24 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:30am – 6:00am // 7:10am – 8:37am

14.0°C.> 21.5°C

Mostly clear, though low cloud spread in from the E for a while. Light / moderate E wind. Moderate visibility.

(83rd visit of the year)

Other notes
Great Crested Grebes again in normal strength this morning but now two of the juveniles are feeding well away from any help from the adults.
Small increase in Mallard numbers again: >10 flew off; later 8, assumed to be some of the same, flew over.
3 Tufted Duck flew around again but did not stop.
169 large gulls counted leaving the Ricoh area and flying off W: this seems to happen most years, a sudden aggregation here which does not happen at any other time of the year. Often the group includes many Herring Gulls: today all those I could check were Lesser Black-backs but many left before it was light-enough to be certain.
Just 2 single Swifts this morning, both flying fast straight through.
Single House Martin over at very unusual time of 5:15am: another single much later (though a photo I took of 4 flying Mallard clearly shows 2 distant and otherwise unseen House Martins!).
Reed Warblers still singing in NW reeds: yesterday there were birds in the shrubs and trees behind the main N side reed-bed but today it was all quiet here – could they have gone? About 10 days early but if they bred early in the generally fine summer ...?
4 large bats
No moths anywhere this morning.

2 + 3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
5 Cormorants
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
30 (?) Mallard
3 Tufted Duck in flight
4 + 4 (1 brood) Moorhens
24 + 16 (5 broods) Coots
31 Black-headed Gulls
169 large gulls counted
2 Swifts
4 House Martins (see notes)
9 (7) Song Thrushes
3 (2) Reed Warblers
8 (3) Blackcaps
6 (s) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 125 Jackdaws and 120 Rooks

Always an engaging subject: Long-tailed Tit.

A moulting and rather angry-looking Dunnock.

A male Greenfinch has lost his breeding finery. Not sure whether the old feathers have faded or whether they are new pale-fringed feathers. Note the bill – I assume this is just food stuck to it.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:05am – 6:55am

(71st visit of the year)

As elsewhere an increase in Mallard numbers.
Also a modest increase in number of Tufted Ducks.
The newest Coot brood was out of the nest this morning – 2 only
c.40 House Martins in tight group to S of the water: 6 seen to the NE were likely different birds.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
28 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
127 + 1 Canada Geese again!
The all-white feral goose
37 (33) + 5 (1 brood) Mallard
15 (10) Tufted Ducks
2 + 2 (3 broods) Moorhens
12 + 9 (>4 broods) Coots
1 Black-headed Gull
2 Swifts
>45 House Martins
1 (1) Song Thrush
1 (0) Blackcap
2 (0) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 8:47am – 9:52am

(32nd visit of the year)

Same 3 broods of Canada Geese but one juvenile missing.
As elsewhere this morning high number of Mallard.
Tufted Ducks gone.
Sparrowhawk over: turns out to be my first of the year here.
Grey Wagtail was only my second of the year here.
A Terrapin sp. found here: the local fishermen say they have been here many years and that they have seen small ones and assumed these are off-spring though they have never seen ‘family groups’ and were likely new introductions.

The counts
3 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
14 + 6 (3 broods) Canada Geese
40 (38?) Mallard
1 feral Mallard
6 + 5 (4 broods) Moorhens
65 Coots
3 Black-headed Gulls
10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the distance
4 Swifts
1 Swallow
4 House Martins
1 (1) Blackcap
2 (1) Chiffchaffs

A sad end: this was a Wren but seems to have fallen in the water at Trench. Appears to have been a juvenile – look at the tail and only the central feathers look like fresh adult feathers. Note also that a fly is already investigating.

I am sure this is not a unique combination – Moorhen and terrapin sp. in the same photo. Moorhen (under its ‘other’ name of Common Gallinule) has an almost world-wide distribution and must come in to contact with ‘real’ terrapins.

This Grey Wagtail was running around chasing insects on the fishing grid near the Blue Pig. With the shadow under the chin it is hard to be sure but this bird seems to have a hint of black on the throat which suggests it is a female. Whatever age it is the scraggy tail indicates it is moulting.

And a good illustration of the upper wing pattern and white outer tail-feathers on the departing bird.

(Ed Wilson)