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.

June '17

Lower Derwent Valley NNR - June Sightings

June continued as much as May finished, with a Great White Egret lingering in the valley between the 9th-14th, along with a Common Crane at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th and up to 12 Little Egrets towards month end. Corncrakes could still be heard singing at several sites - over the course of the season at least eight calling males have been present so far, with five showing behaviour/evidence of breeding activity. The Wheldrake birds were publicised locally, with a number of visitors enjoying listening to birds singing in front of Tower Hide. An influx of Quail was also noted from the 6th when two were heard singing on North Duffield Carrs, with a total of 16 arriving and being located before the end of the month.

Generally it is thought to have been a successful breeding season over all, with good numbers of duck broods seen, whilst wader numbers included 69 drumming Snipe, 113 pairs of Lapwing, 50 pairs of Curlew and 28 pairs of Redshank – with unfledged broods still lingering at month end. The highlight was however the first successful breeding for the reserve of Common Terns, following the provision of two new rafts provided via a kind private donation through the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley. A pair hatched two young from mid-month whilst another pair laid a single egg before deserting. These breeding birds also pulled in several other passing flocks and pairs during the month, all of which bodes well for future years.


Two Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper on the 24th heralded the start of autumn wader passage. Two Green Sandpipers remained from the 26th to month end. 

Many thanks as always, to the regular valley birders for submission of sightings throughout the month, in particular to members of the YOC, and to Duncan Bye for the use of his photographs. Thanks also to visiting birders for the number of records left in the hide log books.


BIRDS: 

Mute Swan – A total of 10 pairs were present throughout the reserve, together raising 61 cygnets. A further pair were also located off the reserve at Aughton, seen with a brood of five cygnets on the 9th, whilst up to 19 non-breeding moulting birds remained throughout the month, moving off the Ings and onto the River Derwent as water levels receded. 

Mute Swan with cygnets - Wheldrake Ings - 26/06

Greylag Goose – A monthly maxima of 276 were present late in the month. 

Canada Goose – Up to 10 remained at Bank Island, along with 21 at Wheldrake Ings throughout the month. At least 15 pairs bred on adjacent ponds and waterbodies. 

Egyptian Goose – Five breeding pairs on scattered ponds in the vicinity of East Cottingwith remained, along with a single in the Wheldrake Greylag Goose flock from the 1st to the 10th. 

Wigeon – Up to seven pairs were present throughout the reserve during the month. 

Teal – Up to 45 pairs were present throughout the site with several broods recorded during the month. 

Garganey – A female was present at North Duffield Carrs on the 14th followed by a juvenile at Wheldrake on the 21st. 

Gadwall – Good numbers were present throughout the month with up to 80 loafing drakes remaining at Wheldrake on the 9th, followed by 30+ ducklings there on the 14th. 

Tufted Duck - Present at Wheldrake Ings throughout the month, including several pairs with broods.

 Tufted Duck - Wheldrake Ings - 17/06 - DB

Pochard – A single male at Wheldrake on the 24th was the only sighting during the month. 

Grey Heron – Good numbers were present with a monthly maximum of 34 on the 19th. 

Great White Egret – A single flew north up the valley and over Ellerton church on the 9th (NC, CSR etal) and was again present at East Cottingwith Ings on the 13th and Bubwith Ings on the 14th. 

Little Egret – Regularly recorded throughout the valley with up to seven breeding pairs present. A colour-ringed bird ‘J9’ was present at Thornton Ellers during the month. Up to 12 were roosting on the pool at Wheldrake towards month end. 

Little Grebe – A single pair bred and hatched one chick on the pool at Wheldrake Ings by the 6th. 

Little Grebe - Wheldrake Ings - 17/06 - DB

Great Crested Grebe – Up to four were present throughout the site, encouraged back to Bank Island and Wheldrake with the reflooding caused by recent heavy rain. Two pairs are now known to have bred adjacent to the site at Crockey Hill and Aughton. 

Great Crested Grebe - Pool Bridge - 19/06

Red Kite – Up to four ‘pairs’ were present in the area. 

