6 May 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:35am – 6:55am// 7:55am – 9:15am

9.5°C > 12.0°C  overnight rain clearing to E; clear for a while then fair weather clouds; light WSW wind. Good visibility.

At least 2 Sedge Warblers at the lake; and a small passage of Common Sandpipers with 1 at the lake and 2 at The Flash.

Migrant counts from the lake
Up to 16 Common Swifts coming and going
6 Sand Martins flying through

(50th visit of the year)

Other notes
4 Cormorants overhead: don’t seem to be visiting at the moment.
Apparently three broods of Mallard ducklings: 3 and 9 as yesterday but also a lone very new duckling calling alongside the dam with no adults nearby.
The Tufted Ducks again flew off: a very ‘white-faced’ duck had me trying to string Lesser Scaup.
1 Sedge Warbler singing in W end rank vegetation and seen chasing similar-looking but unidentified bird: later another singing along N side. Could this have been the bird chased off? or was that a female? or was it something else entirely?
Still only 2 Reed Warblers singing
2 male Orange-tip butterflies were my first this year at this site.
2 moths: one a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet which was also new for me at this site: the other moth remains unidentified as it was ‘around the back’ of a street light and could not be seen clearly-enough.
2 different species of bat flying pre-dawn, the smaller assumed to be Pipistrelle: the larger ?

2 Great Crested Grebes
4 Cormorants over
2 or 3 Grey Herons
2 Swans
4 Greylag Geese over
15 Canada Geese over
11 (8) + 13 [3 broods] Mallard
3 (2) Tufted Duck
3 Moorhens
22 Coots
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull over
12 (12) Song Thrushes again
2 or 3 (2) Sedge Warblers
2 (2) Reed Warblers
4 (4) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Garden Warbler
11 (10) Blackcaps
6 (6) Chiffchaffs
62 Jackdaws and just 9 Rooks in roost dispersal.

Down comes the rain: out come the snails

From this angle you would never guess: .... 

A plumed midge sp. From this angle the stilt-like legs are not at all obvious.

Here are the 3 earlier group of Mallard ducklings: these spend long periods well away from any adults.

Here is a potential puzzle: I am sure this is just a duck Tufted Duck with extensive white around the bill base – unusual at this date. In direct comparison with the drake it is the same size and structure and has the same head-shape in profile. A duck (Greater) Scaup should look larger and have a paler area on the ear-coverts. A duck Lesser Scaup should be slightly smaller with the crown peaking at the rear of the head. And if you look very carefully there is the merest hint of a ‘tuft’. Without a camera it would be harder!

Very cute: a lone small Mallard duckling: but where were its parents?

There are a number of rather similar species (not all currently on the wing which helps). This is a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet. Again being able to study a photo with the literature helps!

The light is catching the neck- feathering on this Wood Pigeon and the green gloss is evident.

Another species with the eye- and gape-colour sorted: a Sedge Warbler in full song. Separate from Reed Warbler by the bold creamy supercilium, though the song is quite different – faster with more variation and less ‘grumpy’. Also Reed Warbler tends to sing from inside reed-beds and can be hard to see in song.

With a bit of positioning it IS possible to photograph singing Blackcaps even after the leaves have appeared on the trees. Early morning song whilst taking the sun helped here.

Fluffy clouds this morning

Anyone know why this species of butterfly is called Orange-tip? Actually only the males have this feature so not quite as daft a question.

(Ed Wilson)

Also at the lake at 6:15am

1 Common Sandpiper
1 Sedge Warbler

(John Isherwood)


Priorslee Flash:  7:05am – 7:45am

(44th visit of the year)

Migrant counts
1 Swallow flew through

Yesterday’s 3rd Great Crested Grebe not seen today.
After yesterday’s flighty performance by the Tufted Duck most seemed to have moved out.
2 Common Sandpipers today.
Again no Willow Warblers seen or heard.
The Goldcrest singing again from the conifers behind the surgery.

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 + 1 Swans
4 Greylag Geese
31 Canada Geese
[the all-white feral goose not seen]
12 (11) Mallard
Both the all-white and mainly dark feral Mallard-type ducks seen
5 (3) Tufted Ducks
4 Moorhens
10 Coots
2 Common Sandpipers
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull over
4 (2) Blackcap
4 (3) Chiffchaffs

Umbellifers are, in general, for me a real headache to identify. Luckily Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is one of the easier ones and is the predominant species in flower at this date often, as here, abundant in shady areas.

No apologies for another Common Sandpiper photo when the bird allows close approach and the lighting shows the really rather delicate patterning on the feathers so well.

Well yes: looks like a fox has got to this Canada Goose (I hope it wasn't one of the local dogs).

But The Flash looks rather tranquil when looking the other way.

(Ed Wilson)


Nedge Hill: 7:00am

1 White Wagtail - Wyke
5 Wheatear - Wyke
Also, Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler.

(John Isherwood)