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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Friday, 10 August 2012

07/08/12 - Big effort = big rewards

After last weeks’ successful catches we were hoping for more of the same this week...& we weren’t disappointed! From the two sessions detailed below we've not only equalled but also passed the number of key species (especially ducklings) ringed last year in the valley and the UK! In the first 7 days of August we have managed to catch and ring 16 Gadwall (15 pulli), 9 Shoveler (8 pulli), 14 Tufted Duck (all pulli), 7 Moorhen (6 pulli), 18 Coot (16 pulli) and 6 Mallard (5 pulli). Fantastic effort by the LDV Team!

Over the weekend several of the team members kept the ringing going and managed another 8 Coot, 4 Tufted Ducks and 2 Moorhen (majority pulli). Monday was another baking hot day in the valley so it was hard work pushing the corale - but we came away with a young Coot and Moorhen for our efforts. It was the duck trap that really came up trumps today with a massive catch of Gadwall - in fact our biggest ever single catch! 8 ducklings and the adult female! The ducklings were a really good size for ringing and all were fitted with colour rings - including the adult. 

Also in the trap were 4 young Coot, all big enough to be ringed and colour-ringed, it’s unusual for us to ring this many Coot chicks in a season, usually the average is just a handful. Coot ringing in the valley is variable, and like most things is dependent on water levels. Large numbers can be whoosh netted in March and April if suitable conditions occur (upto 150) otherwise numbers can be quite low. The number of young Coot ringed each year depends on how suitable the conditions are during the breeding season and where post breeding birds happen to be. So for us to catch 16 young Coot in just a few days has been great, and with the national average for pulli Coot over for the last few years being 17 we're effectively doubling the number ringed in the UK.

Later on a visit to the Top Pond at North Duffield to remove the Common Ragwort provided the opportunity to see if there were any ducklings present, several walks through the reeds produced two ducklings - a Tufted Duck & Gadwall.

After a hard slog yesterday Ragwort’ing and duck catching surprisingly everyone was up for more of the same today! Though for those of you who think it's all about having fun it was decided that duck catching is definitely more tiring than Ragwort’ing!

A quick check of the duck trap first off resulted in a single Moorhen, a push of the corale followed which produced a young Coot and another Moorhen. All three birds were a good size and all went off with colour-rings. 

After spotting several broods of Tufted Ducks and Mallards in one of the ditches, a carefully positioned net soon caught a large Mallard duckling.

A long walk through the ditch and all the weed resulted in two Mute Swans, a brood of Tufted Ducks, Mallards and a single Wigeon heading towards the net! We were most pleased to come away with two Tufted Duck ducklings! The lads got very wet for their efforts - but were definitely delighted at the end result. 

Another visit to Duffield produced two Mallard ducklings amongst the long grass - they were quick but not quick enough! A young Gadwall duckling soon followed - very good birds to catch at the same time which allowed us to highlight the differences for the guys to see between both species. 

So all in all another very wet day - although with the ridiculously warm temperatures a cool dip in the ditch was quite welcome! Big thanks go to the lads - Adam, James & Sam for really getting stuck in and becoming part of the LDV team. It's great to have young and enthusiastic people who are keen to learn and really muck in whatever the conditions, and it's nice for us to share what we do especially when it's really appreciated by these three cracking lads!

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