This article first appeared in the Club's Bulletin for December 1996, #385:
Graham Harrison has produced a study of the Waders and Wildfowl of Draycote Reservoir to celebrate the waters Twenty Fifth Year (1969 - 94). Given that Richard Harbird had produced a Checklist - Birds of Draycote Water (Published by Severn Trent Water 1992) Graham has chosen to make a more detailed study of the two key groups of birds which use the site - Wildfowl and Waders. Severn Trent have kindly printed the booklet which has now been published by the W.M.B.C. and is available price £2.50.
Graham's 37 page A4 booklet traces the history of the Reservoir noting three main phases - the Development Phase (when the water was being filled and on into a settled period of use), the Reconstruction Phase 1987 - 1990 (when levels were lowered so that the dams could be reinforced) and lastly the Rejuvenation Phase which takes us through to the present time.
Following an introduction to the development of the Reservoir and a discussion of sources, definitions and methods used to present the relevant data, Graham gives a species by species analysis of the wildfowl and waders using the water. In this section Graham gives a short introduction to each species relating use of the water to the birds status, migration patterns and then provides graphs and commentary on Annual counts from 1970 - 1993 and on each species monthly distribution. Finally, there is a short chapter on conclusions - four paragraphs of which are reproduced below:
"Draycote Water is unquestionably one of the most important sites for wildfowl in the Midlands. For one species, Smew, it is nationally important as it holds in excess of 1% of the UK population. It is also on the threshold of being nationally important for Tufted Duck, with virtually 1% of the British population.
Other species have also occurred in nationally important numbers from time-to-time, most notably Pochard in 1977/78 and 1978/ 79. However, such levels have not been consistently maintained. Nonetheless, Draycote remains regionally important for this species. It is also regionally important for Goldeneye, whose numbers are steadily increasing, and for Goosander, the counts of which have approached 1% of the British population more than once in recent years.
The area of the reservoir most favoured by wildfowl and waders is that between Biggin Bay and Farborough Spit. Toft Shallows are especially important and consideration should be given to designating this area as a nature reserve and excluding access to it. The importance of grazing Wigeon and Coot of the grassy banks between Biggin and Toft Bays should also be recognised and care taken not to let the extensive tree planting encroach too far into this vital feeding area.
Finally, it is important to remember that if birds are separated from their food supply or the safety of their roost for any length of time they will be suffering from disturbance, even though they may remain at the reservoir and seemingly be content."
Altogether I consider this to be an excellent study of birds at Draycote relating, as it does for each species, the birds lifestyle, numbers, distribution and patterns of use while at Draycote.
[Sales details were included here.]
Note: The title is now out of print.