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.

Feb '17

Lower Derwent Valley NNR - February Sightings

February usually sees a build-up of waterfowl in the valley as wintering birds are joined by returning birds on spring passage and incoming breeding birds, with this month being no exception. Two Bewick’s Swan were still to be found amongst the wintering Whooper Swans at Aughton Ings late in the month, whilst grey-geese continued to be a feature. 103 European White-fronted Geese on the 1st were followed by 22 Barnacles and up to 19 Tundra Beans from the 24th. Counts of common wintering ducks included 12,000 Wigeon, 10,000+ Teal, 368 Pintail, 262 Gadwall, 251 Tufted Duck, 257 Pochard and 238 Shoveler. Two red head Smew from the 19th and up to four Scaup added interest. Little Egrets were present throughout whilst three Great-crested Grebes were the first returning birds of the year on 19th. Coot numbers also increased with spring passage and incoming breeders bringing the total to 320 by month end.
 
The first Ringed Plover of the year was at Wheldrake Ings on the 19th, shortly followed by the first February record of two Avocets on the Low Grounds on the 25th. The first incoming Oystercatcher appeared on the 4th with numbers increasing to 14 by the 26th, whilst the seven wintering Black-tailed Godwits increased further to 23 by the end of the month. Large numbers of wintering Lapwing and Golden Plover remained with 9000+ and 4150 respectively, along with 300 Dunlin. Numbers of Curlew increased from the wintering flock of 30 to 130 by month end, with the first singing/displaying birds noted from the 27th


A Woodlark on the Low Grounds on the 25th represented an unusual spring record for the valley, although two birds at Skipwith Common on the same date were more typical. Up to 10 Waxwing re-appeared in Wheldrake village briefly again during the month whilst up to 20 Brambling were present near Thorganby. The Pine Bunting at Dunnington remained throughout the month, later joined by a nearby Arctic Redpoll at Hagg Wood, bringing an increased flow of admiring birders to the valley.


Away from the birds a handful of moths were recorded along with a notable run of 'first' ladybirds from Skipwith Common, including Eyed, Orange, 7-spot and 10-spot.


As always, many thanks to everyone who has submitted records throughout the month, particularly to members of the YOC, and extra thanks to Duncan Bye and Trevor Walton for the use of their photographs.




BIRDS:


Mute Swan – Up to 85 were recorded throughout the valley during the month.


Whooper Swan – Up to 70 remained between North Duffield Carrs, Derwent Farm and Aughton Ings. 

 
Whooper Swan - Aughton - 19/02 - DB

Bewick’s Swan – Two were present at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th and were again present at Aughton Ings on the 26th - presumably having remained elusive and mobile throughout. 

Greylag Goose – 1000+ were present in the Thorganby area on the 3rd with 500+ at Ellerton Ings on the 8th. 900 remained throughout the site by the month end. 

White-fronted Goose – Two flocks, totaling 103 birds arrived low and fast from the north-east at Bank Island on the 1st, heading in the direction of Wheldrake Ings. 20+ were present from the viewing platform at Thorganby Ings on the 3rd whilst a flock of 14 were present at Aughton on the 4thwith presumably the same flock there again on the 8th. Two flocks, of 23 and 32 were in the Aughton/ Ellerton/Thorganby area on the 9th, making a total of 56 birds present in the area on that date. Six were still present in the area on the 12th. 

Tundra Bean Goose – 19 were present at Bank Island on the 24th (CSR) with nine present again there on the 27th followed by 11 on the 28th. 

Pink-footed Goose – Six long staying birds remained in the Aughton area on the 8th with 210 NW over the valley on the 13th. 

Canada Goose – 200+ were present at Ellerton Ings on the 8th with 300+ on several dates thereafter. 

Barnacle Goose – Three birds that had been present since mid-January remained at Wheldrake Ings into the month and increased to four by the 12th – 18th. A flock of 20 arrived at Bank Island on the 24th (CSR, DT, SC) followed by 22 on the 26th to month end. 


 
Barnacle Geese - Wheldrake - 18/02 - DB 


Egyptian Goose – The regular pair at East Cottingwith were joined by another two birds on the 4th. 

Shelduck – Up to 60 were present early in the month with 80+ by month end. 

Wigeon – 9800 were present throughout the site on the 8th, whilst Bank Island held 2209 on the 21st and 4000+ at Aughton/Ellerton on the 26th – when an estimated 12,000+ were present throughout the site. 

Teal – Large numbers were present with c10,000+ throughout the valley on the 8th. 

