Sightings at Drakelow

The latest sightings from Tom Cockburn.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Week-ending 4th August 2019. A visit was made on Saturday 3rd August to count the Cormorants roosting on site in conjunction with the Nation Wildfowl Count carried out on the 4th. The count commenced at 1615 and was maintained through to 2100 when the final tally was 180 birds. Several points became obvious during the count. Many arriving birds were very high before dropping down in several circuits before landing in the tree roost. In general the whole of the arrival was somewhat languid with rarely more that three birds at a time. Between 1856 and 1901 48 birds arrived in three groups of 12, 26 and ten which constituted the peak period although later a party of seven arrived from the NE. Another point noted during the whole period was that not one bird was seen to depart. By 1940 the count stood at 178 and only two more birds came in between then and 2100hrs. At least one nest contained calling young birds. There was not much else to comment on although a Peregrine came over the reserve E to W flying just above tree height. Judging by the number of bumps on my head, neck and hands the propagation of the Drakelow mosquito population is assured for the future. The wildfowl count carried out on the 4th August realised Little Grebe – two, Little Egret – 24, Mute Swan – four, Graylag Goose – two, Canada Goose – 42, Mallard – 51, Gadwall – 135, Teal – five, Shoveler – seven, Tufted Duck – 61, Coot – 43, Moorhen – eight, Black-headed Gull – eight, Kingfisher and Green Sandpiper. Representing the raptors were two Hobbies, Kestrel and Buzzard. BUTTERFLIES: The transect work continues and, over the last week, the Peacock number has soared to 125 particularly in the vicinity of the Butterfly Bushes and where the Burdocks are in flower. Second broods of the Common Blue and Brown Argus are now on the wing and the Painted Lady is still around with a few Red Admirals. Over the last week or two the Green-veined Whites have increased markedly. With thanks to AG and RW.