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, 3 January 2018

22/12/17 - Sightings/Access

Whilst working at North Duffield Carrs recently we came across this family of Mute Swans on the River Derwent, two adults and eight cygnets – presumably the pair that reared the large brood at the ‘top pond’ over the summer. When the river floods the swans often move between the pond which can be prone to freezing over in prolonged cold spells and the open, unfrozen water of the River Derwent. After rearing cygnets over the summer some pairs chase off their young from the breeding territory once they’re old enough to look after themselves. However this pair appear a bit more relaxed and often allow the young to remain until early February, although come spring, when the male’s thoughts turn to breeding, he’ll start to ‘chase away’ the young – if they refuse to leave things can certainly get a bit aggressive!

Along with the Mute Swan family, this beautiful Pied Wagtail also caught our eye, as it scampered across the ice in search of food. Often when the valley floods numbers of wagtails seemingly increases as birds are concentrated and take advantage of suitable feeding opportunities - recently whilst working on Wheldrake Ings we noticed a group of c40 feeding on insects along the water’s edge. However you don’t have to visit the NNR to enjoy these birds – if you were Christmas shopping in York you may have seen the large wagtail roost in the trees in Parliament Street – several hundred roost there each year above the Christmas Market – lighting up the trees like little baubles!


When visiting the reserve please be aware of the new wintering bird signs that can be found along the floodbank from Bubwith to East Cottingwith, and at North Duffield Carrs/Ings, indicating the end of public rights of way and where access is not permissible. With thousands of wintering duck presently concentrated on the river, birdwatchers, walkers and dogs present on the flood banks have recently been causing considerable disturbance throughout the day, regularly flushing the birds and stopping them from feeding. Please refrain from accessing the site beyond these signs and enjoy the fantastic spectacle the valley has to offer from the various hides around the reserve.

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