18 Sep 19

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake:  05:40 – 09:20
The Flash:  09:25 – 10:15

6.0°C > 12.0°C:  Cloudless start: layer of cloud from N after c.09:30 encroached overhead by 09:55. Calm / light variable wind. Good visibility with some mist over the water early.

Sunrise: 06:48 BST

Priorslee Lake:  05:40 – 09:20

(225th visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
The 06:55 ‘football’ field count gave me 101 Black-headed Gulls, 12 Wood Pigeons, three Magpies, one Carrion Crow again and 61 Pied Wagtails. The gulls were very ‘jumpy’ this morning, arriving and then all flying around. Number is the instantaneous highest count – may have been more birds involved.

(Partial) explanation of gull counts:
As in recent days large gulls were arriving (and over flying) on the same line as (and mixed in with) the Rooks on roost dispersal. Concurrently at least 80 large gulls arrived low from the W ahead of the usual early arrival of Black-headed Gulls. I counted 119 large gulls (species not determined) using the water before I left the lake area at 06:35 to look at the ‘football’ field. Most of these early arrivals seemed to be moving on
By the time I returned from the ‘football’ field area there were >250 large gulls on the water, mostly Lesser Black-backed Gulls and the majority immatures. There were no adult Herring Gulls. These were put up on several occasions by Grey Herons or Common Buzzards flying over, and on each occasion many birds left to the E. Meanwhile a continual flow of more gulls, this time mainly Black-heads, continued to arrive from the W, mostly passing straight over. Suffice to say I rather lost track of where and how many birds there were.

Other notes
- The outbound Greylag Geese were well-late at 08:35.
- >100 additional Wood Pigeons were noted flying around the fields and trees to the N / NE.
- A smaller Rook count probably because I was distracted by the gull arrivals and overlooked the main group.
- Again some of the Pied Wagtails stayed around with 19 still on the ‘football’ field at 09:10.
- There were likely many more Meadow Pipits overhead than I recorded. Their flight-calls can be easily confused with tit-calls when drowned out by vehicle noise from the M54. The clear sky made finding flying Meadow Pipit-sized birds of a ‘challenge’.

Bird totals:

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 23 Greylag Geese (22 outbound in one group; single inbound)
- 3 (2♂) Mallard
- 2 (?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Common Buzzard
***see notes regarding all gull numbers
- >100 Black-headed Gulls
- 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: seven of these first-winter birds
- 22 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID
- 5 Feral Pigeons
- 3 Stock Doves again
- 62 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 17 Jackdaws
- 74 Rooks
- >3 Meadow Pipits (see notes)

Hirundines etc. noted again.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 8 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 3 (1) Blackcaps: sub-song

Counts from the lake area:
- 2 + 6 (1 brood) Mute Swans
- 4 (3♂) Mallard
- 4 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Cormorants again
- 2 Grey Herons again
- 1 immature Little Grebe
- 8 adult + 4 immature + 9 juvenile (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 + 4 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 103 Coots
***see notes regarding all gull numbers
- >150 Black-headed Gulls
- >230 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : >200 of these first-winter birds
- >20 Herring Gulls: all(?) of these first-winter birds
- 119 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID

On the lamp poles pre-dawn.
- 1 Common stretch-spider (Tetragnatha extensa)
- 2 other spiders – different unknown species
- 1 Dicranopalpus ramosus harvestman

Nothing logged later – the insects were as cold as I felt

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash:  09:25 – 10:15

(214th visit of the year)

Notes from here:
- The family party of five very similar Greylag x Canada Geese again with their Greylag parent. Another very similar bird in amongst Canada Geese.
also
- 4 Dicranopalpus ramosus harvestmen back on their usual lamp pole
- 1 Terrapin sp. (presumed Yellow-bellied Slider) again
- 1 Grey Squirrel

Birds noted flying over / near The Flash:
- 4 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 3 Jackdaws again
- 2 Meadow Pipits again

Hirundines etc. noted again.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 4 (2) Chiffchaffs

