Drakelow Nature Reserve sightings by Tom Cockburn

Cattle egrets, great white egret and much more

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Spring Bank Holiday 0815-1545. Despite a reasonable forecast it turned out to be a dismal day with persistent showers from mid-morning. The visit was brightened up during the lunch break when a Great White Egret and two Cattle Egrets came over and dropped (seemingly) into the North Pool but a visit there failed to locate them. Just before leaving a visit to the GFH provided the first breeding evidence by Moorhens with five chicks and seven respectively. The Oystercatchers still have their three off-springs despite having taken them into the North Pool where they are continually running the gauntlet of juvenile Herons that abound in that area. BUTTERFLIES: On the 23rd May I covered the site that was available to me in an effort to establish the extent of the range of the Brown Argus and Common Blues as the former seemed to be appearing all over the site. In all, the Brown Argus numbered 65 to the Common Blues 26 although I did omit certain areas that do not normally carry the former species. Doubtless, the widespread Common Storksbill and Cut-leafed Cranesbill plants have something to do with this. On the 25th I was surprised to find a Brown Argus on the driveway, some five hundred yards from the nearest colony. DRAGONFLIES: The Banded Demoiselle is now quite common with many seen away from the river-bank and within the reserve and a Hairy Dragonfly was seen over the Bamboo Pool and another was hawking along the Rosliston Brook, the stream that flows from the entrance gate to the River Trent. Four-spotted Chasers and a Broad-bodied Chaser have been logged and there was a good showing of Red-eyed Damsels in the Bamboo Pool on 21st May that was easily viewable from the dipping platform situated there. PLANTS: To the two species of Geranium already mentioned can be added the Dovesfoot Cranesbill, a very widespread species on the reserve, Small-flowered Cranesbill and the Herb Robert that is quite common along the driveway. The Meadow Cranesbill is quite scarce at Drakelow but odd plants are found annually but not this year as yet. The Yellow Iris is appearing across the reserve and the trefoils of White Clover, Black Medick and Lesser Trefoil are now widespread. Common Sorrel seems to be making a comeback and will, no doubt, be appreciated by the Small Copper butterflies. MAMMALS: Once again a Muntjac (male) was seen on the drive (25th) and a Stoat was noted on the 27th on which date a Grey Squirrel was watched as it fed on ripening Beech-nuts. GATE-LOCK: Over the last few weeks there have been several instances of the bar not being inserted through the hasp thereby leaving the gate open. This is apparently on leaving the site. As E-ON is extremely sensitive to the security of the site please ensure the gate is properly locked. I do understand that it is not necessarily DWT members or visitors to the reserve that do this. With thanks to: RW, KW, AG, AL, NC, AB, DH, KS, MJH and PJ.