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)

Sunday 25 October 2015

How Many Nuthatch Visit A Garden?

This autumn's ringing in Jerry and Barbara's woodland edge garden at Silverdale has thrown up some interesting findings. With well stocked feeders close to the house they can easily observe all the visiting birds. The most Nuthatch's they usually see is three at once occasionally, but usually just two. Kevin Briggs  has started a RAS on Nuthatch this year with a colour ringing scheme. Since mid September we have  colour ringed 11 Nuthatch in the garden. Over this past week Barbara has seen nine of these birds visiting regularly . She has also seen two unringed birds together and a ringed but not colour ringed bird making12  birds visiting regularly  and  two others occasionally making at least 14 birds in all. Will be interesting to see  what happens over the  winter and into spring. Last spring one pair nested in the garden.

The  abundance of Coal tits this autumn is well shown by our latest catch in the garden we caught  19 but the scarcity of Blue Tits is shown by  a catch of only 13. Last year a little later we caught 29 Blue Tits and 19 Coal Tits. The scarcity of Blue Tits following a disastrous breeding season is being commented on by many observers.


Thursday 22 October 2015

Cetti's on the Move

Cetti's Warbler  has only recently colonised our area.  We first ringed one in 1995 then singles in 2007 & 08. But from 2009 on  we averaged 5 or 6 annually until last year we ringed 16. To date we have only caught 39 birds but we have had two recoveries and recaptured 2 birds ringed elsewhere.
The most outstanding of these is shown on the map it was ringed at Leighton RSPB on March 13th 2010 and  found breeding at Farlington Marsh Hampshire on 25th April 2011 and again on several dates over the next two years. It is one of the longest distance recoveries within Britain.

Our most recent recovery is  as interesting, it was ringed at Wood Walton Fen  Cambridgeshire  on September 2nd 2015 and caught at Leighton Moss 259 km NW 38 days later. Last years control was similar -ringed at Wintersett Reservoir in West Yorkshire and caught 68 days 106 km WNW at Middleton. The other  also showed a similar movement, ringed at Leighton on 4th November 2014 and caught 164 days later at Woolston Eyes in Cheshire.

All  these movements are part of the dispersive tendency of young birds in this species which has contributed to the spread of the species in Britain. Once established as a breeder they appear to be  sedentary- we have had retraps of two birds 3 and 4 years after ringing at Leighton Moss.

Monday 12 October 2015

An Interesting Autumn at Leighton Moss

So far with  decent ringing weather this autumn has produced some interesting results. Pride of place goes to Lesser Redpoll with 161 ringed so far compared with just 50 in the whole of autumn 2014. To date we have had only 2 re-traps and one control suggesting a migratory population.
 The Bearded Tit gritting season is well under way. Thanks mainly to the dedication of Alan,Pauline and Judith Gallagher we have logged 130 sightings of our colour ringed birds involving 48 different birds. Of these 33 were adults and 15 birds of the year. For adults to grit earlier than juveniles is usual. To date though we have recorded only 1 un-ringed bird. the most interesting sighting is of male blue over yellow on  the left leg and yellow over BTO on the right leg. This bird was ringed as a nestling at Leighton on 14 April 2014. It was last re-trapped there on 28 September  and 16 days later it was sighted in a small area of reeds at South Walney 30 km SSW but on 9th October this year it was on the Leighton grit trays.
Regular ringing over the years certainly gives a good idea of the productivity and population levels. Two species doing well this year are Goldcrest and Wren. To date we have ringed 115 Goldcrest compared to 77 over the same period last year. Wren  totals are 105 this year and 98  last. By complete contrast Blue Tits were 440 last year but only 193 this year.

The Reserve's most recent colonist is Cetti's Warbler with ca 5 singing males this year . To date we have caught 8 including a control from elsewhere compared with 7 last year. We  had only our 2nd ever Yellow-browed Warbler this weekend just to add some spice.