Drakelow Nature Reserve sightings by Tom Cockburn

A different focus for the week

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE 27TH May to 3rd June 2019. There is little to report from the reserve over the last week or so with my own efforts concentrating on the butterflies and dragonflies with most of the bird observations being made from the hides. MOTHS: Several day-flying species are now being seen with the Cinnabar the most obvious. Others include the Small Magpie, Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton. BUTTERFLIES: Both transect were monitored on the same date (30th May) with the Brown Argus returning 27 and Common Blue 13 with the Small Heath a healthy 24. A Meadow Brown was noted on the 1st June and a Large Skipper on the 3rd – both firsts for the season. DRAGONFLIES: The Hairy Dragonfly has been seen again in the Bamboo Pool but, seemingly, it only appears during sunny spells. The Red-eyed Damsels can be seen on this same pool alongside Common Blues, Blue-tailed Damsels and Four-spotted Chasers. The only species added to the year list was a male Black-tailed Skimmer – yes, you have guessed it – on the dipping platform at the Bamboo Pool. BEES: The Tree Bee is now being frequently noted but fewer Buff-tailed Bumblebees are now logged. A Hornet has been seen on all recent visits to the Education Hide. BIRDS: The Egyptian Goose appeared with four youngsters on the 3rd June and a Water Rail was noted with three chicks on 31st May. The Oystercatchers are still holding on to their three youngsters and remain in the North Pool but the Canada gosling have now gone to the river and, surprisingly, no more goslings have been seen on the reserve. The Mute Swans, nesting in the Bamboo Pool, have produced two cygnets but have already lost one. A third pair of Mutes is nesting in the Tertiary Lagoon area and an aggressive Cob is making its presence felt in the North Pool. Only two Tufted Ducks could be found on the 30th although there was a count of 11 on the 2nd June. Young Cormorants now dominate the Strip with forty being counted on two dates although any Herons that land nearby scatter them. Two Herring Gulls seem to appear regularly but rarely land although they were down on the 3rd June but left when the Cormorants were disturbed. With thanks to AB, DH, PH, AL, AG, MJH, KW and RW.