Back to some old stomping grounds today. I try to visit Drakelow or Willington when my beloved Burton Albion are at home. Except I didn't go yesterday. Just as well really as we lost 3-1 to Histon, money well saved there. So I made a day of Drakelow, Croxall and Willington today instead.
Drakelow is the one of the places that got me into birding in the first place and is steeped in my personal birding history. I didn't visit the place for a number of years due to a succession of events. Namely not renewing my permit from the power station gatehouse in about 1999, losing my permit and the little detail of the power station closing. So I was most relieved last year to hear that the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have taken over the running of the reserve and were issuing permits from a list of previous holders.
It's not a particularly welcoming sight, but with no power station and gatehouse to sign in there's not much alternative. I managed a total of 42 different species today, including:
17 Goldeneye, amongst seven different species of duck
2 GBB Gull
singing Song Thrush
Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers
The water level on the main lagoon is currently very high. It takes longer to recede here than other gravel pits basically due to it's age, meaning there is more sediment at the bottom. As a result the flooded reeds meant no Water Rail today. When the water doesn't flood the reeds it's still the best place I know to get really close views coming to the feeding station.
Scott's lagoon. Six months ago this was full of Willow. The DWT have been steadily clearing the area, and at least now it looks like a lagoon again. They have also been working on the Trent itself, to improve river flow for fish, and for Otters ultimately. Most of this work is out of view, but you can see the edge of this work from the north hide. A lot of trees have been cleared, which now gives a clear view of my old school! Ugh.
After Drakelow I paid brief visits to Croxall and Willington. Croxall produced: