31 May 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:25am – 4:45am// 6:10am – 8:05am

10.0°C > 11.0°C. Medium overcast with a few breaks; some low cloud later; cam / light SE wind later; moderate visibility.

(61st visit of the year)

The cob Swan was feeling slightly grumpy this morning making attempts to dislodge the 3 Canada Geese, but failed to give chase when they flew down the other end.
3 pairs of Tufted Ducks initially: later just a single pair but not before another duck flew E high over the lake and later another drake flew in from the W.
A single well-grown Moorhen chick was new.
Only one brood of Coots seen this morning.
Black-headed Gulls flushed when I arrived: a rather unusual date for this species at the lake – wait until the end of June for non/failed breeding birds to return. These flew off immediately without being positively aged – it was still too dark. All had full dark hoods but two at least seemed to have some black in the tail indicating immatures.
In better weather just 2 single Swifts logged: no hirundines noted
One of the Song Thrushes has been exposed to too many screaming Swifts and now ends some of its song-phrases with a very realistic impression.
The Lesser Whitethroat heard again today: singing frequently from the hedge on the E side of Castle Farm Way but clearly audible from many points around the lake.
Many more Rooks logged this morning, some of these also in family parties.
1 Green-veined White butterfly.
6 Silver-ground Carpet moths identified and at least as many probables flushed.
1 Common Marble (Celypha lacunana): no doubt the first of many – a common species easily flushed from grassy areas.

4 +5 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 + 2  Swans
3 Canada Geese
3 Greylag Geese over
10 (7) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
8 (4) Tufted Ducks
3 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
19 + 3 (1 brood) Coots
4 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
2 Common Swifts
8 (8) Song Thrushes
4 (4) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
5 (3) Common Whitethroat
1 (1) Garden Warbler
10 (8) Blackcaps
7 (7) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 103 Jackdaws (again) and 67 Rooks
3 (2) Reed Buntings

The Silver-ground Carpet is an abundant moth easily flushed from grassy areas. There are other species of carpet moth that can also be flushed by day but none is so pale as this species and most fly later in the year.

The beauty of nature? A spider sp. tucks in to a midge sp.

A Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) well lit against a neutral background – the calm water of the lake – makes an arresting shot.

and a Yellow Flag / Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus): none of these were so well-lit or helpfully positioned.

Put in the ‘best so far’ category: a small window in the reeds allowed the Reed Warbler to be seen – just!

This Green-veined White seemed moribund in the cool of the morning: with such clear markings and unusually obvious yellow tones on the underside of the hind wing I suspect this was freshly emerged and still ‘pumping-up’

A big meal for a growing Great-crested Grebe chick

This looks somewhat like a longhorn moth but is in fact a caddis fly Mystacides longicornis

I think I am rather pleased I am not a Reed Bunting chick: what Mum is about to feed me with does not look too appetising!

A Common Marble moth (Celypha lacunana) in the grass

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 4:45am – 6:10am

(6th visit of year)

Went the top of the lane to get a better handle on the corvid movement: in addition to those in the counts yesterday some 30 birds were seen to the E and I was unable to decide whether they were Rooks going the ‘wrong way’ or Crows in usual numbers. The movement was not repeated and remains unresolved.

Best bird today was the singing Lesser Whitethroat – the same as heard from the lake: it gets logged in both places!

The area around the sluice was again quiet with just 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap and 1 Chiffchaff. No Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Willow Tit or Bullfinch noted today – all usual in the area.

No Pheasants seen or heard.
Fewer Common Whitethroats than usual.
No Linnets seen or head again.

Counts of interest (singing birds in brackets)
4 or 5 (4 or 5) Sky Larks
4(4) Song Thrushes
1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
3 (2) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Garden Warbler
2 (2) Blackcap
2 (2) Chiffchaff
6 (4) Yellowhammers

(Ed Wilson)