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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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

08/02/16 - Bonxie

With the vast expanse of water in the valley at the moment, combined with the recent high winds whipping up waves, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Ings for the North Sea. However, a bird which is more at home on the coast – a Great Skua – turned up unexpectedly at Wheldrake Ings on Thursday morning, and was still present over the weekend. Birdwatchers in the UK will be more familiar with this species as it migrates passed our shores in late summer and early autumn.

Great Skua’s are rarely found inland, instead we would expect to see them at sea, often harassing other sea birds to try and get them to disgorge or drop their food in order steal a free meal. They will challenge birds as large as a Gannet and predate on small birds like Puffins – this aggressive behaviour has given them the nickname the pirate of the skies, however regular birdwatchers will also know them more fondly as a ‘bonxie’. They also show little fear of humans and will dive-bomb anyone who may dare to approach their nest site. This is the fourth individual to have been recorded in the LDV – the present bird may have been driven inland or across country by the recent gales and storm ‘Henry’ that we have been experiencing lately. Many thanks to local birder Trevor Walton for dropping into the NNR office to notify us about the skua, and also for sending us the images below. 

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