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, 22 April 2012

20/04/12 - Purple patch

Well, it's more of a rustic brown really - or according to the 'Identification Guide to European Non-Passerines' - maroon/chestnut. Purple patch is actually more of a reference to 'a period of notable success or good luck' as the saying goes! Either way, it's the colouration of the median coverts of a male Gadwall's wing, a truly beautiful duck and often under-rated amongst British waterfowl. 

This week we closed down one of the duck traps as now can often be a good time for catching ‘bored’ males as most of the females are incubating clutches and don’t visit the traps. The traps are only run for a day or two at a go and are checked more regularly throughout the day in order as to not interrupt breeding activities. So it was a nice surprise to find (in addition to 3 Moorhens and a Mallard), four male Gadwall! Unfortunately no camera was handy but here are a couple of photographs taken on a Blackberry!

Adult male Gadwall

Up to the end of 2011 we had ringed 215 Gadwall in the Lower Derwent Valley NNR, over 200 of those being ducklings (photo from last year below). We’ve seldom caught adults, one or two have been caught in the whoosh nets over the years and the odd one has found its way into the duck traps, largely during the early autumn. This is our largest single catch of adult Gadwall ever - and of presumed local breeder status too. Only 110 adult Gadwall were ringed in Britain in 2011 so that’s nearly 4% of the total in one go - a useful addition.

 Gadwall - North Duffield Top Pond - 01/08/11

It was also a case of the 'Ings at its best' on Wednesday evening, with 196 islandica Black-tailed Godwits newly arrived (the biggest count since 1997) and 38 Arctic Terns passed through (part of the large movement throughout the country - and the biggest count here since 1983). The first two returning Whimbrel also came in to roost and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler was heard (first for the spring).

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