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)

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

01/05/19 - Sand Martin banks and Tern rafts

With thanks to support via logs, cards and calendar purchases, and kind donations, last week the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley took delivery and installation of two new Sand Martin nesting banks. Sand Martins are the smallest of our hirundines and agile fliers, feeding mainly over water – look out for the new banks by Pool Hide at Wheldrake Ings, and near the new scrape on Bank Island. 

Wintering largely in the Sahel area of Africa, Sand Martins are one of the first summer migrants to appear from mid-March. They are highly gregarious and breed in colonies where they excavate tunnels in sandy banks, small colonies are present in and around the valley, but hopefully these artificial banks will provide additional nesting locations - they will also be less prone to be flooded out and safe from predators. Many thanks to Green Future Building for the great job building and installing the banks, and thanks to our great team of dedicated volunteers for filling them with sand – making them ready for the birds to ‘move in’.

Last week, as well as preparing the new Sand Martin banks, the team also managed to find time to launch our two tern rafts back onto the water. Following a bit of general maintenance and new gravel, the two rafts were re-floated back into place on the pool at Wheldrake Ings and the top pond at North Duffield Carrs.

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.

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