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)

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Feeders in conifer plantations

We have been rather puzzled by the erratic nature of the finches in Thrushgill spruce/larch plantation with respect to targeting the nyger and sunflower hearts. I think we have solved the problem! The trouble is that perfect ringing conditions of warmth, stillness plus a bit of sun have prompted the opening up of the larch and spruce cones and hordes of noisy redpolls, siskins and bramblings have been gorging themselves on the accessible food. No amount of seductive taping would bring the birds down to the feeders, they were not interested However, as soon as some wet cloudy weather appeared, down the birds descended on to the feeders. This has been an 'all or nothing' process as presumably has been the situation between either closed or open cones, with no 'half-open' ones to retain a proportion of birds in the treetops Therefore, after a full dry & warm week with the nyger seed untouched, a visit yesterday afternoon, following 24 hours of unsettled weather, saw the nyger seed almost all eaten (48 hours since previous check). Then the following 23 hours saw ALL yesterdays 4 x nyger feeder top-up eaten by 1500hrs this afternoon! Trouble is that you cannot catch birds in a F6-7 wind! Hopefully there will be a small weather window whilst the birds are still around. Pete Marsh


North Lancs Ringing Group said...

What has happened to the paragraphing - its not happening!

Pete Marsh said...

There was a very small weather window (1st April) and an even smaller net to fill the only sheltered space. The result was quite good with c80 birds caught in 1.5 afternoon hours including 52new Lesser Redpoll, 4 control Lesser Redpoll, one Mealy Redpoll, 11 Siskin and the odd Brambling & Chaffinch. This morning (2nd April) saw an even shorter window of calm ahead of a belt of rain and a further 22 birds were caught in 15 minutes, including a control Siskin and a further 20 Lesser Redpoll. That makes 10 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Siskin and a Goldfinch control from this site since it was set up on 20th February - not bad!