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.

Friday, 20 April 2018

10/04/18 - Spring passage

Recently the LDV has been acting as an important staging and refuelling site for several species of birds migrating between the UK and breeding grounds in Iceland. During March a total of 500 Whooper Swans staged through the valley – and from previously satellite tagged birds we know these are birds that have left the Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire at dawn, which then arrive in the valley (usually Wheldrake or Bank Island) at around 8-8.30am. These large herds often sleep and loaf for the rest of the day before departing prior to dusk. It’s then a non-stop flight to Iceland, which on favourable winds, can be made the following afternoon. Last week there were still up to 60 birds remaining in the valley although they will be departing any day now, before returning later in the year from mid-October, hopefully with a good number of cygnets in tow. 



Black-tailed Godwits from the Icelandic breeding population have also started moving through the site – up to 40 have been present over the last couple of weeks including a single bird ringed in Iceland several years ago. During April and early May there will be several large flocks (sometimes up to 200-300 birds) staging through the site – often only staying a couple of hours to a day or so – before making the flight to Iceland – in previous years birds leaving the valley have made it onto the breeding grounds in just four days. Finally, the first of our Whimbrel at the Wheldrake Ings nationally important spring passage roost will be arriving in mid-April, before building to a peak in the first day or two in May and tailing off quickly again thereafter. Some of these birds will also be heading to Iceland to breed, whilst in previous years birds have also moved to breeding grounds in Sweden/Finland. It’s fantastic to know our LDV NNR is such an important site in helping these birds on their annual migrations.

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