Sightings at Drakelow

The latest sightings at Drakelow thanks to Tom Cockburn.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE – BH MONDAY 22nd April 2019 0945 – 1600. With temperatures exceeding 20C a fair numbers of visitors were to be expected and by 1600hrs at least 14 were counted and included photographers and hover-fly hunters together with birders and butterfly recorders a successful visit was reported by all. Since the last blog, 7th April, many visitors have called resulting in a fair coverage of the site, particularly for the migrant bird arrival dates. A Common Sandpiper on the 11th April was a poor return for my 81st birthday though. Two Little Ringed Plovers the following day was a surprise find on the Strip as this species is nowadays considered somewhat uncommon on the reserve but a singing Sedge Warbler was only four days later than it earliest arrival date of the 8th April. A Reed Warbler was singing on the 14th and a Hobby was completely unexpected on the 18th on which date a Whitethroat was logged. Two Grasshopper Warblers were reeling early on the 19th but were not heard again and, away from the reed beds, a Garden Warbler was in song. Despite the good coverage the Cuckoo has yet to be recorded. Other species of note was a Water Rail calling on the 14th and a Great White Egret was photographed on the 22nd together with three Little Egrets. A Nation Wildfowl Count on the 21st indicated a sharp drop in both species and numbers of waterfowl but a Cormorant count the previous evening gave a more realistic number of 244 compared with that of 156 on the 7th. Teal, Shoveler and Snipe have all gone but a pair of Herring Gulls that are frequenting the ML off and on is an intriguing phenomenon. MAMMALS: A Badger, seen lumbering along the Strip on the 20th, showed how vulnerable it is for the Black-headed Gulls to attempt nesting there as the Badger was clearly ‘hunting’ the ground and accompanied by a dozen or so angry gulls. Other beasts included several sightings of a Muntjac, American Mink, Bank Vole and Weasel. BUTTERFLIES: The transect coverage in now underway despite a hiccup in the SK21 square that has now been resolved thanks to the intervention of the Butterfly Conservation body. Good numbers of Orange-tips and Speckled Woods have been noted and there have been several Brimstones seen across the area. With thanks to: AG, KW, RW, MJH, AB, DH, KS, PH, AL, TL, PJ, MB, JB, and MF.