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.

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Jul' 22

 Lower Derwent Valley NNR - July Sightings

Drought conditions continued with very few wildfowl records or counts of note, with most birds taking to the ditch network or departing the site soon after fledging.

A Spotted Crake was seen at Bank Island, with several Quail reported from scattered locations. Post-breeding concentrations of waders further suggested a successful season with particularly notable counts of Curlew and Oystercatcher, and several late broods of Redshank. The usual build-up of passage Green Sandpipers continued and attracted a single Wood Sandpiper during the month. Three juvenile Cuckoo's were noted, whilst warbler passage started towards the end of the month with good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers suggesting a successful breeding season.

Many thanks as always to everyone who contributed counts and records throughout the month, in particular to members of York Birding and regular patch birder Duncan Bye. T

Thanks also to Duncan Bye, Trevor Walton and Andrew Wappat for the use of their images below.



Egyptian Goose – A further brood of eight goslings were recorded near Elvington.

Wigeon – A pair lingered at Wheldrake throughout the month.

Teal – One or two were present on the pool at Wheldrake daily from the 1st with 14 recorded on the 28th - first sign of incoming migrants.

Little Egret – Up to 14 were feeding on the pool at Wheldrake early in the month with 17 there on the 8th, 22 on the 20th and 21 on the 23rd.

Little Egret - Wheldrake - 24/07 - DB

Marsh Harrier – Several different cream crowns were present early in the month (including the reappearance of D3), with an adult male roosting at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th and a sub-adult male on the 12th. An adult male was present again between the 17th-22nd with two different cream crowns noted during that time, with at least three throughout the site to month end.

Red Kite – Six were at Wheldrake Ings on the 13th with the same number again on the 17th. Otherwise, birds or pairs were encountered throughout the site on an almost daily basis.

Red Kite - Wheldrake - 17/07 - DB

Common Buzzard – 13 were recorded at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th – seen daily throughout the month.

Peregrine – An adult male circled Bank Island on the 14th with a juvenile buzzing the starling roost at Wheldrake on the 19th.

Hobby – Several individuals were recorded throughout, with one sitting amongst mixed Corvids feeding on the aftermath at Wheldrake on the 8th. Other sightings came from Bank Island, Thorganby, North Duffield Carrs/Ings, South Duffield, Aughton, Melbourne and Thornton. Single seen chasing Swallows at the Wheldrake roost on the 18th, with one over Bank Island on the 21st and another at the Wheldrake roost again on the 21st, 24th, and 28th.   A brood of three were ringed to the southern end of the valley on the 29th.

Spotted Crake – One was seen briefly and later heard at Bank Island on the 13th and again on the 14th.   

Quail – Two birds were still singing at Ellerton on the 4th with another at Wheldrake Ings followed by one at Hagg Bridge on the 5th. One was singing in arable near Wheldrake on the 23rd.

Water Rail – Up to eight singing birds remained throughout the month at Wheldrake with plenty of activity throughout. Single juveniles (from different broods) were also recorded.

Water Rail - Skipwith Common - 08/07 - AW

Little Ringed Plover – Up to four remained in the Bank Island area from the 1st to the 5th.

Oystercatcher – 11 flew south-west at Bank Island on the 5th with 21 over the pool at Wheldrake on the morning of the 11th. Seven paused briefly there at midday on the 14th, with three there on the 17th and two over on the 21st. As usual birds were heard on nocturnal passage during the month – one of the largest autumn passages on record.

Lapwing – Up to 200 remained throughout the month at Wheldrake Ings, with 300 scattered throughout the remainder of the valley.

Snipe – Small numbers of juveniles and moulting adults remained throughout the month.

Black-tailed Godwit – Single on the pool at Wheldrake Ings on the 31st.

