10 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:59am - 9:34am

8.5°C > 16.0°C:  mainly clear but very hazy. Calm > light SE wind. Moderate visibility.

Migrants noted today
- 6 Barn Swallows over the lake on 3 separate occasions seemed likely to be same the family group, probably from Priorslee village, periodically coming to drink.

(101st visit of the year)

Other notes
Little Grebe seen in NE area again where it seemed to disappear in to the reeds: later a full adult seen in the NW corner – same?
3 Grey Herons: in addition to the regular bird (sometimes two) around the lake, 2 birds flew over in close formation – usually they are very territorial and chase others away.
6 outbound Canada Geese only.
Precise number of Mallard difficult to ascertain: 12 were seen flying together after 11 seen earlier on the water, though 4 of these seem to have left. Later just 5 remained.
6 (3) Tufted Duck pre-dawn: 4 seen flying off towards The Flash but later only a single male seen.
First significant count of Wood Pigeons moving E soon after dawn: 158 counted. This seems to be birds off to feed as some 2 hours later movement tends to be in the opposite direction. Migrants usually fly a lot higher than most of these birds.
Three large thrushes seen flying away were assumed to be Mistle Thrushes: flight looked rather more like Fieldfares, but this would be an exceptionally early date and I would have expected to see the pale rump of that species even at long range.
All 3 Reed Warblers were in different locations to recent sightings.
Smaller corvid passage probably due to the very hazy conditions.
Migrant Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies
A Common Marbled Carpet on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel

1 (2?) Little Grebe
2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
3 Grey Herons
2 Swans
6 Canada Geese outbound
>12 (?) Mallard
6 (3) Tufted Duck
5 + 7 (5 broods) Moorhen
89 Coots
c.210 Black-headed Gulls
30 large gulls: 24 of these over
3 (2) Reed Warblers
1 (0) Common Whitethroat
1 (0) Blackcaps
8 (2) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 42 Jackdaws and 47 Rooks logged

As before: BE VERY CAREFUL when looking at the sun even when it is as hazy as this. Here we can see the latest sun-spot activity with a huge hole on the central belt and whole gaggle of smaller spots adjacent to each other in the 4 o’clock line. If you look at www.spaceweather.com Here, you can see that the large spot is AR2158 and predicted to cause impressive aurora displays in a few days – if you are in higher latitudes than the UK.

A Buzzard sitting on one of the lamps in the Ricoh grounds. This is an adult bird: a juvenile would show a paler eye, streaking rather than barring on the breast and a less prominent yellow cere. 

This appears to be another, better view of the same slightly unusual Chiffchaff that I photographed yesterday. Here the usually flared supercilia (equal on both sides) gives it a rather surprised look...

... or indeed an inquisitive look! Strangely from this angle none of the bill looks pink (it does have a bill doesn’t it?)

This is what I now know is a male Migrant Hawker.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:44am - 9:50am // 10:40am - 11:16am

(38th visit of the year)

No Mallard seen: not even the feral group that has been present for several years, But there is plenty of vegetation to lurk.
Many juvenile Moorhens now very active and visible.
At least 2 House Martins over and seemed to be around the nest area in the estate. None seen on my previous two visits and I assumed they had gone.
All 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were adults whereas almost all those seen at the lake recently have been juveniles and most of these juveniles / 1st winters.
Several what I now know to be Migrant (not Southern) Hawkers were the only identified dragonflies.
Small Tortoiseshell butterflies seen
A small hoverfly, possibly Melangyna cincta, a new species for me.
A Dock BugCoreus marginatus

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
3 (0) Tufted Ducks
2 + 9 (6 broods) Moorhens
120 Coots
3 Black-headed Gulls
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
2 House Martins
2 (2) Chiffchaffs

This small hoverfly I have provisionally identified as Melangyna cincta: if so it would be a new species for me.

What on earth ...? A shield bug. From this unusual angle difficult to identify as the shape of the pronotum is hard to discern: luckily ...

... this shows the shape well. This has been confirmed as Coreus marginatus, sometimes known as Dock Bug.

Perhaps I should clarify: the pile is potential input and we are not looking at a seriously ill Lesser Black-backed Gull! This handsome full adult – the large red spot on the lower mandible – shows no sign of the dark streaks of winter plumage. I would not recommend putting out uneaten cooked food for birds.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 9:55am - 10:35am

(19th visit of the year)

3 Swans yet again and the same two rings read – 7FTX and 7HSZ: the 3rd bird again persisted in swimming around with its left leg tucked up!
3 broods of Canada Geese with 4, 4 and 5 goslings: no recent broods so one of these broods must have been resting inside the island on my last visit.
Both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail here again.
Another Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

The counts
2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Swans
1 Greylag Goose
28 + 13 (3 broods) Canada Geese
34 (22) Mallard
4 feral Mallard-type ducks
9 (5) Tufted Duck
5 + 5 (3 broods) Moorhen
12 Coots
3 Black-headed Gulls
1 (0) Blackcap
2 (2) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)