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.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

05/11/12 - Spring forward...die-back

Stonechats used to be a scarce bird in the Vale of York and Lower Derwent Valley area, with just a handful of records per year (if that), during the 1980's and 1990's. However there was a noticeable change in status during the last decade and by 2009/2010 Stonechats were a regular wintering bird with upto 10-15 holding winter territories in the area between late October and early March. Birds were also starting to become established as a breeding bird species within the local area.

As a result the group thought it would be interesting to undertake a colour-ringing study on these birds as the population grew - where were they coming from, where were they going and how would the population spread etc. However the first harsh winter of recent years (2010/2011) wiped out the birds with just a single record the following year, and again, following another cold winter, no records until 3 turned up on Skipwith Common last week. A couple of spring traps were baited with mealworms and only a few minutes later a superb first winter male became the first to be colour-ringed as part of this project - and only the fourth to be ringed in the area. With colour-rings so easy to see on these long legged and conspicuously perching chats we hope to get some data back. This also just goes to show how effective spring traps can be for certain bird species. 




Working at Thornton Ellers last week gave the opportunity to check on a known owl roost in a natural tree hole during a well earned lunch break - the morning had been spent ploughing through bracken.... The tree hole is a well sought after spot which has supported Barn Owls, Tawny Owls and Jackdaws as both breeding birds or winter roosting individuals. This time the inhabitant was a beautiful adult female Tawny Owl, and surprisingly it was un-ringed. How many individuals have roosted in this hole for the last 10 years or so we wonder?? The tree is an Ash, the species under the spotlight at the moment, and just goes to further reinforce how disasterous the new Ash die-back disease could be for hole nesters like these as well as a range of other wildlife.



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