Sightings at Drakelow with Tom Cockburn

The latest sightings at the Drakelow reserve.

DRAKELOW NATURE RESERVE: Monday 11th March 2019 1000-1545. Despite the forecast of a bright sunny day a force 5 WNW wind made it bitterly cold in exposed areas. With these strong winds the ducks were scattered over all the waters with numbers falling as we moved into the spring of the year. However, breeding birds were monitored by assistant warden, Syd Garton, in the unexpected snowy conditions on the 10th and his tallies were 56 Cormorant nests, 36 Grey Heron nests and 26 Rook nests with the last mentioned off the designated reserve. The first Cormorant young were heard calling in one nest and a Grey Heron nest contained four well grown youngsters. Given the incubation periods of these species the first eggs would have been laid in early February. The Cormorant rookery is increasing weekly and it is a common sight seeing the Cormorants gathering nesting material from the cut vegetation that was left on the Strip. The uncut piece of the Strip is favoured by roosting Snipe with up to 14 located on the 11th. On the 11th three Lapwings dropped onto the Strip where they spent the rest of the day and the same Strip had hosted a Green Sandpiper on the 1st of the month. Over the last week Black-headed Gull were estimated at 500 on the 5th and 700 on the 6th with much comings and goings in a southerly direction. It transpired that a field was under the plough less than a half-mile away and was attracting many gulls. Wintering duck still in the area included Goldeneyes (male and female), six Goosanders and the odd Pochard or two. A single Little Egret has been noted off and on with a visit to the old nest-site being logged. The female Long-tailed Duck is appearing sporadically but does not stay for long and Wigeon are still coming through with 40 noted on the 9th and six on the 11th. Up to six Buzzards have been seen and a pair of Peregrines was verbally reported as ‘passing through. Several Chiffchaffs are now singing as are Cetti’s Warblers. NOTE: The lock on the Education Hide door is faulty and is currently kept closed by a piece of wire from the door handle to the outside hand rail. Please ensure this is in place if you use the hide. Two Pied Wagtails were found dead, under the window, on the 8th having flown through the open door and striking the window. With thanks to: AG, RW, KW, PH, PJ, MJH, AB, DH, AL, NC, KS, TT and KT.