Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn

The wigeon and shoveler flocks were regularly put to flight

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Wednesday 10th October 0945 – 1615. This was a superb autumn day with clear sky, a light wind and a temperature rising to 22C that completely ruined by continual disturbances to the bird-life occupying the reserve and adjacent river. The cacophony ranged from barking dogs, megaphone use both near and distant together with lorry reversing warnings and the clanking of metal on metal and other sundry sounds. This is often the case when the wind arrives from an easterly direction. A count of the Mute Swan herd, on the river, was abandoned due to disturbance brought about by a combination of factors including a megaphone being used to shout instructions to a crew of eight and the vessels moving through some 50 birds. On the reserve, in the afternoon, the Wigeon and Shoveler flocks were regularly put to flight and a gathering of some 600 Black-headed Gulls scattered although to be fair, a distant predator often has this effect on the gulls. A count of the arriving Cormorants had to be abandoned at 1600hrs when the roosting birds – some 150 – were spooked from an unknown reason. Since the last blog, in September, Redwings were recorded on the 2nd October and Fieldfares from the 7th. There have been several sightings of the Great White Egret including two birds together on the 30th September. A skein of 30 Pink-footed Geese crossed the area on the 28th September On the morning of the 4th October there were some 350+ Cormorants still in the roost at 0745, an unusually high number for the time of year. The bulk of the birds left to the SW. On the same date ten Red-headed Goosanders were on the river lose to the reserve’s CP. On the 7th a Sparrowhawk was seen to take a Kingfisher. With thanks to AG, KW, RW, JR, JB, AB, DH, MJH and PJ.