Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn

Coots, Tufted Ducks and Mallards joining forces to escort the Badger off the Strip.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: W/E 26th August. The week ended with a day of persistent rain and a SSE wind. The constant rain flattened the reed-beds so any late nesting Reed Warblers would be in serious jeopardy. BIRDS: A Cormorant count was carried out on the 26th with 219 birds being the tally. In addition four Little Egrets joined the roosting birds and streams of Jackdaw (uncounted) arrived over the course of the evening. The foul weather brought in many hirundines that, for most of the evening, consisted of House Martins although earlier in the day there were a few Swallow involved. Some 200 House Martins were present at dusk but the entire group disappeared at sun set. A Hobby circled the ML for several minutes but made no attempt to take a martin. Other birds passing through the reserve included a skein of 18 Greylags, several small groups of Starlings and 50 or so L.B.B.Gulls moving N. Earlier in the day there had been a count of 32 adult Mutes Swans and 18 cygnets between the river birds and reserve birds. Earlier in the week ducks included a count of 20 Shovelers (23rd) and waders were represented by five Green Sandpipers on the same date and a Snipe on the 21st. A Spotted Flycatcher was catching insects from a tree just outside the GFH on the 23rd. MAMMALS: At 1945, during the Cormorant count, a Badger was seen limbering along the Strip from E to W. Although I have witnessed this type of event several times it was the first time I have seen a reaction by the waterfowl to the presence of the animal, with most of the Coot, Tufted Ducks and Mallards joining forces to escort the Badger off the Strip. Previously I have only noticed this reaction by waterfowl towards red coloured animals such as Fox, Muntjac and Basset Hound. WARNING: The heavy rain has forced down many small saplings and bramble runners to a much lower level and a certain amount of weaving is necessary along parts of the drive to avoid branches slapping the vehicle. As yet the notorious flood pool is just a puddle and should evaporate in a few days but it does not bode well should we have a wet autumn. Thanks to AG who has done some sterling work in improving visibility from the 2MH and North Hide. Visitors as logged were: KW, AG, RW, FM, DM, MJH, KS, AL and NC. There were several unreadable signatures and initials.