20 Aug 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:03am – 6:45am // 7:45am – 9:20am

9.0°C > 12.5°C  broken cloud with remnant light showers, clearing; light W wind; good visibility

Best this morning was another one of those frustrating one’s that got away: a small dove shot out of the Ricoh copse and jinked and tilted from side to side as it sped away N. It looked rather sandy-coloured for a Collared Dove. All these features point to Turtle Dove but this is, thanks to the shooters in the Pyrenees, an increasingly rare bird anywhere in the UK and especially in these parts where it was never common. Without seeing anything positive then it cannot be inked-in to my log, but ...?

(90th visit of the year)

Other notes
2 of the immature Great Crested Grebes seen displaying.
The Cackling Goose seen among >200 outbound geese.
Mallard numbers hard to judge. 13 present when I arrived: 8 of these left to the E: 7 arrived from the W: and a party of 10 circled over for a while.
2 drake Tufted Ducks arrived.
Big passage of large gulls heading mainly N: the majority of the 600-odd birds logged paused to wash in the lake: almost all (c.90%) of these were immatures and a clear majority of those seemed to be juvenile / 1st winter birds. No Herring Gulls were noted amongst them.
The family party of 5 Swallows again.
The Green Woodpecker again alarm-calling from the N side and this morning briefly seen in flight – where is this bird feeding? it needs open ground.
Just 1 Song Thrush in song this morning.
6 Reed Warblers at least.
Juvenile Common Whitethroat at the W end again.
A Nuthatch alongside Teece Drive was a juvenile.
Dire corvid passage comprised a single Rook!
Just a single Agriphila tristella grass moth noted.
1 Speckled Wood butterfly.
A hoverfly with startling red eyes – but a common an oft-recorded species Episyrphus balteatus.
In the Priorslee Avenue tunnel a chrysalis was noted on the wall: I have no idea how to ID this!
Panic set in at amongst the ducks, gulls and pigeons when a Virgin Balloon Flights hot air balloon drifted low across the old Celestica site and was put down in one of the fields alongside Woodhouse Lane: nothing unusual was seen.

2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
88 Greylag Geese (54 out: 34 in)
1 Cackling Goose (out)
184 Canada Geese (158 out: 26 in)
c.25 (?) Mallard
2 (2) Tufted Ducks
0 + 1  Moorhen
61 Coots
35 Black-headed Gulls
c.600 large gulls: no Herring Gulls identified among them
5 Barn Swallows
2 House Martins
3 (1) Song Thrush
6 (0) Reed Warblers
1 (0) Common Whitethroat
3 (0) Blackcaps
13 (2) Chiffchaff
Corvid roost dispersal: just 1 Rook!

A chrysalis on the wall of the Priorslee Avenue tunnel: I have no idea how to ID this!

This hot-air balloon drifted low past the lake causing some panic amongst ducks, gulls and pigeons.

These two immature Great Crested Grebes were doing some (practice?) displaying shortly before this shot.

From this angle the red eyes of the hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus are quite arresting.

A harvestman at rest on the wooden parapet of the Wesley Brook bridge: likely Leiobunum rotundum.
(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:55am – 7:35am

(77th visit of the year)

2 Sparrowhawks overhead: unusual to see two birds together except when they are pairing up and displaying over their territory in the Spring: I suspect this was an adult with one of their offspring but the sighting too brief to get plumage details.
A Kingfisher.
>50 spikes with clusters of the poisonous bright red berries of the Arum Lily (Arum maculatum, with whole heap of vernacular names) in squirrel alley.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
18 Greylag Geese
9 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
41 (27) Mallard
16 (9) Tufted Ducks
0 + 1 Moorhen
18 Coots
2 Black-headed Gulls
6 House Martins
4 (0) Chiffchaffs

Some of the >50 spikes with clusters of the poisonous bright red berries of the Arum Lily (Arum maculatum).

 3 on close-up.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:30am – 9:58am

(34th visit of the year)

Very few Mallard today.
No hirundines.
Goldcrest in with mixed tit party.
A Grey Squirrel near the Blue Pig was my first here this year.

The counts
2 + 1  Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Swans
20 Canada Geese
4 (2) Mallard
1 feral Mallard
2 + 7 (3 broods) Moorhens
94 Coots
2 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the distance
1 (0) Chiffchaff

Not sure whether feet with long toes makes it harder or easier to walk across the metal grating. A juvenile Moorhen practices its technique.

The wind blowing from behind the bird gives it a rather strange profile. 

This scruffy individual is another juvenile Moorhen but from a later brood from the same parents: all six juveniles from both broods were happily pottering about together.

(Ed Wilson)