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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

08/02/12 - ‘Teally good times’

Freezing conditions continue to see all the open water on the reserve frozen solid except for the River Derwent and a small patch of less than 10m surrounding the Duffield duck trap. It’s still only being kept open by the family party of Mute Swans dining out on the free grain around the trap, and the sheer number of birds coming to feed around (more particularly in) the trap itself. We are constantly reviewing the conditions but as there is actually very few birds on the pond during the day when we visit, the disturbance to wider waterfowl is very very low and probably far outweighed by the presence of open water and food, neither of which would be present had we not been running the trap. It also obviously continues to provide good data.

Monday (6th) produced 31 birds in the trap - totals with re-traps in brackets were: Shelduck 4 (5), Wigeon 8 (3), Pintail 1, Teal 1, Mallard 2 (7). 16 new birds but the five re-trap Shelduck were also particularly pleasing as they were all from March 2011 and all ringed within 1km of the trap. Pintail are ofcourse always special and bring the winters total to 8 - our best winter so far and there may be more to come yet. A drake Smew seen on the river at Duffield was a nice bonus, along with an obliging Kingfisher that's obviously trying to sit the cold snap out locally.

A very cold day at Duffield
Female Pintail

Weighing the Pintail

Tuesday (7th) produced another impressive total of 34 birds, 33 new, comprising of 29 teal and 2 each of Mallard and Wigeon. A photo taken of the trap on entry (see below) suggests that actually there may have been over 45 birds in the trap but that some escaped back up the funnels during the longer and colder than usual extraction period. A Bittern was stood on the frozen pool at Wheldrake Ings today with 14 Mallard - the only birds on the site today compared with the 10,000+ of ten days ago. Clearly lots of cold weather movements going on so who knows what might appear on the reserve (or in a trap). There were also good numbers of otter prints (and slides into the river) visable today and some in the snow around Bank Island and Wheldrake Ings.

However, this morning (Wednesday 8th) the weather finally beat us in that the ice build up on the funnels got so dense they blocked up. So despite the water remaining clear and lots of birds around the trap they couldn't get in and so it’s come to a halt at the moment. That brings the totals for the month to 102 and for the year to 258, whilst Teal are still in top spot for the year with 144 new birds ringed!

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