Tag Archives: Staffs Ecological Record

Birdland – in Draycott in the Moors

One of the interesting side-effects of the lockdown is that a lot of us began to notice a lot more the bird-life around us.
April and May are a very busy time for birds – the dawn chorus is at its loudest (!), they are nesting, and in late May the migrating birds start arriving.
So, while nobody was happy about lockdown, at least it was a good time to watch out for birds.

Curlew-Wading, courtesy RSPB

The curlew, the (endangered) iconic bird of the Staffordshire Moorlands, visits us

And, if you keep across the village Facebook forum, you’ll notice that some of us are also great wildlife photographers, and they keep us updated with some brilliant pictures of birds in action.In this article, we outline some of the birds you can see locally, why Draycott in the Moors is a special place for birds, and how you can help with recording and conservation.

Blithe flood-plain

Within our district is a special place for wildlife.
On the fields between the railway line and the A50 Highway is a narrow stretch of Green Belt (on the western side of Cresswell Lane); and the prime reason it is Green Belt is because of the flood-plain around the River Blithe there. The Blithe runs right through our district, parallel to the railway (more or less), from Blythe Bridge through Draycott/Cresswell down to Church Leigh and the further.
This Draycott/Cresswell flood plain sits in a ‘special landscape area’ (though, to be honest, SLAs seem to be less important these days, and do not have any protected status.)

Species

The district, and the floodplain in particular, welcomes all sorts of birds.
Most of us will be aware of the enormous population of goldfinches (because of the considerable thistle growth), and the several buzzard nests and three resident rookeries (with all the noise you expect from them!). Most people will know too that our local sky-lark population is not bad, when you consider that sky-larks are in real decline.
But people may be less aware of the curlews (now endangered), white throats, reed buntings, snipe and Jack snipe, as well as several breeding pairs of yellow-hammers and

In a survey, five years ago, a local ornithologist spotted lapwings, a breeding pair of yellow wagtails – and several willow tits, which are sadly also becoming very rare.

Golden-plovers-Cresswell, courtesy LH

Golden plovers feeding on the Cresswell site. Copyright: LH

The real unusual sight though that he discovered is our feeding golden plovers – about thirty pairs visit here each year, and they are very special to bird-watchers.

Conservation

The presence of this wildlife was one of the reasons that the former local action group, VVSM, opposed the extension of the Cresswell business park back in 2014. As we all know, the plans for the extension to the business park were passed anyway (though work has not yet started, oddly).

As a sort of reminder to the authorities of the importance of local wildlife, VVSM fund-raised to create a small wildlife information board (see pic), which was put up in 2015 in the centre of Cresswell, and is still there to this day.

Wildlife Board unveiled

Councillor Mark Deaville (right) unveiled the board, watched by VVSM’s Jacquie Leach (left) and some young enthusiasts

The board lists the twenty or so most common mammals and birds which can be seen in Cresswell.
But, with the disbandment of VVSM, there is no local organisation taking an active interest in the natural environment of Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow.

Help

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust says they would welcome applications from anyone who wants to set up a local branch with them.
(A lot of our local wildlife was protected under European Commission directives, but, what with Brexit, it’s now unclear where protection will come from, so local advocates are more necessary than ever).

However, if you are one of those able to sit and enjoy the birds passing through (and over) your garden, you can also help, in a very easy way – just record what you see. Sign up to British Trust for Ornithology’s ‘Birdtrack’ project – a free, central online recording system which provides info to all our local wildlife conservation groups too.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box near the bottom of this page.
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Reference sites:

Birds of Staffordshire Year List 2020
Not sure if you’ve correctly identified a bird? Click here to see if you got it right!
Advice on How you can directly help birds
Article: Spotting our Draycott-in-the-Moors wildlife (2014)

And… thanks to Nick Pomiankowski for advice.

Draycott Cresswell Wildlife Sightings 2014

Draycott Cresswell Wildlife Sightings 2014, courtesy Staffs Ecological Record