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, 9 March 2016

07/03/16 - Making progress

Over the last two weeks we’ve been able to make a start on the flood repairs at North Duffield now that the water has started to recede, and with extra (and much needed) help from Nick, Sandra & Jackie from the Filey Conservation Volunteers, on our first visit we were able to make good progress cleaning the hide, re-attaching the windows that had been forced out by the pressure of the water, removing the old noticeboards and fitting new ones. We also started to wheelbarrow some of the gravel from the car park down to the sections of the path that were ripped apart during the flooding, the wooden boards and stakes had been forced out of the ground and the substrate washed away leaving large holes in the path. 

Whilst busy working on the damaged path, we came across this Common Toad whilst moving some of the soil and vegetation. Following its rude awakening from hibernation, it settled on the heap of soil, looking rather sleepy having just been disturbed. To make sure it didn’t come into contact again with one of our spades we tucked it into the long grass on the other side of the fence. During the spring toads emerge from hibernation and return to the same ponds to breed. Following the breeding season they will then move away from the water bodies and will spend their time in wet grassland, woodland and other damp areas, by October they will then start to look for a cosy spot to hibernate in for another winter. Frogs and toads although similar can be separated quite easily, in comparison to the smooth skin of the Common Frog, toads have a warty skin and tend to walk rather than hop, and have a much broader ‘snout’. Frogs are a much more common sight in the valleys meadows, particularly at Thornton Ellers where we seem to come across a lot during the late summer months.

Following on from our initial visit, Nick, Sandra & Jackie were back for more of the same last week with a sterling effort on Tuesday and Wednesday helping us repair the damaged path. Many trips were had with the wheelbarrows moving the gravel from the car park to the path, along with raking away the flood debris before laying new textile membrane and filling the gaps in with the new substrate. New fencing posts were also hammered in to reinforce the wooden boards which make up the edge of the path – these will hopefully prevent the path from giving way next year if we experience another bad flood. The new windows are to be fitted in the hide next week once the glass arrives and the rest of the path will take another week(s) to finish off – it is however usable now. 

The flood water remains high, resting just below the base of the hide – but there is plenty to see with a flock of 41 Curlew noted (along with several territorial birds singing overhead). Up to 100 Tufted Ducks have moved onto this part of the reserve in recent days and small numbers of Coot are now back on territory. As the water continues to fall increasing numbers of Wigeon and Teal should start to return to this part of the reserve, but if the high levels persist then it could be good for Black-necked Grebes towards the end of next month. Many thanks to the team for their efforts this week – and in all types of weather – from warm sunshine to chilly northerly winds and heavy snow!

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