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Drakelow Sightings by Tom Cockburn

Posted: Monday 11th December 2017 by Drakelow

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Week-ending 10th December. Saturday 9th December, 1445 – 1630. A late visit was made to accommodate a Cormorant roost count in conjunction with the wildfowl count that was to be carried out the following morning. A few birds were already on the site and the subsequent arrivals, during the next ninety minutes, left no time for a warming cup of tea in the rather cold conditions. The final tally was 314 and proved to be the highest ever December count, to date, since these recordings began with the previous best being 189 in 2013. Most arrivals were of ten or fewer birds, with one to three the norm, but there was an exceptional bunch of 42 descending on the site at 1529. Other large groups were of 13 (twice) and 16. There was a noticeable feature of squawking amongst the arriving birds or were they objections from them that were already down? As the purpose of the visit was to view the Cormorant arrivals little else was done by way of birdwatching. That said, however, there were regular visits by a Great Spotted Woodpecker to the Alder tree beside the hide and two Snipe were located on the Strip. A Sparrowhawk made a speculative visit to the feeding station and when leaving the site a Woodcock was spotted searching the leaf-litter at the side of the drive. Sunday 10th December: I am indebted to AG for details of the wildfowl count he carried out in the arduous conditions of snow on the 10th. Great Crested Grebe – one; Little Grebe – four; Mute Swan – 17; Canada Goose – 145; Greylag Goose – six; Mallard – 60; Wigeon – 58; Teal – 72; Gadwall – 28; Shoveler – 15; Tufted Duck – 42; Pochard – two; Goldeneye – three; Goosander – six; Coot – five; Snipe – two; Woodcock – two; B.H.Gull – 55; Common Gull – one and Herring Gull – one. Thanks: My gratitude to Rose Williams who got me to the hide and back home again on the 9th and to A.Garton for details of his visit on the 10th. I will acknowledge, at a later date, the log entries that have been entered in my enforced absence.

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