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

Sunday 28 October 2018

22/10/18 - Aviva return

Over the last two weeks we were delighted to welcome another two teams from Aviva, with staff travelling from various locations around the country including both the York and Norwich offices. Following on from a day of scrub clearance last week on Wheldrake Ings, this week we were based at North Duffield. Before heading out on site we managed to fit in a small ringing display, with a beautiful male Goldcrest the obvious highlight, as well as checking through the moth trap - revealing yet another Merveille du Jour. 

The team, supported by our own volunteer group, then headed to North Duffield Carrs to complete the tern and wader nesting area on the top pond island – moving over 3 tonnes of gravel across the pond in buckets, by pulling a small boat backwards and forwards. Several of the team also helped with repairing the swan pipe, which assists us in catching and ringing a sample of the wintering ducks as part of our long running studies. Other members of the team helped clear and burn willow scrub from around the site, which all made for an incredibly productive day. 

A great day was had, and it’s amazing to see what can be achieved by 20+ people all working together for a day – it makes a huge difference to what we can get done on site. We are already booking in team visits for next year so if your company or team are interested please feel free to get in touch.

Monday 22 October 2018

10/10/18 - Autumn arrivals

It's that time of year again - the first Whooper Swans have started to appear back in the valley over recent weeks, with a group of nine on Wheldrake Ings the first to arrive. These birds will have been present in Iceland during the breeding season and will be freshly arrived here for the winter. Up to 100–150 birds winter in the valley most years, usually at the southern end of the reserve at North Duffield Carrs, in fields and on floodwater surrounding Bubwith Bridge. These early birds are likely to move through the valley, heading to wintering sites around the Cambridgeshire Fens, including the WWT centre at Welney. However, by mid-October we’d except to see the arrival of ‘our’ local wintering herd in the fields at North Duffield Carrs, please keep an eye out for colour-ringed birds – eagle eyed local birdwatcher Duncan Bye spotted a colour-ringed bird (ZGX) at Wheldrake Ings at the10 weekend. Details to follow.

This week there was also a sighting of six Bearded Tits going into roost in the reed bed at Wheldrake Ings – the first sighting there this autumn. Bearded Tits are resident in the UK throughout the year and disperse from their breeding sites during the autumn, sometimes undertaking regular ‘eruptions’ (a term used when flocks of birds rise out of their breeding reed beds and take high towering flights with lots of excited calling, before small groups peel off and disperse). It is these birds that can turn up at this time of year away from their usual haunts, making it a good time to look out for them in suitable habitat within our area. Over the next month or so any areas with reed beds or reed fringes are worth checking for these amazing little birds, often noticed first by their distinctive ‘pinging’ calls. The small reed beds at Wheldrake Ings have been a local ‘hotspot’ in previous years but areas of reed along the Pocklington Canal are also worth checking for these delightful visitors. Many thanks to local birder Duncan Bye for his super photograph of a stunning male taken at Wheldrake Ings.

Monday 8 October 2018

26/09/18 - Corporate work parties

Over the last few weeks we've been very fortunate to have hosted three corporate work parties with teams from Lloyds Bank, Aviva and Defra. The amount of work we are able to achieve with so many extra pairs of hands really does make such a massive difference to the site, and in terms of making it better for both wildlife and people. 

With a huge team from Lloyds, 22 in total, along with 5 of our regular volunteers, everyone soon made light work of the tasks that had been chosen for the day. Half of the team tackled scrub clearance on Wheldrake Ings, whilst the other half headed off to collect and process timber to add to our log store, which will help to supply our customers this winter. 

Blessed with good weather everyone enjoyed working outdoors - a change from their usual surroundings, and made good use of the NNR base garden during lunch. Nick & Sandra also checked the moth trap and explained about moth trapping on the NNR, making it an informative and enjoyable day for all. 

A week later groups from Aviva and Defra made further progress clearing and burning scrub on the reserve, however we also managed to fit in a bird ringing demonstration and moth trapping session at the NNR base. A selection of birds were caught and ringed, including a Chiffchaff, Blackcap and two Treecreepers, allowing us to show and explain the process of ringing and the role NNR’s have in monitoring populations and delivering scientific evidence. Moth trapping is starting to slow down now but 60 moths were caught overnight including a Small Blood-vein, a late Burnished Brass and several Red-line Quaker. Many thanks to everyone involved for their efforts. 

If you work for an organisation that offers corporate work days and would like to find out more about what we can offer, then please feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and can choose tasks to suit. We still have several more to come this autumn, with teams from Aviva, HSBC and HSE. Corporate tasks really help to make a huge difference to what we can achieve on site, so many thanks to everyone who has made a contribution throughout the year.