13 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:41am - 9:02am

9.0°C > 10.0°C:  Overcast and very dark, though the promised rain never materialised. Moderate NNE wind. Good visibility.

Despite the dullness and it being rather quiet there were some notable sightings.
- 14 Cormorants flew E over the lake: and then later 13, possibly some of the same, flew N over The Flash.
- 1 drake Wigeon moulting into adult plumage was at the lake: and then 11 Wigeon circled The Flash but flew on.
**later note: looking at my picture of this bird it looks to have some characteristics that suggest American Wigeon: I am getting a 2nd opinion
- 1 ‘brownhead’ Goosander flew S over the lake: a rather early date for here.
- a party of 26 Wood Pigeon flew high S over the lake: these were almost certainly migrants and as such my first of the Autumn.
- 1 Redwing, also my first of the Autumn, flew W over the lake.

Otherwise just a few confirmed over flights
- 4 Meadow Pipits over The Flash
- 5 Pied Wagtails over the lake
- 1 Linnet over The Flash

(115th visit of the year)

No Mallard at all here today
57 Tufted Ducks when I did the count: 4 had flown off earlier; and another 11 were seen in flight but whether they left was unclear with a tail-wind component on their flight-path the corvids were passing VERY high over and only those passing directly overhead could be seen in the gloom.

1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
14 Cormorants over
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
4 Greylag Geese outbound
1 (1) Wigeon
No Mallard!
1 (0) Goosander over
61+ Tufted Duck
8 Moorhen
119 Coots
c.110 Black-headed Gulls
103 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: only 7 of these stopped off
3 Herring Gulls stopped off
Corvid roost dispersal: 174 Jackdaws and 100 Rooks
1 (0) Chiffchaff
1 Redwing

Modern cameras help: I wound the ISO rating to 6400 and played around with the exposure compensation and just managed a reasonably sharp shot of this drake Wigeon at the lake in the early gloom. Whether it was this that has caused the rather grey tone to the head is unclear, but the effect is to raise a question in my mind as to whether it is an American Wigeon ...
Here the extent of the grey on the flanks seems not right for American Wigeon and suggests that it is indeed a ‘colour-cast’ effect of the very poor light.

14 Cormorants over the lake

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:05am - 9:51am

(96th visit of the year)

Only 2 Great Crested Grebes seen today.
The 13 Cormorants my largest party seen over here.
Most of the geese still away: perhaps because the cloud (hiding the moon) prevented them feeding in the fields over night.
Just 2 of the party of Wigeon seemed to be adult males.
Not sure why rather fewer Tufted Ducks this morning

1 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
13 Cormorants over
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
40 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
11 (2?) Wigeon over
38 (24) Mallard
The all-white feral duck
41 (21) Tufted Ducks
9 Moorhen
18 Coots
35 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gull over

13 Cormorants over The Flash much later: co-incidence?  

11 Wigeon over The Flash. The left-most bird shows the white patch on the upper forewing that identifies an adult drake. The wings of the lowest bird are mainly hidden but suggest it is also a drake: this is supported by the clean white centre to the belly. All the others will be ducks or immatures.

0412   Yes I know I've done this recently, but I could not resist this poseur: an adult winter Black-headed Gull (F)
Too much mascara in the rain!
And a 1st winter Black-headed Gull for comparison. Note how dull the bill-colour is compared with the adult. In this bird the black of the bill-base ‘bleeds’ along the cutting edge of, especially, the lower mandible.
(Ed Wilson)