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

Dec' 18

Lower Derwent Valley NNR - December Sightings

Although temperatures remained relatively mild, a bit more flooding during the month and the usual build up on waterfowl made it feel more seasonal. Amongst the usual 1140 Greylag Geese and 358 Canada Geese, there was a nice selection of ‘wilder’ geese on offer. Up to 33 White-fronted Geese were present, including 11 accessible birds at Bank Island/Wheldrake and 10 Barnacle Geese at Bubwith. 6 Egyptian Geese and several small groups of Pink-footed Geese were also a nice reward for searching through the large flocks. Up to 97 Whooper Swans represented the largest count of the winter so far (although a minimum of 128 different birds have passed through the site this autumn/winter). Wildfowl numbers increased, at least with the dabbling ducks - 8800 Wigeon, 5200 Teal, 212 Pintail, 192 Shoveler and 46 Shelduck were counted. Diving ducks were conversely slow to build up, although not surprising given the depth of the winter floods – a mere 25 Tufted Duck, seven Goldeneye, two Goosander and a single lone Pochard were all that could be mustered. A red-head Smew was a great find on the 28th, as was a Slavonian Grebe on the same date on the river, only being topped by a drake American Wigeon found at Bubwith on the 31st

Lapwing built up to an impressive 8000+ although Golden Plovers remained in short-supply, with just 980 recorded early in the month. Other waders increased as the month progressed with, 350+ Snipe, at least five Jack Snipe, 64 Ruff, 134 Dunlin and 17 Curlew by the 26th. Whilst the gull roost increased to 7000 birds at Wheldrake Ings, large gulls were noticeable only by their absence, following the closure of the nearby landfill site. However, a single adult Mediterranean Gull on the 29th showed the rewards for shifting through the smaller gulls.


Amongst the usual ever-present raptors, highlights included a Merlin at Ellerton on the 22nd, a Short-eared Owl at Wheldrake on the 11th, whist other notable records included another Raven at Bubwith on the 13th followed by two at Wheldrake on the 14th. Three Bearded Tits flew over North Duffield Carrs on the 3rd while a Ring-necked Parakeet was an early Christmas present for birdwatchers at the NNR base at Bank Island on the 22nd. The regular reed bed roost of Corn Buntings reached 73 on the 27th, whilst 11 Waxwings were found in Melbourne on the 30th.


Following another fantastic year on the reserve, we’d like to thank all of our visitors, regular birders and naturalists who supply records and photographs via our social media links, logs books or directly to use, for inclusion in our sighting report and social media posts. Thanks also to regular valley birder Duncan Bye for the use of his photographs (credited DB).



BIRDS: 


Mute Swan – 56 were present in the core valley on the 20th with 97 throughout the whole site on the 23rd.


Whooper Swan – Up to 70 wintering birds were still present in the valley early in the month, with an additional 12 passage birds at Bank Island on the 3rd giving a total of 82 on that date. 91 were present throughout on the 4th. 72 were counted on the dawn flight into North Duffield Carrs on the 6th when a further eight were at Bank Island. 97 were present on the 7th and 8th followed by 95 throughout the site on the 20th.


Greylag Goose – c1000 roosted at Bank Island at dusk on the 4th with 637 at Wheldrake on the 8th and 423 at Thorganby on the 9th. A full count of the site on the 20th produced a total of 1145. 700+ were present at Ellerton Ings on the 22nd.


Pink-footed Goose – 100+ flew north west over North Duffield Carrs on the 4th, with 150+ over Bank Island on the 11th when up to 20 were also present at Wheldrake at dusk. Two were at Wheldrake on the 26th with seven there on the 30th/31st.


White-fronted Goose – At least one was calling after dark at Bank Island on the 3rd (CSR, GD). 28 arrived in the Thornton Ings area on the 14th (CSR) with eight at Bank Island on the 16th (DB). Eight were present again at Bank Island on the 17th with 33 at dusk at Wheldrake on the same date, while the group of eight remained in the Bank Island area thereafter to month end. 11 were at Bank Island on the 22nd when 13 were present at Ellerton - it appears to have been a good breeding season, with broods of 1, 6, 6 and 2 present on that day. 11 were then present at Wheldrake from the 24th to month end. 23 remained on the 28th with 16 in the Wheldrake/Bank Island area.


Canada Goose – 357 were present throughout the valley on the 8th-9th with 358 on the 20th.


Barnacle Goose – Ten were present at Bubwith Ings on the 23rd (JS).


Egyptian Goose – Six flew over Wheldrake towards East Cottingwith on the 8th.


