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)

Saturday 28 July 2018

Early Population Indications

One of the great things about reasonably standardised ringing is that it gives you some insight into the productivity of the most frequently ringed species. It's early days yet but there are a few indicators from our two regular ringing sites in the Silverdale area. Two species stand out -Treecreeper we have already caught 29, the best we have ever achieved in a full year was  27 and weve still five months to go. We have already also caught 29 Long-tailed Tits two more than in the whole of 2017.

Of the species ringed in larger numbers Willow Warblers are doing well with 110 ringed and the best period for passage yet to come. We have caught a good number of moulting adults. After a slow start both Reed and Sedge Warbler are doing well. I feel that both these species  had a protracted arrival this past spring and this is reflected in an extended breeding season with numbers of young coming through now. Blue Tits and Reed Buntinga are well above average so far this season. The only regularly ringed species which appear to be lower than usual are Goldcrest  and Wren.

One further thought, in this very dry summerr with many streams and pools dry, both our sites still have water which may be proving attractive and rather inflating numbers around our net sites.


Friday 13 July 2018

Pied Flycatcher End of Term Report

Our Pied Flycatcher RAS spread across 19 upland woods in the Lune valley in Northern Lancashire has been completed for this season.Following last seasons good productivity we hoped for an increase in the breeding population. We were not disappointed, there was an increase of seven occupied nest boxes to 107 for the year,an all-time record. Of these 69 successfully produced young, down somewhat on last years total of 89. Predation by Weasels and Stoats was a problem especially at two sites.

However we ringed 448 nestlings and caught 70 adult females and 34 males. Males are always harder to catch at the nest than females as they do not incubate and can be only caught for a limited time  while they are feeding the young.

Our oldest bird was ringed as a nestling and caught  5 years and  362 days after ringing this year, so it was in its 6th year. It was a male and surprisingly it had only been caught twice in the last five years in both years in the same wood.The next oldest was first ringed as an adult female in 2013. It bred in the same  wood for three years then moved four km to another wood in 2017 and then 3 km to another wood this year. Another five year old female returned to breed in its first year to its native wood, but since has flitted between three woods.

I wondered if there was any difference between males  and females in returning to the same wood in successive years. I checked our retrap data for birds caught breeding as adults. Males turned out too be more site faithful with only 12% of 80    moving to other woods while 25% of the 183 females recorded, changed woods. Males usually arrive first and start defending a nest box almost straight  away to attract a female so the difference between the sexes is to be expected.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Reed Warbler RAS Report

Yesterdays ringing on our Reed Warbler and Bearded tit RAS studies at Leighton Moss RSPB was rather spoilt by a sudden upsurge in wind mid morning. However of the three Reed Warbler retraps two were very interesting. The first had been ringed at Leighton Moss as a juvenile in late July 2016 and caught  45 days later at the foot  of the Pyrenees in the south west corner of France a distance of 1195 km. It was not recorded in 2017 but had returned this year to the same ride where it was first caught in 2016. We have 28 other Reed Warbler recoveries from Western France

The other retrap  was first ringed as a juvenile in late August 2011 so it was 7 years old . It had not been caught since 2014. Although a good age it is not our oldest Reeed Warbler. We have two at 10 years, two at nine and three at eight years all still going strong when retrapped.  Reed  warblers seem to live longer than the other warblers we handle.                              

Monday 9 July 2018

Garden Ringing

Another visit to Jerry and Barbara's  woodland edge garden brought 57 birds in two short nets in just two hours. Almost all were young birds  suggesting a successful breeding season. Of the 33 tits only one, a Great Tit was an adult. The one exception was Bullfinch  with nine caught of which only three were juveniles. A few more young birds than our last visit two weeks ago,when we caught only one juvenile out of 11 birds.This means that so far this season we have caught 20 Bullfinch compared with  only seven in the whole of last season.Other members of the group have reported good numbers of Bullfinch in their gardens

Looking back at July catches in past years gives a very similar picture of low numbers of adults with the marked exception of Bullfinch. It is not until mid August that we start to get a good numbers of adult tits. The adult birds will be in wing moult and appear to prefer to remain in the surrounding woodlands.

The catching of four  juvenile Nuthatch was the highlight of the morning to further our colour ringing study of this attractive species.