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.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

09/06/17 - Aviva lend a hand

Last week we were pleased to welcome back one of the regular teams from the insurance company Aviva, for another day working at the NNR base as part of their allocated corporate volunteering time. The team did a sterling effort helping make numerous Swift and Barn Owl nest boxes as part of our ongoing project in partnership with local parishes and the farming community. We’ve already got all of our nesting boxes for Swifts up in the surrounding villages for this year, so the boxes made on the day will go towards next year’s season. 



The team also helped extract and process timber from Skipwith Common ready for the autumn/winter, which will help to raise further funds to support the work we undertake on and around the reserves.


So a big thank you to everyone for their hard work and efforts on the day – helping to make a real difference improving the area for both wildlife and people alike.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

04/06/17 - Gathering geese

Last week saw our annual ‘goose round-up’ on the reserve following a morning of preparation with our ever eager and hardworking volunteers. The team were busy repairing and refurbishing the ‘corale’ and catching pen, which has been underwater since last November. 
 

After lunch back at the NNR base, the team returned in the afternoon for the much anticipated catch. Once the geese had been located it was merely a waiting game until they made their way on to the pool, resulting in a respectable catch of 36 Greylags, (28 goslings, 6 un-ringed adults and 2 re-traps from previous years). All of the birds were fitted with white colour-rings (engraved with three black numbers/letters) as part of a joint project with the WWT and Kane Brides. The darvic rings will hopefully increase the number of sightings of these birds, and help further understand the movement of Yorkshire’s population – some birds have been known to undertake a moult migration to the Lake District each year. 



Many thanks for everyone’s efforts throughout the day and for helping to support our scientific research work, it was also great to welcome several younger ‘trainees’ to get some waterfowl ringing experience as well. As always we couldn’t do it without the team, so a big thank you to everyone who has helped out and contributed to a total of nearly 1000 Greylag Geese ringed on the reserve since 1990, with recoveries from a range of sites in East/North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Scotland and as far away as Iceland.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

02/06/17 - Wonderful waders

The amazing drumming sound of displaying Snipe is one of ‘thee’ sounds of the Lower Derwent Valley in spring. The drumming sound is the result of the vibration of the stiffened outer tail feathers which are held out at right angles to the body, as the birds (having climbed up to a height) suddenly dive towards the ground, causing air to rush over them. Although drumming can be heard throughout the day, it is more commonly encountered at dawn and dusk, we were fortunate last week to watch an individual partake in this display act, before settling into a field full of buttercups, pictured here. We’re pleased to report that it appears to be a good year for Snipe in the valley, with a number of birds regularly being seen and heard displaying from the hides at Wheldrake Ings and North Duffield Carrs. 


Our nationally important hay meadows are not only home to Snipe, but also to a number of pairs of Lapwing. Lapwings, also known locally as Pewits (after the sound of their call), are one of the commoner breeding waders in the meadows of the Lower Derwent Valley, as well as being equally at home on surrounding arable fields. 


To try and help maintain our local population, which are facing a national decline, we’ve been working hard over the last few years clearing scrub from the site to open it up, reducing perches for crows which can take eggs and young chicks, and managing vegetation and water levels to provide suitable conditions for successful breeding. The early results from this year’s survey work suggest this hard work is delivering the results we were hoping, with in the region of 100 pairs breeding on the Ings across the valley – showing that breeding success is higher than in recent years. Whilst we’ve been out and about working in the meadows we’ve been fortunate to come across a number of broods, and have ringed over 20 chicks so far.