Latest news from Drakelow nature reserve

Thomas Cockburn tells us the latest news from Drakelow.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Monday 2nd March 0930 – 1330. At last, a visit in a morning of sunshine. FLOOD POOL: There is little change with the depth still around the 10” mark. Since Saturday more water has appeared with a couple of areas on the Causeway under water but shallow enough to wade. The paths to Scott’s Lagoon and the back path are both under water again and should be avoided. As mentioned previously the duck numbers have completely collapsed with the Tufted Duck the commonest species at 63 today. A pair of Goldeneye were in on the 29th February but disappeared and three Goosanders (two males) were on the river this morning. A pair of Oystercatchers were present on the 29th February and again on 1st March but were absent today. With the prospect of a dry week ahead water levels might well abate but wet and windy weather has been predicted for the week-end. With thanks to RW, AG and JKC.


DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Wednesday 4th March 2020 0630hrs to 1000hrs. This was another pleasant early morning but with the temperature around zero and light icing on the flood pool. The depth was nine inches at the deepest point. The river level is now well down but the reserve paths are still very muddy with the back path and Scott’s Lagoon path still to be avoided. However, marring the visit was the intermittent gas gun discharges from the Walton-on-Trent side of the site together with a jack-hammer in the old station area and a pile-driver operating across the River Trent in Staffordshire although the last two fell silent from 0915 until I left. MAMMALS: All the muddy areas showed signs of the Muntjac and Badger and, this morning, a doe Muntjac was watched as it crossed the service road into the adjacent woodland. Rabbits, though, are hard to find with a complete circuit of the area only revealing four animals. BIRDS: There was little change from Monday’s visit but a Goldeneye and Pochard (both drakes) had joined the Tufted Ducks. Two Little Egrets were the highlight of the visit but they moved straight through the site without stopping. Coots have slumped since last week with only, presumably, the breeding birds left. A single Oystercatcher paid a brief visit to one shoreline and was the sole wader with a Buzzard the only raptor. Bird singing included Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Robin and Wren. PLANTS: Some greenery is now to be seen in the hawthorn hedges with a couple of ‘weeping’ Willows brightening up the fish pond area. By the entrance gate several Daffodils have now opened their trumpets but all the reserve ones are still in bud.