17 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:55am - 9:07am

14.5°C > 16.5°C:  mild and overcast, starting to break after 08:45. Moderate SE wind dropped away. Moderate visibility.

Most unexpected bird of the morning was a Common Sandpiper. Never common here on autumn passage these have usually passed through here by end-July. At the SOS reserve at Venus Pool where there is suitable feeding habitat they often stay well in to September, but this is by far my latest record at the lake.

Migrants noted were
- 7 Meadow Pipits again: 6 over the lake; and 1 over The Flash

(108th visit of the year)

Other notes
Just 2 Mallard flew in and stayed.
101 Coot: we break the ‘ton’ today. Some years >250 winter on the lake: other years many fewer. There seems no reason for the variance.
A party of 51 Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived very low from the NW before dawn: most stopped off for a bathe and then carried on SE. Other than that it was mainly singles.
One Blackcap was heard quietly singing. Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers regularly sing in the Autumn – indeed I have heard them doing so on their wintering grounds where the weather is hot and sunny (as it is in Africa!). But Blackcap (and other warblers in the genus) rarely do.
Checked the corvid dispersal carefully and it seems that the Jackdaws are going somewhere else at the moment.
A Common Marbled Carpet moth on one of the lamps.
Several hawker-type dragonflies, too skittish to identify.
A dead (and mangled) Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) found in the grass.

4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
2 Canada Geese (outbound)
2 (1) Mallard
3 (3) Tufted Duck
4 + 7 (? broods) Moorhen
101 Coots
154 Black-headed Gulls
71 large gulls, 26 of these over
2 (1) Blackcap
7 (2) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 15 Jackdaw and 133 Rooks in fog.

Here is yet another variation of Common Marbled Carpet. After Sunday’s Green Carpet my initial thoughts were of another common Autumn-flying moth, the Red-green Carpet. But not so.

This Racing Pigeon seemed to be unwell. It was on the top of the dam and allowed very close approach. Of course these birds are well-used to people but it was too lethargic just to be a confiding bird. Note the rings: one with a Blackpool phone number showing and the other the bird’s ID – GB14 E29024. This number tells me the ring was issued in the GB to bird born this year. Despite several photos from different angles I missed the last digit of the phone # and cannot therefore report it to the owner.
Dead rat at the lake. Interesting to speculate what killed it, mangled it and then left it.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:10am - 10:04am

(91st visit of the year)

Other notes
Lots of geese again: they arrived back in multiple small parties today. No hybrids located.
Not sure why the number of duck Tufted Ducks increased.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
41 Greylag Geese
283 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
24 (16) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
41 (19) Tufted Ducks
2 + 1 Moorhen
17 Coots
41 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
2 (2) Chiffchaffs

Try counting this lot! There are certainly 4 Black-headed Gulls in the shot but otherwise all Canada Geese.

(Ed Wilson)