30 Jun 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:35am – 6:05am // 7:15am – 8:45am

8.5°C > 13.5°C. broken cloud, clearer to N; calm with light N wind later; good visibility

(67th visit of the year)

‘Tis the start of autumn: the first returning Common Sandpiper was flushed at the lake and most probably the same bird was at The Flash later.

After 3 weeks in Japan some changes and a noticeable reduction in song.

Other notes
Just 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe and only one adult – the other may be re-sitting, but the other pair gone.
One of the Mute Swan cygnets lost: last reported on Saturday 14 June.
Mallard ducklings should have fledged – perhaps they have as almost all the birds present today were drakes, with many of these in eclipse plumage and best separated from ducks by the retained pale yellow bill.
Late drake Tufted Duck: perhaps it is not breeding?
Many new broods of Coots: of all the juveniles seen just 1 independent.
>65 large gulls: all but 2 in large group flying S to the far E pre-dawn.
At least 2 Grey Wagtails and at least one of these a juvenile.
Garden Warbler not noted
First Ringlet butterfly of the year
3 moths in the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue: still to be positively identified but 2 likely to be Willow Beauty moths

1 +1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
2 Grey Herons
2 + 1 Swans
21 (20) Mallard
1 (1) Tufted Ducks
4 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
27 + 19 (10 broods) Coots
1 Common Sandpiper
2 Black-headed Gulls: both full adults
>65 large gulls
c.12 Common Swifts
1 Swallow
5 (5) Song Thrushes
7 (4) Reed Warbler
6 (2) Common Whitethroat
15 (12) Blackcaps
8 (4) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 185 Jackdaws and 103 Rooks
1 (1) Reed Buntings

(Ed Wilson)

Today’s sunrise.

Soldier beetles attempting to create an army! Probably Cantharis livia, though there are several similar species.

The only extant juvenile Great Crested Grebe hurries after its source of food. The bare skin around the eye gives juveniles a creepy look.

The Giant Hogweed in flower with huge umbels.

Is this snail almost attractive from this angle? make up your own mind.

A juvenile Grey Wagtail surveys the (P)RIVATE scene.

The way this moth is holding its wings as rest led me to provisionally identify it as a pug sp. but looking at the photo it is clear it is ‘just’ a particularly well-marked and rather grey Riband Wave of the form which shows the ‘band’: many specimens have the 'band' in outline only. This was on the roof of the foot-tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

Another moth on the roof of the foot-tunnel under Priorslee Avenue. This is I think a male Willow Beauty – a male because of the feathered antenna. There is closely-related species called Feathered Beauty but that species tends to fly later in the year and most records are of immigrants in to SE England.

Rather faded by now but the best-looking spike of the Common Spotted Orchid at the lake.

Here in close-up of part of the spike.

A juvenile Common Whitethroat peers at me: aged mainly from the broken and rather indistinct eye-ring and the rather dull iris colour. Also, to my eyes, the feathering is rather ‘blurred’ lacking the sharp definition of adults – as the edges of the feathers wear it will begin to look more like an adult.

I could believe it was begging me to feed it in this pose.

Here with its bill slightly open as it makes a nervous ‘churr’ call and from this angle a rather angry look.

It looks to me as if this damselfly has perished just after emerging from it exuvia and while it was still drying out. The head looks as if it is still inside the exuvia rather than the damselfly having been attacked.

This is the hoverfly Volucella pellucens: the red eyes are rather unusual – perhaps the angle of the light causing refraction. Here you can see the feathering on both the eyes and the antenna. . Note the very small beetle sp. just to the right of the hoverfly.
A close-up of the flowers of what I think is Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica). As far as I can tell this is the first time I have identified this plant, though it seems abundant-enough at the moment.

My first Ringlet butterfly of the year. The rings that give this species its vernacular name are more apparent on the underwing. The pale cream trailing edge of fresh specimens makes this butterfly surprisingly easy to identify in flight.

A close-up of one of the Giant Hogweed umbels.

An unusual angle to see the features of this Episyrphus balteatus hoverfly, sometimes called the marmalade fly.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:15am – 7:05am

(57th visit of the year)

At least 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe riding its parent’s back.
Has there been a change of Swans? the cob is the same but the pen has either moulted very quickly losing all the 1st summer grey feathers or there is a different sub-adult – unable to get close-enough to read any ring.
The late clutch of Canada Geese goslings not seen amongst the usual mid-year moult gathering.
Late brood of Mallard ducklings.
Surprising number of Tufted Duck still present: all drakes with some well into eclipse-type plumage.
A Nuthatch calling from the copse by the Dental Surgery to the S of The Flash was my first of the year at that site.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
60 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
233 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
11 (9) + 5 (1 brood) Mallard
[neither feral Mallard-type ducks noted]
8 (8) Tufted Ducks
4 + 4 (3? broods) Moorhen
8 +11 (4 broods) Coots
1 Common Sandpiper
6 Common Swifts
9 House Martin
2 (2) Blackcaps
2 (2) Chiffchaffs

(Ed Wilson)