Counts from the water:
- 3 Mute Swans
- >19 Greylag Geese
- 6 Greylag x Canada Geese
- >105 Canada Geese
- 27 (12♂) Mallard
- 25 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 20 Coots
- 6 Black-headed Gulls: none of these a first-winter bird

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2017
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2007
Priorslee Lake
Common Gull
Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

17 Sep 19

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake:  05:40 – 09:10
The Flash:  09:15 – 10:05

10.0°C > 12.0°C:  Much cloud at times with some clear intervals especially 09:00 – 10:00. Light / moderate W wind. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:46 BST

Priorslee Lake:  05:40 – 09:10

(224th visit of the year)

Best today was the first-winter Common Gull seen briefly with the Black-headed Gulls on the ‘football’ field. When the first dogs arrived it left with some of the Black-heads and was not seen again.

Bird notes from today:
- The 06:55 ‘football’ field count gave me 105 Black-headed Gulls, 1 first winter Common Gull, just seven Wood Pigeons, 12 Magpies, one Carrion Crow and 55 Pied Wagtails. 28 Black-headed Gulls on the academy playing field had most likely been flushed off by dogs and were in my earlier count.

- Several of the Moorhens were seen ‘against the light’ and their ages could not be determined – at least 3 adults and 2 juveniles: 5 unassigned.
- Both of the single surviving juveniles from the last two broods of Coots were seen. Both are just about indistinguishable from (sub)adults and will not be identified separately any longer.
- The first group of large gulls passed overhead along with the outbound Rooks. Later birds spiralled down and landed on the lake. Against the light it was impossible to specifically identify them. Many of these birds soon left. Some of them may have stayed around a while and been ‘double-counted’ as specifically identified birds on the lake. I think the vast majority of the ‘lake birds’ were new arrivals.
- No hirundines today. There are still a few House Martins near my Newport address, though most seem to have left in the last few days.
- Some of the Pied Wagtails stayed around longer than usual and 10 were still on the ‘football’ field at 09:00.

Bird totals:

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- >20 Black-headed Gulls
- 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: two of these first-winter birds
- 17 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID
- 4 Feral Pigeons
- 3 Stock Doves
- 71 Wood Pigeons
- 29 Jackdaws
- 134 Rooks
- 6 Starlings

Hirundines etc. noted.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 10 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 4 (0) Blackcaps

Counts from the lake area:
- 2 + 6 (1 brood) Mute Swans
- 10 (7♂) Mallard
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Grey Herons
- 1 + 1 (1 brood) Little Grebe
- 8 adult + 4 immature + 9 juvenile (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 10 Moorhens: at least 2 juveniles
- 98 + 2 (2 broods) Coots
- >110 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Common Gull
- 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : 20 of these first-winter birds
- 5 Herring Gulls: all of these first-winter birds yet again
- 51 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID
- 1 Kingfisher

Nothing at all on the lamp poles pre-dawn.

The following logged later:
Mainly cloudy with cool breeze
- 1 Brown Hawker Dragonfly
- 1 Grey Squirrel

A rather lop-sided moon already, just a few days after full-moon.

Dark clouds overhead made the early spotting difficult. Just a touch of colour in the clear area to the E.

This immature Cormorant finished fishing for its breakfast and was looking for somewhere secure to digest the food. This does not look too secure.

Ooops!

Try again.

Ooops again!

I really don’t think it is going to work.

There are three dependent broods of Great Crested Grebes here. I have shown the latest trio recently. Here are a quartet, the oldest of the broods, with one of the parents. They had strayed along the N side enabling me to get closer ....

.... and putting the other adult in conflict with the NW residents. Here in a ‘threat’ posture.

These two juvenile Great Crested Grebes seem to be doing well despite there being only one parent to look after them. I do not know where the other parent went. Indeed it may have not gone anywhere as there were two broods hatched close together in the NW area and there only ever seemed to be three adults – could one male have had two females? These are particularly noisy individuals and I can hear them already begging for breakfast no matter how early I arrive.

