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 hopefully resume over the winter months, and will run alongside wildlife and work posts.

Friday, 6 May 2016

02/05/16 - Owls & local breeding birds

Over the last few weeks we have been starting to see and hear about a lot more Barn Owls around the valley and wider area, which is great news following last year’s dismal breeding season. Hopefully after a year off last summer and a relatively mild winter, these sightings are now a reflection of more positive things to come this year. In comparison to last year when it was suggested that the owls were hunting during the day and struggling to find food, these recent records don’t appear to be in response to a significant food storage. The bird pictured here was photographed hunting successfully by local wildlife photographer Terry Weston, making four successful catches during his observations. Many thanks to Terry for sharing his wonderful photographs.



Whilst out and about Terry also managed to capture the following two images, the first being of one of our breeding pairs of Mute Swans at North Duffield Carrs. The ongoing and extensive floodwater that continues to linger throughout the valley initially delayed the onset of breeding for our resident swans, however the first eggs were spotted at North Duffield Carrs on the 18th April, with the first completed clutch of five having been laid by the 26th. Once all the eggs have been laid the female starts incubating to ensure that they will all hatch at the same time – approximately 35-40 days from the last egg being laid. If all goes to plan and hatching is successful, we’ll hopefully see the appearance of this year’s cygnets towards the end of May. 

 

The lingering floodwater in the valley may have created an unwelcome impact on both the meadows and breeding wader populations, however some species are clearly benefiting from the ongoing conditions - Coot being one of them. Numbers of Coot usually build up from December through to late March, birds will then move through the site on spring passage from sites further south in the UK. However, with conditions as they are many of the birds have remained - last week our NNR staff counted 635 birds - including 104 incubating nests. With Coots laying a large number of eggs (typically 8-11) it could be a bumper breeding season for them. Many thanks to Terry for another stunning image, taken recently at North Duffield Carrs.


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