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.

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Wednesday 30 November 2011

November - Summary

The total number of wildfowl caught within the LDV this month = 172

Canada Goose 2
Mallard 13
Moorhen 3
Pintail 2
Shelduck 2
Teal 42
Wigeon 108

The total number of birds caught at Bank Island = 47. The highlight being the Treecreeper on the 16th.

Blackbird 1
Blue Tit 6
Chaffinch 3
Coal Tit 1
Dunnock 1
Great Tit 7
Greenfinch 8
Long Tailed Tit 4
Tree Sparrow 15
Treecreeper 1 


30/11/11 - A shorty drops in!

Following the large numbers of Snipe on the reserve at the moment we tried drag netting again this morning. We headed down to Wheldrake and tried alongside the pool at Swantail, none were flushed so we moved on. The next field was where most of them were hiding, about 20-25 Common Snipe were flushed and 3 Jacks but again we came away empty handed. Just as we’d put the net away a Short Eared Owl flew up from the side of the van where it’d been sitting in the grass, it quickly dropped back down again not far from us. The net was quickly un-tangled and even though it was a long shot we thought we’d try to sweep the net over it, but before we could get there it took off & left us watching as it glided over us, what a fantastic view!

From Wheldrake we headed off to Duffield to cut the Willow’s, on the way we checked the whoosh net, not a bird in the area but a few on the pool. We waited patiently and soon enough the brood of Mute Swans came up, bringing the Wigeon with them. The Mutes eventually went back down leaving the Wigeon for the taking, 12 were in the area but a few not quite on the grain, the net was fired and 9 were caught! A nice little catch - 5 males and 4 females. 

At the end of the day just as it was starting to get dark we decided to have another go for Snipe, we trekked up & down the fields with net, flushing a few Common as we went but no Jack’s, it felt like it was going to be another blank but then just as we were heading back to the van for one last sweep a Common Snipe got off the ground & flew straight up into the net! Not the one we went for but a great result! We colour ringed it too, making it 5 for the year.

As we were driving back across the fields we came across the Short Eared Owl again from this morning! It landed on the ground infront of the van dazzled by the headlights, but not long enough for us to try and catch it! Plenty more Snipe were getting up after dark which has left us thinking of having a go dragging & dazzling during an evening next week instead.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

29/11/11 - Just Rewards

After a very frustrating few days with not catching due to wire snapping, the birds not being in the area, the net not firing properly due to either being trodden into the mud by the birds or being so heavy with water Mike & Craig were finally rewarded with a catch early Sunday morning at North Duffield – 11 Wigeon!

Later the same day Mike went back to try his luck again and came away with 3 more Wigeon.

This morning (Tuesday 29th) North Duffield produced another catch - this time 8 Mallard and 2 Wigeon. This brings the wildfowl total to 956 for the year.

Later this afternoon Craig headed down to North Duffield to bait up the area for the Whooper Swans with the view of taking a catch next week. 35 were present including 1 with a darvic which isn't believed to be one of our previous returning birds. Also with the Whoopers were 3 Bewick's & 30 Tundra Beans.

                               Whooper Swans at North Duffield Carrs

22/11/11 - Wigeon.. Teal.. Mallard.. PINTAIL!

A few more birds to be added to the years total!

This morning (Tuesday 22nd) another worthwhile hour was spent at Wheldrake - 4 Wigeon, 4 Mallard and 1 Teal. Also present at Wheldrake this morning was approximately 130 Common Snipe and 5 Jacks, hopefully we’ll be able to fit a catch in soon!

Yesterday (Monday 21st) - after an early start to check the whoosh net our SRM was rewarded with a pair of Pintail! Unfortunately no one else was there to see them! Later the same day just before it got dark Craig & Steve went off to check the catching area at North Duff – another 27 Wigeon! Result!

Sunday 20th - a check of the whoosh net at Duffield this afternoon resulted in Mike bagging another 4 Wigeon, 3 Teal and 2 Moorhen.

Saturday 19th - Mike spent a couple of hours this morning trying out the new feeding station at Thornton Ellers and came away with 41 new birds, 36 of which were Lesser Redpoll!

A very good few days! Total birds ringed - 47 wildfowl + 41 passerines = 88.

Friday 18 November 2011

18/11/11 - A visit to Forge

The first visit of the year to Forge Valley took place today, we went with a view to doing some work there over the winter months and during lunch we put a net up for an hour and had a very good catch of 58 birds! Including 6 Nuthatch (3 new, 3 re-traps) and 8 new Marsh Tits.

Marsh Tit


What a pair!

Total birds caught = 53 (5)

Blue Tit 10
Chaffinch 10
Coal Tit 12 (2)
Great Tit 9
Marsh Tit 8
Nuthatch 3 (3)
Siskin 1

Wednesday 16 November 2011

16/11/11 - Just keep ducking

This morning Craig & Mike headed down to Wheldrake at first light with the hope of getting another successful catch at the whoosh net, there were hundreds of birds on the pool but not many in the catching area. They came away with 4 Wigeon and 1 Mallard.

From Wheldrake we then headed to North Duffield to try our luck there, no birds were in the area at first but not long after a few Wigeon started heading for the catching area. 8 birds made their way up to the grain but as the net fired 5 took off leaving us with 3 new birds to ring, 2 adult males and an adult female. Also, the duck trap continues to be successful with 4 new Teal, all female.

Female Teal

Mike & Craig comparing Teal

Out of interest this is as it stands today for the total number of wildfowl caught on the reserve since January = 865.

