6 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:25am – 5:50am // 6:55am – 7:55am

11.0°C > 13.0°C. broken cloud with extensive high cloud later, clearing from W; calm, then mainly light NW wind; excellent visibility.

Noteworthy sighting this morning
17 Cormorants flew seen from the lake in parties of 4, 1 and 12. Two in the latter group peeled off and after much circling one landed on the water while the other flew on. It is many years since I recorded this number.

(70th visit of the year)

After several days of just single adult and juvenile Great Crested Grebes there were 3 such groups this morning. Since the juveniles are yet to fledge it is unclear where and why they were hiding.
A first-winter Swan still with some brown feathers arrived but was soon dispatched on its way.
Single eclipse drake Tufted Duck still present.
Pied Wagtail heard over: my first here since 27 May.
Party of 8 Starlings over: included calling juveniles that suggested these were from second / late broods
At least 7 large bats over and to the E of the lake, these being seamlessly replaced by 12 Swifts as it got light.
Udea lutealis (Pale Straw Pearl) moth flushed from grass: new for the year.

Rain-affected counts
3 + 3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
17 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
3 + 1 Swans
24 (?) Mallard
1 (1) Tufted Duck
4 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
24 + 17 (6 broods) Coots
18 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
12 Common Swifts
5 (4) Song Thrushes
5 (5) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Common Whitethroat
14 (10) Blackcaps
6 (4) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 355 Jackdaws and 176 Rooks
1 (1) Reed Bunting

The Swans add a touch of interest to the dawn sky.

A slightly later shot with the high cloud developing.

and the high cloud quite extensive by sunrise.

A Black-headed Gull tries not to fall off the bouncing buoy.

Shots like these produce water-texture that an oil-painter would be proud of. Swans always look proud.

Here is the flock of 12 Cormorants: 2 peeled off but only one decided to fish the lake.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:00am – 6:45am

Noteworthy sighting this morning
Common Sandpipers at The Flash. I have only ever recorded 1 or 2 birds previously: 4 is also more than I have ever recorded on return passage which is much more protracted. They were at some distance on the island but none of them looked to be a juvenile. No calls were heard.

(58th visit of the year)

Only 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe now in the water: only 1 parent noted.
The Swan rings read this morning: cob is yellow 52F and pen blue 7HXE. That means that while it now looks very white it is one of the cygnets hatched here in 2013.
Single late Canada Geese gosling: seemed too small to be one of the 2 goslings noted as long ago as 5 June and not seen since.
Still a surprising number of Tufted Duck present: all drakes.
First returning gulls of the Autumn – just 2 Black-headed Gulls.
Swallow Prominent moth on one of the street-lights: I record this species almost every year on this same lamp.
A disembowelled Field Vole on the path in ‘Squirrel Alley’.

1 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
113 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
253 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
18 (14) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
1 all-white feral Mallard-type duck
8 (8) Tufted Ducks
2 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhen
7 +8 (3 broods) Coots
4 Common Sandpipers
2 Black-headed Gulls
10 Common Swifts
4 House Martin
2 (2) Blackcaps
1 (1) Chiffchaff

A wasp on a street light at The Flash: how many of you knew a wasp is hairy?

Just to prove the pen Swan is one of the cygnets from 2013 here is the ring – 7HXE. Easy to read on a photo – difficult on a paddling Swan.

Swallow Prominent moth on a lamp at The Flash: seen on the same lamp most years.

A record shot: if you look closely there are 4 Common Sandpipers: 2 to the left of the white feral goose; 1 to the right; and, the hardest to see, one directly in front of the goose. My largest-ever count here.

It’s a jungle out there: not sure what has disembowelled this Wood Mouse (aka Long-tailed Field Mouse) or indeed why nothing has attacked the remains as yet.

This attractive micro-moth is Udea lutealis, sometimes called Pale Straw Pearl.

I did not see any of the day-flying Cinnabar moths this year but they must have been around: here are two ‘rugby-striped’ caterpillars on their favourite food, Ragwort. This plant has toxins that kills many things that eat it – often thought to kill horses, though they would have to eat a field of it to get really ill. The caterpillars have a bitter taste (I am told!) and the warning markings likely serve as a caution not to eat another – one won’t kill you!

This micro moth is one of the many confusing Tortrix moths: after help I can add its identity as Celypha lacunana.

(Ed Wilson)