On the day that we ringed the chicks, we also received some exciting news...
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, 12 July 2019
On the day that we ringed the chicks, we also received some exciting news...
Monday, 1 July 2019
We were then joined by Joe and his colleagues, and on another good weather day with warm sunshine making for a pleasant day on the reserve. Meeting at the NNR base at Bank Island, the team were able to join in with checking the moth trap, before watching a bird ringing demonstration take place. Another good catch in the moth trap was had, with the stunning Elephant and Poplar Hawk-moths being the highlight, along with a Buff-Tip which, once seen is rarely forgotten – with it resembling a broken birch twig. The morning was then spent planting the remainder of the reeds at Bank Island. Once the reeds were planted and the scrape filled with water, the team headed to Skipwith Common NNR, to help out Escrick Park Estate by making more progress tidying the leftover brash felled during the winter. Another great day was had by all, many thanks to Joe and his team, and also to our weekly Thursday group for their efforts throughout the day – improving the site for both people and wildlife.
Then last week we were delighted to welcome a third group, with Sarah and her team of staff enjoying a day working on the reserve. This is the fourth day in recent months that we have been fortunate to be joined by a new team of Aviva staff, with another two groups to follow in July. With limited resources and a vast site to manage, any help either via corporate groups or individual volunteering is so incredibly valuable, so many thanks to everyone who has helped out so far this year. Sarah and her team were fortunate to be blessed with glorious warm weather, making it a delightful day to be spent working on the NNR. After a bird ringing demonstration and checking the moth trap, the team headed to Skipwith Common NNR to continue making progress building reptile hibernacula and wildlife corridors, using the brash leftover from the winter felling works. Following a spot of lunch back in the NNR base wildlife garden, the team then spent the afternoon working in the garden, and helped us check some of our nest boxes for tits and sparrows. Many thanks as always to everyone for their efforts, and to our regular group of Thursday volunteers for welcoming Aviva and helping us run the task.
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
At present, up to 24 holes have been excavated, and last week we were thrilled to find the first pairs are already incubating clutches, with others busy lining their nests. Several birds have also started to investigate the Wheldrake bank, hopefully visitors to the pool over the summer will be able to enjoy the comings and goings as the colony increases.
This really has been a case of ‘build it and they will come’ – and in this case in just a couple of weeks. Many thanks to the Friends for their ongoing support and great work in helping deliver improvements to the reserve and adjacent area, and to everyone who has supported their work and our hard-working volunteers. Following on from the immediate success this year, we are hoping to install two more banks next year, including in front of the Geoff Smith Hide at North Duffield Carrs, however a lot of funds need to be raised beforehand. If you would like to help contribute you can do so via our Go Fund Me page (https://www.gofundme.com/conserving-the-lower-derwent-valley) – thank you.
Monday, 17 June 2019
The team were kept busy planting a range of species, including Water Dock and Greater Water Parsnip – the latter being confined to just the LDV and Hornsea Mere a few years ago. We have since managed to restore this nationally scarce and declining species to many of its traditional Yorkshire sites, and hopefully this will help secure it at yet another Yorkshire Derwent location. Many thanks to everyone involved - another great job by our fantastic team.
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Each chick was BTO ringed and then fitted with a unique colour-ring, which will allow the local birders and visitors to the Minster to follow who’s who, as they fledge in the coming weeks, but also in the longer term as they move out to find breeding sites of their own. The ringing process went very swiftly, with the chicks soon back in the nest again, shortly followed by the adults – they’d been keeping a watchful eye on us from a nearby tower whilst the ringing was being undertaken. Many thanks to Jean for organising the visit which allows us to monitor these beautiful birds, and also to the staff from York Minster for allowing access to the nest and accompanying us up the tower. Fingers crossed all four chicks fledge safely this year – we had a few false starts and crash landings last year.
Monday, 10 June 2019
This work, alongside the installation of Sand Martin nesting banks is aiming to increase the biodiversity and conservation significance of the site, as well as increasing visitor and public enjoyment. We are also further indebted to the York Ornithological Club, for a grant for scrape and reed bed creation elsewhere within the Lower Derwent Valley – hopefully increasing populations of key reed bed bird species, as well as plants and invertebrates. With thanks to these kind grants and the hard work of our volunteers and students, we will hopefully be enjoying some really positive changes over the next few years – many thanks as always to everyone involved, and to our team for helping to plant some of the 2500 reeds!
Thursday, 23 May 2019
Friday, 10 May 2019
With around 100-150 pairs in the UK, the Lower Derwent Valley is something of a stronghold for this species in Northern England. A pair which have been present since 6th April have been showing well, and almost daily at Bank Island, with up to three pairs also present at the nearby Wheldrake Ings. As the vegetation grows and the water draws down birds will become harder to see, occasionally appearing in front of the hides like this drake photographed recently by regular valley birder Duncan Bye.
Wednesday, 8 May 2019
Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Due to a kind private donation three years ago the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley purchased the two rafts from John and his team at Green Future Building. Both rafts have been used successfully in the last two years – a single pair fledged two young in 2017 with two pairs fledging six young in 2018. Our Common Terns should be arriving back any day now, hopefully visitors to the reserve will be able to enjoy watching them fishing on the river, ponds and pools throughout the area. We may also see the first young fledged in 2017 returning from their African wintering areas where they will have remained during the first year – these birds have been colour-ringed so please keep an eye open for them. If you’d like to support the work of the Friends, then please visit their Go Fund Me page (https://www.gofundme.com/conserving-the-lower-derwent-valley) helping to deliver more positive conservation projects on and around the reserve.