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.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

15/01/12 - A week of Ducks, Buntings & Snipe!

It's been a great week ringing within the LDV - a cannon net catch, whoosh netting ducks, mist netting Snipe and a Corn Bunting roost have really built up the totals already for January!

Monday 9th - Craig headed off early to check the duck traps (both were empty) and to have a look at the cannon netted area, 10 Pintail, 150 Wigeon and 100 Greylags were in the catching area! Typical...! We considered a late afternoon catch but because most of the grain had already been hoovered up we were unsure as to whether the birds would venture back into the area, the decision was taken to leave it until tomorrow. We headed to Swantail Hide late afternoon to try a Reed Bunting roost, two nets were positioned along the boardwalk, ofcourse not long after the still afternoon turned windy...only two birds were caught, a Dunnock and Reed Bunting! As light was fading we waded out to re-grain the area with the view of hopefully taking a catch tomorrow. It was definitely the right decision not to go with the catch this afternoon because as predicted not many birds ventured into the area, just a handful of ducks searching for remains of the grain.

Tuesday 10th - We met at half 8 this morning at the base and headed off shortly after with the hope of a big catch! On arrival there weren’t all that many birds in the area just like Sunday but there were atleast a few milling about in the water, mainly Teal with a few Wigeon mixed in. Eventually a few birds made their way onto the grain and then 6 Shelduck paddled into the zone which clinched the decision to fire (around half past 11).

Ready to ring
                                   
Paddling!
                     
Comparing Teal
                     
Male Teal

Clearing up
                     
A long walk back!

 
The total catch was 37 birds, made up of 6 Shelduck, 9 Wigeon and 22 Teal. Even though we didn't get the 300+ we'd aimed for it was worth the wait! Catching the Shelduck was particularly pleasing as two of them already had darvics on, CL and XB, and another had a single BTO ring. After the catch we looked back over the database and found that CL was ringed on 16/04/11 at Wheldrake and XB was ringed on 22/03/11 at Thorganby ponds. We’re still waiting to track down where the other Shelduck has come from as it's not one from the valley, we'll post the details when we get them. Out of the 9 Wigeon caught today we had 8 new birds and one re-trap which was ringed in the valley in 2009.

Also today, Dave ringed (and colour ringed) the first Snipe of the year on Skipwith, 6 Common and 1 Jack.

Thursday 12th - This afternoon we headed down to Swantail to set the new dummy net and cannons with the view of taking a cannon net or whoosh net catch there next week. Later whilst down at Thorganby and measuring up for the new fence line we found a dead Wigeon on the river bank (probably shot) - FH42237 originally ringed on 25/10/11 at the Top Pond Duffield.

Friday 13th - After a morning spent at Duncombe Park we came back to the office to find 30+ Teal in the whoosh net area on Bank Island. This led to a quick sprint to the hide to fire the net but unfortunately only one half of the net fired due to only one pin coming out....leaving us with a catch of 2 Teal and a single Wigeon. Once the ducks were processed and back on the water we headed to Melbourne for the Corn Bunting roost. A few birds were on the wires when we arrived and an hour or so later the highest count had reached 70 just before they dropped into the reed bed. Three walks through the reeds resulted in 28 birds being caught - 20 Corn Buntings (17 new, 3 re-traps), and 8 Reed Buntings (6 new, 2 re-traps).

Tonight’s catch of Corn Bunts has equalled the best ever catch and the biggest one for quite a few years and it is particularly pleasing to catch three re-traps! All the birds caught tonight were fitted with colour rings, the three re-traps had colour rings on already, leading us to believe they were birds we’d ringed before on this site. Once we looked back through the database it was found that the re-traps were originally ringed in March 2010, January 2011 and November 2011. In addition to the Corn Bunt re-traps we also had a Reed Bunting control, possibly from a ringing site at Allerthorpe gravel pits, just over 5km from Melbourne.

Craig helping Jean fit the colour rings
             
Each ring was glued to prevent them getting caught/falling off
                       
 Showing off his new colour rings!
                      
Male Corn Bunting

Thanks to everyone who helped with the roost tonight, it’ll be left now until mid February to minimise disturbance to the birds.

Saturday 14th - Mike was up early doors this morning to release the Corn Buntings and Reed Buntings after roosting them overnight. Bank Island was frozen this morning but the pool at Wheldrake was still open, there he found a new Teal in the duck trap plus a re-trap male Mute Swan!

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