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.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

10/11/12 - Return to Forge

Last week saw us back at Forge Valley NNR - which is looking lovely at the moment with all the autumnal colours, sure to brighten up any dull day. We had quite a few jobs to fit into our short time here - to begin with we cleared a few crowded areas through coppicing. This is to increase the light reaching the woodland floor with the hope of increasing the diversity of plant life. Surveys were also carried out for Ash die-back and areas were strimmed which we hope will provide good habitat next year for Brown Argus, which tend to favour the calcareous grassland and particularly the larval food plant rockrose. The Duke of Edinburgh guys were also with us for a few days, working hard on a new boardwalk near Green Gate carpark.

Whilst here we took the opportunity to ring during our lunch break, and in just over one hour we managed a catch of 82 birds (66 new). This is the first session to be carried out here since March when we did a couple of demos for the D of E group. It's obviously good to get a sample of woodland birds (which appear to be declining quickly), and it's good to know that there is such a healthy population of Marsh Tits (8 were caught), and for us to have a marked sample to monitor. Out of the catch we also had 6 Nuthatch, 3 new birds and 3 re-traps - one ring we didn't recognise and the other two were from last year. It was interesting to catch so many Nuthatch, and to be able to see the differences in the sexes, which if you've only got one bird to look at isn't that easy if you've not ringed many. The photographs below really show the difference between the sexes, with the male being far more of a rusty colour (top & bottom right), compared with the female (bottom left) which is more of a pale buff colour (on the under tail coverts). 

The birds came thick and fast, and with more time we could have had a far bigger catch but work was calling and so we swopped the ringing pliers for a slightly bigger tool and cracked on. Whilst strimming the grassland we spotted a single Peacock butterfly which must have emerged following the mild weather of the last few days. On Skipwith Common last week we also had two records of Small Tortoiseshells that were still on the wing, good to keep the records going, and on that note can we just say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the butterfly data this year in the valley - between the LDV staff, volunteers, local birders and members of the public we have collected a brilliant 1302 records! Which is really good considering the wet weather for prolonged periods of time, and gives us an idea on which areas in the valley are good for certain species and which can be improved. Last year the base garden was transformed into what we hoped would be a good habitat for butterflies and this year it produced 641 records. So a BIG thank you to all involved. Below is a selection of photographs taken around the base garden this summer - roll on next year!

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