DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Tuesday 17th July 0645 – 1530. This was a day with a good deal of cloud cover and sunny intervals with a temperature range from 15C to 19C and a light westerly wind. BUTTERFLIES: A total of 15 species was logged with a Painted Lady the pick of the group. Second brood Brown Arguses are now on the wing with 11 counted in one small area together with several Common Blues and a Small Copper. DRAGONFLIES: That this group of insects was poorly represented was down to the early hours and lack of sunshine but Brown and Southern Hawkers were noted. BIRDS: The Mute Swan families are tending to stay within their natal waters following an altercation some weeks ago when the pair with four cygnets was outed during a visit to the Main Lagoon. The young Great Crested Grebes are now quite large and can be seen away from the attention of the parent birds. The Little Egret family is down to three with all the young very active and being seen several feet away from the nest on occasions. The last roost count was down to 12 birds (15th). There was a count of 76 Gadwalls in the North Pool with others away from that lagoon ignored. Overall, Mallards numbered at least 56 but others came and went, particularly into the ML. A Mandarin seems to favour the ML for its moulting period and a Wigeon remains in the North Pool. Up to five Common Terns can be seen, particularly in the Secondary Lagoon, and after any catch leave the site to, presumably, feed their young. Up to seven Green Sandpipers have been noted and the first return migrant Common Sandpiper was logged on the 15th with a Ruff seen on the 14th. A Cormorant roost count was carried out on the 15th and a total of 381 birds were logged with a good proportion of these birds being young. This represents the highest July count since records began in 1999 and 51 better that the 2013 count of 330 and the fourth July count of 300 or more birds. MAMMALS: A young Badger was found dead on the roadway, just short of the CP, on the 12th with injuries consistent with having been struck by a motor vehicle, something that should not happen on a nature reserve. There have also been several sightings of Muntjac and a family of Mink that included a white individual. A Weasel was also noted on one occasion. With thanks to AG, RW, KW, AL. NC, AB, DH, MD-S, PU, KS and FM.
Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn
The last roost count was down to 12 birds.