various other shots of wing formulae etc just to be on the safe side.

It was the ONLY bird caught during a very short pre-work session at Heysham Obs to try and catch Meadow Pipits which were either stratospheric or absent this morning

Pete Marsh

End of the Twite in Sight

The Twite population at the Heysham feeding area had been reasonably stable all winter, the feeding group mostly wearing this season's colours. Things are now changing and recently ringed birds are disappearing (not being retrapped or sighted) and there is an increasing proportion of unringed birds. Both of these observations indicate that movement north to their breeding grounds is in progress. Their behaviour is also noticeably altering - they are more "skittish", there is some squabbling and singing as opposed to the winter feeding calls we are used to. They are also being joined by increasing numbers of Linnets. This seems to occur at the early autumn southward passage and during the current northward movement. The Linnets do not remain with the North Harbour Wall Twite during the winter period.

These birds are clearly becoming unsettled and will surely be leaving us in the next week or so until their return next autumn.

An intesting control was caught at Heysham on 28/10/2009. This individual had been ringed at Southport as a young female on 16/11/2008 and retrapped on Sanda Island (a breeding area) on 01/07/2009.

3 previous birds ringed on Sanda have been controlled at Heysham, and 2 Heysham ringed birds have also been controlled there.

Sanda Island is clearly one of the favoured breeding areas for Twite that winter in our area.


Wednesday 17 March 2010

Migrating Reed Warblers

May seem a bit early to be thinking about Reed Warblers But a recent batch of recoveries included five Reed Warblers controlled at Icklesham in East Sussex. The group has ringed almost 14,000 Reed Warblers over the years, of these 55 have been caught by other ringers on their onward migration in southern England with Icklesham reporting the largest numbers.

Juveniles obviously migrate fairly soon after moulting their juvenile body feathers. The earliest reported in the south of England was on July 30th and the latest on the 26th of September. The quickest movement was just four days after ringing and the longest gap between ringing and recapture was just 35 days.

Adults also move early, the earliest in the South of England was on August 2nd and the last on September 8th.

Onward movement is shown by eleven recoveries along the French coast, five in Portugal, two in Spain and four in Morocco.

On first sight one assumes that the birds we are ringing are either bred in our area or possibly in Cumbria where there is about 200 pairs, or Dumfries where there is about 25 pairs. However there are always surprises thrown up by ringing. A juvenile ringed near Hammarsjon in Sweden on 2/08/97 was caught 22 days later at Leighton Moss. So one has always to be careful in making assumptions

John Wilson