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.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

09/07/17 - Little and large

Over the last two weeks we’ve started to see the first returning autumn passage waders appear in the valley, as they head south from their more northerly breeding grounds. Several Green Sandpipers (often the first to appear), have already been seen, whilst we were fortunate to come across two very confiding Little Ringed Plovers at Thornton Ellers earlier this week. These delightful little birds allowed us to approach and photograph them as they continued to feed unconcerned, seemingly oblivious to our presence. Whilst busy managing the reserve over the last few weeks, we have also been monitoring the water levels on Wheldrake Ings, trying to keep them at a low enough level in order to provide muddy margins to attract and benefit passage waders over the coming weeks – hopefully more of these charming little waders will soon follow.

It's been a great breeding season in the valley this year, with a whole host of species doing well and successfully raising young broods. One of the species which has enjoyed a productive season is our local Mute Swan population - with 10 pairs raising a total of 61 cygnets, including a bumper brood of eight at North Duffield Carrs. Catching and colour-ringing the young (as part of our long term project), will take place during late July/August – a task our volunteers are already looking forward to! The brood of three pictured below, were seen on Wheldrake Ings last week - they’re just a bit too small to ring at the moment (but growing quickly!).

Monday, 10 July 2017

07/07/17 - Blue, blue, electric blue

Last week whilst busy managing water levels at Wheldrake Ings, we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to rescue this stunning Kingfisher. It appeared that the bird might have been lured into the chamber of the penstock (the water control structure), in search of fish, and seemed unable to find its way back out. Upon realising the unfortunate predicament and seeing it fly round in circles exhausting itself, occasionally dropping into the water, we knew we needed to act fast. Fortunately we acquired a net fairly quickly and managed reached down, soon bringing it out safely. Once out the bird seemed none the worse for its ordeal, and after a few quick photographs flew off at lightning speed, gone within the blink of an eye, which is the usual view as they zip past! What a truly beautiful bird, and a great feeling to see it fly off.


Friday, 7 July 2017

03/07/17 - Tern update

Instant success! We are pleased to be able to say that our new tern raft that was installed on the pool at Wheldrake Ings in early May, currently has a pair of Common Terns with two chicks. Many thanks to everyone involved in the kind donation, purchase and installation of the rafts, especially the team from Green Future Building, for the brilliant design with the high transparent sides – thus keeping it otter and mink proof. Upon news of the two chicks, we waded out to the raft the next day with a ‘shelter’ – a wooden structure that the chicks can hide under from predatory crows, the heat from the sun, or the heavy rain like that of recent days.

Common Terns appear on spring passage most years, and in recent years have bred on adjacent sites including Elvington Water Treatment works, Allerthorpe Lakeland Park, Raker Lakes and at the University of York Campus. However, this will represent the first successful breeding on the reserve, and will hopefully be the start of an increasing population, which is great news for the terns, as well for our visitors that are able enjoy them.