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, it now also features wildlife and work posts, explaining we how manage the NNR for both wildlife and people.

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

01/12/11 - A Grebe? Yes please!

Early this morning we headed back down to Wheldrake to try for Jack Snipe again now we know where they are. We swept the net up & down the field but it wasn’t to be, a few Common got up but not as many as yesterday.

Before lunch we zipped down to Church Bridge, Melbourne after being notified of a pair of Little Grebes that had been frequently seen over the past couple of weeks. On arrival just the one was spotted but after we’d set the net we counted 5! To catch the Little Grebe’s we used a technique Mike had tried on the Isle of Arran to catch Red Throated Divers, it involves attaching a wader net to two poles, then turning it on its side and floating it on to the waters’ surface. We did this & then backed off and watched from the bridge as the Little Grebe’s came back out from the reeds, they were feeding right by our net & sure enough not long after two of them swam over the net & then dived straight into it! Resulting in a very quick sprint down the canal! By the time we got there they were back on the surface sitting in the net, result!!
Extracting the Little Grebe’s by the canal

We caught one adult and one juvenile which was really good to see the difference, both birds were colour ringed (just one colour on each bird - cyan on the juvenile and blue on the adult).

Colour ringing the adult bird

The birds were aged by looking at the wing and body colour, the juvenile had gingery brown tips to the coverts and the body feathers generally had a warmer brown tone. In comparison the adult had no gingery brown tips to its coverts and had more grey on the body feathers. The crown on the adult was more defined compared with the juvenile which was quite diffuse and had warmer tones. 

                                  Juvenile on the left, adult on the right

Juvenile Little Grebe
Almost ready to go!

& they're off!

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