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.

August '17

Lower Derwent Valley NNR - August Sightings 

A rather quiet month for waterfowl following post breeding dispersal with 27 Grey Heron and 14 Little Egrets still present throughout the site, the first returning Teal increased numbers to 90 by the end of the month, whilst also attracting a late Garganey (12th) and the first returning Wigeon (28th). It was however a busy month for birds of prey, large numbers of Common Buzzards reflecting a productive breeding season and ongoing population increase, and presumably some passage, with a total of 17 over North Duffield Carrs on the 25th. Good numbers of Hobbies were showing well following on from a good showing earlier in the spring, the first juvenile appearing at Bank Island on the 18th. Up to three were seen regularly at Wheldrake Ings late in the month hunting swallows and martins at the roost. At least five different Marsh Harriers lingered with daily sightings, and the first returning Osprey was noted south over Bank Island on the 25th. 

Little Egret - DB

Wader passage was steady with 1000+ Lapwings present on and around the reserve early in the month, with the regular autumn site near Raker Lakes at Wheldrake attracting up to 60 Golden Plover by the 27th. Small numbers of Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Curlew and Little Ringed Plovers moved through the site, with single Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit also recorded, while up to 100 Snipe still lingered at Bank Island. Kingfishers continued to show well in front of Pool Hide, making good use of the rails provided - pictured below.

Kingfisher - DB 

Other birds were also on the move during the month, with highlights including a Nightjar reported from a Bubwith garden on the 13th, shortly followed by a day time bird flushed on Ellerton Ings on the 30th. A general movement of passerines through the area from the 20th included an obvious movement of Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers and the first autumn Redstart. The first of two Wheatears appeared on the 25th with Pied Flycatchers reported on the 27th and 28th, while a good passage of Yellow Wagtails were noted over the valley and peaked with 80+ at Wheldrake Ings on the 21st. Five Spotted Flycatchers recorded during the month were noteworthy and coincided with a concentrated period of passage throughout the region, whilst a presumed passage Grasshopper Warbler was heard at Bank Island on the 24th. A movement of Blackcaps followed through the site on the 30th and was followed by a run of Sedge Warblers on the 31st when another Pied Flycatcher was caught and ringed at Bank Island – the first for the reserve.

 
Pied Flycatcher 

Mixed weather conditions meant it wasn’t a great month for insects although a few more Painted Ladies made on appearance early in the month and yet another Humming-bird Hawk-Moth appeared in the NNR base garden. Seed harvesting operations also revealed high densities of ladybirds frequenting the uncut meadows throughout the site, with notable counts of both 14-spot and Water Ladybirds.

Humming-bird Hawk-moth

Many thanks as always to the local valley birders/YOC for the submission of records throughout the month, and in particular to Duncan Bye for records and the use of photographs (credited DB). Thanks also to visiting birders for all the records left in the hide log books.



BIRDS: 

Mute Swan – 10 pairs with 56 remaining cygnets were still present at month end. Two flew into Bank Island from the north on the 30th with another there on the 31st – the first returning birds back from the moulting sites elsewhere. 

 
Mute Swan brood - North Duffield Carrs - 10/08


Greylag Goose – Up to 100+ remained throughout the month increasing to 300+ by month end. 

Canada Goose – A monthly maximum of 70 on the 24th. 

Wigeon – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 28th was the first returning bird of the autumn. 

Teal – A small build up in numbers early in the month with 20 at Bank Island on the 1st, 30 at Wheldrake on the 7th and 38 on the 9th. Numbers increased further to 80 by the 12th and 90 by the 27th 

Garganey – A single on the pool at Wheldrake on the 12th (DB).

Mallard – The evening roost flight into the pool at Wheldrake included 207 birds on the 9th with up to 500+ present throughout the site late in the month.   

Gadwall – Monthly maximum of 68 on the 8th. 

Shoveler – Monthly maximum of 28 on the 8th. 

