3 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:39am – 7:00am // 8:15am – 9:20am

13.5°C > 17.5°C: mostly cloudy at medium level with a few breaks later; calm, then light SE wind; moderate / good visibility.

New this morning were a Little Grebe and 3 Shoveler at the lake.

Migrants this morning were:
7 Swallows over The Flash and 1 at the lake.
A calling Yellow Wagtail over the lake.
4 Meadow Pipits over The Flash and 1 over the lake
House Martins were scarce, though they are still around Newport in good numbers

Both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail were recorded at all four locations

(94th visit of the year)

Other notes
Most of the outbound geese this morning were all far to the N and dipping below the ridge of Limekiln Bank and impossible to count accurately.
Just 5 Mallard – perhaps some flew off before I arrived.
3 Shoveler early all seemed to be ducks: gone later.
The Coots have now just about finished with territorial disputes and are gathering in two main groups: at least 6 can still be identified. Has been the most successful breeding season for them I can recall.
1 Swallow was the only hirundine here.
2 Song Thrushes heard calling: no song again.
After many days with single-figure counts there were 17 Magpies at least this morning: perhaps they are moving in to their winter communal roost, though they wont like the disturbance from the work on the new school if they use their usual site.
Better corvid passage.
Now just 2 moths in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel: a different Common Marbled Carpet joining one of the Large Yellow Underwings.

1 Little Grebe
3 + 4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Herons
2 Swans
c.62 Greylag Geese (all outbound)
32 Canada Geese (all outbound)
5 (?) Mallard
3 (0) Shoveler
2 + 4 (2 broods) Moorhen
70 Coots
33 Black-headed Gulls
40 large gulls (37 of these over)
1 Barn Swallow
1 Meadow Pipits over
1 Yellow Wagtail over
2 (0) Blackcaps
8 (1) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 72 Jackdaws and 27 Rooks.

One of three Shoveler at the lake showing its large bill from which it gets its name. Compared with duck Mallard note also the paler overall appearance and white-fringed feathers giving a scaly effect. The lack of any rufous tones indicate a duck – drakes in eclipse plumage lose their smart breeding plumage and are not easy to separate from ducks without a good view. Juveniles would not show such prominent scaly effect.

Despite being in almost the exact spot in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel occupied by a Common Marbled Carpet yesterday this is a differently marked specimen.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:10am – 7:55am

(81st visit of the year)

7 Swallows in two small groups heading SE.
Several groups of House Martins high over but probably the same local group: no juveniles heard this morning.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
8 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
27 (21) Mallard
24 (15) Tufted Ducks
4 + 4 (3 broods) Moorhen
21 Coots
6 Black-headed Gulls over
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
2 House Martins
4 Meadow Pipits
5 (2) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:30am – 10:10am // 10:50am – 11:03am

(35th visit of the year)

New brood of 2 Great Crested Grebes: no sign of birds from earlier broods).
The sole remaining Canada Geese seemed likely to be an injured bird.
First Tufted Ducks here since July.
6 of the 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls logged on the water part of the time.
House Martins heard high over on two occasions but nothing seen.
Party of 38 Starlings shot up from the surrounding estate and flew around in a tight group but could not find a Sparrowhawk to explain the behaviour.
A Blackcap ‘tacking’ as well as calling Chiffchaffs.
Several large dragonflies with one ID'd as a Southern Hawker.
2 Speckled Wood butterflies and a distant Vanessid sp.
At least 3 different species of hoverfly: the three identified were all new for me at this site, but this is only my third year of trying to get to grips with this group of insects.

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 Canada Goose
4 (1) Mallard
4 (0) Tufted Ducks
3 + 8 (5 broods) Moorhens
113 Coots
23 Black-headed Gulls
12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
House Martins heard only
1 (0) Blackcap
4 (0) Chiffchaffs

Two immature Moorhen at Trench Lock Pool. These are likely to be birds from different broods to the same parents and as such grew up with the older bird – the one starting to acquire the red bill and the green legs of an adult – helping to raise the younger bird: hence the close affinity between these birds.

The 2 new-brood Great Crested Grebe at Trench Lock Pool. 

This Speckled Wood when flushed looked strikingly pale – there is a form with white rather than cream marks and I have never seen one. But looking at the battered state of this individual it is likely that the cream marks have merely faded with wear and tear. Speckled Wood butterflies can often be seen spiralling together in territorial disputes and this one seems to have partaken in a few!

A small hoverfly taking nectar from a honeysuckle flower: probably Syrphus ribesii as I cannot see any black on the hind leg which would indicate Syrphus vitripennis.

While this hoverfly half-hovering and half hanging-on to the flowers does show black on the hind leg and is therefore Syrphus vitripennis. The flower-head is a Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Another hoverfly, this time in close-up. This is a female Eristalis pertinax – note the pale front tarsi.

And yet another: here a male Eristalis pertinax with a classic pointed abdomen. This species is confusingly variable.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:15am – 10:45am

(18th visit of the year)

The latest Great Crested Grebes brood doing well with 1 bird wandering off.
My first Cormorant here since February.
3 Swans yet again and two rings read – 7FTX and 7HSZ: the 3rd bird had a metal BTO ring on its right leg but persisted in swimming around with its left leg tucked up!
All the Greylags gone: 2 broods of Canada's looked about ready to fledge but declined to follow one of the adults and fly off the bank in to the water.
More Tufted Ducks and my largest count of the year at this site.
My first-ever Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) at this site.

The counts
2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
3 Swans
7 + 9 (2 broods) Canada Geese
23 (?) Mallard
4 feral Mallard-type ducks
16 (9) Tufted Duck
5 + 4 (2? broods) Moorhen
11 Coots
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
2 (0) Chiffchaff

Daddy Great Crested Grebe catches a fish for his new brood ....

 ... and hands it over to the sharpest / hungriest of its off-spring.

Not only ‘got it!’ but manoeuvred it ready to swallow.

(Ed Wilson)