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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Saturday, 11 February 2012

11/02/12 - Back on track, in style!

At the end of the last blog post (Wednesday 8th) we mentioned how the ice had finally beaten us and blocked the funnels. This was extremely frustrating given that the traps had been so successful in catching during the present conditions. A bit of head scratching and a quick dash to B&Q saw us back at the trap in the evening with a hammer and blow torch to melt away the ice from around the trap entrances.

Obviously the ducks had been kept out the trap for 36 hours and we had put additional ‘free’ food around the outside of the trap to encourage them to keep the water around the trap ice-free. The result was just two ducks on Thursday morning, but for Dan Lombard who joined us from the coast for some duck experience, a superb adult male Pintail and drake Wigeon - a nice way to start your duck ringing! Quality not quantity!

The following morning (Friday 10th) we were back on track making the most of the conditions once again - with another great catch of 29 new Teal and 4 new Wigeon. Temperatures then plummeted reaching -10 during the night of the 10th/11th, this greatly reduced the size of the open water on the Top Pond and also increased the ice build up on the entrances to the trap again. However, it was so cold that even the River Derwent started to freeze (see below) with a constant movement of ‘ice flows’ downstream. This forced larger numbers of ducks onto the Top Pond and despite the ice build up, another 16 new birds were ringed - 12 Teal and 4 Wigeon. 

It’s been interesting to watch the weights and wing lengths of the birds involved this week - after a sharp fall in weights last week as the cold spell kicked in, this week weights have gone back up to around the average despite the prolonged freeze - interestingly wing lengths of the birds have also gone up with some very long winged Teal (up to 204mm), Mallard (292mm) and Wigeon (up to 285mm) - have our wintering birds moved out and been replaced by continental birds moving west...??

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