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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

03/02/17 - New year, new tasks

This month our eager team of volunteers (or at least those who weren’t suffering with the dreaded lurgy), came in for the first tasks of the year, with plenty of variety to be had. Firstly our team were busy taking out the damaged fence line at Bank Island, and then helping to put the new one in place, which involved digging in the straining posts and then using the post knocker to secure the wooden stakes in-between. Mesh was then added followed by a top line of barbed wire – all being well this should keep the cows in place come spring. 

The following week the stormy weather that whipped up the North Sea causing flooding along the East Coast also blew down our bird feeding station at Bank Island – snapping the two main posts clean off at the base resulting in the frame and feeders ending up in the pond. Since our feeding station was built in 2012, the site has been a hive of activity and is now reliable for Marsh Tit, Tree Sparrows, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Bullfinch. With the colder weather approaching again at the weekend we’d hoped to get it up and running again soon, and so our team kept busy the following week digging in two new uprights and attaching the top beam, before adding the lower beam and feeders. The height of the hedge was also lowered within the vicinity of the feeding station to provide better viewing and photographic opportunities from the car park. After lunch the team then helped make a start on next season’s logs with some chopping, splitting and stacking – thanks to everyone who has placed and received their orders and have helped the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley raise money to further our work in the area at the same time. We still have some seasoned logs in stock so let us know if you need an order – we are looking to clear out our wood shed soon in order to refill with next winter’s supply.

Despite the freezing fog that blanketed the valley last week the team were out and about again covering a range of tasks, starting with trying to keep warm sawing, splitting and stacking more of next season’s batch of logs. After delivering more of our ready to burn seasoned timber to local residents, the team headed along the floodbank of the River Derwent erecting signs. These signs are to remind people that the majority of the Ings themselves have no public rights of way and that walking in these areas, especially with dogs, can cause considerable disturbance to the vast flocks of wintering waterfowl. Which, particularly in the present conditions, need to spend as much undisturbed time feeding up as possible. However whilst protecting the wildlife from disturbance we are obviously also keen that local people and visitors can enjoy the area, which can be done from the hides provided. Several of the team were also hard at work on Skipwith Common NNR, controlling birch and pine scrub, so a productive day all round.

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