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.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

01/08/12 - Bronze, Silver, & Gold!

Over the last few days the flood has finally receded, the water has started to come off the meadows and back into the ditches. In doing so it's brought all the waterfowl out of the emerged grassland and back onto the permanent water bodies and ditches, many in full moult and quite a few broods of unfledged ducklings that we didn't know were there.

It's also meant that our 'corale' trap has come into its own. This is basically a small fenced funnel amongst the bushes surrounding a permanent pool used by breeding birds. The birds are simply herded towards the funnel and moulting adults and unfledged young can be caught in a small catching area at the end - not unlike a heligoland trap.

Over the last four days we've caught 20 young Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 4 Moorhen & a Coot in this way, as well as a few moulting adults. However late on Monday night we hit the jackpot and in terms of duck catching we got the gold in the form of a drake Garganey! Only two birds were present in the corale catching area on getting to it - a large Teal duckling (a close silver!) and the moulting drake Garganey! During the afternoon two Gadwall ducklings were also caught - definitely making it a bronze, silver & gold day - saving the best till the last!

Gadwall duckling

Drake Garganey - in eclipse

Moulting wing


Teal duckling (left), Garganey (right)

Catching these three species is really pleasing, Garganey are one of the key species in the Lower Derwent Valley NNR with usually atleast 3-4 pairs but numbers can be upto 10-15 pairs some years. The rather 'wet' conditions this year have proved attractive for this little migratory duck with upto 9 drakes and 5 females present during the breeding season. However sightings have been few and far between lately but catching this one just goes to show they can be hard to see, especially when moulting amongst the longer vegetation. 

This is the 16th Garganey to be ringed in the LDV NNR but only the second adult - the rest have been all ducklings. This site has now contributed to 3% of the 483 Garganey ever ringed in the UK (reflecting the sites importance for them) and 40% of all those ringed in the UK since 1990 when waterfowl first started on the site. The last two Garganey to be ringed in valley (and the UK) were two ducklings in 2007. One of these ducklings produced a southerly rapid post breeding dispersal (see below). Equally, British bred Teal are rarely caught and ringed in the UK, and it's always nice to add to our knowledge of them. In contrast to the other ducklings we ring on site which tend to head south, Teal post breeding dispersal tends to be to the northwest.

LDV Recoveries: Garganey (Anas querquedula)

EK82959, ringed as a 1 (duckling) on the 22.07.97 in the LDV NNR, recovered on 04.08.97 in Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-calais, France (shot), distance travelled - 391Km. 

This is an excellent recovery of a British bred duckling, about which little is known. A rapid movement southwards towards its wintering grounds was unfortunately ended by illegal hunting in France. 

Hopefully through the new colour-ringing project with the WWT many sightings will follow, helping us learn more about our British bred ducklings and where they go.

Below are the totals for July along with the year so far:
                              
                                         July               Year
 
Grey Heron 0
10
Mute Swan 3
5
Greylag Goose 1
7
Brent Goose 0
1
Shelduck 0
78
Wigeon 3
117
Teal 9
290
Mallard 43
322
Garganey 1
1
Shoveler 1
1
Pintail 0
5
Gadwall 5
9
Moorhen 8
19
Coot 1
5
Little Grebe 0
1

75
871

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