16 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:50am - 9:02am

11.5°C > 17.5°C:  clear moonlight start with good visibility but fog / mist rolled in from E at c.06:30. Did not begin to lift and break until c.09:30. Then sunny but hazy. Light E wind. Good > poor > moderate visibility.

Some birds on the move this morning
- drake Wigeon at the lake
- duck Pochard, my first of the season, at The Flash (though flew off)
- pair of Gadwall at Trench Lock
- 2 unidentified duck, slightly smaller than Mallard, flew off pre-dawn from the lake.

Migrants noted were
- 2 Barn Swallows flying determinedly NW(!) at the lake: and 4 more S through The Flash
- 7 Meadow Pipits: 4 over the lake; 2 over The Flash; and 1 over Trench Lock

(107th visit of the year)

Other notes
No Mallard until 12 flew in, but 8 of these then flew out again.
Lower count of Coot probably due to the poor visibility.
Corvid dispersal started OK but then thwarted by the fog.
1 Linnet flew over
Yet another Square-spot Rustic moth in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel.

4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
10 Canada Goose (7 outbound and 3 on the lake)
1 (1) Wigeon
12+ Mallard
2 ducks sp. flew off
6 (6) Tufted Duck
4 + 4 (2 broods) Moorhen
88 Coots
121 Black-headed Gulls
43 large gulls, 40 of these over
2 Barn Swallows
1 (0) Blackcap
8 (3) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 1 Jackdaw and 57 Rooks in fog.

Well it was a clear start – before the mist and fog rolled in. The Met Office web site tells me that it is a waning gibbous moon – that is to say less than full-moon but more than half-moon. But it must be a close-call as this looks just about half-moon to me.

It will do as a record shot, but little else. The drake Wigeon in the mist at the lake. The head-shape is really distinctive even when plumage details cannot be discerned.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:05am – 10:12am

(90th visit of the year)

Other notes
Again many of the Greylag Geese were already in and dispersed on to the island. Some Canada Geese were as well, though a party of 24 left. But then big numbers flew in, mainly Canada Geese: one party I estimated at c.250 birds as they flew in and then roughly counted about the same number on the water.
Among these were a few Greylags; and several apparently new, to me, hybrids paired with Greylag or Canada Geese
Today’s later visit allowed me to log my first Brown Hawker dragonfly for this site this year
Speckled Wood butterflies seen

2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
78 Greylag Geese
3 different hybrid Geese
>370 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
22 (16) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
1 (0) Pochard
27 (19) Tufted Ducks
1 + 1 Moorhen
13 Coots
9 Black-headed Gulls
15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
4 Barn Swallows
3 (1) Chiffchaffs

Slightly better: a duck Pochard at The Flash. Can be separated from a 1st winter bird by the rather pale grey back – on a 1st winter this would be brown-tinged. Also the bill would be grey with a dark tip whereas this is all-dark (this is in itself unusual as most show a pale sub-terminal band). An eclipse drake would not show the spectacled effect.

The front two geese were a pair that flew in together. The left of course is a Greylag: the right-hand bird looks most like a Canada Goose, though it is rather small and the neck lacks the pale base. And someone has stuck on a bill from a White-fronted Goose. As far as I recall this is a ‘new’ hybrid for me. A regular Canada Goose can be seen next to it.

Here is another ‘mixed pair’: with the Canada Goose is another hybrid that looks as if Snow Goose may be in there somewhere with the extent of the white on the head, the bill colour and the strongly pale-edged primaries. No doubt the Snow Goose genes come from an escape.

Still some work to do on the formation flying: #1 needs to straighten his wings a bit! 4 Canada Geese that decided The Flash was ‘full’ and carried on.

I always find estimating numbers in flocks very hard: look quickly and try and estimate how many Canada Geese there are. I counted and reckon just about 100.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 10:23am – 10:55am

(40th visit of the year)

2 Gadwall as highlighted: these were a new species for me here this year: they seemed to leave (or hide)
Female Peregrine circled overhead.
1 Meadow Pipit over
Kingfisher, possibly 2, and Grey Wagtail again
4 Speckled Wood butterflies
Brown and Migrant Hawker dragonflies

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
6 Canada Goose
2 (1) Gadwall
3 (2) Mallard
3 (0) Tufted Duck
7 + 6 (5 broods) Moorhens
117 Coots
15 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 1 of these over
2 (0) Chiffchaffs

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 11:00am – 11:25am

(20th visit of the year)

3 Swans remain: all rings read today – Blue 7FTX and 7HSZ; and Orange 00C
Several immature Canada Geese but now difficult to separate: many (more?) Canada Geese inside the island.
A Pied Wagtail over was the first I have logged here this year.
3 Speckled Wood butterflies were also new for my site year-list.
3 Terrapins (>1 species?)

The counts
2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Swans
37 Canada Geese
30 (17) Mallard
6 feral Mallard-type ducks
9 (3) Tufted Duck
5 + 4 (3 broods) Moorhen
7 Coots
16 Black-headed Gulls
1 (1) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)