Grey Heron – 17 were present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 6th, with 15 remaining on the 28th when a total of 27 were present throughout the site. 20 on the pool at Wheldrake on the 30th. 

 
Grey Heron - Wheldrake Ings - 06/08 - DB


Little Egret – Eight were present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 6th, with six there on the 27th /28th when a total of 14 were present throughout the valley. Eight were present at Wheldrake Ings on the 30th. 

Little Grebe –A single fledged immature at Wheldrake lingered on the pool early in the month whilst a single immature was at Bank Island on the 3rd – 12th. A single immature was also present at the Escrick Duck Decoy during the month. 

Osprey – A single flew south at Bank Island on the morning of the 25th (DB) – the first of the autumn. 

Red Kite – Birds continued to be reported throughout the month albeit less frequently than in July. 

Marsh Harrier – A single at Hagg Bridge on the 1st with another juvenile at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th, with juveniles also regularly recorded at Wheldrake Ings. Regular sightings were received thereafter whilst a juvenile was still present at Bank Island on the 20th – 25th with a second summer male at North Duffield Carrs on the latter date. Two were present at Wheldrake on the 27th/28th with four between this site and Wheldrake on the 30th. 

 
Marsh Harrier - Wheldrake Ings - 27/08 - DB


Common Buzzard – Regular throughout the month across the area with increasing numbers of birds recorded, possibly post breeding dispersal and passage. 17 were over North Duffield on the 25th. 

Hobby – The number of sightings increased throughout the month with almost daily sightings including the first juvenile at Bank Island on the 18th, followed by three chasing Swallows at Wheldrake on the 22nd/23rd and a single over Thorganby on the latter date. Two at Wheldrake on the 28th. 

Peregrine – A single was present at Thornton Ellers on the 4th with another immature at Bank Island on the 21st. 

Corncrake – A single male was still singing at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st whilst two could still be heard at North Duffield Carrs on the 11th. A single bird was seen on the track near Tower Hide at Wheldrake Ings on the 13th. A late single was seen well but briefly at North Duffield Carrs on the 25th. Hay cuts were delayed around all the singing locations with ‘Corncrake friendly’ mowing introduced in those areas. The rather wet un-seasonal weather delayed the hay cuts generally throughout the valley potentially further helping this species. 


 
'Corncrake friendly' mowing - RR

Grey Partridge – A pair of adults were present at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th. 

Little Ringed Plover – Two were at Bank Island on the 5th/6th with a single remaining on the 7th. An immature was on the pool at Wheldrake on the 9th. 

Golden Plover – A flock of 11 had returned to the usual autumn fields by Raker Lakes, Wheldrake on the 18th, with 40 there on the 20th and 60 by the 27th. 

Lapwing – 600+ were still present at Bank Island early in the month with 1000+ throughout the valley and adjacent farmland on the 3rd. Three recently fledged young were at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th. 250 at Raker Lakes, Wheldrake on the 18th with 300 there by the 20th. 

Dunlin – A single was present at Bank Island from the 1st to the 6th. 

Black-tailed Godwit – A single at Bank Island on the 3rd/4th was followed by six birds on the pool at Wheldrake on the 30th 

Common Snipe – 100+ were still present at Bank Island on the 1st when five were along the Pocklington Canal at Storwood. 15 were at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th with 28 at Wheldrake on the 13th. 40+ were still at Bank Island on the 23rd with 50+ there on the 25th. 40 were on the pool at Wheldrake on the 30th. 

Curlew – Six west at Wheldrake on the 6th were thought to be autumn passage birds. A single immature was present at Thornton Ellers on the 12th. 

Whimbrel – A single flew north west at Wheldrake on the 6th. 

Redshank – A single juvenile lingered at Wheldrake from the 1st – 8th. 

Greenshank – A single lingered at Bank Island from the 1st - 6th with a second bird at Wheldrake on the 6th - 9th and a single there on the 12th. 

