Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn

An early start was made to get any counting done before the heat of the day became overbearing.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Tuesday 10th July 0700 – 1545. An early start was made to get any counting done before the heat of the day became overbearing. It didn’t quite work out like that as the duck, in the North Pool, were all seemingly asleep amongst acres of Duckweed. BUTTERFLIES: There was no systematic counting but casual observations gave a total of 14 species that included Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Brimstone and Comma. There was a bonus insect sighting when a visit to the butterfly bush produced a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. DRAGONFLIES: Four Emperor males were seen, two in the Bamboo Pool and two in the Secondary Lagoon, with several Brown Hawkers and Southern Hawkers the pick of the bunch. PLANTS: Added to the year sightings were Water Plantain, Betony, Marjoram and Perennial Sow Thistle. This prolonged dry spell has caused damage to some plants with the Elderberry an obvious casualty with many plants now bearing shrivelled up brown leave and desiccated fruits which may have a knock-on effect to autumn passage migrant birds that use the plant as a food source. BIRDS: Without doubt the spectacle of the day was the varying numbers of Little Egrets that were to be found on the reserve. Two waters, the North Pool and the fast drying Tertiary Lagoon, were the two pools hosting the numbers. The best single count was of 41 birds in the Tertiary Lagoon about 1230hrs but there would be more in the North Pool where there had been a minimum of a dozen or so birds seen there on several visits. The last visit, at 1430hrs, gave 16 and 18 birds in the two areas. This did not include four unfledged young that are about to fly the nest. In the main, the ducks in the North Pool numbering 91 on an early count consisted of Gadwalls and Mallards but, eventually, the presence of Shoveler, Mandarin and Wigeon were noted. There was no sign of Garganey and Teal that were logged on the 8th. The only other duck to appear from behind an island was a Shelduck. Oddly, later in the morning, only a handful of duck could be seen with the bulk probably having resorted to cover in the increasing heat. Three Green Sandpipers were in the Tertiary Lagoon with a flock of B.H.Gulls that included 15 birds-of-the-year. Other waders were five Lapwings that were on the Strip. With thanks to RW, PH, KS, AG, AB, DH, MJH and RHM.