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
Friday, 8 November 2019
After those first few days their return visits to the release area became less frequent, but supplementary fish provided at key Otter locations around the wider site were still taken. Eventually they stopped returning to the pen, presumably having dispersed further afield having now fully adjusted to the wild and finding food of their own. A week later we received records of two individuals seen in the river at North Duffield, with another observed from Ellerton Landing. Many thanks to all involved for their efforts in what has been another successful re-introduction back to the wild, and particularly to Jean and Rob, and the team from the RSPCA.
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Monday, 28 October 2019
Thursday, 24 October 2019
On a rather wet Saturday morning our great team met up with Jean and her family, and the RSPCA team, to construct a large pen on the reserve where the pair of Otters have spent the last week getting used to the sites and smells of the reserve, and enjoying their daily dinner of fresh trout. The pen is on a quiet part of the reserve next to a network of ditches, and is surrounded by tall grasses and tangled willow scrub, and has a pond for the Otters to play in. We are now in the process of slowly removing the fence so the Otters are free to come and go as they like, slowly re-introducing them back into the wild in Yorkshire.
Another great job by all involved, with huge thanks to Jean, and Rob from the RSPCA for their fantastic work.
Friday, 11 October 2019
Crakes walk with their body close to the ground and tail flicking, feeding on insects, snails, worms and also small fish and plants. They also swim with a jerky action like that of the Moorhen and if surprised in the open, they run for cover or jump up and flutter away with legs dangling, which one photographer even managed to capture. These individuals are likely to be on passage from their breeding grounds, with another eight recorded at sites in the UK during the week. The Lower Derwent Valley is one of a handful of UK breeding sites for these birds, supporting up to 5 singing males of the 30 or so recorded annually in the country, although these are usually only detected by the repetitive nocturnal calling and rarely seen, making this sighting a real treat for the local birders.
Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Over the last few weeks we’ve been able to watch it hunting and flying around the reserve, and going into roost with two or three other birds during the evenings – providing pleasure to a number of local and visiting birdwatchers, who have been able to watch and photograph this bird, which weeks earlier would have been condemned to a slow and painful death if it hadn’t been found in time. A huge well done to Mark and Jean for their amazing work and tireless efforts.
Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Many thanks to everyone for their efforts – it really does make such a huge difference to what we can achieve for both the local wildlife and visitors to the reserve. If you’d like to come and with a volunteer group then please feel free to get in touch.
Friday, 6 September 2019
The team did a great job of mixing sand and cement and filling bags at the NNR base, before moving them down onto site and carefully building them up in alternative layers. By the end of the day the team had ensured that anything crossing over into this part of the reserve would have a safe passage from now on, which is likely to be soon as we begin the rotational clearance of some of the extensive ditching network on site. The timing of our task this was also quite fortunate – instead of buying in sand, we were able to reuse sand from the artificial ‘beach’ at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts ‘wild zone’ at Countryfile live weekend at Castle Howard – thanks to Anna and the team for a great bit of recycling! Thanks also to our team for their efforts on Tuesday, as well as repairing the culvert, we were also busy maintaining the footpaths and coppicing willows.
Recently whilst working on the NNR, our volunteers have also been fortunate to see some of the rehabilitated and hand-reared wildlife that Jean has been bringing in to release onto the reserve - in most cases all wildlife is returned to where it has come from, but if for any reason that is not possible, the next best thing is to release it into the best suitable habitat.
Two Tufted Duck ducklings reared by Jean, alongside a few Mallards, were released back onto the pool at Wheldrake, whilst we’ve also been privileged to see and release two juvenile Little Owls back into the valley.
The Thorganby area seems to be somewhat of a stronghold for these birds locally, with several pairs also present in the wider parish. Jean’s birds were released nearby into suitable habitat, and hopefully where they stand a good chance of finding their own territory and a mate in coming years. These birds were all ringed by Jean, which, if re-caught, will allow us to monitor their success and add to our knowledge of the local populations. Many thanks to Jean and her team of helpers at Battle Flatts Vets for all they do.
Thursday, 22 August 2019
Monday, 19 August 2019
This is actually the first Garganey to be ringed in the UK since 2012 (when we last ringed one here), so we’re hoping that an eagle-eyed birder may spot it on passage somewhere. If you haven’t seen a Garganey yet this year you haven’t got long left – they often leave in August, however at the moment one is still present on the pool at Wheldrake.
Monday, 12 August 2019
The Sparrowhawk was a second-year male – moulting from its juvenile brown plumage and acquiring its fresh new grey adult feathers - good to know it survived that all important first hard winter. We have had a few recoveries of local Sparrowhawks, including one ringed in October 1977 in Dumfries and Galloway - found in Wheldrake in February the following year – a distance of 203km. It’s certainly been a good breeding season for many of our small passerine birds, so it’s safe to say that our Sparrowhawks will no doubt be enjoying a good year too with plenty of prey available.
Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Several days after trapping the Privet Hawk-moth (above), we were then delighted to find a Pine Hawk-moth in the trap early one morning (pictured below) - a new species for the reserve this year, and one which isn't always annual.
As well as many species appearing in good numbers over recent weeks, we have also recorded several scarcer species for the reserve. During recent years we have recorded just singles of the rather stunning Oak Eggar moth, which is attracted to our light trap at Bank Island. However, this year we have already recorded six of these large and impressive moths. The Oak Eggar, surprisingly given its name, does not feed on Oak, but instead actually got its name from the fact that its cocoon is acorn-like in appearance. The food plants of the caterpillar are mainly Heather and Bilberry but also include Bramble, Willow and Hawthorn – the latter three of which are found around the NNR base at Bank Island.
Sunday, 28 July 2019
After our first catch, the following day we were amazed to receive our first re-sighting – H6 was photographed by Pete Short at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve, further showing the links between the two reserves. When visiting the site please do let us know of any colour-ringed birds you see, or if you see any of our blue colour-ringed birds elsewhere – either by messaging us on here, via our Twitter account or by using the log books provided in the hides.