Canada Goose 16
Coot 6
Cormorant 6
Gadwall 7
Greylag Goose 80
Little Grebe 1
Mallard 328
Moorhen 17
Mute Swan 13
Shelduck 59
Shoveler 9
Teal 187
Tufted Duck 1
Whooper Swan 1
Wigeon 134

Tuesday 15 November 2011

15/11/11 - They just keep coming!

A catch at both sites again today - 12 Wigeon and 2 Shelduck were caught at Wheldrake. Then a trip to North Duffield resulted in 12 Teal and 1 Wigeon in the duck trap.

The catches today bring the years totals to: 

Shelduck 59
Teal 138
Wigeon 127

& a total of 820 wildfowl ringed on the reserve since January!

Sunday 13 November 2011

13/11/11 - Three in three!

On Friday (11th) a visit to both whoosh nets brought two catches, the first a very early start at Wheldrake, getting there at first light and coming away with 2 Canada & 1 Wigeon. A late afternoon catch at North Duffield was far more rewarding - 12 Wigeon.

Saturday morning (12th) saw a catch at North Duffield - 7 Wigeon & 6 Teal.

Sunday (13th) another catch was had, 8 Wigeon at North Duffield plus 5 Teal in the duck trap.

A very good three days with 41 birds ringed!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

09/11/11 - Thrush Roost

After cutting the lanes last week and repeatedly seeing hundreds of thrushes using the area we tried a thrush roost late afternoon today. Upon arrival the trees were filled with Blackbirds, Fieldfares and a few Redwing. All day big flocks had been going over & so we thought we were onto a winner! 5 nets were set up within the Hawthorn/Blackthorn scrub and two 60 foot nets along the banking in-between two Hawthorn bushes.

Just after setting up a tit flock dropped in, mainly Long Tails and a few Great Tits/Blue Tit. It was a slow start thrush wise with just one Blackbird but as darkness started to approach more Blackbirds came in to roost, however the Fieldfares stayed high. We ended with a catch of 28 birds including a Redwing & so it was worth doing!

Total birds caught = 27 (1)

Blackbird 11
Blue Tit (1)
Dunnock 1
Goldcrest 1
Great Tit 2
Long Tailed Tit 9
Redwing 1
Tree Sparrow 1
Wren 1

Tuesday 8 November 2011

08/11/11 - November Recoveries

Today we received the latest batch of recoveries, some interesting ones in particular two Sedge Warblers & a Redshank to France, and a Teal to Finland.

Barn Owl (AJ59432), ringed as a 1 on 10/06/07 on Moor Farm, Riccall, Selby, recovered as a 6F on 19/05/11 in Stub Wood, Acaster Malbis, York.

Black-headed Gull (ET53810), ringed as a 1 on 31/05/03 on Thorne Moor, recovered as a 6 on 01/01/11 at Amble Harbour, Northumberland (field recording).

Redshank (DB88181), ringed as a 6 on 29/03/03 on Aughton Ings, recovered on 19/10/10 at the Bay of Morlaix, France (dead).

Reed Warbler (T031773), ringed as a 4 on 24/06/07 at Wheldrake Ings, recovered on 24/07/10 at Crabley Farm Creek, East Riding of Yorkshire.

Reed Warbler (X685999), ringed as a 3J on 05/08/10 at Wheldrake Ings, recovered as a 3 on 25/08/10 at Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk.

Sedge Warbler (X437129), ringed as a 3J on 21/08/09 at Wheldrake Ings, recovered as a 4 on 26/08/10 in Paris, France.

Sedge Warbler (L018382), ringed as a 3 on 16/08/10 in Icklesham, East Sussex, recovered as a 4 on 24/04/11 on Wheldrake Ings.

Sedge Warbler (L751812), ringed as a 4M on 12/05/11 at Wheldrake Ings, re-trapped on 22/07/2011 and then controlled on 10/08/11 in Paris, France.

Teal (EL49846), ringed as a 4F on 12/11/07 on Skipwith Common, recovered on 27/08/09 in Finland (shot).

Wigeon (FA51531), ringed as a 3M on 04/12/04 at North Duffield, recovered on 01/01/11 near Long Sutton, Somerset (shot).

Wednesday 2 November 2011

02/11/11 - Up up & away!

A good day bird wise round the valley, whilst to’ing & fro’ing between different jobs/places today over 10 Kestrels were seen. Also, good movements of thrushes, mainly Fieldfares and large flocks of Golden Plover went over North Duffield around noon.

A new feeding station was set up today at North Duffield, and after seeing hundreds of Fieldfares and Blackbirds in the Blackthorn/Hawthorn/Bramble scrub at the side of Top Pond lanes were cut in preparation for trying a roost next week.

The whoosh net was checked whilst we were down there, a few Wigeon were in the catching area & many many more on the pond, but as we were waiting/hoping for a few more to join something spooked them & they all took off!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

01/11/11 - No ducks, no grain, no chance!

Another attempt was made today to drag net Snipe on Wheldrake, nothing was caught again and even less were seen...we only flushed two Common.

After finishing work at North Duffield this afternoon we tried for a catch of Wigeon in the whoosh net, a few were on the pond but nothing in the area...nevermind! We went up to re-set the net and scattered more grain, yesterdays bucket load had been completely hoovered up! 

Just as we were heading back over the bank we spotted two Barn Owls hunting at dusk which is always good to see.