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, 12 September 2013


Just a quick summary of how the month has un-folded (or for a full breakdown of all species recorded click here). The dry conditions remained into August allowing the continued recovery of the site following last year’s flooding. Increasing numbers of sheep and cattle were present in the meadows, grazing the re-growth and hopefully helping to keep the coarser grasses, sedges and rushes in check, as well as producing good swards for the returning wintering waterfowl. The first such returning waterfowl included a build up of up to 145 Teal by the end of the month, and the first five returning Wigeon arrived back at Wheldrake Ings on the 24th. A Goosander on 14th represented an unusual mid-summer record.

View from Pool Hide, Wheldrake Ings

Large numbers of Grey Herons were feeding on the pool at Wheldrake Ings throughout the month, attracting the company of up to two Little Egrets and yet another Great White Egret (the third of the year and the sixth for the reserve). It proved a popular attraction for local birders, drawing a steady crowd of early morning admirers during its visits to the pool between the 14th-22nd and again on the 26th/27th. The resulting increased observations over this period produced some good coverage during the wader passage which was largely concentrated to the same site given the lack of water elsewhere. Green Sandpipers were, as to be expected, the commonest wader with up to 14 birds present in the valley, but a noticeable and concentrated passage of Common Sandpipers brought at least 12 into the valley from the 25th-28th. A flyover Grey Plover at North Duffield on the 24th was a good autumn record, whilst small numbers of Golden Plover started moving from the 25th - rather more typical. 

Great White Egret - Wheldrake - Robert Dawson

Up to four Marsh Harriers were present in the valley most days, with regular sightings of Hobby's around the site. The first returning Osprey of the autumn passed over Wheldrake and Bank Island on the 19th.  A single passage Tree Pipit was at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th, a late Cuckoo was on Skipwith Common on the 22nd, and a Wood Warbler with a mixed warbler and tit flock was at Wheldrake on the 24th. 

2013 is proving to be a real bumper year for butterflies, and August continued this welcome upturn in numbers. One of the highlights was a small yet obvious influx of Painted Ladys (from the 22nd) and yet another three Marbled Whites (1st, 3rd and 19th) making 2013 a record breaking year. It was however the sheer number of common species appearing in and around the NNR Base Garden at Bank Island throughout that stole the show with large numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Whites. On the reserve itself large stands of flowering Purple Loosestrife attracted high numbers of Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells early in the month, this being eclipsed by the huge numbers attracted later in the month to the flowering Corn and Water Mint. These areas attracted counts of 251 Peacocks and 725 Small Tortoiseshells on the 27th. 

Peacocks & Small Tortoiseshells out in force - Wheldrake

For the full breakdown of the main wildlife species recorded throughout the month go to the August tab on the homepage, which includes the birds, mammals, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, reptiles and plants recorded. Many thanks again to those who have contributed records throughout August and sent photographs.

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