DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Monday 23rd July 0630 – 1500. The blistering heat continues with 18C recorded at 0630 and 30C was registering at 1500hrs. Although there was, eventually, a SW3 wind it did nothing to alleviate the heat. PLANTS: Despite the continuing drought that has destroyed many plants the Bramble, in some areas, is now producing succulent fruits and in sheltered spots Elderberries are beginning to ripen. However, the overall picture is pretty dismal with brown shrivelled up leaves on most trees and bushes. MAMMALS: A recent visit by a member of the South Derbyshire Badger Group has identified several active setts on the reserve. There have been further, recent, sightings of Mink and Muntjac. LEPIDOPTERA: The hot weather seems to have benefitted the butterflies although many of the food plants that their caterpillars will depend on will have succumbed to the perpetual heat. Recent sightings include fresh specimens of Brimstone, Small Copper, Brown Argus and Common Blue. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen, and photographed, visiting a Butterfly Bush over a period of several days. Another moth, a Copper Underwing appeared in the Educational hide on the 23rd. DRAGONFLIES: The Emperor is now being seen over most waters with one obliging individual regularly seen over the Bamboo Pool. The Ruddy Darter is now on the wing having been recorded in several areas in the reserve. BIRDS: The three young Little Egrets were seen to fly off from their natal area on the 23rd. Green Sandpipers and Lapwings are now seen daily on the Strip with up to nine of the former being logged. Young Buzzards have been heard calling in the area of the fish pond and a young Peregrine was seen on the 22nd on one of the many pylons in the old station area. There was a marked increase of Black-headed Gulls on the 20th when some 365 were counted on the Strip with 23 young birds in the flock. A young Yellow Wagtail was logged on the 21st and a young Water Rail on the 22nd. With thanks to PJ, AB, DH, JH AG, RW, KW, JW and PH
Drakelow sighting reported by Tom Cockburn
South Derbyshire Badger Group has identified several active setts on the reserve.