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 26 October 2011

More sand martin recoveries

Every blog post I make covers one of two things - Oystercatchers or Sand Martins. Tonight is, once again, Sand Martin recoveries. Today's batch from the BTO contained details of 3 birds ringed or controlled by North Lancs Ringing Group.

Paris 6478949 - Juvenile
Ringed Loire-Atlantique, France 18-Aug-2010
Retrapped Whittington, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire 05-Jun-2011

Y150466 - Juvenile
Ringed Whittington, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire 29-Jun-2011
Retrapped Loire-Atlantique, France 09-Aug-2011

These two are pretty unsurprising really given that 60% of the Sand Martins ringed in the UK recaught in Europe are caught in France with a further 30% in Spain.

Perhaps the most surprising bird we had details of today is:

L597913 - Juvenile
Ringed Wintersett Reservoir, West Yorkshire 24-Jun-2011
Retrapped Whittington, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire 29-Jun-2011
99km North West 5km

This is the 5th Sand Martin to be caught on the Lune this year from Wintersett although the only one ringed in 2011. Such a rapid movement in completely the wrong direction for Africa shows that, just like juvenile Swallows, Sand Martins have a wandering phase looking for suitable breed areas before heading south for the winter. With a wing length of 102mm this bird was in the largest 20% of juveniles we caught this year and is currently the best guide we have as to whether the bird is a 'local' bird or a wanderer. Shorter winged birds are more likely to be local as they are yet to be fully grown.

I would also like to congratulate the French ringing scheme for getting the details back of these birds so quickly. Not so many years ago the wait for details of bird ringed in France was several years.

Cetti's Warbler The Next Installment

Cetti's Warbler are certainly a potential colonist in our area but to date there is no definite proof of breeding. The first bird was caught at Leighton Moss as long ago as 1995. This was followed by singles in 2007 & 2008, three in 2009 and seven in 2010. To date this autumn we have caught four, two each of males and females. One of the females had been ringed in October 2010. In the 2010 autumn we also retrapped two birds from previous autumn's one from two autumn's previously. Are these birds returning to a prefered wintering area or have they bred undetected close by?

That they are capable of quite long movements was shown by a male which we ringed on 13/03/10 which was caught on 25/04/11 near Portsmouth 389 km SSE. This is the second longest movement of any British ringed Cetti's Warbler.

The group also ringed another Cetti's at Heysham earlier in the month making five for the areas so far this autumn


Friday 14 October 2011

True Grit

Despite a marked decline in the Bearded Tit population at Leighton Moss following last winter's hard weather and trashing of the reed bed by roosting starlings, Numbers of birds visiting our grit trays has been good. Our best day to date is 18 different individuals (identified by their colour rings).

To date eight adult males and seven adult females have visited the tray along with 20 different this years juveniles. This is out of a total of 26 juveniles ringed to date. There has also been at least three un-ringed birds two of which are still in partial juvenile plumage. Our ringing activities have been rather curtailed by the extremely high water levels and the recent rather wet windy weather.