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 28 July 2016

Further Evidence of an Excellent Breeding Season

I have already reported about the good productivity of our nest box schemes,  now our ringing sessions provides further proof . A  further visit to Jerry and Barbara's garden brought the total Great Tit catch  for the month to 81 which compares to  last years total from August to April of 85! Blue Tits were 91 compared to 153 in the whole of last season. Great Spotted Woodpeckers an amazing 21 one short of last seasons total and Bullfinch 24 last month compared to  only 21  last year. All proof of an excellent season with almost all of these birds being juveniles.

At our reed bed site at Leighton Moss  because of poor weather we visited in July on four less occasions than in 2012 but allowing for this Willow,  Sedge  and Reed Warblers are all well up as  are Blue Tits. Blue Tits are interesting, the percentage of adults in last seasons catch was17% this year it is only 2.5% a sure sign of good productivity.

Just got the results of our Pied Flycatcher RAS in the Lune valley. We  ringed 483 nestlings which is 163 up on 2015 even though the breeding population was ca 10 pairs lower this year. and there was high predation at two sites.

Will be interesting to see if this good productivity results in good ringing catches as the season progresses .


Sunday 17 July 2016

A Woodpecker Morning

A stronger than forecast wind made us change locations from our reed bed site to the more sheltered woodland edge garden of Jerry and Barbara. Even here we could  set only two nets and the wind was not helpful but we caught 76 birds. The highlight was the catching of a record 10 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Taking the catch earlier in the week this was a total of at least 16  visiting the well provisioned feeders. This was made up of 3 adult  males, one adult female and 12 juveniles. In total all of last season in 15 visits from August to April we only caught 20 different birds so like many other species productivity appears to be good this year. We also had Green Woodpeckers regularly yaffling and were rewarded with several excellent views, but not near the nets unfortunately.

Other catches brought the total of Bullfinch over the two days to 23 which is three more than the whole of last season. Great Tits at 61 different birds is 24 behind last seasons totals. Blue tit at 52 compares with 153 last year. Again showing what a productive season it has been. Perhaps the most interesting catch was two each of House Sparrow and  Starling. Last season we only caught three House Sparrows and no Starlings!

Friday 15 July 2016

A Nine Year Old Reed Warbler

The catching yesterday of Reed Warbler X091217 produced interesting findings. It had been first ringed 7 years 359 days previously  as an adult so it was at least 9 years old. Perhaps the most interesting finding was that it had not been retrapped since 2008 despite  our RAS study on Reed Warblers at Leighton Moss in which we catch around  160 adults each year, although there are probably 200+ Reed Warbler pairs breeding at Leighton. Our oldest ringed Reed Warbler was  9 years and 293 days after ringing as a juvenile. The national record is 13 years. Always intrigues me that Reed Warblers appear to live quite a bit longer than other warblers. Our record for Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat is 5+ years and Blackcap 4 years. Amazing  that yesterdays bird has made the trip to West Africa and back 9 times.

The highlight of the previous days ringing was the catching of  a Reed Warbler  with a Icona Madrid ring. This is only our fourth Reed Warbler from Spain.  It was extracted from the net by Javier who comes from Spain, we thought at first he was having us on until he produced the bird!

Tuesday 12 July 2016

A Good Start to the Season

Paid our first visit of the season today to Jerry & Barbara's woodland edge garden as part of our colour ringed Nuthatch study. In total with only two nets set we caught 125 birds. Six were Nuthatch, of which 4 were juveniles and so were colour ringed. A total of  43 Great Tits and 31 Blue Tits almost all of which were juveniles, was further evidence that tits have had an excellent  season in our area. The 43 Great Tits compares with a total catch of 84 over last autumn and winter. Perhaps the most unexpected catch was  of 17 Bullfinch, again suggesting a good season. this compares with only 21 in total last season. Other highlights were 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Quite a morning and it certainly kept all four of us busy.


Monday 4 July 2016

An Excellent Year for Nest Box Species

This has been an excellent breeding season for the three main specie nesting in the six nest box schemes that I record. After last years abysmal productivity, I expected  numbers to be down and this was the case in all species -Great Tit declined from 48 pairs to 41, Blue Tit from 50 to 45 and Pied Flycatcher from 26 pairs to 19.

Productivity though was excellent 88% of Great Tit nests were successful compared to just 49%in 2015. Blue tits were 83% compared to 49% and Pied Flycatcher 84% compared to 55%. In consequence  numbers fledged were well up as brood sizes were also larger. In total 202 Great Tits fledged compared to 108 in 2015,  Blue Tits 243 compared to 158 and Pied Flycatchers  97 compared to 39.

Obviously caterpillars must have been abundant at the right time with very few dead young in the nest. Also with broods being well fed they were not calling for food so  did not attract the attention of predators. Certainly lots of young tits around in the woods at the moment.