Common Sandpiper – Five were present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 9th. 

Green Sandpiper – Two were present daily at Bank Island from the 1st with five at Wheldrake on the 5th and three or four thereafter, until five arrived on the 12th. A flock of five flew into Bank Island high from the north on the 22nd, while three were still present at Wheldrake on the 27th followed by six on the 28th. 10 were present there on the 30th. 

 
Green Sandpiper - Wheldrake Ings - 28/08 - DB


Common Tern – A pair were seen along the Pocklington Canal, Hagg Bridge on the 1st, whilst the pair with a single immature remained at Wheldrake from the 1st – 6th with additional sightings at Pool Bridge Farm Crockey Hill on the 3rd and Crockey Hill again on the 4th. Five were present between Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 6th. Sightings were less regular at Wheldrake thereafter with two adults there on the 13th. 

Little Owl – A single juvenile at Hagg Bridge on the 1st followed by a pair seen feeding young at Barmby-on-the-Marsh early in the month. 

 
Little Owl - Hagg Bridge - 01/08 - DB


Nightjar – A single was present at Bubwith Ings during the day on the 30th (FM), which followed an unconfirmed report of a single in a Bubwith garden earlier in the month. 

Kingfisher – Regular birds were seen and heard at Bank Island with up to three early in the month showing well on the pool at Wheldrake. A single was also seen at Hagg Bridge on the Pocklington Canal on the 1st with several sites also along the Pocklington Canal holding birds. 

Wheatear – A single was present at Thornton on the 25th with another at Ellerton Ings on the 30th. 

Whinchat – Up to two lingered in front of Tower Hide, Wheldrake Ings from the 1st - 5th with three there on the 12th/13th. A single was present at Bank Island on the 18th with three at Wheldrake on the 27th. 

Redstart – A single was present at Bank Island on the 20th. 

Pied Flycatcher – A single was reported from Bank Island on the 27th with a single female at Church Bridge, Melbourne on the 28th (NC). A single immature male was caught and ringed at Bank Island on the 31st – the first for the reserve. 

Yellow Wagtail – Small numbers were recorded passing over various sites during the month with c20+ at Thornton Ellers on the 11th. 80+ were feeding among newly cut hay at Wheldrake on the 21st with 40 over on the 22nd and 10 at Bank Island on the 23rd – a concentrated period of passage. 

Swallow – A small movement late in the month with c500 south on the 20th, 1000+ on the 21st and 300+ on the 22nd. 

Garden Warbler – A single at Bank Island on the 20th with several reports thereafter suggesting passage through the site. 

Lesser Whitethroat – A single at Bank Island on the 20th with several across a range of sites thereafter suggesting a period of passage through the area, with the first of the year among pool side willows at Wheldrake on the 27th. 

Spotted Flycatcher – A single passage bird was caught and ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 6th (MFJ), with another single at Bank Island on the 13th, two at Wheldrake on the 23rd followed by one there on the 28th. 

Blackcap – A notable influx of presumed passage birds was noted at Wheldrake on the 30th with 15 caught and ringed (MFJ).

Grasshopper Warbler – A single, presumably a passage bird, was present at Bank Island on the 24th. 

Willow Tit – A single was calling in the North Duffield Carrs car park area on the 4th while a second family part of four juveniles were caught and ringed by the pool at Wheldrake on 6th (MFJ), when another single was present at Bank Island. Up to two pairs were present in the Melbourne Arm area of the Pocklington Canal during the month with two pairs also at Thornton Ellers. 

Bullfinch – A high count of 28 was had at Wheldrake on the 28th. 

Nuthatch – A single at Wheldrake on the 6th was followed by two there on the 27th 

 
Nuthatch - Wheldrake Ings - 27/08 - DB


Tree Sparrow – 100+ were present near Sutton-on-Derwent on the 20th with 150 near Thornton on the 25th. 

Corn Bunting – Several families were present in the Thornton area on the 25th.


