24 May 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:45am – 6:05am// 6:55am – 8:30am

8.5°C > 11.0°C. Mainly cloudy with a few light showers. Light SE wind. Moderate visibility and rather hazy.

Back after a few days in south of France and Italy with Alpine Swift and Hoopoe in the log along with hundreds of Black Kites and dozens of Black Redstarts.

The SE wind and recent storms and heavy showers had not brought any Black Terns, as these conditions often do.

(55th visit of the year)

Both pairs of Great Crested Grebes with young: still on parents’ back so not certain of precise number: also an additional adult.
The Swans have just 2 small cygnets.
A female Mallard with 8 well-grown ducklings.
4 Tufted Ducks: a pair and two drakes one of which was either an immature that had not acquired full adult plumage or possible a non-breeding bird that had started to enter eclipse plumage.
A few Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls over.
>50 Swifts overhead were later joined by Swallows and House Martins.
No sign of Sedge Warbler or Lesser Whitethroat: so perhaps they did not stay to breed.
A Poplar Hawk-moth found resting in the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

5 + 5? (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 + 2  Swans
4 (3) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
4 (3) Tufted Duck
2 Moorhens
20 + 6 (2 broods) Coots
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
2 Herring Gulls over
>25 Common Swifts
4 Barn Swallows
8 House Martin
8 (8) Song Thrushes
2 (2) Reed Warbler
3 (3) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Garden Warbler
8 (7) Blackcaps
6 (6) Chiffchaffs
No corvid roost dispersal – too late arriving?

A Poplar Hawk-moth found at rest on the ceiling of the foot tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

An unusual sideways-on view of the this large-bodied moth with unique way of holding its wings at rest – probably too large to be seen as a meal by most insect-eaters.

Hard to see how many Great Crested Grebe juveniles sheltering on its parent’s back – one stripe-head is just about visible but the way the wings are being held suggests more.

Amazing to see just how fast the juveniles can dismount when the other parent arrives with food.

This is the other pair of Great Crested Grebes at the lake – and at least 3 juveniles clearly visible here.

Not sure I have seen this before: one juvenile (at least) is on both the parents’ backs: as far as I recall I have only ever seen all the juveniles on the back of just one of the parents.

Mum Mallard nearest the camera with her well-grown brood of 8 ducklings.

Just 2 cygnets this year: these look as if they hatched within the last few days.

Hard to photograph Swifts: here the camera catches the bird with the tail held partly spread and showing a V-shape that is rarely obvious.

Always hard to photograph hirundines: here the camera catches a House Martin with the tail held partly spread and showing the V-shape well. Against the light the distinctive white rump is not obvious.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:15am - 6:45am

(48th visit of the year)

The Great Crested Grebes now nesting: and an unusually visible nest.
The small Cackling-type Canada Goose has reappeared with a small post (failed) breeding build-up of Canada Geese.
Coot juveniles seen in two places but rather suspect they were a mobile family party rather separate broods.
c.10 Swifts and 4 House Martins here.
A Willow Warbler in song was a surprise: last recorded by me here 16 April.

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
1 + 1 Swans
1 Greylag Goose
1 Cackling Goose
54 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
10 (10) Mallard
Both the all-white and mainly dark feral Mallard-type ducks seen
3 (2) Tufted Ducks
2 Moorhens
8 + 3? (1 brood) Coots
No gulls
3 (3) Blackcap
2 (2) Chiffchaffs
1 (1) Willow Warbler

(Ed Wilson)