8 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:36am – 7:00am / 8:05am – 9:15am

7.5°C > 16.5°C:  mainly clear with a few clouds bubbling up later. Calm with low-level mist > light N wind. Good visibility.

Note: much later visit to Trench.

Nothing to highlight today.

Migrants noted were
- 4 Barn Swallows stopped off to drink at the lake.
- 1 Meadow Pipit overhead the lake.

(99th visit of the year)

Other notes
- despite choosing the highest vantage point possible most of the outbound geese were still mostly below my sight-line and well to the north of Limekiln Bank to accurately count.
- the usual Monday shortage of gulls.
- the last two clear nights don’t seem to have encouraged the Reed Warblers and Blackcaps to leave perhaps the very bright and full moon makes it harder to use the stars to navigate? Some Chiffchaffs will be here for another five or six weeks.
- much better corvid passage this morning with some birds passing to the W this morning as well as the normal flight-lines to the E. Some of these stopped off on the wires and pylon to the SE. something they do only a few times each year.
2 Speckled Wood butterflies.
2 Common Darter dragonflies.

2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
2 Greylag Geese (all outbound)
c.56 Canada Geese (c.50 outbound)
11 (4) Mallard
2 (1) Tufted Duck
3 + 4 (4? broods) Moorhen
82 Coots again
48 Black-headed Gulls
7 large gulls, 4 of these over
1 (1) Reed Warblers
2 (0) Blackcaps
8 (3) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 110 Jackdaws and 27 Rooks logged

Autumn mist over the lake at dawn

This Chiffchaff well illustrates the typical warm colouration of Autumn birds. Willow Warbler is never this brown.

You could not get a better pose than this! A Speckled Wood suns itself on one of the fishing group’s notice boards. There is even have a screw-head to give scale – though that depends on the size of the screw!

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:10am – 7:55am

(84th visit of the year)

- Cormorant seen leaving: far from regular here these days.
- 122 Greylag Geese arrived in large group as I was walking around: a Greylag x ? hybrid with them but to buried in the melee to see any more detail. A few more Greylags and a few Canada Geese flew in later.
- House Martin could be heard most of the time with birds overhead and then moving away to the west and apparently returning. My largest count was 17 birds. No juveniles heard. Local birds?

2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
135 Greylag Geese
1 Greylag x ? Goose
12 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
44 (32) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
29 (14) Tufted Ducks
3 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhen
14 Coots
8 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
17+ House Martins
3 (2) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 11:17am – 12:05pm

(37th visit of the year)

- Friday’s extra juvenile Great Crested Grebe not seen.
- single Canada Geese now returned.
- rather more Tufted Ducks now.
- also slow build-up of Coots as usual.
- one of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls seemed to be the bird with a damaged left wing that spent weeks here in May / June.
- many Southern Hawkers, a Migrant Hawker, a few Brown Hawkers and several Common Darters (this last new for me here this year).
- Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood butterflies all seen.

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
1 Canada Goose
5 (4) Mallard
11 (6) Tufted Ducks
2 + 5 (4 broods) Moorhens
126 Coots
61 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 (0) Blackcap
2 (1) Chiffchaffs

A male Common Darter at rest on one of the fishing platforms at Trench. Specimens as red at this are fully adult males – immatures and females are yellow-brown.

This stunning creature is a male Migrant Hawker. Can be separated from the similar Southern Hawker most easily by the lack of solid blue at the end of the ‘tail’: and also by the width of the chocolate stripe on the thorax. We also need to dismiss Common Hawker: that would show yellow rather than brown along the inner leading edge of the wing. However it is a skittish species and spends literally hours on the wing as it patrols its territory and it is most unlikely that it would allow such a close approach. This is my first confirmed record of this species but until the advent of digital photography it has been well-nigh impossible to see and study these insects so clearly.

You want a close-up? This is un-retouched and straight off the camera. And that’s a reed stem and not a wooden pole that it is perching on! It is amazing what you learn – on the brown stripe you can see what I now know to be a thoracic spiracle – part of the respiratory system of insects (look it up in Wikipedia.

(Ed Wilson)