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Drakelow by Thomas Cockburn

Posted: Sunday 7th January 2018 by Drakelow

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE W/E 7th January 2018. A mixed bag of weather that included heavy rain and frost made a quagmire of the car park. Some strong winds caused further damage to the two-man hide screening and the causeway blinds required some attention. The year opened with the female Long-tailed Duck still in residence but an perceptive visitor capped this by finding a young male Hooded Merganser – a potential first for the county list. We will have to wait for a decision by the British Birds Rare Birds Committee to adjudicate on the record. Identification should not be a problem but the origin of the species may be a problem. The bird was still present on the 7th. The usual mix of the commoner species of duck was present and included three Mandarins, five Goldeneyes and five Goosanders. Up to seven Little Grebes, 12 Snipe and four Woodcocks were also logged. Aer Rail was frequently seen below the GFH with others elsewhere on the reserve. MAMMALS: In addition to the usual Grey Squirrels and Rabbits a Red Fox was logged on the 5th and a ‘barking’ Muntjac on the 7th. VISITORS: It was inevitable that the presence of two rare ducks would attract a heavy footfall. So far as I can gather there was a minimum of 77 visitors over the seven day period in addition to four brief visits by yours truly. In January 2016 78 was the total for the whole month and in 2017 the monthly tally was 129. However, very few bothered to record their visit in the log-book and, so far as I know, the DWT has received no images of the birds taken by visitors although I am informed they can be seen elsewhere on line. With thanks to AG, RAF, MET, AB, DH, JF, RW, KW, PJ, D & LMO, JKC, PHe, PHu, DAR MRH, PW and AF with apologies to any I have overlooked. 

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