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)

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

15/04/17 - Snakes in the grass

Last week ahead of the busy Easter weekend our fantastic team of volunteers, working alongside the staff team, have been undertaking a range of tasks around the reserve to get it into tip top condition. Last week the team were busy cutting our network of footpaths around the reserve with the allen scythe, before trimming up the paths with strimmers. The hides were also cleaned and tidied, the notice boards updated and the car parks litter picked. This week our volunteers have been busy once again, helping us in the reserve bee and butterfly garden, by weeding, pruning and planting up with additional nectar rich species. In the morning we also managed to spend a few hours helping out our YWT partners, by tidying up some of the post and wire fencing through the reed bed near Swantail Hide – making it better for visitors to access but also to help protect the reed bed itself. At the end of another productive day a quick look was then had in the meadow to admire the newly emerged Snake’s-head Fritillaries. Many thanks to everyone involved in helping making the valley such a great place to visit.

As well as spotting the Common Frogs, spawn and Smooth Newts present in the base pond, we also came across this Common Toad, tucked away under one of our logs piles. At this time of year, some of our toads may still be travelling to ponds in order to spawn, as they often mate a couple of weeks later than frogs. Their spawn can be easily identified as toad spawn, as it appears laid down in long double strings rather than a mass like that of the Common Frog. After spawning the toads will then disperse away from the ponds and seek out dark, damp and sheltered spots to spend the summer, whilst feeding on a range of insects and slugs. Toads and frogs can do a great job of helping gardeners keep on top of troublesome slug populations – providing a small pond, compost heap and log pile is a great way to encourage them.

Not only have our team being doing a great job at Bank Island, they've also been hard at work carrying out a spring clean at our visitor facilities at North Duffield Carrs, ahead of what will hopefully be another active spring season and a popular visitor time. As well as litter picking the car parks, painting the hides, strimming and spraying the paths, the team also helped repair the boardwalk, replacing a small section which had collapsed due to the constant wetting and drying out over the last few years. Hopefully all this hard work will add to our visitor’s enjoyment when visiting the reserve over the next few months, many thanks as always to our team for another productive day.

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