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 23 March 2021

18/03/21 - Pintail on the increase

Recently, several of the team carried out the monthly WeBS count of the LDV’s waterfowl, as part of the national ‘Wetland Bird Survey’. These surveys have taken place on the reserve here since the 1960’s, and with the use of standard methodology, allow trends in wildfowl and wader populations to be studied, both at a site level and across the county. 

Of the 25,500 birds counted in the Lower Derwent, it included a record breaking 871 Pintail - breaking the previous record of 823 set in January this year. Looking at previous years WeBS data, we can see that the ten year averages for winter peak counts, showed that numbers were typically in the range of 54-70 during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Numbers then increased to an average of 186 during the 1990’s, and more dramatically to 468 during the 2000’s. Peak counts during the 2000’s passed 600 birds in four winter periods, with the largest count of that decade of 674 in 2007/08, being surpassed by a count of 716 ten years later in the 2017/18 winter period, before these two counts of 800+ more recently. It’s great to see the value of these long-term monitoring schemes, and to see Pintail, such a beautiful and eloquent duck (shown well below in the feather detail photographs), doing so well here. Many thanks to all our counters who have helped contribute to this data set over the years.

Wednesday 3 March 2021

01/03/21 - Egyptian Goose to the Netherlands

Introduced to Britain in the later part of the 17th Century, Egyptian Geese are a relatively recent colonist of the Lower Derwent Valley NNR, following the first record here in 1979. Further records occurred in May 1990 and March 1991, with the species then recorded annually since 2001. It has since gone on to become established as a breeding species, with up to five pairs present in recent years - largely confined to several farm ponds in the East Cottingwith and Melbourne area. 

Although Egyptian Geese appear largely sedentary in the UK, making only relatively short journeys, little is known about the movements of the species across the country. We have only ringed four in the area, including a brood of three at East Cottingwith in October 2019. 

With so few individuals ringed on the reserve, we were incredibly surprised to receive a ringing recovery of one of the three goslings, that had been found in Den Hoorn, Texel, The Netherlands, 328 km south east of the LDV, in January 2021 - the first such movement of the species outside of the UK and the longest movement on record.