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 25 September 2014

Our Ringing Suggests Excellent Productivity

2014 is turning out to be a record year for the group. Although helped by the excellent ringing weather in September our ringing totals so far this year  for warblers especially, are the highest on record . The table below compares our catch this late summer/autumn with the  averages for the past 10 years from three of our regularly ringed sites where effort has been similar over the years

                                              Average Catch                   2014 Catch
Chiffchaff                                      132                                409
Willow Warbler                             280                                541
Blackcap                                         65                                 244
Whitethroat                                     77                                 243
Reed Warbler                                602                                 916
Goldcrest                                        87                                 139
Robin                                              96                                 255          

For the last two residents the average catch extends to December so the 2014 figure should rise. The only warbler that we ring in significant numbers not to show an  increase was Sedge Warbler . Here the catch at 438 was around average.  


Saturday 20 September 2014

Reed Warbler RAS End of Term Report

With Reed Warbler captures almost at an end for the year time to look at the results of this the 18th year of our RAS study at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. This is a spin off from our main study at Leighton which is our isolated population of Bearded Tits

After a slow start adults eventually picked up and we ended with a total of 174 (112 new birds and 62 retraps from previous years). This is 16 birds short of the average catch of 190 over the last 17 years and a similar proportion of new birds to retraps. Our oldest bird was just 6 years and we had two at five years.

With the mainly good spring and summer weather productivity has been good with a record total of 910 juveniles ringed. The average for the past 17 years has been 601. The excellent ringing weather in September really helped. Bearded Tits have also had a good year with 60 juveniles ringed to date.

We look forward to hearing of  a few of our birds  caught by other ringers as they migrate south. From past ringing we have had 55 from Southern England,  3 in Belgium, 15 in France, 5 in Portugal 4 in Spain and 2 in Morroco.


Thursday 11 September 2014

Colour Ringed Curlew Sandpiper & Little Stint

Small movement into our area of both these species so far this autumn but one of each is colour ringed. The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper with red on the left and Yellow on the right leg with letters ECC was sighted on the Allen Pool Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve on September 6th it had been ringed just four days previously at Revtangen Norway having been  caught in a walk in trap. It had  moved a distance of 720 km SW in the four days. Rather like the Norwegian name Tundrasnip!

The Little Stint  was at Leighton Moss on September 9th and is still there today(11th) it also  has a red colour ring on the left and yellow on the right with letters engraved but to date we have been unable to  read these. However we do know that this juvenile has also been ringed at Revtangen obviously this autumn.

Thanks to Keith Kellet for the sightings and to Kjell Mork Soot for the ringing information.


Monday 8 September 2014

Sedge Warblers Make a Late Surge

After a period of lower numbers than usual there was  a sudden upturn this weekend with   35  Sedge Warblers caught compared with 26 Reed Warblers, the first time this year that Sedge Warblers have been the most abundant. Even so total numbers for the year  at 225 are down by just a hundred on  2013 where as Reed Warblers at  960 are 80 up on 2013.

This weekend saw  two Bearded Tit catches including two new birds one of which was in juvenile plumage and had only just started to moult so it must have fledged in early August. To date we have ringed 58 juveniles compared to 48 in 2013 and just17 in 2012.

I always find it interesting to compare  the numbers we catch with previous years given that our ringing effort is similar each year. Certainly for most species that we handle in sufficient numbers to give a meaningful comparison, this year looks like a very productive one for both residents and migrants. To  quote a few figures- Blue Tit 327 against 212 in the whole of 2012, Willow Warbler an increase from  173 to 349, Goldcrest 33 this year  only 23 last year , Robin 32 compared with just 11 last year and autumn is usually best for these last two.