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, regular readers may have noticed the increase in posts detailing wildlife found across the valley (ranging from plants, fungi, butterflies, dragonflies & other invertebrates). Ringing posts will hopefully resume over the winter months, and will run alongside wildlife and work posts.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

29/02/12 - A ringing success!

February 2012 can only be described as a record breaker, a total of 407 new wildfowl being the highest monthly total ever achieved, and beating the previous best February (2005, when 174 waterfowl were ringed) by an impressive 233!

Wildfowl totals for the month/year are as follows:

                                    January        February         Total
 

Little Grebe
1
0
1
Brent Goose
0
1
1
Shelduck
4
54
58
Wigeon
42
65
107
Teal
88
166
253
Mallard
19
111
130
Pintail
0
5
5
Moorhen
1
3
4
Coot
1
3
4
Total
156
408
563

Whilst it’s obviously pleasing to have had a successful month with large numbers of ducks ringed (which will hopefully lead to some useful data coming back over the next decade or so), the totals here are of national significance. Looking back over the national totals for the last published years (2008-2010) it shows that 57 Shelduck represent c20-30% of the annual UK totals, with figures of 30-70% for Wigeon, c20% for Teal and 2-24% for Pintail. Nice that the LDV NNR and the team are really adding to the national dataset as well as providing some useful local data.  

The Shelduck numbers have increased since our last post, with 58 new birds now ringed, a further 14 re-traps from previous years (8 from 2011, 2 from 2010, 2006 and 2005) and the control from Martin Mere WWT. That’s 73 individuals out of the 100+ present in the valley recorded with rings on this year - many with black darvics too. Interestingly more of the recent ‘new’ birds have been females supporting the theory that they arrive back in the valley later than the males - so maybe more to come yet.

The weights and wing lengths of many ducks but especially Teal have been interesting (as posted previously) during the cold weather. Although 110,000 Teal have been ringed in the UK over the last 100 years, the Ringing and Migration Atlas suggest Teal show ‘a remarkable capacity to respond to local conditions, either moving almost continually, to a cessation of movement, all carried out on a continental scale. The fluidity that this implies has considerable conservation implications. It goes on to say ‘continued ringing....particularly of birds using the UK during the winter, is important if the use of cold weather refuges is to be monitored successfully’.  

We are aware that the blog has become somewhat ‘waterfowl dominated’ this year. Obviously that’s one of our priorities given the interest of the NNR/SPA/Ramsar designations and the blog is intended to be a reflection of what we get up to and there are plenty of other blogs about passerine ringing out there, but don’t worry - we have other things planned too....watch this space!

Finally, a few sightings whilst we’ve been out and about and other records from the reserve - a Short-Eared Owl and several Barn Owls are still showing well at North Duffield Carrs in recent days, whilst there has been a sudden big arrival of Curlew (c200) and Oystercatcher (20) back into the valley during the last week, along with the first five Black-tailed Godwits. The Wheldrake Gull roost has also been providing interest with up to 5 different Iceland Gulls (part of the nationwide influx) and 2 Glaucous Gulls present. A wintering Chiffchaff is still present in the Wheldrake car park but it won’t be long now until the first migrants return!

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