Pintail – 200+ were still scattered throughout the site on the 4th with 230 counted on the 8th and 300 on the 12th and 19th. 245 were present at Aughton on the 26th with a monthly maxima of 368 present throughout the valley on that date. 

Mallard – An estimated 1450 were present throughout the month. 

Gadwall – Numbers increased quickly with 262 present by the 27th. 

Shoveler – 180 were spread across the site on the 12th with 238 present on the 26th. 

Tufted Duck – 103 were present throughout the site on the 4th followed by 65 at Bank Island on the 6th and 139 at Aughton on the 8th. The Ellerton/Aughton area held 192 on the 9th when 59 were also present at Bank Island – a minimum of 251 present throughout. 107 were recorded at Wheldrake Ings on the 18th with 200+ present throughout the whole site on the same day. 79 were at Bank Island on the 21st. 

Scaup – A drake was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 18th -27th followed by a female at Bank Island on the 24th. Two females were at Aughton on the 27th. 

Pochard – 84 were present at Aughton Ings on the 8th with 188 there on the 9th when a total of 257 were present throughout the site. 180+ remained at Aughton on the 19th with 112 there on the 26th. 

Goldeneye – 10 were present throughout the site on the 4th with 11 in the refuge area at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th followed by 16 there on the 18th and 21st.


 
Goldeneye - Wheldrake - 21/02 - TW 


Goosander – Five were present on the River Derwent near Stamford Bridge late in the month. 

Smew – Two red-heads were present at Aughton Ings on the 19th (DB) with at least one still present on the 20th and 21st and again on the 26th. 

Grey Heron – Numbers and frequency of sightings increased during the month as birds started to return to the valley and the local heronry. 

Little Egret – A single was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th with one then reported regularly from the Hagg Bridge area of the Pocklington Canal. A single appeared once again at Bank Island on the 15th-17th and Wheldrake Ings on the 18th, with up to two present thereafter to month end (at both Wheldrake and Hagg Bridge). 

Cormorant – 32 were present at the Wheldrake Ings roost on the 18th. 

Little Grebe – Several wintering birds were present on the River Derwent and Pocklington Canal throughout the month, with pairs also returning to breeding sites at North Duffield Carrs (21st) and Bank Island (25th). 

Great-crested Grebe – The first returning birds of the year were three seen together at Wheldrake Ings on the 19th, present thereafter until month end. 


  
Great-crested Grebe - Wheldrake - 21/02 - TW


Goshawk – A single pair was reported throughout the month. 


Red Kite – A single was present over Bank Island on the 3rd followed by four at Wheldrake Ings on the 19th. A single was near Newton on Derwent on the 24th with singles over the NNR base on the 26th and 28th


Marsh Harrier – Up to two cream-crowns continued to winter throughout the valley. 


Peregrine – Up to five birds were present during the month, showing particularly well at both Wheldrake Ings and North Duffield Carrs during the month. 


Merlin – A single was reported from the Elvington Water Treatment Works on the 19th (AF).


Coot – 30 were present between Bubwith and Ellerton on the 9th, followed by 110 present in the refuge area at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th. Numbers continued to build with 320+ present throughout the site on the 26th


Water Rail – Up to 15 wintering birds remained throughout the valley during the month.


Grey Partridge – Five at Aughton on the 8th were followed by three at Ellerton on the 21st and two near Wheldrake village on the 23rd. Two were present at North Duffield Carrs on the 26th.


Avocet – Two were present on the Low Grounds on the 25ththe first February record for the reserve of a species which is increasingly encountered (AF).


 
Avocets - Low Grounds - 25/02 - DB



Ringed Plover – The first returning bird of the year flew over Wheldrake Ings on the 19th before landing on the Low Grounds. 


Oystercatcher – The first returning bird was present at East Cottingwith on the 4th with another at North Duffield Carrs on the 6th and Wheldrake Ings on the 14th, followed by three there on the 18th. Numbers increased quickly thereafter with 14 present throughout the site on the 26th including 11 at North Duffield Carrs. 


Lapwing – 5200 were present at Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd when flooding throughout the valley no doubt concentrated birds, an estimated 6800 were present throughout the site on the 3rd. 5000 were still present at Wheldrake on the 4th with an estimated 8-9000 present throughout the whole site on the 8th and 9th. 3000+ were still present at Wheldrake on the 12th with 4000 there on the 18th and 5100 present throughout the whole site on the 26th.


