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.

Monday, 21 September 2015

18/09/15 - Down but not out

As the first of the autumns Teal start to return to the valley, and the first evening flights of Mallard and Greylag Geese start to occur, it seems a suitable time to recap on this summer’s duck breeding season. Unfortunately, it’s not been a particularly good summer for ducks, perhaps due to the water coming off the Ings rather quickly during the spring, and the relatively dry conditions that persisted for much of the summer thereafter. The number of duck broods seen was well down on last year, which has been reflected in the numbers caught and ringed – with no Shoveler or Gadwall broods caught this year. The Lower Derwent Valley is one of the few places where British bred ducklings are caught and ringed, so this year’s rather disappointing result will affect the national data totals. That said, with natural variations in weather and seasons, something always tends to fair well on the Ings, and this year it has been the drier hay meadow communities that have flourished, and breeding snipe have done well. Hopefully we’ll go on now to have a good winters duck ringing and will look forward to the appearance of more ducklings in 2016. 

Mallard duckling - Bank Island
 Shoveler ducklings - Wheldrake Ings
 Tufted Duck duckling - North Duffield

We have also just received news from our friends at the WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust), concerning one of the Gadwall ducklings we ringed on the reserve in 2014. In contrast to this year, 2014 was a bumper season with an impressive 92 pairs of Gadwall present throughout the reserve – over 200 ducklings were reared and an impressive 41 were caught. This represents the best year’s ringing totals we’ve managed and with 2014’s national ringing totals having just been published, the Lower Derwent Valley accounted for 65% of all the Gadwall ringed in the country during the year. This duckling, FH65612 was ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st July 2014, and was reported just two weeks ago on the 1st September 2015 at Ballyronan, Lough Neagh, Ireland. This is our fourth Gadwall duckling moving west into Ireland and our third to Lough Neagh. Thanks to our staff and volunteers for all the extra time and hours they put in to catch ducklings during the summer months – often involving getting wet, muddy and plagued by horseflies!

 Gadwall - North Duffield Carrs

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