10 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:36am - 9:15am

5.5°C > 13.0°C:  Scattered medium/high cloud clearing for a while, then broken cloud from W. Calm, then light W wind. Excellent visibility

Migrants noted were
- 10 Sky Larks: 5 over the lake, 1 over The Flash and 4 over Trench Lock (my first at this site this year)
- 2 Swallows through Trench Lock
- 7 Meadow Pipits over the lake

Grey Wagtails almost disappeared locally after the very cold 2012 / 2013 winter so it was encouraging to record one or more birds at all 4 locations

43 Pied Wagtails over the lake, all heading S, were likely roost dispersal rather than migrants

(112th visit of the year)

Other notes
Little Grebe again: likely overlooked yesterday.
4 of the 57 Tufted Ducks flew off before sunrise.
Water Rail heard again several times.
Moorhens seemed to be everywhere today.
One Song Thrush briefly in song: at least 5 other birds noted.
Lone Chiffchaff also singing briefly: thereafter not heard.
Even larger corvid passage today: with concurrent multiple parties passing the split between Jackdaws and Rooks might not be 100% accurate.
7 single Ravens over: 3 pairs, all tumbling and rolling; and a single bird.
32 Starlings: apart from those winter days when birds leave a reed-bed roost this species is usually only seen flying to & fro its breeding sites in roofs around the Priorslee estate. So 4 small parties flying around was unusual.

1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
10 (6) Mallard
57 (?) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
14 Moorhen
126 Coots
106 Black-headed Gulls
112 large gulls: 78 of these stopped off at the lake, with 34 flying over: no Herring Gulls identified.
Corvid roost dispersal: 460 Jackdaws and 253 Rooks
1 (1) Chiffchaff

A fine early start

 Some mist as the sky starts to colour

And a good sunrise

A splendid fine start: little sign of Autumn colours – no ‘leaves of brown came tumbling down. Remember in September in the rain’ here in the UK.

They are most impressive in flight when this close: a Grey Heron, of course, scowls at me.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:18am - 10:04am

(94th visit of the year)

A 4th Great Crested Grebe today, but not sure of its age.
Geese likely under-recorded as many hauled out on island.
As elsewhere most of the Tufted Duck seemed to be immatures / ducks.

2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
61 Greylag Geese
110 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
38 (25) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
41 (11) Tufted Ducks
4 Moorhen
21 Coots
22 Black-headed Gulls
5 Lesser Black-backed Gull over
1 Herring Gull over

But adjacent to The Flash this Acer sp. tree hints at what it must be like in the Virginia and upstate New York at the moment.

A good study of a 1st winter Black-headed Gull in flight. Note the orangey tone to the bill-base (red in adults) as well as the brown marking on the wing coverts and secondaries.

A different bird at rest, judging by the extent of black on the bill tip. The very different shade to the base of the bill is probable due to the very different lighting conditions. Note the immature feather (identify by the dark centre) being moulted.

And a fine adult drake Tufted Duck. Just look at the fine vermiculations in the white flanks.

And here is the drake with an adult duck. These birds have both pretty much acquired breeding plumage but many birds around at the moment are not so distinctive.

One of a pair of Canada Geese trumpets on its way in.

I know it is only a duck Mallard but it does repay close study of those intricate feather patterns.

In the correct light even a Coot looks splendid: when did you last see the red spot at the top of the leg? (in South America there is a species called Red-gartered Coot: that species is larger and with more extensive red on the leg, but clearly there is a common ancestor somewhere. Just why the red is present is unclear).

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 10:10am - 10:45am // 11:20am - 11:23am

(41st visit of the year)

3 Little Grebes: probably here for the winter
The Tufted Duck were badly positioned to check the sex but all but c.8 of the 60 birds looked like immatures / ducks.
Kingfisher again
A rather late Common Darter dragonfly still active.

The counts
3 Little Grebes
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
42 Canada Geese
22 (14) Mallard
40 (?) Tufted Ducks
14 Moorhens
139 Coots
23 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

This 1st winter Black-headed Gull shows much more extensive brown marks in the wings – likely it fledged more recently than the previous birds. Note the neat black tip to the tail.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:50am - 11:15am

(21st visit of the year)

Only 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe present: likely the others have fledged.
Same 3 Swans remain: all rings read again – Blue 7FTX and 7HSZ; and Orange 00C.
After unusually high numbers of Tufted Duck throughout the summer the number today was disappointing low.

The counts
2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
3 Swans
71 Canada Geese
30 (18) Mallard
5 feral Mallard-type ducks
2 (0) Tufted Duck
7 Moorhen
12 Coots
3 Black-headed Gulls

(Ed Wilson)