Shelduck – Seven appeared shortly after the flooding at Bank Island on the 2nd (with a hybrid Australian Shelduck). Five were seen over Aughton on the 3rd with 21 at Bank Island later in the day. 14 were at Wheldrake on the 8th with 12 over Aughton Ings on the 11th. 46 were present at Wheldrake on the 16th, with 37 throughout on the 20th.


American Wigeon – A drake was present at Bubwith Ings on the 31st – remaining into the New Year (JS).


Wigeon – Numbers continued to increase with rising water levels and scattered flooding, with 4500 throughout the site on the 3rd, 5300 by the 16th, 7230 on the 20th and 8800 by the 28th

 
Wigeon - Bank Island - 02/12 - DB

Teal – 3800 were present throughout the site on the 2nd and 3rd with 4000+ by the 16th, 4740 on the 20th and 5200 on the 28th.


Green-winged Teal – A possible hybrid Teal x Green-winged Teal was reported from the Low Grounds on the 2nd (AF) with another, more probable Green-winged Teal reported on the 13th (RC).


Mallard – Up to 900+ were present throughout the month.


Pintail – Numbers increased quickly early in the month with 53 at Bank Island on the 1st with 58 there on the 2nd and 82 throughout the site on the 3rd. 102 were present at Bank Island on the 4th with 121 by the 11th. 138 were present between Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 16th with a full count of 182 throughout the site on the 20th. 112 were present at Wheldrake on the 26th with 199 throughout on the 27th. 212 were present throughout the valley on the 28th.


Gadwall – 10 were present at Bank Island on the 6th with 15 at Wheldrake on the 8th. 27 were present throughout the site by the 20th, with numbers then increasing quickly to 103 by the 28th.


Shoveler – Following the flooding on Bank Island, numbers increased to 8 on the 1st with 26 by the 3rd and 31 on the 4th. 48 were present at Wheldrake on the 8th with 76 there on the 9th.  A total of 129 were present in the valley on the 20th when 100+ were present at Wheldrake. The monthly peak reached 192 on the 28th.


Tufted Duck – The first returning drake was present at Bank Island on the 2nd with five at Bank Island/Wheldrake on the 8th and six drakes at Bank Island on the 20th. Seven were present there on the 20th with 25 on the 28th.


Pochard – A single lone drake on the 28th was the first wintering bird to return.


Goosander – A single red-head was at Bank Island on the 3rd while one also flew north up the river at Bubwith later the same day – presumably a different individual. Two were present at Bank Island on the 17th while four flew north there on the 28th.


Goldeneye – A single drake lingered on the river early in the month, moving to Wheldrake on the 8th with a pair there on the 10th. Four drakes and two females were present on the river at Thorganby on the 15th. Seven were present there on the 17th followed by three at Wheldrake on the 26th.


Smew – A single red-head was found at Bubwith Ings on the 28th (AF), remaining to month end. 

 
Smew- Bubwith - 30/12 - DB

Cormorant – 15 were present at North Duffield Carrs as they flew north up the river at dawn on the 1st, with 21 at Wheldrake on the 2nd.


Little Egret – A single was present at Hagg Bridge on the 20th with one at North Duffield Carrs on the 21st.


Little Grebe – Good numbers were present on the river with 18 on the 3rd and a group of four returning to winter by Church Bridge at Melbourne on the 12th.


Slavonian Grebe – A single on the river at Thorganby on the 28th (CSR).


Marsh Harrier A cream-crown and sub adult male were harassing Teal on the River at Thorganby on the 3rd, with an adult female at Bank Island on the 4th. Up to two were regular in the Thorganby area during the month, with a female at Wheldrake on the 8th and two there on the 9th. A single female was seen catching a Little Grebe from the river at North Duffield Carrs on the 14th, whilst on several occasions birds were seen hunting alongside Peregrines. Up to three remained at month end and into the New Year.


Peregrine – Singles were present at both Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 2nd with a small male at Bank Island on the 4th and presumably the same at Wheldrake on the 8th. Two were present at that site on the 9th. A single immature female at North Duffield was colour-ringed with an orange darvic – possibly one of this years York Minster brood. Up to four were present at month end.


Red Kite – One at Melbourne on the 23rd.


Merlin – A single immature was present at Ellerton Ings on the 22nd.


Grey Partridge – Six calling birds at North Duffield Carrs at dawn on the 10th.


Water Rail – Three were calling at Wheldrake on the 2nd with birds seen throughout the month along the Pocklington Canal near Melbourne. Five were at Wheldrake on the 28th.


Golden Plover – 200 were present early in the month at Wheldrake with 980 there on the 9th, with just 30 recorded on a full count of the valley on the 20th.


