Drakelow Sightings Report by Tom Cockburn

Great white and little egrets

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Week-ending 9th December. Although the period under review ended on a dry note there were several very wet days that went before. It was pleasing to see the log was visited on all days with the exception of Wednesday (a very wet day) with very full entries. A full day visit was made on Saturday 8th December with a view to count the Cormorant roost in conjunction with the National Wildfowl Count. All went well until squally showers arrived in the afternoon. The intensity of the rain made it, at times, impossible to see the roost sites and abandonment was considered. However, the final tally gave a figure of 285, somewhat short of the last month’s counts. Earlier in the week there were some excellent log entries that included Little Egret - four on the 3rd; Great White Egret – three on the 6th and 7th with five counted in on the 8th; Hooded Merganser on all five days; seven Goosander on the 3rd and eight Goldeneyes (two males) on the 4th. Representing waders was Snipe – ten on the 7th and on the 8th two Lapwings, a Woodcock and a Green Sandpiper. Where game birds were concerned the 8th got off to a good start with 16 hen Pheasants on the drive and four more birds (two males) at the feeding station and ten Red-legged Partridges, also on the drive. Raptors were limited to reports of Sparrowhawks (male and female) and Buzzard. MAMMALS: Very few log entries refer to the beasties seen on site but this week Red Fox and Muntjac were logged and on the 8th three Rabbits and a Grey Squirrel were noted. In particular the Rabbit is hardly ever recorded and even when specifically sought few are found. FLOOD POOL: Despite the rains through the week there was little change in the flood pool but at least the Tertiary Lagoon was showing signs of recovery with an estimated 90% of the ground now covered. With thanks to Eddie, Dave, Peter, Ray, AD, DH, AL, NC, PB, SB, RW, KS and AG.