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)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Blue tits have Excellent Productivity

After an excellent breeding season in our nest boxes with good sized broods and very few dead youngsters we expected good numbers of tits this summer in our mist netting sites. Our predictions proved true and although I have not got full details from all Group members as yet, all report good numbers of young birds, especially Blue Tits during August. For the catch of 240 that I have the data for, the percentage of adult Blue Tits in the catch is very low at just 5% suggesting excellent productivity. This compares with 2015 when after a poor breeding season the adult percentage was 37 % suggesting very low productivity.

Great Tit suggest a similar pattern although we ring smaller numbers (74) but Adult percentage is 16% compared to 31% last year.

Willow Warblers continue to pass through in good numbers, although as would be expected in smaller numbers than mid month but Chiffchaff have increased.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Willow Warblers Still on a Roll

A record catch of 88 Willow warblers today at Leighton Moss brought our total catch for the year to 382, 97 more than the whole season in 2015 and they usually continue to pass through to early September. Suggests an excellent breeding season for this species. Included in today's catch was an adult control, will be interesting to see where it originates from. Other birds caught included 42 Reed Warblers and 17 Sedge Warblers, a Tree Pipit and a Whitethroat added variety.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Willow Warblers on a Roll

Our recent catches at Leighton Moss have been dominated by Willow Warblers, partly because the nets in the reed bed have been exposed to wind reducing the catch of Reed Warblers and Bearded Tits but the  nets near willows are more sheltered. However its interesting to compare this years catch with the  same period over the past three years. To date this year we have caught 225, this compares with an average catch of just 107 over the past three years. This suggests good productivity this year in common with many other species. Our local Willow Warblers  have maintained their populations. However ringing recoveries from previous years suggest that  the bulk of the passage population originates in Scotland with 15 recoveries there mainly in the breeding season. We have also ringed more Chiffchaff although their main passage period is usually a little later.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Further Evidence of an Excellent Breeding Season

I have already reported about the good productivity of our nest box schemes,  now our ringing sessions provides further proof . A  further visit to Jerry and Barbara's garden brought the total Great Tit catch  for the month to 81 which compares to  last years total from August to April of 85! Blue Tits were 91 compared to 153 in the whole of last season. Great Spotted Woodpeckers an amazing 21 one short of last seasons total and Bullfinch 24 last month compared to  only 21  last year. All proof of an excellent season with almost all of these birds being juveniles.

At our reed bed site at Leighton Moss  because of poor weather we visited in July on four less occasions than in 2012 but allowing for this Willow,  Sedge  and Reed Warblers are all well up as  are Blue Tits. Blue Tits are interesting, the percentage of adults in last seasons catch was17% this year it is only 2.5% a sure sign of good productivity.

Just got the results of our Pied Flycatcher RAS in the Lune valley. We  ringed 483 nestlings which is 163 up on 2015 even though the breeding population was ca 10 pairs lower this year. and there was high predation at two sites.

Will be interesting to see if this good productivity results in good ringing catches as the season progresses .


Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Woodpecker Morning

A stronger than forecast wind made us change locations from our reed bed site to the more sheltered woodland edge garden of Jerry and Barbara. Even here we could  set only two nets and the wind was not helpful but we caught 76 birds. The highlight was the catching of a record 10 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Taking the catch earlier in the week this was a total of at least 16  visiting the well provisioned feeders. This was made up of 3 adult  males, one adult female and 12 juveniles. In total all of last season in 15 visits from August to April we only caught 20 different birds so like many other species productivity appears to be good this year. We also had Green Woodpeckers regularly yaffling and were rewarded with several excellent views, but not near the nets unfortunately.

Other catches brought the total of Bullfinch over the two days to 23 which is three more than the whole of last season. Great Tits at 61 different birds is 24 behind last seasons totals. Blue tit at 52 compares with 153 last year. Again showing what a productive season it has been. Perhaps the most interesting catch was two each of House Sparrow and  Starling. Last season we only caught three House Sparrows and no Starlings!

Friday, 15 July 2016

A Nine Year Old Reed Warbler

The catching yesterday of Reed Warbler X091217 produced interesting findings. It had been first ringed 7 years 359 days previously  as an adult so it was at least 9 years old. Perhaps the most interesting finding was that it had not been retrapped since 2008 despite  our RAS study on Reed Warblers at Leighton Moss in which we catch around  160 adults each year, although there are probably 200+ Reed Warbler pairs breeding at Leighton. Our oldest ringed Reed Warbler was  9 years and 293 days after ringing as a juvenile. The national record is 13 years. Always intrigues me that Reed Warblers appear to live quite a bit longer than other warblers. Our record for Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat is 5+ years and Blackcap 4 years. Amazing  that yesterdays bird has made the trip to West Africa and back 9 times.

The highlight of the previous days ringing was the catching of  a Reed Warbler  with a Icona Madrid ring. This is only our fourth Reed Warbler from Spain.  It was extracted from the net by Javier who comes from Spain, we thought at first he was having us on until he produced the bird!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Good Start to the Season

Paid our first visit of the season today to Jerry & Barbara's woodland edge garden as part of our colour ringed Nuthatch study. In total with only two nets set we caught 125 birds. Six were Nuthatch, of which 4 were juveniles and so were colour ringed. A total of  43 Great Tits and 31 Blue Tits almost all of which were juveniles, was further evidence that tits have had an excellent  season in our area. The 43 Great Tits compares with a total catch of 84 over last autumn and winter. Perhaps the most unexpected catch was  of 17 Bullfinch, again suggesting a good season. this compares with only 21 in total last season. Other highlights were 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Quite a morning and it certainly kept all four of us busy.