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)

Tuesday 28 April 2015

A Late Breeding Season

Despite the few days of warm weather last week the spring here has been cold and many species appear to be having a late start to the breeding season. Have checked 175 nest boxes this week and only one Great Tit is incubating. Many of the others have just started to lay and in several cases they  have not laid an egg a day which is the usual pattern. This time last year the bulk of the population of both Blue and Great Tits were incubating.  However Pied Flycatchers  appeared well on time and already three have built nests.  Usually they arrive when most of the tits are incubating or laying.

Other species appear late, we ringed our first brood of Bearded Tits on on the 26th. The first brood in 2014 was ringed on April 14th. To date we have ringed nestling Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin  and Lapwing.
Young Bearded Tit

Monday 20 April 2015

Avocet Returns to breed for the Fourth Year

A colour ringed male Avocet has returned to breed at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve for the fourth successive year. It was first ringed, presumably as a chick on 20th June 2008 near Nantes in North West France. It was sighted 45 times in this area in  all seasons and was last seen there in 2012 on 25th February. It then appeared at Leighton Moss on 26th March 2012. It was back in France in late September and was sighted eight times over the winter until it returned to Leighton Moss in late March 2013. It again wintered in North West France before returning to Leighton in late March 2014 and again successfully hatched a clutch. On its way south it was sighted in Lincolnshire on 31/7 before returning to France for  the winter. It was still in France on 18th March and was first sighted at Leighton on April 11th.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Black-tailed Godwits on the Move

The spring passage of Black-tailed Godwit is well underway with counts of up to 1750 on the Allen Pool at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. Careful  scoping of the flock has revealed up to 8 different colour ringed birds to date.
A visit this morning when we saw 2 colour ringed birds inspired me to look up the details of the colour ringed birds we have records for. In total we have details of  51 different birds recorded as visiting our area the majority on spring and autumn migration. Of these 51 no fewer than 42 were originally ringed on the breeding grounds in Iceland between mid April to early August. 28 of them were ringed as adults the rest as chicks. When we report a sighting we receive details of both the original ringing information and also any subsequent sightings. Many of these have been sighted at other localities the record goes to a chick ringed in Iceland in July 1999 and sighted 201 times up to our sighting 15 years after ringing! All this information has given us an insight into the migration of this increasing wader.
Our population in winter usually numbers around the 5-600 mark but in spring numbers have peaked  3000 with up to 2000 on autumn passage. The colour ringing  shows that birds occurring on passage in our area winter further south with good numbers on the Dee and the Solent and down into France and Portugal. Some birds appear to use the same migration route in successive years with the largest numbers using the west coast route to Iceland. Others though  vary in their migration routes  as shown by many reports from The Wash and The Netherlands.
These results certainly show the value of colour ringing in studying the movements of such mobile species. We  look forward to finding