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 how we manage the NNR for both wildlife and people.

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Friday 10 May 2013

09/05/13 - Bowled over by return of 'Cricket Teal'

‘Cricket Teal’ is the old local name for Garganey of which the Lower Derwent Valley has always been regarded as somewhat of a stronghold for this beautiful migratory duck and summer visitor. This name probably comes from the strange cricket like call of the drake, often likened to the sound of an old football rattle. 

This year has so far proved to be a particularly good one for the species, and for local and visiting birders hoping to catch up with one of the individuals on the reserve. Up to six drakes and at least two females have been present throughout the site, with Bank Island, Wheldrake Ings and North Duffield Carrs being the best sites to try and see them (see our monthly sightings for more details).  

Over the years, we’ve caught and ringed 16 Garganey in the Lower Derwent Valley, which includes a moulting adult drake last year (see here). Out of the 16 ringed in the valley only one other recovery has been produced, until now.......

Whilst watching a drake at Bank Island on the 28th April this year we were most fortunate when it chose to walk out of the water onto a muddy bank, promptly showing off its colour-rings...! Nine months later and he’s back! A great record and nice to know he’s made it to southern Europe or Africa and back avoiding the guns – to our knowledge this is the first time a drake Garganey has been shown returning to a breeding site in the UK in a subsequent year. 

EX75514 ringed as a 6M (adult male) on the 30/07/12 at Wheldrake Ings, re-sighted on the 28/04/13 at Bank Island, Wheldrake.

Top photo - Teal (left) drake Garganey (right), bottom - drake Garganey (photos - Russell Slack).

Hopefully with the numbers of birds around already this year we may be able to colour-ring further birds this summer.

The only other previous recovery is listed below:

EK82959 ringed as a 1 (duckling) on the 22/07/97 at Wheldrake Ings, recovered on the 04/08/97 in Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-calais, France (shot) distance travelled 438 Km. 

This was a rapid southerly post breeding dispersal movement especially as this bird was probably a week off fledging when ringed.  

Only a handful of birds are ringed in the UK each year at best so our knowledge of UK Garganey is limited. With this in mind, the colour-ringing scheme was set up last year for this species in order to try and increase the chances of getting some information back.

With the departure of the wintering ducks and the end of the winter duck ringing season (albeit a short one!) here’s a quick review of the ringing totals....despite the poor start to the year and the limitations created by the flooding we managed to pull back a wintering sample of 224 new Mallard, 39 new and 15 re-trap/control Shelduck, 5 Wigeon, 2 Mute Swan, a Moorhen and a single Greylag (272 birds). Further to our spring post detailing the newly ringed Grey Herons we’ve made another visit to the heronry and have now colour-ringed 17 of this year’s chicks. 

The first fledged juvenile has already been seen at Wheldrake Ings so we are expecting to see some of our ringed birds starting to appear locally and hopefully any day now before they start to disperse further afield. A recent ringing recovery of one of last year’s chicks (see here) suggests a rapid post breeding dispersal. 

1297501 ringed as a 1 (chick) on the 30/04/12 in Thorganby, recovered on the 29/06/12 at Easton Moor, Guisborough, Cleveland (found dead), distance travelled 76 Km.

Hopefully the colour-rings will provide additional re-sightings to help identify their movements. 

We are now looking forward and planning for the start of the breeding season and this year’s waterfowl duckling/gosling season. As always, the ringing totals and recoveries we get are just the tip of the iceberg with lots of behind the scenes hard work preparing, moving and baiting the traps, survey work, monitoring and planning. This week the team have been carrying out a refurbishment to our corale trap in which we attempt to trap moulting adults and flightless young waterfowl. In a couple of weeks we will be hoping to round up the Greylag crèches (presently about 20 adults and 50 young) to ring a sample of them – after missing out completely in 2012 due to the flooding. This is also the main way in which we catch Shoveler and Gadwall ducklings in June and July and how we will hopefully catch some more Garganey in 2013. The first Lapwing chick was also ringed on the reserve on the 8th, hopefully 2013 will be a better year for waders after getting virtually flooded off the entire site last year.

Top - bottom: One of the many Greylag broods that have appeared on the reserve this year, photographed at Storwood on the 3rd May - The first Lapwing chick of the year ringed on site on the 8th - A Shoveler nest found tucked away in the long grass whilst working at North Duffield.

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