5 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:30am – 8:00am

13.0°C > 11.5°C. rain clearing somewhat after 07:00; moderate W wind veered NW with clearance; moderate visibility, becoming good.
(69th visit of the year)

Delayed arrival until estimated time of clearance using rainfall radar site on web: took longer for the clearer, cooler and dryer air to arrive.

The juvenile Great Crested Grebe, some weeks off fledging but able to dive well, spent some while well away from annoying its parent to feed it. A 2nd adult present today but keeping its distance.
Tight party of Mallard: did not take time to sex them.
Single eclipse drake Tufted Duck.
c.30 Black-headed Gulls on jetties and buoys when I arrived included my first ginger-plumaged juvenile of the year. Most of the birds superficially adults but when they flew revealed the black tail-tip of 1st summer birds: all were undergoing wing-moult and this was perhaps disguising the 1st summer wing pattern.
Just a single Swift flew through.
3 Sand Martins flew through: an usual date for this species here.
Kingfisher again.
Treecreeper(s?) heard again with tit parties.
1 female Ghost Moth on the only operational street-light.

Rain-affected counts
2 +1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 + 1 Swans
23 (?) Mallard
1 (1) Tufted Duck
2 Moorhens
?? + >20 (8 broods) Coots
>30 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Common Swift
3 Sand Martins
5 House Martins
2 (2) Song Thrushes
6 (5) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Common Whitethroat
13 (9) Blackcaps again
6 (4) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal took place before I arrived

A gaggle of Black-headed Gulls on the jetty. One bird lacks the black hood, the rather orange bill suggesting it is a 1st summer bird that never acquired one. On the preening bird the black-hood is just about visible as is the black tail-tip and extensive dark in the wings that indicates it too is a 1st summer bird. When they flew off just 2 of these birds were revealed as full adults.

This 1st summer Black-headed Gull is well in to wing-moult and shows a rather strange pattern that might be confused with Mediterranean Gull: the white ‘blaze’ along the leading edge of both the upper- and under- fore-wing is however diagnostic of Black-headed Gull.

Not the sharpest photo, but in the available light .... Shows this adult Black-headed Gull well in to wing moult. One of the middle secondaries is missing as is one of the middle primaries. New outer secondaries and inner primaries have yet to complete growing and are short as a result. In this bird P2 (the second primary) on the right wing seems to have also dropped.

At least 2 Grey Herons are at the lake early most mornings and often, as here, give chase as they try to establish and maintain a feeding area. The left-hand bird is in wing-moult and is therefore likely an adult – it is usual for them to lose the bright bill they acquire in the breeding season. The other bird shows no sign of wing-moult and is therefore probably a juvenile: in the poor light it is hard to be sure but the plumage does look less ‘sharp’.

The umbels of the Giant Hogweed have now finished flowering and the developing seeds are clearly visible.

A female Ghost Moth on one of the street lamps. It is the males that are white and give this species its vernacular name.

(Ed Wilson)