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

Wednesday 30 September 2020

28/09/20 - Belarus Great White Egret

Last year we posted on here about the increasing number of Great White Egrets visiting the LDV, with up to five frequenting the site between September and late November. 

We are pleased to report that we have already had a few sightings this autumn, with three birds recorded at Bank Island recently - one of which was wearing a white colour-ring. After tracking down the ringer, we found out that this individual had been ringed as a nestling in May in Belarus, at Rechitsa, Byaroza District – 1741 km away. Many thanks to the Belarus Ringing Center for providing us with the information and photographs of the chicks in the nest.

Whilst 120 Great White Egrets have been seen in the UK having originated in France, this is only the second from Belarus to be reported Britain. Great White Egrets are much larger than Little Egrets (around twice the size), and stand as tall as a Grey Heron, with a long, slender snake-like neck and large yellow bill outside of the breeding season - at the moment we still have one or two individuals wandering around the site, so please do let us know if you come across one, thank you. 

Friday 11 September 2020

10/09/20 - White-tailed Eagle update

Amazingly, following the news we posted earlier in the week about one of the Isle of Wight re-introduced White-tailed Eagles, we have just heard that another individual passed through the Lower Derwent Valley a little over a week ago.

The latest bird, a young female (G324) released in 2019, came round the south-west side of the City of York around 1pm on the 3rd September - skirting around Copmanthorpe before heading over Skipwith Common and to the south of Bubwith, before turning and heading south, possibly following the River Derwent towards Howden - passing over the River Ouse near Goole around 2pm. Prior to this she had been in Scotland for quite some time, and then chose to visit us on her way back to the release site on the Isle of Wight, where the project team managed to capture the image below. You can follow the fortunes and travels of these birds and the project at https://www.roydennis.org/category/sea-eagle/isle-of-wight-sea-eagles/

It’s amazing to know that three individual White-tailed Eagles have now visited or passed over the site this year – hopefully a trend that will be set to continue with more wandering young eagles around over the coming years. It is possible that the River Derwent helps to guide birds leaving the North York Moors - taking them through the Vale of York towards the Ouse/Trent confluence, and then down the Trent Valley into Lincolnshire and further south. Please do let us know if you spotted G324 on her travels through the area last week.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

02/09/20 - White-tailed Eagle

We've just found out, rather belatedly, that a White-tailed Eagle passed through the Lower Derwent Valley NNR during the summer. With its presence going undetected, we would have been none the wiser had it not been for the satellite tracker that it was wearing - this individual was one of the birds re-introduced last summer on the Isle of Wight. After roaming around the local area over there last autumn, this bird, along with another individual, headed north and spent several weeks around the North York Moors, before heading south down the River Derwent, reaching Ellerton by 4pm on the 19th July. It appeared to have roosted locally, before heading off south the following morning at 10am, passing to the east of Doncaster an hour later. By 1pm it had flown 60 miles and was skirting around the east side of Newark-upon-Trent in Nottinghamshire, before roosting at Belvoir Castle in north-east Leicestershire that evening. It then continued southwards and is now currently in Norfolk. This follows two sightings in late March of an un-tagged, presumed continental bird which was seen by a handful of observers in the LDV. Thanks to Clive Featherstone for the use of his image (WTE and Common Buzzard) – taken in Doncaster in March.

During lockdown Jean Thorpe of Ryedale Rehabilitation was been busy continuing her great work as usual – caring for raptors as well as all sorts of injured or orphaned wildlife, and victims of wildlife crime - successfully releasing many back into the wild. As well as the usual crèche of Mallard ducklings that have been released onto the reserves ditch network, we were lucky enough to enjoy releasing a Long-eared Owl earlier in the summer, and on another occasion, a Spotted Flycatcher into a local brood to be reared by ‘foster parents’. Jean also brought in a recently fledged Buzzard to release over the Ings meadow, where there are plenty of young Buzzards and Kestrels exploiting the easy hunting on the Ings with the hay cut exposing plenty of earthworks and frogs as well as small mammals. To help Jean with her work, LDV NNR volunteer, Friends of the LDV trustee and member of the Calderdale Raptor Group, Nick Carter, presented Jean (albeit distantly) with a cheque from the raptor group to support her amazing work - well done Jean and many thanks for all that you do.