A motley collection of large gulls. Counting from the left #6 is an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. #2 looks a candidate for being an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with a very dark back, but the bill is all dark so it must be a second (even a third?) winter bird. #4 has some pale at the base of the bill and is therefore also a (very different) second winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. Note the much whiter head on these two birds. Bird #7 is less coarsely marked and slightly paler and is a first winter Herring Gull. The others are first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Young gulls fighting over weed. The front left-hand bird, that may or may not have the weed – whose head is it? – is a first-winter Herring Gull with paler inner primaries. The bird charging in from the right is a classic first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull with no obvious pale to the inner primaries and dark secondary coverts.

Whoever had the weed before it is the first-winter Herring Gull making off with it leaving two first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gulls behind.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash:  09:15 – 10:05

(213th visit of the year)

Notes from here:
- The family party of five very similar Greylag x Canada Geese were with the Greylag parent again. None of the other hybrid geese was noted.
- Canada Geese continued to arrive in small groups throughout my visit.
also
- 2 Speckled Wood butterflies (Pararge aegeria)
- 2 Red Admiral butterflies (Vanessa atalanta)
- >10 Common Drone-flies (Eristalis tenax)
- 1 Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
- 1 Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus)
- 1 Garden Spider (Arameus diadematus)
- 1 Dicranopalpus ramosus harvestmen on a very different lamp pole
- 1 Terrapin sp. (presumed Yellow-bellied Slider)

Birds noted flying over / near The Flash:
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 3 Jackdaws
- 2 Meadow Pipits

Hirundines etc. noted.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 2 (1) Chiffchaffs

Counts from the water:
- 3 Mute Swans as usual
- >14 Greylag Geese
- 5 Greylag x Canada Geese
- >117 Canada Geese
- 41 (20♂) Mallard only
- 17 (5♂) Tufted Ducks again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes still
- 4 Moorhens
- 18 Coots
- 12 Black-headed Gulls: just one of these a first-winter bird
- 1 Kingfisher

A flight of 11 Canada Geese comes back from the fields.

It all looked so neat as they arrived in formation. Now they are looking for a touch-down point they have to start making contortions to avoid each other and those already on the water.

This seems to be a new insect for me – a Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus).

The underside of a Garden Spider (Arameus diadematus).

I could not quite make it to get a ‘square-on’ topside view.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2013
Priorslee Lake
2 Ravens
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
6 Raven 
(John Isherwood)

2008
Priorslee Lake
1 Snipe
3 Common Sandpipers
149 Greenfinch roost
89 Pied Wagtails 
(Ed Wilson)

2005
Priorslee Lake
Pintail
(Ed Wilson)

16 Sep 19

Priorslee Lake only

Priorslee Lake:  05:45 – 09:10

13.0°C:  Very low cloud and mist with spells of drizzle. Calm / light N wind. Moderate / poor visibility.

Sunrise: 06:44 BST

I was wet-enough after visiting the lake and gave The Flash a miss.

Priorslee Lake:  05:45 – 09:10

(223rd visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- The 07:00 ‘football’ field count gave me 91 Black-headed Gulls, just nine Wood Pigeons, five Magpies, one Carrion Crow and 56 Pied Wagtails. 37 Black-headed Gulls on the academy playing field were almost certainly birds I had already counted that had flown off following the arrival of the first dogs. As sunrise gets later this is likely to be an increasing problem.

- Pre-dawn (what dawn?) there were eight Tufted Ducks in the middle of the lake. They often gather in a small raft here prior to flying off W, likely to spend the day at The Flash. I did not see these leave – if they did at this stage. There were seven birds flying around at low-level at 07:20 and these did seem to leave to the W. A few minutes later I noted three more(?) duck Tufties on the water. Then another(?) three circling low over before these too seemed to leave to the W at 07:25. The three on the water remained throughout. How many birds involved? At least eight: probably more.
- A Common Buzzard was flushed off the ground along the W-end footpath at 06:00. Seemed to be carrying a prey item. I had walked along that path just a few minutes previously and noted nothing suitable for a buzzard.
- In addition to the 58 Wood Pigeons noted flying over at least 120 more were put up from fields / trees to NE / N at 08:30. They seemed to settle back in the same area rather than flying off.
- The early morning post-roost flight of corvids was either along a different flight-line due to the low cloud or the birds were flying on instruments. I saw nothing at that time.

