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.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

01/05/12 - New month & we're off!

Well, May has arrived but looking at the floods throughout the valley today, the scene is more typical of mid January. Obviously we won't be doing much duck or wader ringing for a while and it's likely to be a poor breeding season with virtually all the nests wiped out during the last 10 days. Hopefully we'll get a second flush of breeding attempts and we'll still be able to get our usual and valuable sample of local ducklings ringed. Below is a photograph taken from the air of Wheldrake Ings, showing the extent of the flooding.....

Wheldrake Ings - The Big Flood - April 2012

Today, the BTCV were working on Skipwith Common NNR stock fencing a few areas of reedbed to prevent grazing by Exmoor Ponies, Longhorn Cattle & Hebridean Sheep. They did a sterling job last time they were working with us on Skipwith & last month they also helped to make 59 Tree Sparrow boxes which are now up around the valley - & being used! It'll soon be time to check them!

Longhorn - Skipwith Common

In the meantime, we erected two wader nets (slightly larger mesh) in an area of short scrub nearby, that has been frequented by a Cuckoo over the last week. Less than an hour later and BINGO - one male Cuckoo was swinging in the net!

Male Cuckoo


What a truly amazing and beautiful bird, a real treat to see up close and even better it was enjoyed by all the volunteers who were out today. This is the third Cuckoo to have been ringed in as many years in the Lower Derwent Valley/Skipwith Common NNR's. You can follow the amazing migrations of the five BTO ringed and satellite tagged Cuckoo's here. Only between 40-50 Cuckoo's are ringed each year in the UK, and so each one caught is valuable.

The BTCV guys enjoying the close view!

A quick trip to view the floods after work at Wheldrake Ings YWT resulted in a surprise catch in the carpark - we say 'carpark' but it's actually part of the river at the moment, with about 3ft of water flowing through it...Anyway....a quick change into waders resulted in an adult male Wigeon hand-caught amongst the vegetation! There didn't appear to be anything wrong with it and it flew strongly on release - perhaps it was just taken by surprise to see a Landrover driving through the water towards it!

View from the bridge looking on to Wheldrake Ings

And finally......working late at the office tonight provided the opportunity to erect a single wader net across the office wildlife garden, to try and intercept one of the local Tawny Owls that has taken to screaming from the office roof each night during the last few weeks! And sure enough, after an hour or so....one found its way in, a nice adult male.

Adult male Tawny Owl

All in all, a rather nice start to the month!

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