15 Aug 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:03am – 6:40am // 7:35am – 8:29am

11.0°C.> 12.5°C  cloudy and often very dull until after 8:00am: some light drizzle: light / moderate W wind: moderate visibility.

(86th visit of the year)

Highlight was what seemed to be a juvenile / 1st winter Mediterranean Gull amongst the large number of gulls at the lake this morning – gull numbers always seem to be highest on Fridays. The very dull conditions prevented me getting a photo of sufficient quality to provide 100% identification, but the omens look good.

Generally numbers of many species were low this morning: I logged no Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Long-tailed Tits or Greenfinches. The corvids were again largely absent with a single late Jackdaw and no Rooks. I only logged a single Magpie and Crows (3) were outnumbered by Jays (4). Many birds are quiet at the moment as they moult but numbers logged around The Flash seemed more normal.

Other notes
Just 1 Tufted Duck appeared as I was about to leave.
At least 300 Black-headed Gulls were over the Ricoh fields with parties coming and going between here and the lake.
Today’s northward passage of >330 large gulls included at least 4 Herring Gulls. Over 150 of these birds paused to wash and bathe in the lake for a while.
3 Swallows and then 2 House Martins arrived later to hunt in the lee of the trees.
The same Song Thrush in song.
At least 6 Reed Warblers this morning.
Today’s bat was a pipistrelle-type hunting in the lee of the trees – too dark to see whether the large bat(s) were flying.
Several Agriphila tristella (Common Grass-veneer) moths were on the lamps this morning.
Just the same Red Underwing moth in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.
Being a complete anorak one of the most interesting sightings was a truck parked in the Castle Farm Way lay-by with a number plate bearing the country code ‘BIH’ – as far as I recall my first sighting of a plate from Bosnia and Herzegovina (though I drove through there plenty of times when it was part of Yugoslavia).

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
31 Greylag Geese (all outbound)
61 Canada Geese (all outbound)
21 (18) Mallard
1 (1) Tufted Duck
5 Moorhens
40 + 11 (? broods) Coots
1 juvenile / 1st winter Mediterranean Gull
>300 Black-headed Gulls
>330 large gulls including at least 4 Herring Gulls
3 Swallows
2 House Martins
1 (1) Song Thrush
6 (0) Reed Warblers
3 (0) Blackcaps
10 (0) Chiffchaffs
Dire corvid roost dispersal: just 1 Jackdaw noted

This seems to be a juvenile Mediterranean Gull moulting in to 1st winter plumage. It was rather dark first thing this morning and this is the best image I could get – all the flying shots are hopelessly blurred and fail to show the diagnostic wing pattern that would make the ID 100%.

At the moment many gulls are looking very scruffy and patchy with a mix of worn old feathers, gaps where they are moulting and fresh new plumage: here is an example of a late brood juvenile Black-headed Gull with an admixture of pale grey 1st winter feathers.

The most common grass moth at the moment – Agriphila tristella (Common Grass-veneer), readily identified by the pale stripe (other species with this feature also have a patterned wing-tip).

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:50am – 7:25am

(74th visit of the year)

No House Martins in poor conditions
1 probable Acleris laterana (Dark-triangle Button) moth on the lamps: genitalia examination (of the moth!) would have been required to confirm.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
18 + 1 Canada Geese
1 Cackling Goose
The all-white feral goose
34 (27) Mallard
15 (7) Tufted Ducks
1 + 1 Moorhens
15 + 3 Coots
1 (0) Song Thrush
3 (0) Chiffchaffs

This small moth is probably Acleris laterana (Dark-triangle Button): separation from Acleris cominaria (Strawberry Tortrix) is only reliable done by examination of the genitalia but the date and the location makes laterana very likely. New for me at The Flash.

(Ed Wilson)


Little Wenlock, Candles Landfill Site:

Possible Baltic Gull present this afternoon. Photo Here.

(Tom Lowe)