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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Thursday 19 July 2012

12/07/12 - A familiar face returns

In 1999 a fresh faced University student (Nick Askew) joined the LDV Team as a volunteer and spent the summer helping out with various farmland bird work around the NNR and then went on to start the LDV Barn Owl project. The fieldwork carried out during the summer of ’99 saw numbers of breeding Barn Owls go up from 20 pairs of which we knew of to a total of 69 pairs within the study area - Nick was soon hooked!

 One of the many boxes Nick put up in the valley

A BSc final year project report on Barn Owls along with a specific ‘C’ permit followed, plus a Phd on the species, which largely focused on the feeding ecology and how to better target agri-environment schemes and conservation measures for the species and how to better estimate population size and carrying capacity across the country. As well as monitoring the 100 or so nest sites or potential sites each year for his project, Nick also filled in nest record cards for BOMP (Barn Owl Monitoring Programme), and he probably ringed in the region of 500 Barn Owls in the area during his studies and beyond, he was also instrumental in the radio-tracking of 30 individuals. The recent publication of the ‘Barn Owl Conservation Handbook’ published by the Barn Owl Trust, contains some of the information published by Nick and his work in the LDV - it really is great to see that the study and Nick’s efforts have put something back into wider conservation.

Barn Owl c/ringed & radio-tagged

After Nick left the valley he became Dr Nick and moved on to work for Birdlife in Cambridgeshire before heading for a sunnier climate to work as ‘their man on the ground’ in Fiji. It was great to see him back in the valley for the day to have a catch up, and he even managed to ring an owl or two!

Nick - ringing a Tawny Owl

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