11 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:43am - 9:37am

5.5°C > 7.5°C: Mist and fog, lifted somewhat from time to time. Calm. Poor, sometime very poor, visibility

(113th visit of the year)

All counts to some extent affected by the poor visibility

Overhead passage this morning
- 22 Meadow Pipits
- 37 Pied Wagtails
- 9 Greenfinches
- 1 Siskin (first of Autumn for me here)
- 1 Linnet

Other notes
Apparently 70 Tufted Ducks: groups seen flying around but not possible to determine whether these were additional birds coming or going or merely bird repositioning.
Two Song Thrushes briefly in song today.
Two Chiffchaffs calling: no song heard.
Most of the Rooks seemed to have passed over too high to see from my location: two large groups of Jackdaws were briefly seen and estimated as they shot through very low.
c.35 Goldfinches in party flushed out of an Alder in NW area: many singles / small groups before and after were probably mostly some of this party arriving / leaving.
My first Rabbit at the lake this year – indeed for a very long time: seen around the yacht club compound where 5 years ago they were common and even got so used to me they took no notice.
A dead shrew sp. on the W end path. Probably a Common Shrew.
an Epirrita sp (November Moth agg.) moth on one of the lamps.

Counts (mostly fog-limited)
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
11 (6) Mallard
>70 Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
8 Moorhen
? Coots: not counted
74 Black-headed Gulls
28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
3 Herring Gulls, all immatures
Corvid roost dispersal: c.330 Jackdaws and just 16 Rooks
2 (0) Chiffchaff

Despite yesterday’s comment that there was little sign of Autumn colours if you hunt there area few, mainly shrubs, showing some colour.

This moth seems to be one of the November Moth group (Epirrita sp.) that is impossible to specifically identify without genitalia examination – and then only possible if it is a male (and not 15 feet up a lamp pole) Rather strange is that it looks rather worn even though this species should have only just started flying.

This is probably a (very dead) Common Shrew. I now read that examination of the teeth is the best way to separate several confusingly similar species. I think I’ll go with the most likely! Did you know shrews eat their own weight in food everyday? And that they have scent glands that animals find distasteful and that therefore when they are killed by domestic cats they are then discarded – perhaps why it was in the open on the W end path. Owls and Kestrels will eat them – most birds have no sense of smell (some vultures are a notable exception).

(Ed Wilson)