Drakelow sighting by Thomas Cockburn

With the barometer set ‘Fair’ and a temperature predicted at 16C the day was given over to a search for butterflies and dragonflies.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Monday 14th May 0930 – 1530. With the barometer set ‘Fair’ and a temperature predicted at 16C the day was given over to a search for butterflies and dragonflies. BUTTERFLIES: Although the weather prediction proved right the butterfly hunt was under par. Only five species were logged with 20 Orange-tips, 12 Green-veined Whites and 12 Speckled Woods the top scorers. Two Small Whites and a Large White were the others logged but a dozen or so ‘whites’ that went unidentified were, more than likely, the Green-veined variety. DRAGONFLIES: Up to now only unidentified tenerals had been noted but a stint in the vicinity of the fish pond bore a little fruit. A systematic check of all lily-pads revealed a single Red-eyed Damselfly basking in the sunshine. During the search a male Large Red Damselfly flew through the line of vision before vanishing into the pond-side herbage. Others noted were Azure and Common Blue Damsels. The riverside provided over 50 Banded Demoiselles with the species only having appeared on the on the 12th when 15 insects were counted. PLANTS: Several White Bryony plants were seen in flower with all of them on open patches of ground with nothing to climb up. Hawthorn, or Mayflower, is now at its best with the pink variety of Midland Hawthorn now in full bloom on the river bank. All the Bluebells now in bloom seems to be of the Spanish type or hybrids. BIRDS: Viewed from the GFH were a pair of Canada’s with a single gosling; a female Mallard with eight ducklings and a pair of Coot with only one young remaining from four hatched. Several pairs of Black-headed Gulls are strongly defending territory on what is left of the Strip. At least four birds seem to be on nests. A pair of Lapwings was displaying in the ML but there was no sign of the Little Egret that has spent several days in the area. Many young Cormorants are now out of the nests as are young Herons. Both these species can pose a threat to the young birds in the vicinity of the Strip. FLOOD WATER: This has nearly all evaporated with only the loose rubble to contend with now. GATE LOCK: There have been several instances when visitors have been unable to open the combination lock on the gate. Ensure that the digits are strictly in line and pull the flange, at the base of the lock, downwards. To close: push the flange upwards to the base and spin the digits.