5 May 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:40am – 6:35am// 7:45am – 9:05am

5.0°C > 10.0°C  broken medium/high cloud and calm start: higher cloud from W and keen moderate SSE wind sprang up. Good visibility.

After just over two weeks away (birding in Taiwan) all the expected summer visitors had arrived at the lake – Common Swift, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. None of these at The Flash where a Common Sandpiper was the only notable sighting.

A single Yellow Wagtail flew over the lake

The fishermen who had been present most of the weekend told me that a Cuckoo was calling around the lake yesterday (Sunday) evening. Drat! Would have been my first for some 10 years at this site.

Migrant counts from the lake
10 Common Swifts
4 Sand Martins
1 Swallow
4 House Martins

(49th visit of the year)

Other notes
Still just 2 Great Crested Grebes: still awaiting juveniles?
Pen Swan still sitting: cob swimming about.
Two broods of Mallard ducklings: 3 and 9 from the two broods seen before I went away.
the Tufted Ducks all flew off.
Eventually up to 10 Common Swifts after 4 by 7:45am.
Only 2 Reed Warblers heard but still rather early for this later migrant.
1 Garden Warbler: hard to keep track of as singing in competition with Song Thrush, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap, all just a few feet away in the hedge alongside the M54.
Common Whitethroats still establishing territory and ranging over larger than usual areas – but I think 4 different singing birds.
Amazing noise with several Jays, c.10 Magpies, 4 Crows all yelling and chasing what I suspect was a Buzzard in the Ricoh copse, though I never got a clear view of their quarry.
The first hoverflies of the year: now where did I file that ID book?!

2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
5 Greylag Geese over
7 Canada Geese over
4 (2) + 12 [2 broods] Mallard
5 (3) Tufted Duck
3 Moorhens
27 Coots
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
12 (12) Song Thrushes
2 (2) Reed Warblers
4 (4) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Garden Warbler
9 (8) Blackcaps
9 (9) Chiffchaffs
71 Jackdaws and 35 Rooks in roost dispersal

A fine start to the day

The usual contrails of early arrivals in to Europe from the USA reflect in the early calm lake

The tree is on fire!

The larger of the Mallard broods follows mum

Ah! Spring. This means Bluebells and you don’t have to go to the woods. These are by the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

My annual attempt at showing the wonderful organisation of the individual seeds in a dandelion clock.

A rather scruffy and soggy-looking Common Whitethroat greets the early sun.

Another warbler greeting the early sun: this bird shows very few features to help identification, but that in itself makes this a Garden Warbler. The shadow from the branch gives the bird the appearance of a rufous cap. The rather thick and stubby bill is also a clue. Not sure about the apparent lump on the neck – perhaps a tick?

Warmer sun brings flowers and insects: two flies here, the upper hoverfly is probably Syrphus vitripennis.

A dead Perch floating in the lake – ID by the red on the fins. The fishermen thought this was likely a natural death.

This hoverfly is the common species Eristalis pertinax.

Another hoverfly sp. – Leucozona lucorum. A sure indication that Spring is here.

This hoverfly is also Leucozona lucorum: in this specimen the marks are similar to the previous specimen but whiter.

While this is ‘just’ a fly sp. probably a Muscid fly

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:45am – 7:30am

(43rd visit of the year)

A 3rd Great Crested Grebe present and left alone by the resident pair
1 Cormorant flew high overhead
The Swans will not breed this year: the cob seems settled with one of his daughters from last year but she is too young to lay fertile eggs – perhaps even to lay eggs.
Tufted Ducks very flighty and hard to be certain of exact number as from no single point can all the water be seen. Number is minimum.
1 Common Sandpiper as highlighted.
No Willow Warblers seen or heard: on a single visit at this date no firm conclusion about whether any have stayed to brood – they may well be too busy feeding young to have time to sing.
A Goldcrest singing from the conifers behind the surgery was my first at this site this year.

3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
1 + 1 Swans
2 Greylag Geese
26 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
12 (9) Mallard
Just the all-white feral Mallard-type ducks seen
14 (7) Tufted Ducks
3 Moorhens
9 Coots
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull over
3 (3) Blackcap
5 (3) Chiffchaffs

A Wood Pigeon rather looks as if it about to eat the Common Sandpiper – but its probably just puzzled as it has likely never seen one before.

The Common Sandpiper looks rather apprehensive having made it back to the water.

(Ed Wilson)