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 20 October 2016

A Record Day

Yesterday was something of a record day. We caught 4 Cetti's Warblers in one net line. We have only caught singles before of this recent colonist. Up to 5 or 6 birds have been singing at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. One assumes that our catch originates from these breeding birds. However last October we controlled a bird which had been ringed just 38 days previously at Wood Walton Fen in Cambridgeshire a movement of 299 km in 38 days. So you never know.

We also caught our third Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn and 8 Siskin the best catch so far this autumn.

But the most unusual catch was of a pair of Bearded Tits with consecutive ring numbers. I was amazed to find that they had been ringed as nestlings in the same nest in April 2014. We have ringed 673 nestling Bearded Tits as part of our long term study of this species. Many have been retrapped as adults but this is the first time we have recorded siblings as an apparent pair. Our observations do suggest that Bearded Tits do form lasting pairs. Interestingly neither of these birds have been recorded on the grit trays over the past two years.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Bearded Tit Gritting Season in Full Swing

To date we have recorded 50 different colour ringed Bearded Tits using the grit trays at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. Of these, 27 are adult birds and 25 of this years young. No un-ringed birds have been recorded to date.

The first birds have been arriving on most days around 08.00 and the last leaving around 11.30. Wednesday the 12th was the best day this week when due to dedicated coverage by Alan, Pauline and Judith Gallagher no fewer than 28 birds visited the tray to stock up on grit as they change their diet from soft insects to the much harder reed seed.

To date in our ringing study this year we have identified 21 adult males and 17 adult females. Of these 38, at least 27 have visited the grit trays. Productivity appears to have been rather low as to date we have only caught and colour ringed 27 young birds of which an amazing 25 have visited the grit trays. We have this year been restricted to just three sites due to difficulty of access so we may have missed some but you wold expect unringed birds to start appearing.

Monday 3 October 2016

A Bearded Tit Weekend

A great weekend for the 24th year of our Bearded Tit study at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. With excellent ringing weather on Sunday and much activity on the grit trays. In total we recorded 43 birds. This included 21 mist netted including six not ringed before and 22 on the grit trays. All the grit tray sightings were of colour ringed birds, not an unringed bird in sight! So far for our RAS study we have caught or sighted 30 adults- 16 males and 14 females. Two were first ringed as juveniles in 2013, 13 in 2014 and 15 in 2015. We usually pick up more adults over the next 10 weeks or so of the gritting season. I estimate that the breeding population this year is ca. 25 pairs.

Most of the birds visiting the grit trays at the start of the season are adults. This was true of a party of five today.A male and a female gritted together and were obviously a pair. They gritted together in early October 2015. If they both survive Bearded Tits seem to pair as juveniles and remain together for life. We keep detailed records of all sightings. Many birds are recorded gritting on only one day but some occur on up to 17 days. Often birds grit early in the season then have a break and return later.