Pied Flycatchers and Barn Owl do Well

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Yesterday's visit to my main wood for Pied Flycatchers saw a further increase. We now have 16 pairs compared to just 11 last year. One at least already has young. Reports from other members of the Group who monitor nest boxes suggest a similar increase. Last year we had a total of 79 occupied boxes. Our peak was 90 in 2015. Good chance of reaching 100 this this year! The only downside was a blue tit nest which had been woodpeckered. Removing the young after enlarging the nest hole.

We checked our Barn Owl box and were surprised to find 5 young and two eggs. Last year they had only two eggs and reared one young. We ringed the two oldest chicks. A clue as to their success this year was the pile of ca 10 voles or mice in the box, obviously a good year for small mammals.
On the way home we ringed a further 3 Lapwing chicks and our first Curlew of the year, it dashed across the road in front of us.
John

Pied Flycatchers Increase

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Visited my main wood in the Lune valley for Pied Flycatchers yesterday and it was good news. There were 14 nests most at the laying stage but a few incubating. Last year we had ten nests.Numbers in this wood have usually been under ten although in 2015 they peaked at 15. At a smaller wood there were 4 pairs compared to 3 in 2016. Tits have also increased in the larger mainly Oak wood which has 66 nest boxes. Last year we had only 6 Blue Tit nests this has increased to 16 this year although Great Tits are the same at 3 pairs only. We spent sometime watching for Lapwing chicks in the surrounding fields and ringed a further 6 but our impressions were there are fewer young so far this year possibly due to the very dry weather which has left the fields bone dry although we caught a brood of 3 which was only about a week from fledging.
John

Siskin and Lesser Redpoll Ringing

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Its been a good winter and early spring for ringing Siskin and Lesser Redpoll mainly at garden feeders. So far we have caught 354 Siskin and 283 Lesser Redpolls including a good number of controls and they have already generated several recoveries. Looking at all our recovery data over the years there is quite an interesting difference between the two species.
The breeding area for our wintering Siskin is mainly in Highland Scotland with 30 recoveries there. Next was Galloway SW Scotland with 15.Only one has been reported abroad, killed by a cat in Southern Sweden. Birds ringed on passage have been found wintering mainly in the South East of England with 12 reports along with two in Northern France.One unusual recovery was one ringed as a juvenile in Powys in July and caught in our area in mid March the following year.
Lesser Redpoll breeding area appears to be Galloway and perhaps surprisingly the Isle of man with six recoveries each.In contrast to Siskin we have only one return from Highland Scotland and one in Norway. Wintering areas of passage birds are mainly in SE England with 10 in Suffolk 5 Norfolk and 12 in Surrey.
John

No Pied Flycatcher Housing Shortage in this Wood

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
A visit this week to my main Pied Flycatcher wood in the Upper Lune valley found at least 10 male Pied Flycatchers either singing or visiting nest boxes.There were seven completed nests but none with eggs and at least three others just starting.So it looks as though the population is going to be similar to last years count of 11 nests. Tits though have increased after last years low of only 9 there were at least 14 occupied nests mainly at the laying stage and 4 others just building, this leaves at least 25 unoccupied nest boxes.

This wood is ideal Pied Flycatcher habitat, a steeply sloping mature Oak wood with a stream in the bottom and ground flora dominated by Bluebells which because of the altitude were only just coming out. Amazingly we found a female pheasant tucked up in the bluebells and incubating 18 eggs surely the product of two females!

Large numbers of Lapwing nest in the fields close by and we managed to ring 14 young.


Housing Shortage for Pied Flycatchers?

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Just returned from a visit to one of my nest box schemes in the Lune valley. Over the past 10 years the number of nesting Pied Flycatchers has increased from one to a high of six pairs in 2016. Today of the 39 nest boxes only four were unoccupied.Of the occupied ones 33 were tits, mainly Blue Tits most of them at the laying stage only two were incubating and two Pied Flycatchers both with only males in attendance.Tit numbers appear to have increased dramatically from just 26 last year to 33 this year and the highest occupation rate to date. It looks as though the tits have survived well over the past mild winter. The high tit occupation rate means there are only 4 empty nest boxes for the later arriving migrant Pied Flycatchers unless they take over the two tit nests which were not yet fully built. Seriously wondering if we should take some more boxes on our next visit. Will check my other Pied Flycatcher wood next week where we have had a peak of 15 in recent years, but there has been plenty of empty nest boxes.
John

Two More Colour Ringed Avocets

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Three of the 40 avocets on the Allen Pool at Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay RSPB Reserve are colour ringed. One ringed in Brittany as a chick in 2008 has been breeding there since 2012. This year two more appeared and we have just discovered that they were both ringed as chicks on the same day (24/5/15) at the same site at Seal Sands Teesmouth although not from the same brood. After leaving Teesmouth one was seen in Lincolnshire and the other in the East Riding both in mid July. But there has been no further sightings until now. Both now appear to have mates and are nesting on the same island. This is almost certainly their first breeding attempt as many waders do not breed until their second year. It also shows ,along with the French born bird the dispersal of this species.
John

Bearded Tits Colonise New Areas

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Over the past 15 years the RSPB has been creating two new reed beds from former grazed meadows. These are satellite reed beds to Leighton Moss.Barrow Scout being ca 400metre away the other Silverdale Moss 2 km away. Both are now supporting good areas of reed. Bearded Tits were seen for the first time in both sites last autumn. Yesterday a pair were seen and probably breeding at Barrow Scout. Nick and Connor managed to get the colour combinations. Both were birds ringed in juvenile plumage in 2016. The female had been ringed as a nestling in one of our nest boxes. They had been re-trapped together in early October and were seen together on four occasions on the grit trays in late October and November. This again shows what we have found many times that Bearded Tits form pairs while still juveniles.
John

Colour Ringed Avocet and Black-tailed Godwits

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
The French ringed Avocet has again returned to the Allen Pool at RSPB Morecambe Bay Reserve. It was first colour ringed as a young bird on 20th June 2008 at SAINT-MOLF Bas Boulais in Brittany. It spent the next three years around its natal area being sighted 38 times in spring and summer and nine times in the autumn/winter. It was seen in Brittany on 25th February 2012 then for the first time on the Allen Pool on 26th March 2012. It returned to winter in its natal area by 28th September that year. It has followed this strategy for the past four years returning to the Allen Pool in late March/early April.It is now nearly nine years old.

Three recent sightings of colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits show how these Icelandic breeding waders seem to be quite flexible in their choice of passage and wintering areas. The first was seen in the Morecambe Bay area February to April 2013 but has spent this last winter in SW Ireland.The next was sighted on autumn passage in the Wash but spring passage on the Bay. The third wintered o the Dee estuary but in December 2014 flew across to Dublin then back two days later. Spent the following late March and all of April on the Bay. Returned to the Dee the following September but be late September was back in the Bay.
John

Goldcrest Movements

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
Two recent Goldcrest recoveries show how much they are moving around in winter. Both were ringed in our area in early October when there was a marked movement of Goldcrests and both were retrapped in mid December. The first went 137 km east into Yorkshire,while the other went 330 km. SSE to Greater London.

The Group has 37 Goldcrest recoveries and the one showing movement east into Yorkshire at this time of year is a first. The other is more usual for we have eight recoveries showing movement to south east England or along the south coast. the fastest was one ringed on October 1st and caught 12 days later 354 km. south in Hampshire.

The recoveries show that these birds could be continental breeders for we have reports of autumn ringed birds in Norway and Denmark but we also have two caught in the breeding season in North Scotland.
John