Lapwing – 2000+ remained in the valley early in the month with 2500 at Wheldrake on the 8th and 3100 throughout the valley on the 9th. Numbers increased thereafter with an impressive 6700 present in the valley on the 20th. 6200 were counted around the reserve on the 28th with 8000+ on the 31st.  


 
Lapwing - Bank Island - 02/12 - DB



Jack Snipe – A single was present at Wheldrake on the 11th with five seen there after dark on the same date.


Common Snipe – 100+ after dark at Wheldrake on the 11th. 40 + were present at Thornton Ings on the 12th with 100+ across Melbourne and Thornton Ings on the 13th. 350+ were present throughout the reserve on the 19th.


Woodcock – A single was present at Melbourne, Church Bridge on the 12th. Two were present over Wheldrake with a single over Bank Island at dusk on the 16th. Four were feeding in the Wheldrake meadow after dark on the 17th with a single there at dusk on the 26th.


Dunlin – Eight were present at Bank Island and the Low Grounds on the 1st with 11 at Wheldrake on the 8th. 73 were present on the 20th increasing further to 137 by the 28th.


Ruff – Up to 20 remained in the valley early in the month with 12 at Wheldrake on the 8th and 23 on the 9th. A total of 45 were present in the valley on the 20th with 30 at Wheldrake. 64 were recorded throughout the site on the 28th

 
Ruff - Bank Island - 01/12 - DB

Black-tailed Godwit – A single at Wheldrake on the 9th and again at Thorganby on the 17th and back at Wheldrake on the 26th. Three were present at Wheldrake from the 30th.


Curlew – Nine roosted daily on the pool at Wheldrake from the 1st with an increase to 17 there by the 26th.


Redshank – Up to 20 were wintering in the valley early in the month.


Green Sandpiper – A single over Melbourne on the 27th.


Black-headed Gull – 4450 roosted/pre-roosted at Wheldrake on the 8th (CSR) with 5000 there on the 26th (DB). 

 
 Gull roost - Wheldrake - 29/12 - DB


Mediterranean Gull – A single adult was present at the Wheldrake roost on the 29th (DB).


Common Gull – 800+ at the Wheldrake roost on the 8th with 1500 on the 26th.


Great Black-backed Gull – 288 were present at the Wheldrake roost on the 8th.


Lesser Black-backed Gull – One at Aughton on the 31st.


Herring Gull – 245 were present at the Wheldrake roost on the 8th.


Tawny Owl – Birds were vocal throughout the month with up to two calling males at Bank Island and three at Wheldrake Ings on the 16th.


Short-eared Owl – A single was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th (FM).


Little Owl – A single at Thorganby on the 9th with one calling at dusk at the NNR base at Bank Island on the 29th.


Ring-necked Parakeet – A single was present around the reserve base and later on Bank Island at dusk on the 22nd – an unusual Ings record (CSR).


Kingfisher – Up to three frequented the Melbourne area of the Pocklington Canal with a single seen at Bank Island on the 20th, fishing in the flooded gateway behind the NNR base.


Stonechat – Two or three birds were present daily at Wheldrake throughout the month, with a male at North Duffield Carrs on the 20th.


Fieldfare – Up to 300 were around Bank Island between the 6th – 8th.


Starling – Up to 1000 birds were recorded throughout the site on the 8th-9th. Birds were seen heading south from the core valley towards dusk, and back north into the valley at dawn – possibly birds from the 5000+ North Cave roost.


Waxwing – 11 were on Kidd Lane, Melbourne on the 30th.


Raven – A single was reported at dusk from Bubwith Bridge on the 13th (AS) with two over Wheldrake Ings which flew towards the village on the 14th (AF).  


Willow Tit – Three at Wheldrake on the 9th followed by a single at the Wheldrake Ings feeders on the 30th.


Bearded Tit – Three birds flew over the river at Aughton Ings towards North Duffield Carrs at dawn on the 3rd (CSR, MFJ, GD).


Siskin – 140 were present in canal side alders in the Melbourne area on the 16th.


Tree Sparrow – 50+ were present at the NNR base feeding station throughout the month with 20 at Melbourne on the 12th.


Reed Bunting – 100+ were still present at the Wheldrake Swantail reed bed roost on the 15th.


Corn Bunting – The regular reed bed roost at Melbourne held 73 birds on the 27th (CSR).





MAMMALS:


Brown Hare – Single at Bank Island on the 1st.


Roe Deer – Two at Wheldrake on the 8th, with five there the next day, followed by two at Bank Island on the 16th. On the 26th three were at Wheldrake followed by six there on the 29th. A single at Bank Island on the 30th and two at Wheldrake on the same day. 

 
Roe Deer - Wheldrake - 08/12 - DB

No comments:

Post a Comment