Bird totals:

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
**poor visibility affected numbers
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : both of these first-winters bird
- 4 Stock Doves
- 58 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws
- 6 Rooks

Hirundines etc. noted.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 8 (4) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (0) Blackcap

Counts from the lake area:
**some counts affected by the poor visibility
- 2 + 6 (1 brood) Mute Swans
- 13 (9♂) Mallard
- 8+ (?♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 3 Cormorants again
- 3 Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe: adult again
- 8 adult + 4 immature + 9 juvenile (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 83 + 1 (1 brood) Coots
- c.125 Black-headed Gulls
- 31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : 23 of these first-winter birds
- 9 Herring Gulls: eight of these first-winter birds

On the lamp poles pre-dawn:
- 1 springtail Pogonognathellus longicornis
- 1 dead Common Crane-fly (Tipula oleracea) – a spider casualty
- 2 unidentified spider sps.

The following logged later:
Damp weather: no insects
- 1 Grey Squirrel

“Another chance to see” (as the BBC says) a springtail Pogonognathellus longicornis.

Not at all sure what is going on here – legs and wings everywhere. There seems to be the body of a Common Crane-fly (Tipula oleracea). The wings seem to have been chopped off and I think the spider responsible is just about peering over the ‘join’ of the wings. Exactly what the clusters of small black blobs are I can only guess. Frass from the dead crane-fly? Spiderlings?

Hanging gibbon-like from its web is this hairy-legged spider. Perhaps the same unidentified species as I photographed yesterday, though I recall that specimen being somewhat larger. But then spiders do grow significantly throughout their life-span, discarding their exoskeletons periodically. Water droplets on the web can be seen at the right of the photo

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2018
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2013
Priorslee Lake
Ringed Plover
(Ed Wilson)

2007
Priorslee Lake
Nuthatch
Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

2006
Priorslee Lake
Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

15 Sep 19

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake:  05:30 – 08:55
The Flash:  09:00 – 09:45

14.0°C > 16.0°C:  Mostly cloudy with a few early breaks to S & W; and later to NW. Moderate W wind. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:43 BST

Priorslee Lake:  05:30 – 08:55

(222nd visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- The 06:45 ‘football’ field count gave me 127 Black-headed Gulls, 26 Wood Pigeons, 19 Magpies, two Carrion Crows, four Starlings and 49 Pied Wagtails. Just three Wood Pigeons were again on the academy playing field at this time. In actuality most of the Black-headed Gulls had left before some of the Pied Wagtails arrived.

- The Greylag Geese behaved differently this morning. An unusually silent group of seven went outbound (E) at the usual c.06:30 time. Then nine birds were seen flying N to the far W before turning E to pass well to the N at 07:55. Then 17 birds flew from the N at 08:40 and turned overhead to fly off E – at this time they would normally be returning W-bound.
- Another change-around amongst the non-breeding Great Crested Grebes. Another adult – unless one of the immatures has had a quick moult. And at least two of the immatures missing.
- One Tawny Owl giving its sharp ‘kvick’ calls apparently while flying through the Ricoh copse alongside Teece Drive at 05:30. Shortly after a bird was giving a very quiet ‘tremolo’ hoot from near the yacht compound. I cannot recall hearing this previously and my books tell me this is a courtship call. I know they are very early breeders, but ...
- Nine House Martins seen over at 06:55. The seven seen over at 07:05 may have been different birds.
- The fly-over Pied Wagtails were possibly birds seen earlier on the ‘football’ field though these had all been chased away by dogs an hour or more earlier.

