14 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:47am - 7:25am // 8:40am - 9:34am

8.5°C > 14.0°C:  Mainly cloudy. Calm, then light E wind. Moderate visibility

Best bird was the female Kestrel first seen carrying prey and then perched in the scrubby trees to the E of Castle Farm Way pre-dawn. Only my 4th record this year here of this once-regular species. My previous record was on 01 July. I hope this was the medium-sized falcon that, much later, I flushed from trees on the N shore of the lake and that it was not something even better.

Confirmed migrants noted were
- 5 Meadow Pipits over the lake

Up to 25 House Martins were heard and seen high over The Flash but these were all heading E which was in to the wind and I think they were likely local birds on a feeding foray – hirundines usually feed in to the wind – I assume because the closing speed on their prey is lower and makes them easier to catch.

(105th visit of the year)

Other notes
1 Little Grebe: a new bird as this was an immature / winter plumage bird whereas that seen on 10th was in summer plumage.
4 Great Crested Grebes: 2 adults and 1 juvenile: could not make my mind up about the age of the 4th!
In one of the outbound parties of geese there was a small bird, assumed to be the Cackling-type goose: this was later seen arriving back at The Flash.
Where were all the Mallard this morning? lower number at The Flash as well.
A Common Darter dragonfly
A Green Carpet moth on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel: my first log in the Priorslee area though a common-enough moth (this was one of the less-usual 2nd brood specimens).

1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
9 Greylag Geese (all outbound)
1 Cackling-type Goose (outbound)
37 Canada Geese (31 outbound)
3 (2) Mallard
2 (2) Tufted Duck
3 + 4 (4 broods) Moorhen
92 Coots
93 Black-headed Gulls
16 large gulls: 7 of these over
3 (0) Blackcaps
8 (3) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 37 Jackdaws and 125 Rooks logged

Well it was quite dark ... this is the female Kestrel perched in scrubby trees alongside Castle Farm Way. I suspect from the pale bar on the coverts and an apparently rather pale eye this is probably an immature but the quality is not good enough to be sure. It is however rather unusual for this species to perch other than in the open and that might suggest an immature, still perfecting its technique.

The Green Carpet moth in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel. When fresh this would have been bright green: however green in moths always fades quickly and it is getting towards the end of the flight-period for this moth.

Breakfast-time for someone. Also in the tunnel a spider sp. tucks in to a hearty moth, unidentifiable from this view.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:35am - 8:30am

(88th visit of the year)

Other notes
Another big goose fly-in: all the birds logged flew in while I was present apart from: the 5 + 1 Canada Geese (and the feral goose) that seem unable / unwilling to fly; and 18 of the Greylags that circled the already busy water and decided to move on.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
143 Greylag Geese
1 Greylag x ? Goose
1 Cackling-type Goose
56 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
24 (16) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
31 (16) Tufted Ducks
4 + 4 (4 broods) Moorhen
20 Coots
8 Black-headed Gulls
10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
1 Barn Swallow
25 House Martins
2 Blackcaps
3 (2) Chiffchaff

The fungus near The Flash have now ‘opened’ and look rather different. It is also less obvious they are sprouting in clumps.

A pair – well strictly two as I cannot sex these birds – of Canada Geese about to touch down. Just visible here, and not noted at the time, the left leg of the right-hand bird shows an orange ‘spot’: and you can just make out a metal BTO-type ring on the right leg.

On this shot the orange spot is shown to be a Darvic-type ring. Something to look for next time.

(Ed Wilson)