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 how we 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

Monday 18 March 2024

10/03/24 - Festival of NNRs

We’re pleased to announce that another Festival of NNRs week will be running this year from the 20th-31st May, with a number of events planned in the #LDV throughout the week, including a series of walks around Wheldrake Ings and along the Pocklington Canal, guided by local experts Duncan Bye, Neil Cooper and Jono Leadley. 

As per last year, all the walks will be free of charge, with donations welcome to the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley Conservation Group. Places are limited (10 per walk), with the following dates currently available: 

Wednesday 22nd Evening walk at Wheldrake Ings with Duncan Bye. 6pm.

Saturday 25th Morning walk at Wheldrake Ings with Duncan Bye. 8am.

Sunday 26th Morning walk at Wheldrake Ings with Jono Leadley. 8am.

Sunday 26th Morning walk along the Pocklington Canal with Neil Cooper. 9.30am.

Wednesday 29th Evening walk at Wheldrake Ings with Jono Leadley. 7pm.

Thursday 30th Morning walk along the Pocklington Canal with Neil Cooper. 9.30am.

If you would like to book yourself a place, please send an e-mail to Lucy.Murgatroyd@naturalengland.org.uk

Friday 12 January 2024

10/01/24 - LDV greetings cards

We are pleased to announce that the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley Conservation Group have a new range of greeting cards for sale, with a total of 25 designs produced by the LDV team, including artwork from @niqvassie and photographs from @LucyMurg showcasing some of the iconic Ings species and scenes. These cards are blank either for your own personalised message or to send as a gift to others, and are priced at just £1.50 each or four for £5, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley charitable trust. 

The money received from these cards will help to further conservation efforts in the area and includes land purchases, bird research programmes and habitat improvement schemes, which have all been delivered as a result of a huge amount of hard work by the trustees and wider LDV volunteers as well as your kind support. The cards can either be purchased from our NNR Base at Bank Island or hand-delivered if you’re in the local area, or posted out for a P&P charge – if you’d like to make a purchase, please send us a message via our social media accounts, or send an e-mail to Lucy.Murgatroyd@naturalengland.org.uk – thank you.

Tuesday 1 August 2023

20/07/23 - Garganey

The Lower Derwent Valley NNR is one of the key sites in the UK for this species as well as being a great site for visitors to have the opportunity to see them early in the season. 

Garganey are Britian’s only migratory summer visitor duck species, wintering in southern Africa before heading northwards to breed, with perhaps 100-300 pairs in Britain most years. There have been several individuals present on the reserve this year, with Bank Island being a great place to see them (up to four drakes and three ducks on occasions over the last couple of months). We know at least one pair have bred with a single brood of nine hatching off and eight young successfully fledging, with two ringed. Several other ducklings have been caught here over the years (as well as the occasional adult male), and from our ringing studies we know these young birds often disperse quickly south into France after fledging, however, we would expect the odd sighting of one or two until mid-September when the last few birds can often be found lurking amongst the building autumn Teal flocks.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

02/07/23 - LRP breeding success

Little Ringed Plovers are now annual visitors to the Lower Derwent Valley NNR and surrounding areas, having first nested in the UK in 1938. Numbers have since increased to around 1000 pairs throughout the country, with birds often favouring gravel pits, waste ground and reservoirs. Although this species does sporadically nest on the Ings, their favoured choice of more artificial and unnatural habitats means they are more often encountered in the wider area and often at sites where they are at risk to disturbance or trampling. 

Earlier this year a pair began nesting on a part flooded and part harvested turf field, however, working with Escrick Park Estate, Rolawn and local birders, we were able to delay the planned operations with the pair going on to successfully raise and fledge three young. A month later we were informed of another pair nesting in a working sand and gravel quarry, fortunately, thanks to local birders and understanding site managers, this pair were also given the space to nest and rear three young successfully. Working in partnership in this way and delivering successful outcomes is incredibly rewarding, so many thanks to those involved for helping to make it happen. 

Tuesday 6 June 2023

04/06/23 - Squacco Heron

Last week we had a rather special and rare visitor to the Lower Derwent Valley NNR in the form of a Squacco Heron. Squacco Herons are small brown herons, weighing in at just 270-390g (compared with 1020-2073g for a Grey Heron), and are smaller than our now regularly encountered Little Egrets. They are stunning looking birds with a mix of peach, buff and cinnamon coloured plumage, with white wings when seen in flight and long black-edged plumes on their head.

Squacco Herons are usually found breeding in wetlands in southern Europe and western, eastern and southern Africa, with them being a rare visitor to the UK with less than 300 national records, and an even scarcer visitor to Yorkshire with little more than a dozen county occurrences. This individual is presumably the same bird seen last week at Filey Dams and in the Upper Derwent Catchment around Potter Brompton, before it headed further downstream along the River Derwent. After a couple of hours at Bank Island the bird then relocated to North Duffield Carrs where it is still present today. This is the first record of this species for the reserve and has drawn a steady crowd of admirers - thanks to eagle-eyed #LDV volunteer Mal Richardson for spotting it, and to local patch birder Duncan Bye for the image below.