Marsh Harrier – Two pairs were present throughout the valley with at least one pair thought to be feeding young by the 9th, whilst an additional first summer male made regular appearances in the Melbourne and Thornton Ings area. 

Common Buzzard – Common throughout the area. 

Peregrine – Three breeding pairs were present in the wider Lower Derwent Valley area during the month. A single was present at Bank Island on the 10th. 

Hobby – Good numbers of birds continued to be seen throughout the reserve, with a single hunting House Martins in North Duffield village on the 10th (AW). 

Kestrel - Present across the reserve, with regular sightings of adults feeding hungry broods. Several fledged broods were also seen by month end.

Kestrel - Pool Bridge - 19/06

Common Crane – A single was present at dawn on the 11th at Wheldrake Ings. 

Corncrake – At least two calling males were present at North Duffield Carrs with another on Bubwith Ings – presumed to be breeding due to their behaviour. Two singing males were heard on Wheldrake on the 20th and 21st, with a single daily thereafter until month end. 

Quail – A notable influx occurred at the end of the first week of the month. Two singing males were located at North Duffield Carrs on the evening of the 6th, with three there the next morning (and regularly thereafter). Singles were heard at Wheldrake and East Cottingwith on the 7th, followed by two at Bubwith and two at North Duffield Ings on the 8th. 12 singing males included further birds at Aughton and Ellerton Ings on the 9th, with another singing on nearby arable by East Cottingwith village. A further bird was present at Church Bridge Melbourne on the 10th followed by another at East Cottingwith Ings on the 14th. By month end a total of 16 singing males had been located throughout the site. 

Water Rail – Up to four singing males were present at Wheldrake with the first juveniles of the year noted there on the 7th. 

Grey Partridge – Two singing males were heard at East Cottingwith village on the 9th. 

Little Ringed Plover – Two were present at Bank Island on the 24th. 

Lapwing – Following a successful breeding season, the last two unfledged young were present at Bank Island on the 30th. 

Lapwing chick - Wheldrake - 26/06

Common Snipe – A total of 69 drumming males were present throughout the site, with good breeding success noted.  

Curlew – Sample counts included seven pairs at North Duffield Carrs, along with three (pairs) at both Wheldrake Ings and Bank Island. Two (pairs) were recorded at Thornton Ellers along with a third pair nearby, followed by five pairs at Ellerton and three pairs at North Duffield Ings. 50 pairs were estimated on the Ings throughout the site. 13 at Thornton Ellers on the 26th were the first post-breeding flock.

Redshank – Several further broods were observed at North Duffield Carrs during the month with four birds ringed there. As per usual, most adults had departed by the last week of the month leaving just a handful of fledged juveniles lingering thereafter, although two pairs remained at Bank Island with small broods. 

Green Sandpiper – A single at Wheldrake on the 24th was the first returning bird, and soon followed by two at Bank Island from the 26th to month end. 

Common Tern – One pair fledged two young from the Wheldrake raft towards the second half of the month, whilst a further pair laid a single egg before deserting. These birds also pulled in several other wandering pairs and small parties, with up to seven individuals present late in the month. Other birds were seen regularly elsewhere with sightings coming from Bank Island (where birds regularly roosted on the raft there), the Pocklington Canal and the River Derwent. 

Common Tern chick - Wheldrake Ings - 19/06

Barn Owl – Sightings of adults carrying food increased during the month with many broods thought to have hatched by month end. 

Cuckoo – A number of adults were present throughout the month, with late birds reported from Bubwith on the 21st , Thorganby on the 26th and Elvington on the 30th. Several young birds were also reported late in the month. 

Kingfisher – Birds were still being reported regularly from Bank Island, Wheldrake Ings, the Pocklington Canal and Sutton Lock, with increasing sightings coming from the pool at Wheldrake. 

Spotted Flycatcher – A single pair were breeding at the Melbourne Arm on the Pocklington Canal. 

