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, 4 March 2021

Pied FlycatcherFamilies

 Have spent some time during the lockdown looking at our Pied Flycatcher data.  In total the group has ringed 10,153  nestlings from around 1650 broods. Return rates since we started the RAS in 2012 has been around 9%.

 Most of the birds returning  as adults are the only one which survives from a brood of 6 or 7. However I discovered that  two birds from 37 broods had survived to  return as breeding  adults. However a brood of six ringed in  2012 was exceptional as four nestlings returned  to breed in our nestboxes in the following years.

Adult birds usually have a survival rate of ca 45%. But this exceptional brood also had a good adult survival rate. One survived for two year another for three years  with another at four years and most amazing one for six years. This  was  just a year short of our oldest  Pied Flycatcher. So an amazing brood.

The parents though were not exceptional, the  female was only in its first breeding season and the age of the male was  unknown as it was newly  ringed that year. We never retrapped either of them in the following years.

Looking forward to this coming spring to seee how many pairs return. Last year we had a record numer of 120 occupied boxes. At the moment we are planning a visit to repair and replace some of the older nest boxes.

John

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Recent Recoveries

The most unexpected recent recovery was a Blackcap ringed on 26 November  in Daves garden which sadly flew into a window 56 days later at Glastonbury Somerset 290 kms south on January 1st. Obviously a wintering bird that was still on the move. Our first recovery of a wintering Blackcap.

A Sedge Warbler in Loire Atlantique France  in mid August was the Groups 57th Sedge Warbler from France. Also we have had 59 from the south coast of Enngland. However we  have only had three from Spain and one from Portugal. Sedge Warblers prepare for a long haul flight by accumulating  fat reserves in southern Britain  and France before making a long haul flight across Iberia, North Africa and the Sahara.

Other recoveries were a colour ringed Oystercatcher ringed as a nestling in Norway in July 2020 and feeding on fields near Heysham this winter. Our 19th Oystercatcher from Norway.

A Mute Swan colour ringed ringed by the Swan Group in our area as a juvenile was seen in Dumfies still going  strong at 23 and a half years! National longetivity record is 29 years

We couldnt do our RAS Bearded Tit Study this year after 17 years due to the present restrictions. But   Bearded  Tits are still coming to the grit trays, there were five there last week which is quite late for such activity.

John




Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Highlights of 2020

 A difficult year because of the lockdowns, but the group managed to ring 6006 new birds just over 3000 down on 2019. We didnt do our two RAS 's for Bearded Tits and Reed Warbler at Leighton Moss, but we did our Sand Martin and Pied Flycatcher studies in the Lune valley. The Pied Flycatcher study was a real highlight with a peak of 120 occupied nest boxes and despite not ringing in two woods we ringed 97 new adults, 812 nestlings and had 150 retraps. Other good numbers ringed were 561 Meadow Pipits 153 Redwing, 126 Dippers and 99 Grey Wagtails.

Recovery highlights were our furthest north Grey Wagtail in Fife and furthest south into Dorset. Despite ringing over 7000 Meadow Pipits over the years we have had  very few recoveries but this year we had  one from Cunbria just six days after ringing and one wintering in Devon.

Pied Flycatchers controls included no fewer than four ringed as nestlings in Wales and found breeding in the Lune Valley. Are they moving north due to climate change? Blackcaps were reported in spring from the Netherlands and on their  way south from Sussex and Hertforshire. A Goldfich ringed while wintering in our area was caught in early autumn in Aberdeenshire.

Returns from colour ringing have been exceptionally good this autumn.

About 30 colour ringed Knot have been seen at the large roost at Heysham. The value of colour ringing is that thanks to an international   group of dedicated recorders we can monitor the movements and survival of the species, a bird can be seen up to 20 times in four different countries. This year we have had five reports from Norway and 20 reports from Iceland all in May as they pause on their migration to the breeding grounds in Greenland and Artic Canada. On their return they move to the Waddensea in The Netherlands and The Wash to moult from late July to early October before moving to Morecambe Bay for winter with a few moving on to Ireland.

Other species with colour ring sightings included Oystercatchers from Iceland and Norway, Black-headed Gulls from Poland, Norway and Germany. Mediterranean Gulls from Poland, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. All passing through or wintering in our area.

John