Welcome to the LDV NNR ringing blog, this blog is designed to share the experiences, findings and tales from a group of dedicated ringers. We specialise in conservation orientated research projects, largely focusing on wildfowl, waders, owls and birds of conservation concern, in and around the Vale of York NNR's.

NB - Whilst the purpose of this blog was initially designed to cover our nationally important wildfowl ringing activities, regular readers may have noticed the increase in posts detailing wildlife found across the valley (ranging from plants, fungi, butterflies, dragonflies & other invertebrates). Ringing posts will hopefully resume over the winter months, and will run alongside wildlife and work posts.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

15/09/17 - Manxies driven inland

Yesterday three Manx Shearwaters were picked up in the wider area surrounding the LDV – with singles at Barmby Moor, Howden and the outskirts of York – all found in gardens. These black and white seabirds spend most of their time out to sea, only coming ashore to breed in colonies in the UK, usually on offshore islands where they are safe from rats and other ground predators. Young birds start to leave their nest sites in July and August to migrate to the coast of South America, where they spend the winter, returning in late February and March. These three individuals, all young birds, may well have been ‘wrecked’ inland due to recent storms on the West Coast, which has seen the rescue of over 150 grounded birds in Pembrokeshire, Wales. All three birds were rehabilitated, ringed and returned to the coast by Jean Thorpe and the RSPCA, representing the 2nd, 3rd & 4th individuals to be ringed in the area, and only the 6th-8th records - all of which have been picked up exhausted having been storm driven in autumn (last year Jean had three birds in, also on the 14th September). Many thanks to Jean for returning them back to where they belong.

Friday, 15 September 2017

08/09/17 - Teal to Finland

With the weather feeling a little more autumnal of late we are now seeing the first build up in returning waterfowl back on the NNR. Numbers of Teal have risen over the last week to 190 and have brought with them the first two returning Wigeon of the season – only another 25,000 of these two species to go to reaching our annual peak counts! Other birds will undoubtedly already be on their way or starting out on their epic migrations from their breeding grounds in Iceland and across Northern Europe and into Russia. Today we’ve received a new ringing recovery from the BTO - a Teal ringed on the reserve at North Duffield Carrs in January 2015, has just been recovered in Veteli, Vaasa, Finland – 1780 Km to the north east of the valley on the 31st August. Numbers here should start to increase quickly from now on, by the end of the month there could 500-1000 using the pool at Wheldrake Ings - as always when visiting the reserve please leave any records in the hide log books provided, thank you.

Monday, 4 September 2017

01/09/17 - Return to Forge

On Tuesday this week the team were working at Forge Valley Woods NNR (a great example of a valley side of mixed deciduous woodland), and located near Scarborough meant shorter commute for our East Coast volunteers, although a long trip for our West Yorkshire based volunteer Emily – dedication as always! The day was spent strimming and raking off the area of limestone grassland above the quarries where species like Rock Rose, Quaking Grass, Wild Thyme and Primrose flourish, whilst providing a valuable nectar source for many of our dead wood invertebrates. After a successful and hard morning on the slopes, lunch was had lunch by the river, and whilst there we caught and ringed a Dipper - it’s always a real treat to see one at such close range and to be able to share it with our hard working team was fantastic. 

Some of the team then joined up with local botanist Chris Wilson and successfully relocated the Royal Ferns that were re-introduced onto the site four years ago – great to know they are still flourishing and adding to visitor’s enjoyment of this fabulous place. Many thanks once again to our team for all their efforts


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

25/08/17 - Nestle lend a hand

At the beginning of the week we were delighted to welcome back a team of corporate volunteers from the York branch of Nestle, for a day helping out with scrub clearance on Wheldrake Ings. After teas/coffees and a meet and greet at the NNR base, the team headed out onto the reserve to undertake willow management. However before the hard work began, we stopped off on the way to see Mike and Chris who very kindly put on a bird ringing demonstration for the team, giving everyone the opportunity to see birds in the hand, and to find out about migration and how some species use the reserve for refuelling on their long journey. The team then made a start clearing willows from some wetter areas on the site, with the aim of helping to maintain the open views across the Ings. Many thanks to everyone involved for a really productive and enjoyable day.

Friday, 25 August 2017

20/08/17 - Team work

Last week our team of eager volunteers were hard at work once again, helping us make great progress with scrub clearance at North Duffield Carrs on Tuesday, and North Duffield Ings on Thursday – willows were lopped, hawthorns were topped and a good day was had by all! 

Working in glorious sunshine (complete contrast to the drenching everyone experienced the previous week!), the team did a great job of continuing to lower the height of the hawthorns – thus reducing the number of perching posts for crows, whilst maintaining close and dense bushes for breeding buntings and warblers. Throughout the day more willows were also removed, with the cuttings added to last week’s pile, ready for burning next week.

We can’t stress enough how invaluable our volunteers really are – so a big thank you to the team from last week for getting stuck in and doing such a great job.