Golden Plover – 3500 were recorded at Wheldrake Ings with large numbers of Lapwing on the 2nd with 4150 present throughout the whole valley on the 3rd. 2000 were present at Wheldrake on the 4th with 1200 at East Cottingwith/Thorganby on the 9th. 1000+ were at Wheldrake on the 12th followed by 2000 there on the 18th. 3300 were present over the Low Grounds on the 24th with 4100 again present throughout the valley on the 26th.

 
Golden Plover/Lapwing - Wheldrake - 04/02 - DB



Ruff – Numbers appeared rather low with birds spread throughout the valley – up to 56 were recorded on several dates.


Black-tailed Godwit – Seven at Wheldrake from the 1st to the 12th had increased to 16 by the 19th and up to 23 by the 25th


Jack Snipe – A single was present at Seavy Carr on the 14th followed by three there on the 21st


Common Snipe – Small numbers were scattered throughout the site with 300+ in the Melbourne Thornton area on the 21st


Woodcock – A single at Bank Island on the 19th.


Dunlin – 300+ present across the site on the 8th were followed by 100+ at Ellerton on the 12th and a total of 215 throughout the valley on the 26th


Curlew – 39 were recorded at Wheldrake Ings on the 18th with a minimum of 63 throughout the valley on the 21st. 100+ were noted on the 24th including 42 at North Duffield Carrs. A total of 130 were present throughout the site on the 26th with the first displaying birds seen at Bank Island on the 27th


Redshank – Numbers increased during the month with 61 on the 14th the monthly maximum.


Herring Gull – Up to 14,000 were still using the Wheldrake roost early in the month with 10,000+ remaining at month end.


Greater Black-backed Gull – Numbers fell quickly perhaps as birds headed back to breeding locations further north. Up to 2500 remained at the Wheldrake roost late in the month. 


Lesser Black-backed Gull – Two were present at the Wheldrake roost on the 18th with six at Bank Island on the 28th


Glaucous Gull – Birds were still regular at the Wheldrake Ings roost throughout the month with up to six different birds recorded. Two first winters were present at Wheldrake on the 18th followed by two at North Duffield Carrs on the 24th and a lingering first winter at Bank Island during the morning of the the 28th


Iceland Gull – Up to five different birds were reported during the month, with an increase in the number of adults reported as the month progressed. An adult was present at North Duffield Carrs on the 24th.


Barn Owl – The numbers of records around the valley increased during the month with regular sightings between Sutton on Derwent and Allerthorpe. 


Kingfisher – Two were present at Bank Island on the 4th with occasional sightings from the River Derwent at Wheldrake Ings. 


Skylark – Numbers increased with several pairs holding territories and displaying from mid-month. 


Woodlark – A single flew over the Low Grounds towards Wheldrake Ings on the 25th (AF), on which date two singing birds were first present on Skipwith Common NNR (NC). 


Grey Wagtail – Up to four birds continued to roost at the Bank Island water treatment works.


Waxwing – 10 were again present in Wheldrake village on the 8th (IH) with four remaining there on the 9th .


Blackbird – 30 at Wheldrake Ings on the 12th were a noteworthy count – perhaps an indication of return passage. 


Nuthatch – Present during the month at the Escrick Duck Decoy. A single was heard at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th – a more unusual record. 


Stonechat – A single was still present in front of the Geoff Smith at North Duffield Carrs on 4th.


Marsh Tit – A single was seen at the Bank Island feeding station throughout the month. 


Willow Tit – Up to four were present at Wheldrake Ings. 


Brambling – 20+ were in the Thorganby area, with small scattered numbers elsewhere suggesting a limited spring passage. 


Pine Bunting – Last month’s bird continued to over winter near Dunnington amongst the large bunting and finch flock.


Lesser Redpoll – Up to 60 were present at Skipwith Common on the 25th.




MAMMALS:


Roe Deer – Common throughout the month around the valley and nearby Skipwith Common.


Brown Hare – Up to five were present at North Duffield Carrs early in the month, with two at Bank Island on the 21st and scattered sightings elsewhere. 


Red Fox – A single was present at Bank Island on the 8th and 28th.


Wood Mouse – Recorded frequently at the NNR base.


Bank Vole – Occasional sightings in the NNR base garden.




MOTHS:


Dotted border – A single at Bank Island on the 21st.


March Moth – A single at Bank Island on the 20th.




OTHERS:


7-Spot Ladybird – The first of the year was present at Skipwith Common on the 15th.


10-Spot Ladybird – A single found at Skipwith Common on the 22nd


Orange Ladybird – One was found on birch extracted from Skipwith Common on the 7th.


Eyed Ladybird – A single present on Skipwith Common on the 22nd


False Ladybird – A single was found at the reserve base on the 21st.

No comments:

Post a Comment