Bird totals:

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 34 Greylag Geese in three groups (see notes)
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 Black-headed Gulls
- 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : just one of these a first-winter bird
- 38 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID
- 3 Stock Doves
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 42 Wood Pigeons
- 50 Jackdaws exactly
- 161 Rooks
- 1 Starling
- 4 Pied Wagtails
- 6 Meadow Pipits

Hirundines etc. noted:
- 2 Barn Swallows
- 9+ House Martin (see notes)

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 9 (3) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (0) Blackcaps

Counts from the lake area:
- 2 + 6 (1 brood) Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese arrived
- 6 (3♂) Mallard
- 4 (0♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 Cormorants
- 1 Little Grebe: adult
- 9 adult + 3 immature + 9 juvenile (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 95 + 1 (1 brood) Coots
- 127 Black-headed Gulls
- 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : 32 of these first-winter birds
- 7 Herring Gulls: all of these first-winter birds yet again

On the lamp poles pre-dawn:
I hoped the mild cloudy weather might reveal a few moths: not to be
- 2 Garden Spider (Arameus diadematus)
- 3 unidentified spider sp.
- 1 Paroligolophus agrestis harvestman

The following logged later:
Cloudy weather so no insects
- 1 glass snail sp.
- 2 Grey Squirrels again

Cloudy this morning so you are spared a sunrise photo. All I can provide is a near full moon with a thin layer of cloud obscuring much of the detail.

This almost qualifies as a good photo of a Little Grebe – at least it was still on the surface by the time I pressed the shutter. The colour on the neck tells us this is an adult, though it will soon lose that as it moults in to winter plumage.

A typical first-winter Herring Gull attracted to an orange buoy. This specimen is quite pale and could not really be confused with a first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Having failed to get any food by pecking the buoy it decided ‘attack’ was the best strategy. Note how pale the inner primaries are, even from the underside.

A classic Garden Spider (Arameus diadematus) apparently about to unscrew one of the lugs holding the lamp post together.

When I took this photos I thought another garden spider. But it is different. I guess these are male and female – the female of most spiders is the larger, often significantly so. Looking at my references there are an awful lot of spiders with patterns similar to this, the keyword being ‘similar’! I can find no match.

An exciting-looking spider. It has some similarity with the Tegenaria (house spiders). However the second pair of legs is proportionally much longer than any illustrations I can find.

Here is this morning’s harvestman – Paroligolophus agrestis. Most easily recognised by the inner part of the legs being noticeably thicker.

A tiny snail shell – the background are the lines on my palm – any chiromancers amongst my readers? I think this is a glass snail, probably of the genus Euconulus. Separation to species level needs a live occupant.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash:  09:00 – 09:45

(212th visit of the year)

Notes from here:
- A family party of five very similar Greylag x Canada Geese with a Greylag parent. Another similar bird on its own. And yesterday’s bird with more white on the head also present.
- Yesterday it was some of the Mallard that were missing: today fewer Tufted Duck and Coots. Most odd.
- The six Meadow Pipits went over together.
also
No insects about in cloudy conditions
- 6 Dicranopalpus ramosus harvestmen on the same lamp pole

Birds noted flying over / near The Flash:
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 6 Jackdaws
- 6 Meadow Pipits

Hirundines etc. noted.
None

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 1 (0) Chiffchaff

Counts from the water:
- 3 Mute Swans as usual
- >82 Greylag Geese
- 7 Greylag x Canada x ? Geese
- >112 Canada Geese
- 33 (17♂) Mallard only
- 17 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 11 Coots only
- 19 Black-headed Gulls

Another look at what I assume is yesterday’s Greylag x Canada x Barnacle(?) Goose. This angle shows white on the back of the neck which confuses matters even further.

This lone goose disappearing under the gloomy overhanging vegetation of the island is a more ‘classic’ Greylag x Canada Goose with a very Greylag bill and a clear if rather washed-out Canada ‘chin-strap’.

But what about these five? All very similar. And is that the proud guilty parent with them? Note how dark-backed they are. Perhaps it is due to the angle of the light but they seem too dark for Canada genes. And what will the next generation look like? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2013
Priorslee Lake
Green Sandpiper
9 Ravens
(Ed Wilson)

2010
Priorslee Lake
Mallard x Pintail
Raven
2 Sand Martin
(Ed Wilson)

2008
Priorslee Lake
100+ hirundines
31 Pied Wagtails
Redwing
14 Chiffchaffs
7 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)

14 Sep 19

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake:  05:30 – 09:30
The Flash:  09:35 – 10:20

7.0°C > 13.0°C:  Some thin high cloud again, mostly clear: mist over the water early. Light and variable breeze. Good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:41 BST

It may have said it was 7.0°C on the car thermometer when I arrived. One of the fishermen’s temperature gauge went to 3.0°C in the night and was still only 5.0°C at 08:00.

