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 19 December 2019

Feeding Station Ringing

Our two woodland edge feeding stations have seen  some interesting changes this season. The most unexpected is the appearance of Tree Sparrows at the Challan site. In five years of ringing we have not caught a Tree Sparrow but this season so far we have caught four. House Sparrows are rare at both sites with only 11 caught over the past five years.

 So far it has been a rather poor season for Coal Tits at both sites.The average autumn catch at the Teddy Heights site over 12 years has been 85 but this year it is only 40. Challan has also seen a decline but not quite as  bad. The retrap of a Coal Tit in its sixth year shows site faithfulness. Both Blue Tits and Great Tits are slightly down. Marsh Tits are a speciality of this area, last year we caught 29 different birds at Challan. To date they are slightly below average at both sites. Judging by the amazing number of berries there are this autumn there is probably a good supply of natural foods available.

Long-tailed Tits though are doing well with 31 so far this season at Teddy Heights compared to an average of 12. On our last visit we caught  13, of these two had been ringed together four years previously.

Our colour ringed study of Nuthatch at  Challan  shows there are eight birds visiting the feeders. But it is the usual pattern of  about half visiting regularly which probably have local territories and usually come in   pairs. While others visit much less frequently and have their territory further away. There are also unringed birds visiting.

Starling have become regular feeder visitors  at Challan over the past two years. In a catch of seven this week we had a Stavanger (Norway) ringed bird.


Friday 6 December 2019

Bearded Tit Update

The gritting  season is now almost over . To date we have recorded 153 sghtings of colour ringed birds mostly on the grit trays  In total we have identified 27 adult males(five more than in 2018) and 14 adult females. We have two males which are in their 6th year. 
I have been able to work out crudesurvival rates, and both adults and juveniles from last year had a survival rate of 60%. One of the best rates since our study started 27 years ago.

Really pleased that the high water levels of early October when all the visitor paths were under water are now back to normal. In the winter of 2000 we had really high water levels from October through to mid December followed by a cold spell. The Bearded Tit population went from ca 65 pairs to just seven in the spring of 2001. In 2000 we identified 119 adults and ringed 275 young. Next year we found only 9 adults and ringed only 18 young. They recovered quickly but have never reached the 2000 population.

I have published four papers on the results of our study. There is still plenty to write up yet, but need someone good at statistics to help out. Not my strong point! I just enjoy studying these wonderful birds!

On another subject Stuarts colour ringed study of Dippers in the  upper catchment of the River Lune has shown a strong attachment to this area. However one bird colour ringed as a nestling on April 7th this year moved 34 km north to the River  Eden catchment. Unfortunatly it was killed flying into a window.