Sightings from Drakelow Nature Reserve

The latest news from Thomas Cockburn.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: W/E 14th December 2019. Without doubt, this is the longest spell that entry to the Drakelow Nature Reserve has been severely restricted due to persistent flood water deterring access. The last measurement (14th December) gave another reading of 10” to 7” deep at a point the hairpin side of the raised road section. A glance inside the perimeter fence suggests that this depth will remain well into the New Year. The reserve waters are still very high in all the lagoons with the Strip continuing to be submerged. As drainage from the reserve is slow it will be some time before the Strip will re-appear above water and, in one sense, this may be a good thing as it may well function, as was hoped in the 1970’s, to deter plant growth on the Strip. The high water level may well be responsible for keeping the duck numbers down. A complete wildfowl count was carried out on the 14th with a Cormorant count being completed the previous evening with the following result: Cormorant – 90 (a previous count on the 7th gave 132); Little Grebe – seven; Mute Swan – six; Canada Goose – 58; Egyptian Goose – two; Greylag Goose – one: Mallard – 31; Wigeon – 18; Teal – 14; Shoveler – 32; Gadwall – 57; Pochard – two; Tufted Duck – 40; Goldeneye – four; Long-tailed Duck – one; Moorhen – six and Coot – 40. Other birds of note recently include Red-breasted Merganser – two redheads (a species not recorded here in the last 38 years), Marsh Tit – one frequenting the feeding station area during the last week or so – another species that is very infrequent on the reserve. The Long-tailed Duck continues to spend some time on the reserve waters but the Hooded Merganser is more elusive but still around. Stonechats may be found in or around the Gorse bushes (some now in bloom) just short of the reserve’s CP or in the field across the river. Waders are not likely to be found and other than flushing an occasional Woodcock or seeing an occasional Snipe or an infrequent Green Sandpiper that’s about it. With thanks to AG, KW and JKC. `