Priorslee Lake:  05:30 – 09:30

(221st visit of the year)

Definitely a ‘raptor’ day. A Hobby flew fast W to the N at 08:10. It, or another, flew low E at 08:25. A Peregrine flew W at 09:10 perhaps eyeing up the concurrent party of 27 Racing Pigeons. A Sparrowhawk and an apparently non-local Common Buzzard flew over later

Frustrating was what, at other times of the year, I would have happily logged as ‘Whimbrel heard’. But mid-September is an unlikely date for this bird on passage. Nothing seen so ...?

Bird notes from today:
- The 06:45 ‘football’ field count gave me 31 Black-headed Gulls again, 27 Wood Pigeons, 17 Magpies, two Carrion Crows, eight Starlings and 45 Pied Wagtails. Just three Wood Pigeons were on the academy playing field at this time.
- Coot numbers building up. This morning’s juvenile was the lone survivor from the very last hatched brood.
- Some of the large gulls passing pre-sunrise decided to stop off at the lake for a while. The light was still rather poor to be 100% certain but all seemed to be Lesser Black-backed Gulls and most of them first-winter birds. Later more gulls dropped in and this included a trio of first-winter Herring Gulls.
- Three duck Tufted Duck dropped in briefly. Four unsexed birds flew over E at 08:25. The same (?) two ducks as the last few days remained throughout.
- One Tawny Owl was calling alongside Teece Drive at 05:30. Shortly after two were heard calling from the N side wood. Different birds?
- There were likely many more Meadow Pipits overhead as the clear sky precluded finding most of the calling birds. These are often in small groups.
- Yesterday I wondered where all the Greenfinches had gone. Today there was one and with it two Chaffinches. Chaffinches had been absent even longer. (There was also a Greenfinch at The Flash where it has been similarly missing recently)

Bird totals:

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- Canada Geese heard only outbound
- 4 (?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 1 Common Buzzard
- 1 or 2 Hobby
- 1 Peregrine
- 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : eight of these first-winter birds
- 2 Herring Gulls: both of these first-winter birds
- 51 unidentified large gulls: too dark to ID
- 1 Stock Dove
- 27 Racing Pigeons
- 67 Wood Pigeons
- 41 Jackdaws
- 94 Rooks
- 7+ Meadow Pipits
- 1 Yellow Wagtail
- 3 Pied Wagtails
- 23 Starlings (3 groups)

Hirundines etc. noted:
- 13 Barn Swallows (3 groups through)
- 1 House Martin

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 12 (3) Chiffchaffs
- 4 (0) Blackcaps

Counts from the lake area:
- 2 + 6 (1 brood) Mute Swans
- 12 (7♂) Mallard
- 5 (0♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 4 Cormorants
- 1 Grey Heron
- Little Grebe(s) heard only
- 8 + 6 + 9 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 105 + 1 (1 brood) Coots
- 31 Black-headed Gulls
- 61 Lesser Black-backed Gulls : 45 of these first-winter birds
- 3 Herring Gulls: all of these first-winter birds yet again
- 1 Kingfisher

On the lamp poles pre-dawn:
- 1 unidentified small black beetle
- 1 Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
- 1 Paroligolophus agrestis harvestman

The following logged later:
Still chilly even in the sun, so not much seen:
- No butterflies
- Dragonflies etc.
        - 1 Brown Hawker
- Hoverflies
        - several Common Drone-flies (Eristalis tenax)
and
- a few Common Crane-flies (Tipula oleracea)
- several wasp sp.
- 1 White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis)
- 2 Grey Squirrels

The very early (06:00) start of the sunrise – an exposure of a quarter of second is always going to show some blurring without a tripod. Clearly the Severn Trent ‘welcome’ sign is not a perfect substitute.

