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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Tuesday 19 September 2017

17/09/17 - Flailing the day away

It's that time of year again when we’ve been out and about on the tractor carrying out further land management throughout the valley. We’ve been busy flailing the edges of the meadows and ditch sides to stop invasive, more dominant species from creeping out into the edges of the flower rich meadows – such as Himalayan Balsam, Creeping Thistle and Common Stinging Nettle. Flailing also helps maintain the areas that the local farmers can cut for hay, furthering maintaining the amount of valuable habitat. It also prevents such areas being taken over by willows or hawthorn scrub, and helps maintain suitable spots for small mammals, hunting owls and other predators, whilst also providing early and late season cover for species such as Corncrakes and Quail. 

Last week we were joined by our own flock of Swallows feeding on the insects we disturbed on the vegetation as we went round the ditches on Wheldrake Ings. Whilst on the tractor we’ve also been fortunate to be able to enjoy a raptor spectacle, with a Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzards, Kestrels and Hobbies all hunting over the freshly cut grass.  

Whilst working in the meadows over the last few weeks we’ve also been seeing numerous frogs and toads – particularly young ones. At this time of year as autumn approaches our frogs and toads are busy feeding up on insects, slugs and spiders in preparation for the coming winter. Later in the season with the cold weather fast approaching they will then start to seek out a suitable spot to spend the next few months in, such as a log pile or compost heap, some individuals also might choose to over winter at the bottom of a pond, burying themselves underneath the silt. Frogs don’t hibernate all winter like some creatures do, any mild patches of weather will usually bring them out in search of food. This individual was photographed in the NNR base garden as it made its way over the wildflower meadow, fortunately escaping the clutches of the allen scythe!

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