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)

Tuesday 20 October 2020

A Bumper Month for Meadow Pipits

 During this September the Group ringed 508 Meadow Pipits about the usual number of this common  dirunal migrant. What was outstanding was we had two controls. One caught on 21st September had been ringed  six days previously  at Watch Tree Reserve Northern  Cumbria. The other was caught on the 18th and had been ringed in Devon a year and five days previously a movement of 406 kms. Nothing unusual about that you might say but although we have ringed 7353 Meadow Pipits over the past 20 years these are only our third  and fourth controls and over the same period we have had only two recoveries.

Retraps have only totaled 29  over the 20 years. We have ringed at three coastal sites and three inland sites on the edge of the moorland.. With roughly equal numbers inland and coastal. The coastal sites have produced only two retraps while the inland sites had 27 with the oldest bird being four years and seven days from first ringing. The reason for this difference is that the coastal birds in September are very much on the move. Whereas the inland catch probably includes many locally bred birds which return in the following years.

We catch birds by playing song and use  both mist nets and whoosh nets. September produces the largest catches with 5095 compared with 1136 in August and only 364 in October over the 20 year period.


Thursday 1 October 2020

Ringing and Recovery update

Ringing Update

In this difficult year with ringing not yet allowed on two of our major sites we have manged to handle  just under 6500 birds to date, around 1750 down on lastyear  for the same period. Blue Tits  are usually our most ringed species with 834 this year. However, Pied Flycatchers  now head the lisit with 983 handlings. Sand Martins come in at 468 and Meadow Pipits at 457.'

Recent Recoveries

 Meadow Pipits are  one of the commonest passage birds in our area. We have ringed over 7300 over the years but we have only had one recovery and four controls. A control  on September 18th this year had been ringed  a year previously in Devon. Past ringing has produced one  from Devon  and one from Hampshire on  autumn passage. We have had only 25 retraps,most of them  at the same area as ringing including one four years and 40 days after ringing.

A Blackcap was reported on passage in West Sussex. Interesting to compare the ringing stats with Meadow Pipits. We have ringed 4180 but this has produced 24 recoveries including reports from The Netherlands, Spain and Algeria.

Up to this year despite ringing almost 950 Tree Sparrows the longest movement has been 10 km. But this year one was found dead on the tideline and had been ringed as a nestling near Wakefield  113 km SE. How it got on the Morecambe Bay tide line is a  mystery.

Two sightings of colour ringed Black-headed Gulls in a park where they are regularly fed. are interesting. Although ringed locally by ringers outside our group one had  been reported from St Petersburg Russia in June and another in The Netherlands in March.

The value of colour ringing is well shown by a Mediterranean Gull .Orginally ringed on July 2018 in Devon. It has been sighted in spring and summer 2019 in  Finistere France. This year in early Spring it was seen in South Wales and Hampshire  then in September  on the Lune Estuary. Quite a mover.