Drakelow sightings from Tom Cockburn

The latest sightings at the reserve.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Tuesday 30th April 0915 – 1530. The forecast of long sunny spells did not materialise but temperatures recorded ranged from 7C to 16C and there was a light easterly breeze. New migrants, since the last blog, were Common Tern and House Martin on the 25th and Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat on the 28th. On the 27th high winds and rain most of the day was the worst we received from the storm dubbed Hannah but it did force down some migrant hirundines with Swallows and Sand Martins the two dominant species with only two House Martins seen at any one time. The Sunday count of passerines included some 20 Reed Warblers, ten Sedge Warblers, 11 Whitethroats, six Garden Warblers, 25 Blackcaps, seven Willow Warblers and 23 Chiffchaffs. There was also a single Grasshopper Warbler reeling in a reed bed. Just after dawn on the 28th eight Little Egrets were counted leaving their roosting site with one to three birds being seen off and on through the period. Up to five Lapwings and three Snipe have been noted on the Strip together with two Little Ringed Plovers with the Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers disappearing in the evenings. The two Herring Gulls are appearing daily and vying with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls for supremacy in the Main Lagoon. However, the Black-headed Gulls seem to have abandoned any breeding attempts with only single figures being the normal counts on the Strip although there was an isolated tally of up to 100 on the 25th that were scattered across the Main Lagoon. MAMMALS: Rabbits are still, generally, scarce but a complete circuit early on the 25th gave a count of some 17/20 animals though none appeared to be kits. There has been an upsurge in the reporting of the Muntjac, particularly on the drive, although most reports are of a verbal nature rather than logged. BEES: With the cold easterlies that have prevailed sighting of bees have declined with very few Red-tailed Bumble Bees being noted as yet. A Hornet was seen on the 29th and a Carder Bee was visiting the flowers of the White Dead Nettle. BUTTERFLIES: Orange-tip and Speckled Wood remain the commonest species with others, on the reserve, being Green-veined White, Large White, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma noted on the 30th. FLIES: The odd Bee-fly is still to be seen and St.Mark’s Fly has been recorded from the 26th. PLANTS: With the decline of the Prunus blossoms there is now an upsurge in the Hawthorn flowers across the site. Two umbellifers now appearing are Cow Parsley and Hogweed. There is a good showing of Cowslips, unfortunately out of sight from the reserve, but several plants have appeared by the path to the GFH. These plants were introduced many years ago and they still persist, almost annually with the occasional appearance of a few blooms opposite the Educational Hide. With thanks to AG, RW, KS, MJH, AB, DH and GT.