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, 11 October 2017

09/10/17 - Beardies & Greys

At the weekend two Bearded Tits were seen going into roost at Wheldrake Ings – the first sighting there this autumn. Bearded Tits are resident in the UK throughout the year and disperse from their breeding sites during the autumn, sometimes undertaking regular ‘eruptions’ - these are marked by flocks of birds rising out of their breeding reed beds and taking high, towering flights with lots of excited calling, small groups then peel off and disperse. It is these birds that can turn up at this time of year away from their usual haunts, making it a good time to look out for them in suitable habitat within our area. Over the next month areas with reed beds or reed fringes are worth checking for these amazing little birds, often noticed first by their distinctive ‘pinging’ calls, the small reed beds at Wheldrake Ings have been a local ‘hotspot’ in previous years. Many thanks to local birder Duncan Bye for sending in his super photograph of a stunning male taken at Wheldrake Ings this time last year.

It has also been pleasing to see an increase in the numbers of Grey Partridge around the valley this year, last month two large groups (coveys) were recorded, with 19 present at Melbourne Ings on the 10th and a covey of eight (presumably a family party), on Bubwith Ings on the 16th. Sadly Grey Partridge have undergone a dramatic decline in the UK over the last 30 years, in line with many other farmland bird species. Changing land management practices, intensification and speed of management operations have perhaps contributed to such declines, and possibly the competition from the vast numbers of Red-legged Partridges that are released each year for shooting. Small numbers of Greys remain around the LDV with pockets of populations in Thornton, Thorganby, Storwood and North Duffield - the recent increase in sightings is a welcome change of fortune for the species locally.

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