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.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

18/03/12 - RED Letter Day

Some days just aren’t about ringing, and this was one of them! Two weeks ago, Jean Thorpe (a member of this group - NNR volunteer and who also runs Ryedale Rehabilitation Centre) received a very poorly Red Kite. It had almost certainly been poisoned and was probably just hours away from death. In fact, Craig went to age and sex the bird on its first morning there in the pouring rain, which, given that hypothermia kills most poisoned birds before organ failure or starvation, it would have been dead that morning had it not been at Jean’s under a heat lamp.

Recovering at Jean's

Hopes weren’t high for a good outcome....however, Jean has an excellent track record with rehab so if anyone could turn it around she could. We’ve ringed many of the birds successfully rehabbed by Jean over the years and have proved the value of all her hard work, patience, skill and dedication. Ringing has shown, amongst many others, that a Barn Owl that had been shot with an air rifle, breaking its wing, is now still breeding in one of our nest boxes and has produced more than 30 chicks since Jean cared for it. The Marsh Harrier (below) faired well in the valley following a broken wing and was tracked due to its distinctive moult for the rest of the summer before it departed, and only last week we re-trapped a shelduck duckling, which is now back, paired up and breeding in the valley 5 years after Jean hand reared it following the loss of its parents on a road. All of Jean's hard work obviously helps the individuals and populations of the wild birds and animals she looks after, but also in the longer run will bring enjoyment to those who get to enjoy, for example, the Barn Owls, Marsh Harriers and Shelduck offspring produced by the above - SO WELL DONE JEAN!

Marsh Harrier

Anyway, true to Jean’s form, the Red Kite amazingly started to fair well, putting on 150 grams during its two week stay and today it let Jean know it was ready to go - by attacking her and batting around its pen. If they’re ready, they’re ready, so Craig and Mike had the privilege of being there for the release and Mike also got to ring a Red Kite. 


The bird came from within the wider Derwent catchment, was a first year male, and due to the fact it had been poisoned, the unfortunate decision was made not to release it back to where it was found (always the golden rule in rehab). Instead it was released on a private part of the NNR with good Kite habitat, lots of available food and in an area frequented by passing Kites with good ‘raptor friendly’ landowners.

True to form, being a Red Kite, it typically sat for a while and ‘sulked’ on release, before Jean picked it up and threw it into the air. It went like a rocket, soaring and gliding, coming back for a ‘thank you’ flyover, before flying up, up and away, circling higher and higher until it was just a dot in the sky. It was a privilege to see and was quite emotional - hope it fairs well and that we don’t actually hear about it again. Well done Jean! Lets just hope that the efforts being made by the North Yorkshire Police get some equally good results.
'Sulking'

Up, up & away!

Stop Press! The Kite was sighted by the York BTO regional rep Rob Chapman and his wife on the NNR about an hour after it was released. This was about 5 Km from where it was released, and was later seen by Craig on the ground feeding on a goose carcass - RESULT!

Follow Jean's link for more information about the great work shes does -  

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