16 Aug 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:58am – 6:45am // 7:45am – 8:59am

11.5°C > 17.5°C  broken cloud melted away for a while but clouded again after 8:45am; light, increasing moderate, NW wind; good visibility.

From today I will not longer separate juvenile Coots in the counts: it is increasingly hard to judge those with smaller white shields.

(87th visit of the year)

Highlights this morning were
A Green Woodpecker alarm-calling along the N shore: my 2nd record at the lake this year.
A juvenile Whitethroat at the W end: likely a migrant as the breeding birds all seemed to have left some weeks ago.

Other notes
2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes together in NW area: later 1 + 1 seen in NE area may have been different birds.
Plenty of geese outbound and later inbound.
4 Tufted Ducks throughout today: all ducks.
At least 250 Black-headed Gulls arrived from Ricoh rather later than usual – less activity on site at the weekend I guess.
Today’s passage of c.300 large gulls was rather confused in that many went direct to the Ricoh fields and then commuted between there and the lake before moving on making accurate numbers impossible.
5 Swallows seemed to be a family party, using the wires around the yacht compound to rest between feeding forays. In-flight food passes, presumably to the juveniles, seen.
Several parties of racing pigeons this morning – presumably racing today: 53 birds logged.
3 Song Thrushes in song this morning.
The better weather prompted 3 of the many Chiffchaffs to sing from time to time: some birds remained silent.
A determined search this morning found a small corvid passage.
3 Ravens over again.
Party of 11 Goldfinches included many juveniles.
No bats seen today.
A Speckled Wood was the only butterfly seen.
An Agriphila tristella (Common Grass-veneer) moth on a street-light this morning.
Also a Red Underwing at rest on a street-light (even though this and the adjacent street-lights are inoperative): and in full sunlight.
The same Red Underwing moth still in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.

3? + 3? Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
79 Greylag Geese (19 out: 60 in))
189 Canada Geese (155 out: 34 in)
12 (?) Mallard
4 (0) Tufted Ducks
5 + 1 Moorhens
60 Coots
>250 Black-headed Gulls
c.300 large gulls including at least 2 Herring Gulls
5 Swallows
2 House Martins
3 (3) Song Thrush
6 (0) Reed Warblers
2 (0) Blackcaps
12 (3) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 84 Jackdaw and 11 Rooks

Not an auspicious start pre-sunrise, but ... 

 ... with more promise later.

And this Red Underwing was at rest on a street-light at the lake (even though this and the adjacent street-lights are inoperative): and in full sunlight!

The Swallows were resting on the wires around the boat compound but in tricky ‘against the light’ conditions. Despite the pale throat on this bird it is an adult – the tail streamers are clearly visible.

Whereas this bird, with an obvious pale gape, is clearly a juvenile.

Post-breeding it may have lost some intensity in its plumage but this male Greenfinch still makes a fine study in the early light.

A juvenile Goldfinch: it always surprises me how long it takes for juveniles to acquire a red face – it is often well in to October.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash: 6:55am – 7:35am

(75th visit of the year)

12 House Martins over the estate this morning: the Swifts seem long-gone.
An apparently different specimen of Acleris laterana (Dark-triangle Button) moth on the same street-light.
A Red Underwing moth here as well.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
9 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
37 (32) Mallard
14 (6) Tufted Ducks
0 + 1 Moorhens
16 Coots
12 House Martins
2 (0) Chiffchaffs

Although on the same street-light as yesterday’s Acleris laterana (Dark-triangle Button) this seems to be a different individual.

This Red Underwing was at rest on a street-light at The Flash and in good light producing a better image.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:36am – 10:05am // 10:40am – 10:48am

(33rd visit of the year)

Only 1 Swan noted but that was almost hidden in the vegetation much of the time and its mate may well have been present.
No juvenile Canada Geese remain.
Kingfisher seen: my first of the year at this location.
Both Goldcrest and Treecreeper heard by the Blue Pig were also new for me here this year.
A Terrapin sp. again.

The counts
3 + 1  Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Swan
18 Canada Geese
13 (4) Mallard
3 + 3 (3 broods) Moorhens
85 Coots
5 Black-headed Gulls
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 4 of these overhead
1 Swallow
5 House Martins
2 (1) Chiffchaffs

Well it will not win any prizes but it is surprisingly hard to get close-enough to a Kingfisher to get a decent image: normally they see you first and fly off calling. Many people are surprised that in contrast to the electric blue back the breast is brick-red and can be difficult to see when the bird is perched facing you.

Great Crested Grebes are not commonly seen in flight: here a juvenile.

And in flight they show rather unexpected white wing patches. As the feet are set so far back landing on water is effectively a controlled belly-flop. The webbing on the toes shows well here – rather reminiscent of Coot and serving a similar function to power them through the water.

I said it was a controlled belly-flop.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:10am – 10:35am

(17th visit of the year)

The Great Crested Grebes with a new brood: no sign of any of the earlier brood.
Possibly more Canada Geese hidden away on the island.
16 of the 31 Mallard were drakes but some of the others were immatures and could moult to become this usual preponderance of drakes.
3 Swans yet again and still no rings read.

The counts
2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Swans
2 + 3 (2? broods) Greylag Geese
11 + 10 (3? broods) Canada Geese
31 (16) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
9 (6) Tufted Duck
3 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhen
13 Coots
5 Black-headed Gulls
1 (0) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)