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Birdwatching Group

Leader Anne Donegan 01283 760348 birdwatch@ashbyu3a.co.uk

Visit to Drakelow Nature Reserve 31st July 2017

Drakelow Nature Reserve consists of old gravel pits and riverside meadow in the floodplain of the River Trent. It lies on a natural meander on the south side of the river just upstream of Burton on Trent. Its location has made it an extremely important flyway for birds for many years and it now forms a significant link in a chain of wetland reserves along the Trent Valley. The variety of habitat attracts a wide range of species including large numbers of wildfowl in the winter months, breeding and roosting cormorants and a range of smaller species including reed warbler in summer and water rail in winter. During summer the site is also rich in butterflies and dragonflies.
Four members of the Group met at the old Drakelow Power Station Gate C, on Walton Road, the entrance to Drakelow NR. The Reserve has been in operation since 1970.
The weather started sunny and warm and we stopped at the first Hide near the car park. We watched Cormorants and at least 6 young and could see the nests in the trees surrounding the Lake. One nest appeared to be still occupied with a young bird.
On the water there were tufted duck, coots and their young, a single black headed gull, 2 gadwall, a pair of swans and one cygnet, 2 great crested grebe and a heron fishing from a nearby bank.
We moved on to the next Hide also nearby but this area of water was much quieter given the time of year. However we waited and soon we could see a pair of black swans, always interesting if not part of our native wildlife. Finally Jim identified a Hobby flying over the water catching insects, a treat for those of us not having seen one before.
The footpaths around the site are well maintained and there is usually no problems with mud or water logged areas.
Our final stop was in the Hide overlooking the lake known as Area B on the information map, where we had our lunch. Suddenly Paula spotted a kingfisher perched on a stick like branch and he stayed long enough for all of us to get a good look. This was Paula's first sight of a kingfisher and she was delighted. The site is known for kingfishers but they are not always easy to see.
On our way round the site we spotted a number of butterflies on some Buddleia trees, 4 peacocks and 1 red admiral.
A very enjoyable day and well worth another visit at a dfferent time of year.

Anne Donegan

Next meetings
Date and time Place
Mon 25th Sept at 10 amWillington Nature Reserve. Contact Anne for parking details on 01283 760348.

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