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.

Monday, 6 August 2012

03/08/12 - Ducking delight

Regular followers of our blog will be aware of the problems that have been caused by this summers persistent flooding on the Ings and on its breeding bird communities. It's been a complete wash out for all of the breeding waders and we'd thought that the ducks had suffered too... However! It turns out that they have been enjoying the conditions and managed to breed rather well, and have just remained hidden amongst the very dense flooded vegetation.

Recent survey work throughout parts of the valley have found (amongst others), over 140 Tufted Duck ducklings, 110 Shoveler ducklings, 170 Gadwall ducklings, 40 young Coot and 4 young Garganey still unfledged. This represents one of the best breeding seasons we've had in recent years. It also offers a really good chance to catch a few more of these seldom ringed species (particularly our own British bred ducklings) to try and gain a better understanding of their movements and conservation requirements. 

The first catching attempt was very hard work, pushing the ditches and corale in the baking hot sunshine and deep water with lots of weed just waiting to trip us up - there may have been some rather wet bodies too (and we don't just mean the ducks!). For our efforts we came away with two rather large Shoveler ducklings, a young Tufted Duck & a Moorhen.

A superb Shoveler!

Adding the colour-rings

This type of ringing isn't easy stuff and generally involves lots of hard work and effort for a few birds at a time - and definitely involves getting very wet and muddy - usually filling up chest waders and getting bitten by just about every species of insect which has mouth parts that bite! The rewards are very good though!

This....

 followed by this,

which ended in this...

...helped produce this!

With the help of our two new volunteers, Adam & James (and potential new ringers), we followed on from the first session above (after we'd all dried off) and had another go, resulting in a MEGA catch! This consisted of: 4 Tufted Duck ducklings, a brood of three Shoveler ducklings (old enough to be sexed on the wing panel) plus the adult female, 5 Gadwall ducklings & 2 adult Coot plus 3 young. All of the birds from these two sessions were colour-ringed bar the 5 Gadwall ducklings as they were just abit too small to take the plastic rings.

Female & male Shoveler ducklings

Adult Coot & its young

Gadwall duckling

A handful of Gadwall ducklings!

One of 4 more Tufted Duck ducklings

The hard work and effort that went into catching all of the above and the potential data that we hope to get back from ringing these ducklings is worth the bites, cuts, blisters & wet feet!

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