29 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:02am - 9:35am

Afternoon Update: 3:30pm

1 adult Yellow legged Gull
1 adult Great Black-backed Gull
3 Gadwall
3 Pochard

(John Isherwood)

Morning Report:
4.5°C > 8.0°C:  Another mainly clear start: bank of low cloud to NNE rolled in and then rather dull. Lightest of N breeze. Good visibility, moderate later.

Best today was the eclipse drake Wigeon at the lake.

Lots of over flights again this morning, all over the lake as the arrival of the low cloud more or less stopped movement.

Today’s over flight counts
- >1950 Wood Pigeons (as well as c.50 in trees / on local movements)
- 1 Sky Lark
- 2 Meadow Pipits
- 12 Pied Wagtails (in various directions: not all passage birds?)
- 1 Fieldfare (my first of the autumn)
- 23 Redwings (as well as 12 in trees around the lake)
- 52 Starlings (1 of these roosted in the reeds)
- 3 Chaffinches (as well as 2 in trees around the lake)
- 12 Goldfinches (as well as 15 in trees around the lake)

Another huge count of corvids.

(119th visit of the year)

Other notes
1 Little Grebe seen again: probably present throughout.
Now 5 Pochard included a duck this morning.
The flat light, despite the rather low level, made sexing the Tufted Ducks much easier.
Rather fewer Black-headed Gulls, perhaps because Ricoh workers started mowing the grass at c.6:05am!
In contrast a good passage of large gulls and after 8:30am many arrived to wash and loaf: these included an adult Yellow-legged Gull and several Herring Gulls.
Four different small groups of Feral Pigeons this morning.
Even larger passage of Wood Pigeons, all heading S and most to the far W: all but one group before 8:00am.
Green Woodpecker heard again.
2 Ravens over.
New flowers – probably Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus).

1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
32 Canada Geese outbound
1 (1) Wigeon
3 (2) Gadwall
9 (5) Mallard
5 (4) Pochard
57 (32) Tufted Duck
12 Moorhen
172 Coots
c.140 Black-headed Gulls
689 Lesser Black-backed Gulls counted: 302 of these stopped on the water
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull on the water
10 Herring Gulls noted amongst the gulls on the water
Corvid roost dispersal: >1100 Jackdaws but ‘only’ 132 Rooks.

The bank of cloud rolling in from the NE and spoiling a fine start.

Part of one of the migrating parties of Wood Pigeons. An attempt to count them ‘on screen’ gave me 155 birds. At the time I estimated the whole flock at 150. So all my counts are probably underestimates – this is in fact quite normal.
This shot of about half of another group shows c.225 birds: I estimated the whole group as c.350 so at least I am consistently wrong.

This Wigeon appears to be a duck, but ...

As it preened the white on the upper forewing was revealed, so it is a drake. Since it is white and not grey-brown this suggests an eclipse-plumaged adult rather than an immature bird.

Not many flowers at this time of year so was surprised to find these. The date, the brightness of the flowers and the presence of many with 13 rays all suggest Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus), noted in Marjorie Blamey’s Illustrated Flora as flowering in to December. There were some scruffy remnant flowers of Common Ragwort nearby, these all on much taller plants.

The rather neat rows of spots on this bird identify it as a Mistle Thrush. Other clues, apart from its larger size, include the white fringes on the wing coverts and the rather small head.

While creeping up to get the shot of the Mistle Thrush a pair of unusually sedentary Jays failed to notice me and allowed some shots. Here is one ..

... and another ...

... with no apologies for a third picture of the Jay. Not often you can photograph these birds so well.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:38am - 10:31am

(100th visit of the year)

At least 4 very mobile Great Crested Grebes: all seemed to be juveniles.
4 of the Canada Geese flew silently high overhead without appearing to even looking at the noisy throng below.
13 Goldfinches overhead seemed to be different birds to those recorded at and over the lake.

4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
9 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling-type small Canada Goose
96 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
32 (22) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
1 (1) Pochard
42 (25) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhen
16 Coots
56 Black-headed Gulls
13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 11 of them flying over.

(Ed Wilson)


Devil's Dingle: 9:00am
5 Teal
9 Snipe
2 Raven

Also Fallow Deer (5 - including stag bellowing - still in rut ?)

(John Isherwood)