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

Friday 11 December 2020

02/12/20 - Thermal Imaging

Modern and more affordable technology has opened up new and exciting areas for researching our important bird populations over recent years. The use of thermal imaging cameras have helped us gain a further understanding of how birds move around and utilise the reserve after the cover of darkness – unveiling new important feeding and roosting areas, as well as observing new behaviours - all of which are important in helping us manage and conserve the reserve and its special interest.

However, it has also helped in the capture and ringing of several more nocturnal species that have been poorly studied in the past – birds are first located on the Ings with the thermal imager, before a torch is used to dazzle them into a hand net. Recently our team have been out after dark and have caught the first returning Woodcock back on the Ings grasslands, as well as Golden Plover and Jack Snipe in their night time feeding areas. A number of other farmland bird species have also been caught recently, with Fieldfares, Skylarks and Yellowhammers all recorded. The thermal imager is also proving to be a useful tool in monitoring our local mammals populations after dark. Many thanks to our team of volunteers for their efforts lately helping us to collect this valuable data.

Thursday 3 December 2020

25/11/20 - Mallard to Germany

Perhaps often overlooked and under-appreciated due to their relative abundance and widespread distribution, the drake Mallard is nevertheless a rather attractive duck and a child favourite - hand feeding them at a local park probably sparked a life-long interest in many duck enthusiasts.

Recently, we received a ringing recovery of an adult male, ringed at Wheldrake Ings on 28th April 2011, with only its ring and leg found (presumably left behind by a predator), at Adolfskooger-Sielzug, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in September 2020. Whilst we’ve had 12 international movements from the 5000+ Mallards ringed to date in the Lower Derwent Valley over the last 30 years, this is the first since 2013, and our first to Germany since 2003.

Numbers of Mallards wintering in the UK have fallen sharply over recent decades, in part thought to be linked to climate change, with birds from further east in Europe now wintering in the Low Countries, rather than continuing into the UK in response to milder winters. Our fall in ringing exchanges between the reserve and the rest of Europe no doubt also supports that shift in winter range, but also demonstrates that there may be more than the eye can see in relationship to our ‘local resident’ Mallard.