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 resume over the winter months, and will run alongside wildlife and work posts.

Friday, 28 November 2014

25/11/14 - Redpoll recoveries

Whilst working at Thornton Ellers recently cutting back the bracken, strimming paths and raking the last of the hay from the meadow, we put a single mist up amongst the bracken and brambles with the hope of catching a few Lesser Redpoll.

Redpolls are charming little birds, it’s always a delight to see and hear them with their lively ‘twittering’ calls. With the little patch of red on their forehead, and their rosy pink breast (males in particular) they are stunning and really stand out on a bleak winter day. Winter is the best time of year to see them after the trees have lost their leaves, look out for them hanging upside down on slender twigs in birch and alder trees – nimbly feeding on the seeds. Redpolls are lively and sociable and travel in flocks often with Siskin and Goldfinch in early spring, sometimes flocks will explode ‘en-masse’ for no obvious reason and fly high calling loudly – their call has been known by some to resemble loose chain jingling in a pocket.

During the 1970’s there was a population boom across the country, perhaps relating to the establishment of pioneer and young woodland, and conifer plantations following post war afforestation - mirroring their preference for small seeds, especially birch. However since then their breeding range has decreased dramatically, possibly linked to the maturing of these woodlands beyond the scrubby birch thicket stage, thus resulting in them now being more known as a welcome winter visitor to gardens and woodlands. Unfortunately due to the population decreasing significantly over recent decades, they are now a species of conservation concern and can be found on the IUCN Red List.

Our British redpolls are largely residents but large numbers migrate and birds from further north move southwards for the winter and have been known to reach the Netherlands, France & Italy. Dave has been catching redpolls over the last month on Skipwith Common (another good site to find birds in the autumn/winter), and over the last few years he has caught several birds that had been ringed in the Netherlands, Belgium and elsewhere in the UK (Suffolk, Gibraltar Point & Nottinghamshire). A few local examples are listed below:

AT37328 - Ringed as a first-year male on the 27/03/12 in Spinnekoppenvlak, Kennemerduinen, The Netherlands, re-caught on the 26/10/12 on Skipwith Common NNR (406Km).

12481523 - Ringed as an adult male on the 05/04/12 in Thirimont, Beaumont, Belgium, re-caught on the 04/11/12 at Allerthorpe, Pocklington (533Km).

We've also had one of our birds that was ringed at Thornton Ellers re-caught on another NNR - Humberhead Peatlands near Doncaster. Details below:

Y311936 - Ringed on the 30/10/11 on Skipwith Common NNR, re-caught on the 02/11/12 on Hatfield Moors, Doncaster (40Km).


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