Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn

The Hooded Merganser is being reported intermittently

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: W/E Sunday 2nd December. Since the last blog there have been some ten logged visits to the reserve. The onset of some recent wet weather has begun to show in the Tertiary Lagoon water-level but on the downside our legendary flood-pool has already started to form although of no great depth as yet. On the reserve there was a Cormorant count on the 30th November when 342 birds were counted in. That same evening saw the re-appearance of the Great White Egret but it left again as dusk fell. The Hooded Merganser is being reported intermittently and prolonged observations suggests that for a lot of the time the bird is feeding under the overhanging branches along the banks of the lagoons – the habitat it favours in its native America. Despite its bright and attractive appearance it can be difficult to pick up. Some duck numbers during the period include 122 Gadwall, 35 Shoveler, 88 Wigeon and 90 Teal. In addition to the Hooded Merganser other diving ducks included up to nine Goosander (now with a male on show) and six Goldeneyes (one male). In the wader group Woodcock, Snipe (up to ten) and Green Sandpiper have all been logged. The game birds, as usual, were represented by nine Red-legged Partridges and several Pheasants that included a crowing and drumming male on the 30th November with a Water Rail making brief appearances below the GFH. Passerines included the singing Cetti’s Warbler(s), and up to five Coal Tits and a Willow Tit have visited the feeding station. A male Stonechat was flitting along the fence-posts of the solar farm area on the 30th November. With thanks to MJH, AB, DH, KS, AG, RW and RS.