By 06:15 maximum colour.

A longer view to show the Autumn mist over the water.

Losing some colour by 06:22.

Still attractive but colour washed out by 06:27.

Two immature Cormorants prepare to get their breakfast from the lake.

These are the two ‘spare’ adult Great Crested Grebes that have been around for many weeks. This morning they decided to start displaying.

In good light the strong underwing pattern is enough to identify this as an immature Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Here is the same bird from above, illustrating the importance of considering the angle of the light. Note how much darker the secondary coverts appear on the right wing compared with those on the left wing. Note too the solid black tail with spotting on the uppertail coverts.

I am not 100% certain that this is a first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull that is approaching the camera. The absence of any pale area around the inner primaries suggests it is, though this feature is always less obvious from underneath. The solid black tail band may be the best clue. It is also landing alongside a Lesser Black-backed Gull. In my experience ‘different’ gulls often tend to keep apart – not always but can provide a pointer to something different.

This is an immature Herring Gull with very pale area around the inner primaries – much more extensive than shown on any Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Another view with different lighting. I had thought this was a first-winter bird: this photo shows some pale on the bill and it is possibly a second-winter bird, though the spotting on the upper-tail coverts suggests otherwise. It also has a rather white-looking head – perhaps just an effect of the bright sunlight? Immature large gulls are a constant puzzle!

A species that is very hard to get a decent photograph of as they usually stand facing away and then fly-off. ‘Just’ a Magpie of course. The good morning light shows a hint of the green or purple (depending upon angle) gloss in the wing.

Another species I do not often get a chance to photograph Jackdaws – they usually pass before it is light-enough and almost always what light there is. The white eyes stand out clearly as does the grey ‘nape’.

I am almost certain this is a Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis). Usually I see this at rest with the two front pairs of legs held together ahead of the body. Here it must be moving after something – or trying to get away from the camera flash! Note the very short third pair of legs.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash:  09:35 – 10:20

(211th visit of the year)

Notes from here:
- Many geese uncounted inside the island.
- With a better view today I note that the Greylag x Canada Goose is a different bird to that recorded most times last winter and indeed shows some hint of Barnacle Goose genes.
- I assume that many Mallard were also hiding inside the island.
also
Another later visit with more insects around. However the Ivy is not yet in flower so numbers of hoverflies well down on what I would otherwise log.
- 1 Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
- 2 Red Admiral butterflies (Vanessa atalanta)
- 1 Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
- >3 Common Drone-flies (Eristalis tenax)
- >1 Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
- 7 Dicranopalpus ramosus harvestmen on the same lamp pole
- 1 Grey Squirrel

Birds noted flying over / near The Flash:
- 1 Common Buzzard
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Jackdaw
- 1+ Meadow Pipits

Hirundines etc. noted:
- 3 House Martins

Warblers noted (singing birds):
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff

Counts from the water:
- 3 Mute Swans as usual
- >18 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada x ? Goose
- >68 Canada Geese
- 17 (9♂) Mallard only
- 30 (7♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 Moorhens
- 20 Coots
- 11 Black-headed Gulls: three of these first-winter birds
- 1 Kingfisher

Here is the hybrid goose that has been around for a few days. The plain orange bill is clearly formed by Greylag Goose genes whereas the vestigial white ‘chin-strip’ and dark neck likely come from Canada Goose genes. Barnacle Goose is another possibility for the white around the face as it is for the overall plumage tone. However Barnacle Goose has a relatively very small bill and there is not hint of that. Anyone got a DNA kit handy?

Nothing special: just a nice portrait of a first-winter Black-headed Gull

And a different bird – though you would be hard put to tell them apart. Birds from early broods differ quite markedly from birds raised later in the season throughout the winter. Not with these two though.

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2013
Priorslee Lake
Water Rail
Hobby
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
Snipe
(Ed Wilson)

2010
Priorslee Lake
Sandwich Tern
(Ed Wilson)

2007
Priorslee Lake
Green Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)