Over the last couple of weeks we have also seen the first of our ‘resident’ Whooper Swans arrive back in the valley. Numbers slowly built up with 25 by the end of October, and up to 41 over recent days, with the herd returning to their favoured fields at the north end of North Duffield Carrs. Birds have also been seen visiting the pool at Wheldrake Ings where local birder, Duncan Bye, managed to see and photograph a colour-ringed bird ‘G5F’. This bird, an adult male, was caught and ringed at North Duffield Carrs in our last cannon net catch on the 28th November 2013, as part of a partnership project with the WWT. After the catch G5F remained with us throughout the winter, however the following year he didn’t return here, choosing to winter in the Lothian area of Scotland instead, and again possibly in 2015 as he was re-sighted at Caerlaverock WWT reserve, Dumfries on the 5th March 2016. It’s great to see him back in the LDV this winter, and hopefully he’ll be the first of a few colour-ringed birds to arrive over the coming weeks as the herd builds up to the usual number of 100+ individuals. If you’re visiting the reserve please let us know of any colour-ringed birds you come across thank you.
Following a relatively dry summer and autumn so far (which has provided great conditions for the team to catch up on all the land management jobs around the valley), the heavy rain on the coast and moors last weekend caused the River Derwent to rise and start some localised flooding. So it’s been a race against time this last week to finish the flailing on Bank Island as the first water of the autumn poured over the ditches and onto the site – fortunately we managed to finish it just in the nick of time on Tuesday, as by Wednesday morning the newly cut areas were all under water. The site now looks great and is set to attract both wintering wildfowl and waders over the coming weeks and months – over 1000 Wigeon were present this morning.