MAMMALS: 

Brown Hare – Five at Hagg Bridge on the 1st included a mating pair whilst a single individual was at North Duffield Carrs, followed by two at Bank Island on the 2nd and one at North Duffield on the 7th and 10th. On the 12th two were at Raker Lakes along with one at North Duffield Carrs on the same date. A number of records then followed from Bank Island – one on the 13th, two on the 18th and 19th, one on the 20th and four on the 27th. 

 
Brown Hare - North Duffield Carrs - 07/08


Roe Deer – Three at Hagg Bridge on the 1st followed by one at Bank Island on the 2nd and Wheldrake on the 9th. Two were at Wheldrake on the 13th followed by an adult and youngster at Bank Island on the 25th, 27th and 28th 

Red Fox – A single seen well at Wheldrake on the 2nd followed by one there on the 21st.


REPTILES/AMPHIBIANS:

Common Frog - Singles at North Duffield Carrs and the NNR base on the 3rd.

 
Common Frog - NNR base - 03/08



BUTTERFLIES/MOTHS: 

Small Tortoiseshell – Single at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th followed by NDC, Wheldrake and the NNR base on the the 10th. Singles at Wheldrake on the 21st and the base garden on the the 24th. Three at Bank Island and four at Wheldrake on the 27th. 

Peacock – Four at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th and one there on the 10th. One at Wheldrake on the 21st. Singles at Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 27th followed by one at Wheldrake on the 28th. 

Red Admiral – One at Hagg Bridge on the 1st, two at Bank Island on the 6th, eight at Wheldrake on the 6th and two there on the 20th. On the 24th a single in the NNR base garden, followed by three at Bank Island on the the 27th and a single at Wheldrake on the same day and again on the 28th. 

Painted Lady – Singles were present at the NNR base garden at Bank Island on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th and North Duffield Carrs on the 7th. Four were in the NNR base garden on the 8th/9th, when two were also present at Wheldrake Ings.

Comma – Singles at Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 6th. 

Common Blue – A single at the NNR base garden on the 8th. 

Small Copper – One at Wheldrake on the 13th. 

Speckled Wood – On the 6th two were at Wheldrake followed by three there on the 12th and 13th. On the 19th two were at Bank Island with four there the next day and six at Wheldrake also on the 20th. Two at Bank Island on the 25th, with four there on the 27th and 15 at Wheldrake on the same day. On the 28th 12 were at Wheldrake and three at Bank Island. 

Gatekeeper - Single at Wheldrake on the 10th.

Humming-bird Hawk-Moth – A single at the NNR base on the 24th – the fifth record at this location during the year.


DRAGONFLIES: 

Black-tailed Skimmer - Two at North Duffield Carrs on the 10th.

Brown Hawker – One at Wheldrake on the 6th and 10th, also one at North Duffield on the same day, followed by three at Wheldrake on the 13th. 

Southern Hawker – Singles at Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 6th. 

Common Darter – Singles at Wheldrake on the 6th and Bank Island on the 13th. Two at Bank Island on the 20th followed by one at Wheldrake on the 27th. 

Banded Demoiselle – Two at Wheldrake on the 12th.


OTHERS: 

Green Shieldbug – A single at the NNR base garden on the 4th. 

Bronze Shieldbug – A single on Field Scabious at the NNR base, Bank Island on the 30th. 

Water Ladybird – A single found at Wheldrake on the 4th was followed by six there on 9th and a single at North Duffield on the 25th. 

14-spot Ladybird – 14 were recorded at Wheldrake on the 3rd along with seven at North Duffield Carrs on the 25th.

2-spot Ladybird - One at Wheldrake on the 10th. 

Harlequin Ladybird (H.succinea) - 10+ at Wheldrake on the 10th. 

Harlequin Ladybird (H.spectabilis) - Single at Wheldrake on the 10th. 

Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata) - One in the NNR base garden on the 10th. 

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