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 27 February 2013

The Usual and the Unexpected

A recent batch of recoveries continued a handful of records that follow the usual pattern but also three that break new ground.

The usual first. Two Sand Martins  both in the same locality in France brings our total to 40 recoveries that we have had  in that country, almost all on their way south in late summer. These two  were both adults ringed while nesting in the colonies in the sandy banks of the River Lune. One though was  a little unusual  as it was caught on 26th July in Charente-Maritime 933 kms to the south. It was an adult female and in a normal year one would have  expected it to be busy raising a second brood at this time of year. But the summer of 2012 was anything but usual with heavy rain flooding out some colonies, so this bird probably headed south earlier than usual. The second was also quite early, a male already in France  by August 10th.

Two Sedge Warblers were also reported from  France and again both at the same locality in Loire-Atlantique both had been ringed in 2012 and both were re-trapped in August in France bringing our total recovered there to 39, the bulk of them in August. One was  a juvenile and it was in France just 17 days after ringing.

The controlling of a Twite in both November and  December at our Heysham feeding station from Machrihanish Bird Observatory in Argyll & Bute is the 23rd bird to move between the two sites, establishing a strong link between the breeding and wintering areas.

Turning to the unusual. This year Goldfinch have also been using the feeding station at Heysham and a juvenile caught there on November 5th had been ringed on 21st August near Oban in Argyll & Bute. Had it moved down with the Twite? It is only our second Goldfinch from Scotland.

Coal Tits have been present in good numbers at our feeding stations this winter. We  postulated that they had  originated in the Lakeland conifer plantations and the catching of one in early December at our feeding station near Arnside that had been ringed just 58 days previously 63 km to the north in northern Cumbria proved us right. It is the second longest movement we have recorded for Coal Tit only one from Durham 92 km in 1987 beats it.

Finally the most unexpected was a Reed Bunting ringed as a juvenile female at Middleton on 18th August and  caught on  6th May at Cardiff Wetland Reserve. One presumes that it was a locally bred Middleton bird but had moved the 286 km  to South Wales to breed. All our other  distant movements of Reed Bunting have been to  wintering sites in the south of England or the Midlands.


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