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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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

22/06/15 - Goose round-up

At the beginning of June our team of staff and volunteers undertook the annual goose round-up at Wheldrake Ings. With a big team needed and a dawn start, we were grateful that our volunteers were willing to come in early, with the only promise being of getting wet and muddy with hopefully a few birds caught along the way! At this time of year the young geese are unable to fly and many of the adults are also flightless, with their feathers currently in moult, this means that we are able to herd the birds across the site and onto the pool before trying to head them in the direction of the corale – a small pen where they are ringed. Doing a yearly goose round-up allows us to ring a good sample of the local population each summer, and helps us to monitor their movements and see how local breeding birds interact with the 2000+ wintering birds that visit the site between November and March.

A reasonably successful catch saw a total of 35 birds caught and ringed – 32 goslings and 3 adults, whilst we also re-caught another adult from the 2013 round-up. The following day a further nine were picked up in the meadows, which brings us to a total of 44 birds out of the 60 goslings and 20 adults present.

A total of 777 Greylag Geese have now been ringed in the Lower Derwent Valley NNR – which have produced a number of recoveries and movements over the years, with birds ranging across Yorkshire. From the recoveries we’ve noticed that birds seem to move east into East Yorkshire and Holderness whilst many others also seem to head north-west, particularly into the Ripon and Harrogate areas. Several have also been recorded in Scotland with birds seen at Loch Leven and Caerlaverock. 

Following the goose round-up, we then headed to the pool to ring and release the first of Jean's birds that were ready to go back into the wild. Several weeks ago we posted about a lucky Mallard duckling which, unlike its mother and siblings, survived a motorist in a rush and ended up in Jean’s care as a little orphan. 

Since then it has been joined at Jean’s by 30 other orphaned, lost or abandoned ducklings and goslings. After several weeks in Jean's care, a group of 15 Mallards and 3 Greylags were ready to be ringed and released on the reserve, with them now being large enough to fend for themselves.

It’s always such a pleasure to see them paddle away, excited to be back in the wild. We watched as they began tentatively exploring, and enjoyed bathing and splashing in the water with much excited calling. Within minutes of release they looked and acted just like any other of the naturally reared broods on the reserve – and we know from ringing them that they generally go on to survive as you would expect from naturally reared broods. So well done again to Jean – another great job. 

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