15 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:47am - 9:08am

11.0°C > 12.5°C:  Very low cloud with period of drizzle: brightening after 10:00am. Light / moderate NW wind falling away. Moderate visibility, but poor in drizzle.

Best bird was the male Peregrine along the N side pre-dawn in the mist and drizzle. Its relatively small size (the male, also known as a tercel or tiercel, is significantly smaller than the female) gave me a few ID problems until it came really close and the diagnostic black malar stripe was visible even with the naked eye. On the basis of this sighting I am going to withdraw the Merlin sighting from 07 September as not being sufficiently well seen to co-exist as a record alongside this confirmed sighting. Peregrine is new for my site-list this year.

No confirmed migrants noted

(106th visit of the year)

Other notes
Little Grebe still present: rather surprising as there was a regatta on the lake yesterday.
Mallard continue to confuse, flying around and coming and going: totals likely an under-recording.
No Tufted Duck early: single drake and then 5 more flew in.
All the large gulls flew over today: I checked most and these were all Lesser Black-backed and the majority were (near) adults – unlike the birds that stopped off last week that were predominately 1st winter birds.
Goldcrest family still in same general area: one of the juveniles has no head markings whatsoever.
Rooks over the top early as usual: just one small party of Jackdaws and these lost in the drizzle to the E.

1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 Canada Goose (inbound)
13 (7)+ Mallard
6 (6) Tufted Duck
4 + 7 (4 broods) Moorhen
99 Coots
106 Black-headed Gulls
48 large gulls, all of these over
1 (0) Blackcap
8 (4) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 11 Jackdaws and 105 Rooks logged

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:11am - 10:24am

(89th visit of the year)

Other notes
An additional juvenile Great Crested Grebe today.
Goose numbers not strictly comparable with previous days: the Greylags seemed to have arrived well before I did and many were probably already out of sight on the island. Canada Geese were still arriving – the Cackling Goose with them. Some of these were also in / inside the island and the party of non-flyers seemed to have joined them making the juvenile impossible to spot.
House Martins heard and just about seen overhead – they were flying in and out of the lowest cloud layer.
2 Ravens over again.
My first record of terrapin sp. here: appeared to be a Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta), but hybrids are common.
An angler pulled out a small Perch while I was watching

2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
40 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling-type Goose
206 + ? Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
25 (16) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
36 (21) Tufted Ducks
0 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhen
22 Coots
32 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
5+ House Martins
3 (1) Chiffchaffs

Most Black-headed Gulls are now in winter plumage. This bird is in 1st winter plumage, retaining some of its white-fringed brown juvenile feathers. Not also the dull orange bill – a winter plumaged adult would show a redder tone.

It is unusual for a Great Crested Grebe to be so confiding, but at The Flash the birds either get used to people or leave! This adult is also in winter plumage, though the only real difference is the length / extent of the head-plumes. Some birds lose all the plumes, but ‘our’ birds don’t seem to.

Residents have told me about Terrapin sp. in The Flash for a while but I have never seen one previously, probably because I am away before this warmth-loving species emerges to bask in the sun. Today, just as the sun was beginning to break through, I spotted this individual swimming along, head characteristically above water. This looks like a Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta). No terrapin species are native to the UK, this species originating from the southern USA, typically Florida. However very many terrapins sold at pet shops in the UK are hybrids. They can survive OK here but are most unlikely to breed in our temperate climate.

Here you can see more of the markings on the legs and feet.
Adult Moorhen is a handsome creature. The neck and front half of the body usually look dark slate-grey but as the light catches they acquire a distinct blue cast. The back is more brown than grey and never catches the light in the same way.

(Ed Wilson)