Curlew – At total of 38 fledged young were counted throughout the site on the 1st/2nd. Two fledged young were at Bubwith Ings on the 4th with two near-fledged large young colour-ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 6th. Two fledged from an adjacent silage field on the 8th thanks to the efforts of the sympathetic landowner. 31 roosted at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th with 34 there on the 11th, with ones and twos seen heading west over Bank Island on the same date. 29 were at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th with 43 on the 13th and 38 on the 14th. 35 were present on the 17th and 18th with 49 there on the 21st-23rd. Numbers decreased thereafter with eight remaining on the 28th and two on the 31st.

Curlew - Wheldrake - 24/07 - DB

Dunlin – One was present at Bank Island on the 8th with three there on the 28th.

Redshank – A brood of four fledged young were at Bank Island on the 4th with three large young at Wheldrake Ings on the 6th - a single fledged juvenile was on the pool on the 13th and then on Swantail Ings between the 14th – 22nd. Two were then present there on the 23rd – 25th with one thereafter to month end.

Redshank - 24/07 - Wheldrake - DB

Greenshank – Single flew into Wheldrake Ings at dawn on the 30th.

Ruff – A moulting adult was present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 28th to month end.

Green Sandpiper – One or two were present daily with three at Wheldrake Ings on the 8th, four on the 12th and three between the 13th to the 18th - four were thereafter, increasing to five on the 23rd/24th. Seven were recorded between the 25th to the 28th with four thereafter to month end.

Wood Sandpiper – A single was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 30th.

Black-headed Gull – c300 (including 190 juveniles), were feeding on cut hay throughout the reserve on the 4th.

Common Gull – The first juveniles appeared on the reserve on the 4th - feeding amongst the cut hay, with five present.

Common Gull - 17/07 - Wheldrake - DB

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Small numbers of mainly adult birds were present early in the month throughout the site, often following hay making operations. Five were at Bank Island on the 2nd with 22 in arable fields by the Low Grounds on the 19th.

Yellow-legged Gull – Two were seen with a flock of Lesser Black backed Gulls on the 19th at the Low Grounds.

Common Tern – The family party of five remained at Wheldrake Ings until the 11th where they continued to roost on the raft at night - spending the day feeding elsewhere in the area. They then became less frequent thereafter, with one or two additional passage birds joining – five were present on the 28th.

Cuckoo – Adults were still calling at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st and Melbourne on the 4th. A fledged juvenile was seen at Wheldrake on several days (6th-8th), with another at Thornton on the 9th. A newly fledged chick was ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th (different bird to earlier in the month).

Cuckoo - Wheldrake - 05/07 - TW

Wheatear – A single was seen at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th.

Swallow – Up to 200 were recorded over Wheldrake Ings on the 10th and 11th, with 200+ again on the 19th.

Cetti’s Warbler – Two calling birds were still present at Bank Island with two at Wheldrake Ings on the 5th, with an adult male re-caught on the 15th. Single still singing at Wheldrake on the 17th. A female with a brood patch was controlled (ringed elsewhere) at Wheldrake Ings on the 22nd, with a very newly fledged youngster caught and ringed there on the 23rd – data to follow on the control.

Cetti's Warbler - Wheldrake - 23/07 - LM

Willow Tit – A single juvenile was caught in pool side willows at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th, with another nearby on the 17th and a calling bird by the Wind Pump on the 29th.

Marsh Tit – A single juvenile was caught and ringed near South Duffield on the 10th.

Sedge Warbler – Large numbers of both adults and juveniles were present during the month, with monthly ringing totals well above average. Over 400 were ringed over the course of the month, in comparison to the record figure of 380 ringed previously in a calendar year. Increasing passage was noted late in the month with the first birds observed carrying fat for migration on the 27th, followed by a fall overnight on the 28th/29th, with 43 ringed on the 29th and 29 on the 30th. This fall/movement was mirrored elsewhere in Europe.

Grasshopper Warbler – A single was ‘reeling at Wheldrake Ings between the 1st to the 15th, with a locally bred juvenile caught and ringed by the pool on the later date.   

Spotted Flycatcher – A pair were incubating a second clutch at Melbourne.

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