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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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

13/12/11 - Patience needed...!

Yesterday morning saw an early start at the base, we met at half 7 to allow enough time to get down to Duffield & into position before the majority of the Whooper Swans arrived. The birds started coming in early, by 07.50 the first 10 were on the grain so it was looking good, but gradually went downhill....! As more birds started to arrive they seemed to unsettle each other. They were very flighty and kept taking off in threes and fours, circling the fields and then landing again. Two birds with different darvic rings were spotted, meaning new birds had arrived over night. We believe that the new birds had unsettled the flock which had been there over the last couple of weeks. Also the strong winds meant that instead of feeding on the grain the majority of birds that were in the field had their heads down instead and were sheltering.

We waited patiently until around half past 12 before trying anything, during this time the birds had been to’ing and fro’ing & had been nowhere near the catching area. Also the count had reached 77!

It was decided that we’d have to try something or accept that we might be going home empty handed, and so one of the Landrovers was sent along the edge of the field behind where the birds were. Creeping along slowly resulted in the whole flock taking off and landing back in the field where the net was. Not long after the birds seemed to become more active and found their way onto the grain. Atlast!

When it was believed that approximately 20 birds were in the catching area the decision was taken to fire (around 2pm), however as the day had gone on the wind had increased in speed & so it had become very windy indeed! With the net facing into the wind as it fired it lifted high up into the air and came down so slowly allowing plenty of time for the majority of birds to take off! We caught 5 in the net but 1 escaped leaving us with just 4 birds to ring. Better than no birds though!

                       Chris & Chris with their hands full!

All birds caught were adults and each one was fitted with a darvic ring, in sequence – G5A, G5B, G5C and G5D. Let’s hope these birds make their way back and return again next year! A photograph of each bird was taken with the darvic ring before it was fitted to assist in a study of Whooper Swans which is looking at if they can be identified by individual beak patterns like Bewick Swans. 

                       Whooper Swan G5C

Many thanks to Mark & Robin for providing their expertise & all the gear which allowed the catch to go ahead. The LDV team were also joined by Chris & Eric from the Tees Ringing Group & Chris Blakeley from the EYRG - ringing a Whooper Swan was a new bird for all 3 making it extra special for them!

                                  Chris - very pleased with his new bird! 

After the catch we took the guys on a quick tour of the valley and checked the duck traps, there was a re-trap Wigeon, Mallard & Coot at Duffield and nothing at Wheldrake but hundreds of Wigeon & Teal on the pool. 

A worthwhile day in the end!

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