12 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:36am - 7:10am // 8:15am - 9:37am

10.5°C > 14.0°C:  overcast and misty. Flat calm > very, very light S wind. Moderate visibility.

Back to 10 September at Trench: the kind folk on the Natural History Museum’s NaturePlus web site (Here) have identified the shield bug as Coreus marginatus, sometimes known as Dock Bug – it feeds on the seeds of docks (Rumex sps.). At this time of year also eats blackberries and other fruits

Best sighting today were the  pair of Shoveler at The Flash. In this settled spell of weather very little is moving. As a result no migrants were noted today.

(103rd visit of the year)

Other notes
2 of the regular immature Great Crested Grebes missing this morning.
Gull numbers not increased during the week, as they usually do: calm weather effect?
44 singing / calling Robins: an early start on a very dark morning allowed me to make a complete circuit while this species was the only one vocalising – my largest-ever count?
5 Song Thrushes flushed from one small area in the NW: rather unusual. No song at present.
5 Goldcrests seen is an usually large number: 1 adult, 3 juveniles and 1 not-determined, sp so perhaps a family group. Bred here?
Over 2 hours after the main corvid roost dispersal 7 Jackdaws and 3 Rooks passed over on the same line. Then 22 more Jackdaws appeared to come off the fields to the E and seemed unsure where to go as they circled around calling loudly: most then headed off, unusually W.
A Frosted Orange moth on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel: another new species for my year-list.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
26 Canada Geese (all outbound)
13 (6) Mallard
5 (2) Tufted Duck
4 + 6 (4 broods) Moorhen
91 Coots again
53 Black-headed Gulls
23 large gulls, one of these a Herring Gull: 16 of these over
2 (0) Blackcaps
7 (1) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 58 Jackdaws and 112 Rooks logged

Frosted Orange moth on the roof of the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash: 7:20am - 8:05am

(87th visit of the year)

Other notes
One of the adult Great Crested Grebes seemed to be missing.
After yesterday’s deluge of geese it was back to more usual numbers: all the Greylags and 30 of the Canada Geese flew in so it was nice and quiet before that. The Greylag x ? Goose seemed to be a new variation on this theme.
Rather fewer Tufted Duck, ducks especially.
8 Chiffchaffs was my highest total of the year and not reflected at the lake.

1 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
26 Greylag Geese
1 Greylag x ? Goose
35 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
31 (22) Mallard
2 (1) Shoveler
The all-white feral duck
32 (23) Tufted Ducks
2 + 5 (4 broods) Moorhen
20 Coots
6 Black-headed Gulls
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
8 (1) Chiffchaff

This pose is what both Shovelers did most of the time, with bills hidden in the water as they used its unusual shape to filter out food from along the surface of the water. Indeed it was this characteristic behaviour that alerted me to their presence. The light was not good and the distance rather further than I would have liked. However the camera has picked up the prominent orange tone along the side of the bill-base. So this one is a duck.

At last the drake Shoveler puts its head up and we can see the shape of the bill. But it is possible to ID anyway from both the rufous flanks with quite wide pale fringes to the feathers: and the pale (yellow) iris of the drake is unique among dabbling ducks.

Two for the price of one: the latest variation on the Greylag x ? Goose theme and the duck Shoveler. The other genes in the goose are rather a puzzle: the white on the face extends over a larger area than on Canada Goose which is the most obvious candidate; the dark stripe across this white area is not in the right place for Bar-head Goose, which should show two ‘bars’; and the pale grey area on the coverts is not shown by any other species of wild goose.

This shot of a group of Greylag Geese coming in to land includes our mystery bird: unfortunately it sheds no more light on its parenthood. At first sight the tail looks all white, a feature shown only by the much smaller Brent Goose. But closer inspections shows that the sub-terminal mark shown on the Greylag Geese is indeed present but very pale grey.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:47am - 10:00am

(39th visit of the year)

Very quiet and after doing the counts from the Blue Pig area – the easiest place to see more or less all the water with the light behind you – I decided there was little point in a walk around.

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 (0) Mallard
3 + 4 (4 broods) Moorhens
128 Coots
3 Black-headed Gulls
1 (1) Chiffchaffs

(Ed Wilson)