The latest sightings at Drakelow

Tom Cockburn fills us in on the latest sightings....

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE W/E 7th April 2019. With winds from the easterly sector for most of the week a cold wind prevailed throughout the period with some rain at times but nothing to shout about. BUTTERFLIES: The first transect survey of the year was carried out in SK21 on the 6th April with the return of two species, Small Tortoiseshell and Orange-tip, the only reward. Elsewhere there were records of five Peacock, three unidentified whites and a single Speckled Wood and Orange-tip. PLANTS: Despite the ravages of the flail along the drive two bright green patches of Rasp canes stand out amongst the desolation but there is little else of note although a young Blackthorn escaped the carnage. Field Pansies and Ground Ivy were noted during the butterfly survey and Cuckoo Flower has finally put in an appearance on one pathway. MAMMALS: An American Mink was seen on the 6th, looking very fat, and a Muntjac was logged on the 7th. With Rabbits in somewhat short supply these days it was encouraging to see a small Kit run across the road on the 7th when no more than four adults were seen at any one time during the week. BIRDS: A Cormorant roost count, on the 7th, could only muster 157 birds whereas the AON count was 91 that same date. Shoveler and Tufted Duck remain the commonest two duck species of on the site with the Canada Goose returning the highest counts for wildfowl in general. There have been several references to the Willow Tit on the reserve with records logged for three areas on the 7th on which date one was singing behind the GFH before visiting the feeding station area in the evening. The predated egg of a Coot was picked up on the 5th seeming having been filched from a nest by a Carrion Crow. Black-headed Gulls are now mustering on the Strip with display, copulation, aggression and the carrying of nesting material all noted over the week. Some 40 birds were on the Strip during the evening of the Cormorant count on the 7th but by dusk the Strip was completely deserted. A lone Ring-necked Parakeet is now being logged on a regular basis with its raucous calls reverberating in the vicinity of the Tertiary Lagoon. With thanks to AG, KW, RW, MJH, KS, R.Wn, and PJ.