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.

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Friday, 23 March 2018

15/03/18 - Cold snap

Recently there has been a noticeable increase in Bullfinch around the NNR, with several sizable flocks reported lately including 39 in the Wheldrake/Bank Island area. Several pairs were present in the car park area scrub last week, feeding in trees and bushes above the floodwaters. The valley is always a good place to see these delightful little birds, with strongholds at Wheldrake Ings and Thornton Ellers where the species favours young Willow Carr, taking advantage of both feeding on the buds, the abundant and varied seeds available and the vast insect life that makes up some of the diet when feeding young. Local birder Terry Weston snapped this stunning male feeding on buds and eating snow last week at Hassacarr Nature Reserve, not far from the NNR, in Dunnington – always a treat.

The recent cold snap, which saw temperatures plummet to below zero, coupled with several days of heavy snow, brought with it an influx of thrushes, in particular Fieldfares, along with smaller numbers of Redwing, Blackbird and Mistle Thrushes into the valley and local gardens. Also on the move were steady numbers of Snipe (including a few Jack’s), which arrived into or moved around the valley – whether these are birds on the move more widely, or birds being forced out of smaller, now frozen sites, or a combination, who knows. Large numbers of these Snipe were noted frequenting the very edge of the River Derwent where a few inches of unfrozen ground remained in which to probe. Elsewhere birds were turning up in all sorts of strange places – sat in the snow in the reserve base garden, on the frozen Ings, and in arable fields, whilst one individual was seen walking along the roadside kerb in Thorganby village – taking advantage of the treated roads and melt water by the kerb. Fieldfares and other thrushes were also doing the same in various places around the valley with up to 1000 moving throughout the area. Since the thaw birds have departed once again and will no doubt be feeding up furiously to replace lost reserves and put on fat for the spring migrations. Many thanks to Terry Weston for sending us his superb photographs. 

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