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)

For details of events, volunteer tasks and wildlife images please visit our Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/Lower-Derwent-Valley-Skipwith-Common-NNR

Thursday, 1 March 2018

25/02/18 - Apprentices & awards

Recently our team of staff and volunteers returned for our annual work parties at Grimthorpe Dale – a site on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. Much of the valley systems in this area are occupied by un-improved chalk grassland, exhibiting a range of community types on the varying slopes and aspects. Common grassland herbs are widespread, with local abundance of characteristic chalk species such as Dropwort, Lady’s Bedstraw, Bloody Crane’s-bill, Rock-Rose, Burnet Saxifrage, Small Scabious, Devil’s-bit Scabious and Thyme. Whereas the springs in the valley bottom give rise to calcareous marsh communities, containing species such as: Narrow-leaved Water Parsnip, Marsh Marigold, Water Cress and Brooklime. Sites like this also provide great places for many butterfly species including the Marbled White for which the Yorkshire Wolds is an important stronghold. On the day our team were busy helping to remove Hawthorn, Gorse and Bramble scrub to allow these delicate wildflower communities to flourish, and to help access for grazing livestock to keep the more dominant vegetation in check. Yet another great effort by our team, helping to make a real improvement to yet another site over the years – many thanks to all involved. 

During the week the team also had the pleasure of being joined once again by Cameron who undertook a short-term apprentice role with us last year. We were delighted when Cameron then secured a job working for an Environmental Consultancy in the Midlands last autumn, but even more pleased that he wanted to use up his end of year leave by coming back to see us and spending a few days volunteering. It was great to have the whole team re-united during the week, helping to undertake the management works at Grimthorpe Dale among a range of tasks in the valley. We’ve had some great placements and apprentices over the years, and it’s always great to hear that many have gone on to work in the environmental sector – gaining jobs with the City of York Council, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and Natural England – hopefully taking a bit of the LDV and what they learnt here with them. We are pleased to be recruiting again for our next apprentice and look forward to welcoming another LDV team member soon.

Recently we were also delighted to hear that one of the LDV team members, @LucyMurg, who’s photographs will be familiar to our regular followers on Twitter and Facebook, was awarded a ‘highly commended’ in the ‘attention to detail’ category of the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards. This is a great achievement, with being up against thousands of other entries, and follows on from Lucy being shortlisted at the BWPA (British Wildlife Photography Awards) last year. A keen eye for something different produced these wonderful close ups of the Kingfishers plumage, which really showcases the wonder of the natural world, and not something that many people get to see in such detail. Not only is this an achievement at a personal level, but also great to get the LDV ‘on the map’. Monitoring our special wildlife and photographing them as we go about our day to day work is a big part of what we do here, and allows us bring the valley to life on the pages of our Facebook, blog and Twitter accounts. With river levels being high at the moment our local Kingfishers (perhaps including this one) will have been forced to the margins of the site to find calmer, shallower water in which to fish – regular sightings are still being logged along the Pocklington Canal, especially between Church Bridge and Melbourne Arm.  As always when visiting the valley please leave any sightings and counts in the log books provided, thank you. 

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