Corn Bunting – Up to 56 pairs were located on the Ings grasslands during the month – an increasing trend of birds moving onto the Ings over recent years.

Corn Bunting - Thornton - 18/06 - DB


MAMMALS: 

Roe Deer – A single on the road between Skipwith and North Duffield on the 1st, was followed by three at Wheldrake on the same date and two there on the 3rd. Two were seen at Bank Island on the 4th, with two at Wheldrake on the same day. An adult and youngster were reported from Bank Island on the 9th. A single individual was at Wheldrake on the 14th followed by one at Bank Island and Wheldrake on the 17th. Singles at North Duffield Carrs on the 20th and Wheldrake on the 22nd. A group of four were noted at Wheldrake on the 24th, followed by a single there on the 26th and an adult and juvenile on the 30th. 

Roe Deer - Wheldrake Ings - 24/06 - DB

Red Fox – Singles at Wheldrake on the 3rd and Bank Island on the 22nd. 

Brown Hare – Singles on the 1st and 3rd at Wheldrake, were followed by two at Bank Island on the 4th and three at East Cottingwith on the 9th. Singles in Wressle and Wheldrake on the 14th were followed by single sightings at Wheldrake on the 17th and Thornton on the 18th. Seven were seen on the turf at Thornton Ellers on the 26th.


MOTHS: 

Humming-bird Hawk-moth – A single was present in the reserve base garden on the 3rd, 7th, 14th and 19th.


BUTTERFLIES: 

Small Tortoiseshell – Recorded at Wheldrake Ings and along the Pocklington Canal on the 17th. Two individuals were seen at Wheldrake on the 24th followed by five in the meadow at Thornton Ellers on the 26th. 

Red Admiral – A single at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st and two at Wheldrake on the same day, were followed by one there on the 4th and 14th. On the 17th two were noted at Wheldrake along with one near the Pocklington Canal. A single individual was seen at Wheldrake on the 22nd, followed by a high count of ten there on the 24th. On the 26th six were recorded in the meadow at Thornton Ellers along with a single at Wheldrake. 

Painted Lady – A single rather worn individual was present at East Cottingwith Ings on the 9th, followed by one at Wheldrake on the 19th. 

Comma – A single along the Pocklington Canal on the 17th was followed by one at Thornton Ellers on the 26th. 

Large White – Singles at the Pocklington Canal on the 17th, Wheldrake on the 24th and Thornton Ellers on the 26th. 

Brimstone – One along the Pocklington Canal on the 17th and 18th   

Meadow Brown – The first of the year was present at Melbourne Ings on the 10th with several recorded through the valley meadows on the 14th. Two were at Wheldrake on the 17th, followed by four by the Pocklington Canal on the same date. Five were recorded at Thornton Ellers on the 18th, followed by four at Wheldrake on the 24th. Seven were seen in the meadow at Thornton on the 26th, along with one at Wheldrake on the 30th. 

Ringlet – Two at Church Bridge on the 18th were followed by singles at Wheldrake on the 24th, Thornton Ellers on the 26th and Wheldrake on the 30th.  

Speckled Wood – Two at Wheldrake on the 17th, followed by two along the Pocklington Canal on the 18th. On the 24th a single was at Bank Island along with four at Wheldrake on the same date. 

Small Skipper – The first of the year was present at Melbourne Ings on the 10th, followed by one at Thornton Ellers on the 26th.  

Large Skipper – The first of the year were seen at Bank Island and the Pocklington Canal on the 17th, followed soon after by one on Skipwith Common on the 22nd.


DRAGONFLIES: 

Banded Demoiselle – Reported regularly throughout the month from Wheldrake Ings, Bank Island, North Duffield Carrs and the Pocklington Canal. 

Emerald – 10+ at Skipwith Common on the 22nd. 

Common Darter – SingleS at Wheldrake on the 17th and Skipwith on the 22nd.


REPTILES/AMPHIBIANS: 

Adder – Single on Skipwith Common on the 22nd. 

Common Frog – Single on Skipwith Common on the 22nd.

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