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)

Monday 29 July 2013

July Update

With the rain beating down and the wind blowing and a poor forecast for the next two days  it looks as though our ringing is finished for this July. Time to take stock and compare with last July's ringing in our RAS studies  at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve. Its so easy to do this  with IPMR. We managed 16 ringing visits this July, two more than in 2012.

Bearded Tits have done well with 32 juveniles compared with just 17 last season. The most intriguing increases though are Blackcap with only 14 last year but 50 this July and Chiffchaff increasing from just 6 in 2012 to 46 this year. Willow Warblers after a good start have slipped back recently  and we caught 83 in both years.

Sedge Warblers have done well with 91 compared to 39 last year. Reed Warblers though are down from 261 to 202. Whether this reflects a population decline or just a late start to the season only ringing in August may reveal. Interestingly we caught two adults in the last week showing signs of preparing to start their return migration, one weighed 13.1 grams, with a fat score of 3 and the other 12.4 and a fat score of 2. From past ringing we know that return migration in this species starts in late July, for we have had 5 adults caught on migration on the south coast during the last week in July.


Saturday 20 July 2013

A Day to Remeber

May 5th 2013 will certainly go down in the annals of the group as a red letter day. Mark and Dave ringed at two gardens on the edge of Bowland and caught 129 birds the bulk of which were Lesser Redpoll with 9 Siskin. Good catch, but the amazing thing was that 9 of these birds (7 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Siskin) were controls. Their first thought was that they were birds ringed just a short distance away in the Ribble Valley. However we now have details of 6 of the Redpolls and a Siskin.

Of the Lesser Redpolls one was ringed just 8 days previously in  Lincolnshire, one ringed late March at Thetford in Norfolk. Others were from winter or autumn passage  ringing in Sussex,  Cheshire, South Yorkshire and Cumbria. The Siskin had been ringed just 15 days previously at the same site in Lincolnshire as the Redpoll.

There is usually a passage of Lesser Redpolls through our area in early May, but this year with the poor spring weather  passage lasted right through May. In  total the group caught 256 Redpolls during May.of which 20 were controls. Details have come through from the Ringing Office of  13 of these and besides the ones  detailed above they included birds ringed in winter in  Kent, Surrey (2) ,Norfolk, Suffolk, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

Monday 15 July 2013

Warblers have a good season

Our recent ringing at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve suggests that some warblers locally have had a productive season. The most outstanding is Blackcap. Last year we ringed just 27 from July to September. Already this year we have ringed 37 and the best period is yet to come.

Chiffchaffs usually only occur in numbers in late August and early September and last year we ringed 63 from July to September. Already this year we have ringed 39  most of them probably locally bred.

It's a little early to asses Reed and Sedge Warblers, but recent catches suggest that they too are doing reasonably well. The spell of calm settled weather has certainly helped-last year at this time we were wading through water over our boards walks -this year we don't even need waders.

Our main study is the Bearded tit population and they are doing very well this year with 32 juveniles caught to date compared to just 17 in the whole of 2012. Two young birds caught yesterday were third brood youngsters judging by their eye colour which changes as they mature.


Tuesday 9 July 2013

Bearded Tits Continue to Prosper but Reed Warblers Continue to Falter

Our Bearded Tit ringing at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve continues to be productive. We have now caught  30 juveniles compared to only 17 in the whole of 2012. Of these12 had been ringed as nestlings in our wigwam nest boxes, We ringed 21 nestlings so survival has been good and there are probably more to come as we caught two today. July is normally a good month for captures  before they start in moult late in the month and on through August and they then become  quite difficult to catch

By comparison Reed Warblers appear to be present in smaller  numbers than usual. To date we have caught 66 adults this compares with 95 in the same period last year and ringing effort has been very similar. In recent years we have usually just exceeded 200 adult Reed Warblers by the end of the season. Juveniles are just starting to appear now and this usually results in more adults being caught as they move around or start a second clutch. The oldest bird caught so far this year is in its seventh year, a bit to go yet to catch our oldest bird which was 9 years and 314 days after capture and still going strong.