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

Monday 11 May 2020

08/05/20 - Funding success

We are delighted to report that we have not only reached our fund-raising target in the Aviva Community Fund, but actually surpassed it, securing £2829 for our planned access improvements at Bank Island. This will allow us (with further funding), to regrade the slope behind the NNR base, remove existing gates, create hard surfaced paths and raise low points prone to extended flooding, as well as creating wheelchair access to the hides at this popular site. This follows the hard work of the Friends (with support from York Birding), in creating additional scrapes, new reed beds and the popular Sand Martin bank over recent years. Hopefully we’ll be able to undertake this work at the end of the summer and into early autumn ready for next winter – updates to follow. Many thanks to everyone who donated to the fund and supported our campaign. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s how much we need to access green space and the natural environment - everyone who has contributed to the fund has helped make that possible for even more people.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

01/05/20 - Terns & Hobbies return

We are delighted to report that the first pair of Common Terns arrived back in the Lower Derwent Valley last week, and since then a total of three pairs have been present around the site. Fortunately, our tern rafts were out and ready for their return, and the first pair have already shown interest in one of them, giving early encouraging signs that they will be used again this summer.

The Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley purchased the rafts thanks to a generous private donation in 2017, and in that year a single pair fledged two young. In total up to the end of 2019, a total of 13 chicks had fledged from the two rafts and the Friends, thanks to your donations and support, were able to purchase a further two rafts for this breeding season. Although we might not be able to get out and enjoy them at the moment, the terns should be with us into mid-July so there is plenty of time yet. For those that may have missed it at the time, earlier this year we were delighted to hear that one of the chicks colour-ringed on the reserve last summer was seen on its wintering grounds in The Gambia at Kartong Bird Observatory in November.

Over the last few days we have also been hearing about returning Hobbies in the Lower Derwent Valley - a nice treat for some whilst out getting their daily exercise. Hobbies are the only falcon in Britain that spend the winter months in North Africa, coming to the UK from mid-April and staying until late September/early October. Late April and early May can be a good time to see Hobbies before they become more secretive and start breeding, and they can often be spotted when hawking insects and chasing hirundines. These birds really are aerial masters with their swift shaped wings, and can expertly catch flying insects in their talons before passing them to their beaks to eat on the wing.

A close up view of a Hobby is usually rather rare, and so we were very privileged when Jean brought in a rehabilitated bird to release on the reserve in May 2017 – when visiting the reserve as part of your daily exercise/local walk please let us know if you manage to spot one – all sightings welcome.