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 we how manage the NNR for both wildlife and people.

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Friday, 13 February 2015

11/02/15 - The return of old 'friends'

Last month whilst undertaking the January WeBS count we mentioned that we’d come across five of our darvic’d Shelduck from previous years. These birds were stood with 130 others on the ice, thus providing a great opportunity to scan all their legs for rings. 

We’ve since gone back through the data and have some very pleasing records from these birds – ‘BV’ & ‘BC’ were both ringed in February 2000, and were already at least two years old then making them now at least 17! We last saw ‘BV’ at North Duffield in 2005 and ‘BC’ in 2006 and 2008. How fantastic that they have both returned this year! ‘KV’ & ‘SH’ were also seen with them, these two birds were initially ringed in March 2006 and have since been seen on the reserve in 2007, 2011 & 2012. The last of the five birds ‘UH’, was ringed just a few years ago in 2011 and this is the first known appearance back in the valley. Five other metal ringed only birds were also present – again showing the value of colour-ringing.


The Shelduck colour-ringing project was started in 2000 by Natural England, the Huddleston and Jackson Ringing Partnership and the WWT. This was partly in response to falling numbers ringed nationally and also in an attempt to find out about the large inland breeding ‘colony’ that the valley supports. Over 474 have been ringed on the reserve, of which 350 have had darvic’s fitted – a single black plastic ring on the left leg with two white engraved letters on, which can be read with a telescope at up to 100m - this has increased the number of sightings we’ve had back from our ringed Shelduck. Please keep an eye out for any ringed birds and note any sightings in the hide log book.


It’s not just Shelduck that we’ve been fortunate enough to spot recently with rings on, last month we also managed to pick out five darvic’d Whooper Swans at North Duffield during the WeBS. It was pleasing to come across ‘C3S’, a bird that was ringed in 2007 at North Duffield which since then has wintered each year in the valley, and ‘Z5T’ – initially ringed at Caerlaverock WWT in 2010 and was last seen in the valley last winter. Also present were ‘G5F’, ‘G5J’ & ‘G5Z’ – all ringed in 2013, earlier in the winter ‘G5K’ arrived at Duffield and we heard from our friends at the WWT that ‘G5X’ was with them at Martin Mere. Out of the 12 birds that were ringed during the 2013 catch we have now had data back on 6 of them - makes it all worthwhile!

Staff, volunteers and local birdwatchers have been reading colour-rings from Whooper and Bewick's Swans seen in the valley since the mid 1980's, which has helped increase our knowledge about how the birds use the valley and has also contributed to the national project run by the WWT. For the last ten years, since 2004, we have been working alongside our partners at the WWT to catch and colour-ring Whoopers in the valley as part of this wider research. This has involved several whoosh net and more recently, cannon net catches - the latter being the first time this method had been used to catch Whooper Swans in the UK. Unfortunately this year, largely due to the weather and the birds frequenting an inaccessible area we were unable to get a catch, but hopefully we’ll have better luck at the end of the year when the birds return once more for the winter.


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