Drakelow Nature Reserve sightings reported by Tom Cockburn

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Sunday 6th January 2019

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Sunday 6th January 2019: 1315 – 1830. An afternoon visit was made to accommodate a Cormorant roost count and at 9C was a much more comfortable prospect than Saturday’s predicted 4C. Before the count was commenced there was a fly-past by three Great White Egrets moving NE and then turning to the E and then SE. The Cormorant count commenced at 1440 and was carried through to 1645 when it became far too dark to see birds arriving. Single figures were the norm until 1620 when a group of 17 arrived to be followed moments later with 13 and then 35 at 1624. By this time it was well beyond sun set (1607) and still they were arriving with 30 at 1626, 25 at 1630 and a minimum of 60 a few seconds later. It was now so dark that five male Goosanders were just pale lumps at 50 yards. To make matters worse all the windows were steaming up – the trials and tribulations of a Cormorant roost counter! During the counting the Hooded Merganser was seen to be teamed up with a pair of Goldeneyes and a flock of some 26 Shovelers were performing their circular feeding ritual just off the Strip. FROM THE LOG: Despite the 40 or so visitors from New Year’s Day the paucity of records continues unabated. There are no unusual records in these few entries although the Hooded Merganser gets fair coverage together with a smattering of other ducks. MAMMALS: There is plenty of evidence showing the presence of Badgers by way of snuffle marks. Very few Rabbits are seen these days but scrapes seem to be widespread so, it seems, there are still a few about. Two Muntjacs and a Red Fox were seen on the 29th December with the former seen in two areas of the drive. GATE SEURITY: Already this year the gate has been left insecure. This seems to happen most frequently on leaving the site – please check the gate is secure when you leave. With thanks to: AB: DH: AG: KW: RW and KS.