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Drakelow Sighting by Thomas Cockburn

Posted: Thursday 9th November 2017 by Drakelow

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Wednesday 8th November. 0945 – 1700. The day got off to a cold and frosty start but without fog. By midday the temperature got up to 8C in the sunny and clear conditions. A survey of the river revealed a low count of Mute Swans with seven adults and two cygnets the tally. The reserve held six adults and one cygnet although in the afternoon four birds dropped into the ML. They were soon shown the error of their ways when the resident male saw them off. The duck counts over the reserve’s lagoons gave 40 Mallard, 30 Teal, 15 Shoveler, ten Wigeon, 23 Gadwall, 43 Tufted Duck and a drake Goldeneye. Late on 40 Wigeon arrived from the NE and two redhead Goosanders flew through SW. Visitors to the GFH were entertained by a game of hide and seek played out by a Water Rail and an American Mink. Today’s game was won by the Water Rail as it was still there, preening, late in the afternoon. Very much in evidence was the presence of Sparrowhawks. Two were in the air over the ML but there was a dozen or more of single sightings with three of them at the feeding station that is now operating. On two occasions one was flushed from the ground just off the drive. Birds in song were two Cetti’s Warblers, Wren and Robin. A Cormorant count was carried out from 1445hrs and by 1700hrs 207 had been counted in, down substantially from the record 448 of the 5th. Birds arriving after sun set provides one explanation as on the 5th 160 birds came in from 1631 to 1654 whereas on the 8th only 16 birds arrived in the period 1622 to 1638. On both dates I had stayed until 1700hrs. It may be that the late arrivals at Drakelow were birds disturbed from another roost and Drakelow was the alternative. LEPIDOPTERA: Single Red Admirals, in two localities, were logged. MAMMALS: The Mink has already been mentioned and a complete circuit of the roads, after sun set, only realised nine Rabbits. A Grey Squirrel was in the vicinity of the feeding station. With thanks to P & KW, AB, DH, RW and KW.

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