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 29 September 2011

Another African Sand Martin

The best of a large batch of recoveries received from the BTO is our second Sand Martin from last winter from Senegal in West Africa. Both birds were caught and released in mid December just two days apart. This one was caught in Djoudi National Park. The first reported bird has been caught back at its natal colony on the River Lune this June, This is the groups sixth Sand Martin recovery from this area in mid winter. Another Sand Martin caught on the Lune in June had been ringed on the French coast last September.

Other recoveries included a juvenile Reed Warbler ringed at Leighton Moss this late June and caught and released in Portugal 48 days later. Another recovery in Portugal was of a Redwing ringed on passage at Heysham in early October and found wintering in Portugal in January. Probably escaping last winters cold weather only to be shot in Portugal.

Two Siskin recoveries show the wintering and the breeding areas of Siskins using our area. One ringed at Brandon in Suffolk in January was caught at Thrushgill in July, probably one of our increasing breeding birds. The other was ringed in March in our area and caught near Lairg during the breeding season. This is our fourteenth Siskin to be found in Northern Scotland during the breeding season

Finally a Twte ringed at Heyham in early November last winter was caught at Blaen-Y-Nant in Gwynedd on April 17th. This is our first recovery of a Twite in Wales and suggests onward movement in early winter from our feeding station at Heysham

Tuesday 20 September 2011

The Gritting Season Has Started

The Bearded Tit gritting season has started earlier than usual this year. The first bird reported to me was on September 14th compared to the 20th in 2010. As usual the first birds to come to the trays are adults. One interesting feature as shown in Mike Killelea' s photographs taken on the 18th some of these birds are still moulting, the head is not fully feathered and the black beard has not fully formed. I can't remenber birds in this state of moult being recorded on the trays before.

From the colour rings we know this bird was ringed in September 2009 . It was recorded on the grit trays on six days in autumn 2009 and on ten occasions in 2010. Then this May it was found feeding a brood in one of our nest boxes ca 150 metres away from the grit trays.

By the 20th four birds were seen together on the trays. however the breeding population is down this year following the cold winter so fewer birds are expected to visit the trays this year.

Friday 16 September 2011

Little Egrets Move North

We have just received details of two colour ringed sightings of young Little Egrets which were seen together on the Eric Complex Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve Silverdale. Both were seen there on 21st of July this year and for several other days around that period. They had both been ringed as nestlings near Bangor in North Wales on June 5th this year although they were from different broods.

This now brings to at least nine different birds from the Bangor colony which have been seen in our area over the last three years. All nine were reported at least at first in either July or August after ringing, establishing that there is a marked movement north fairly soon after fledging. A search of the BTO Online Ringing Reports reveals that young birds from this colony move even further north at this time of year with three reports from the Clyde estuary in Scotland, two from Norhern Ireland and one from the Isle of Man. Some of the colour ringed birds have remained in our area in winter and at least two birds were sighted the following spring but the Online Reports show that one of the Bangor birds rather sensibly, given last years cold weather moved to the Canary Islands in December.


Sunday 4 September 2011

Reed Warblers Have a Good but late Season

With ca 95% of the Leighton Moss reed-bed trashed by roosting starlings last winter, we were rather concerned that Reed Warblers might have a poor season. They arrived in late April to find almost all the reed bed under a metre high and our impression was that the few good reed areas were colonised first.

However this has turned out to be a good season . To date we have caught 246 adult birds and 806 juveniles making it the best year since 2003. However breeding does seem to have been later than usual. By the second half of August almost all the adults have usually left. Over the past 11 years we have averaged just seven adult birds in the second half of August but this year we have caught 23. A few were fattening up ready for the off but a female(ringed as a juvenile in 2010) we caught this morning( September 4th) was typical, it still had a marked brood patch.- no fat and weighed 10.3 grams. We are also catching a number of young birds still in post juvenile moult.

Did the poor condition of the reed delay the start of the breeding season so making second broods later than usual.?