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, 24 April 2013

24/04/13 - The return of the Whimbrel

It's been a slow spring for returning migrants with many birdwatchers commenting on the late arrival up and down the country. Only an odd Chiffchaff made an appearance before the start of April and it's only been since the 12th that birds started to trickle in. However despite the lateness of many of our migrants the Whimbrel have appeared again pretty much right on time, and this again reflects just how much they appear to be creatures of habit being so specific in what they do and when they do it.

It was great to hear from Peter (at Saltfleetby and Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR) on the 19th to say that he'd had five Whimbrel fly over. Before heading south last year Peter and Janet spent many a day around the Storwood area counting Whimbrel as they arrived back and checking for colour rings in the field as part of the LDV project.

The first returning bird was heard calling over Wheldrake on the 17th (JW), with 9 then seen at Storwood on the 20th (DB), followed by 19 on the 21st (OM/CG). By Monday 22nd numbers had built to 29 (CR/CG), and upto 32 were present yesterday (AW).

The first colour-ringed birds were seen on Sunday 21st - a day later than last years arrival on the 20th. Ollie managed to read off some colour-rings with Yellow/Yellow - Yellow being the first c/r arrival - interestingly a bird that wasn't seen last year! It was initially ringed in 2009 and hasn't been seen since until it landed back in the favoured fields at the weekend. Towards the end of the day on Monday the count had reached atleast 29 birds, including another 6 colour-ringed individuals - two of which were ringed eight years ago in the spring of 2005! 

To allow us to be able to trace an individual bird three colours above the knee are needed to be seen - one on the right leg and two on the left, example below (don't get confused if you see a third ring on the left leg below the knee - each bird has an orange colour marker for the valley), an example below is a bird from 2005.

 
Below is a snippet of the history of each bird that has arrived back in the valley so far this year:

Whimbrel: Yellow/Yellow - Yellow

2009 - Ringed on the 22nd April
2013 - Sighted on the 21st April and again on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: Lime/White - Lime

2005 - Ringed on the 25th April, sighted regularly until the 7th May
2006 - Sighted on the 2nd May
2007 - Sighted on the 6th May
2009 - Sighted on the 25th April
2012 - Sighted on the 6th May
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: White/Lime - Lime

2005 - Ringed on the 8th May, seen again on the 9th and 10th May
2006 - Sighted on the 28th April, seen again several times until the 3rd May
2007 - Sighted on the 2nd May
2010 - Sighted on the 30th April
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: Red/Red - Red

2008 - Ringed on the 25th April, followed by regular sightings until the 2nd May
2012 - Sighted on the 24th April followed by regular sightings until the 3rd May
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: Orange/Orange - Red

2008 - Ringed on the 25th April
2009 - Sighted on the 24th April
2011 - Sighted on the 25th April
2012 - Sighted on the 28th April
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: Lime/Yellow - Yellow

2009 - Ringed on the 29th April
2010 - Re-caught on the 26th April
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

Whimbrel: White/Lime - Pink

2010 - Ringed on the 26th April
2012 - Sighted on the 1st May
2013 - Sighted on the 22nd April

We're hoping for a better and drier roost period this year following last years disasterous flooding (photos below - Bank Island, Wheldrake and North Duffield) which made tracking, counting and catching Whimbrel extremely difficult and on the verge of impossible. This year water levels appear to be more stable and typical for the time of year so hopefully the roost will progress well to its peak of 100-150 birds during the last day or so in April and the first few days of May.
 




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mention. Been a good week here for Whimbrel feeding on the saltmarsh of Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR generally in small groups of birds. Had 17 on the 22nd and 37 this afternoon (26th). I look for colour rings but nothing yet!
    Peter

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