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.

For daily sightings please visit our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/ldv_nnr (@LDV_NNR)

For details of events, volunteer tasks and wildlife images please visit our Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/Lower-Derwent-Valley-Skipwith-Common-NNR

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

10/04/17 - Recent work on the NNR

Since the end of last year our team of staff and volunteers have been hard at work on Skipwith Common NNR, helping to improve this internationally important wet and dry lowland heath. Young Silver Birch and Scots Pine have been removed across the site to help maintain the open landscapes of the Common, whilst helping the grazing livestock keep the ever present regenerating scrub in check. The cut brash has been left in small piles to benefit invertebrates, reptiles and ground nesting birds which are found on the site, whilst the larger scrub has been coppiced from small scattered areas to help maintain a diversity of size and structure. We’ve also been busy spraying the invasive and non-native Pirri-pirri Bur which can swamp out the native vegetation, and cause welfare issues for the Hebridean Sheep and dogs. If walking your dog on the Common please try and limit exposure to this species, and help by not further spreading the burs by keeping your dog on a lead and on the way marked paths and roads, thank you.

The team have also been busy elsewhere on the Common, helping to construct new fencing along one side of the newly cleaned out Pillwort pond, which will hopefully help reduce the number of dogs entering the water. With such a sterling effort the team had finished the task by early afternoon, meaning that they could then join up with Reserve Manager Fallon Mahon, who was working nearby with a team of staff from Defra on one of their volunteering days. Whilst we’d been busy fencing, they’d been busy making habitat piles and dead hedging from recently cut birch scrub - so a productive day all round! Many thanks to everyone involved, and for braving the barmy spring weather, working in a mixture of warm sunshine, cold winds, driving rain and snow flurries! 

As well as lending a helping hand in the valley, our band our volunteers are also happy to hit the road. Following on from travelling to Drewton Pits earlier in the year, last month our team joined us for a few days work at Pilmoor near Easingwold in the Vale of York. Pilmoor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated for its extent and quality of fen vegetation. The site also clearly demonstrates the sequence of habitats in relation to wetness, with succession from open water to fen, and wet heath to woodland. Our team have been helping out over the last three years to clear areas of invasive Rhododendron, by chopping down and strimming some of the larger growth, hand pulling some of the seedlings and treating stumps with chemical. Hopefully this will help to maintain and restore some of the wet heath communities. As well as getting stuck in with the practical work we were also able to enjoy the fruits of our earlier labours – a lot less Rhododendron and some nice developing patches of heather and other plant communities on what used to be bare ground. Many thanks to everyone for their hard work and helping restore some of these valuable habitats.

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