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

Tuesday 24 September 2019

12/09/19 - Aviva

At the beginning of the month we were pleased to welcome two teams of Aviva staff to the LDV as part of their volunteering allowance. Joining up with our regular volunteer team, the extra pairs of hands added up to an impressive 46-person work days, which has certainly made a difference to the site. The work has largely been scrub management on Wheldrake Ings – with the new Swantail Hide now having improved views over the refuge area to the south, and over the reedbed area ahead of the winter roosts. As well as maintaining the open landscape and views, it helps keep the willows on site a nice low size for breeding warblers, without swamping and drying out the reedbed too much, whilst also keeping the ditches open and allowing access for maintenance. 

Many thanks to everyone for their efforts – it really does make such a huge difference to what we can achieve for both the local wildlife and visitors to the reserve. If you’d like to come and with a volunteer group then please feel free to get in touch.

Friday 6 September 2019

28/08/19 - Bridges & Owls

After several weeks of tackling the invasive Himalayan Balsam and undertaking scrub control, our fantastic team of volunteers turned their hands to some bridge repairs this week. One of the culverts that allows access into the refuge area at Wheldrake Ings was starting to crumble, with it being necessary to rebuild it to ensure safe access for reserve vehicles and tractors to carry out management works.

The team did a great job of mixing sand and cement and filling bags at the NNR base, before moving them down onto site and carefully building them up in alternative layers. By the end of the day the team had ensured that anything crossing over into this part of the reserve would have a safe passage from now on, which is likely to be soon as we begin the rotational clearance of some of the extensive ditching network on site. The timing of our task this was also quite fortunate – instead of buying in sand, we were able to reuse sand from the artificial ‘beach’ at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts ‘wild zone’ at Countryfile live weekend at Castle Howard – thanks to Anna and the team for a great bit of recycling! Thanks also to our team for their efforts on Tuesday, as well as repairing the culvert, we were also busy maintaining the footpaths and coppicing willows.

Recently whilst working on the NNR, our volunteers have also been fortunate to see some of the rehabilitated and hand-reared wildlife that Jean has been bringing in to release onto the reserve - in most cases all wildlife is returned to where it has come from, but if for any reason that is not possible, the next best thing is to release it into the best suitable habitat.

Two Tufted Duck ducklings reared by Jean, alongside a few Mallards, were released back onto the pool at Wheldrake, whilst we’ve also been privileged to see and release two juvenile Little Owls back into the valley. 

The Thorganby area seems to be somewhat of a stronghold for these birds locally, with several pairs also present in the wider parish. Jean’s birds were released nearby into suitable habitat, and hopefully where they stand a good chance of finding their own territory and a mate in coming years. These birds were all ringed by Jean, which, if re-caught, will allow us to monitor their success and add to our knowledge of the local populations. Many thanks to Jean and her team of helpers at Battle Flatts Vets for all they do.