31 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:05am - 9:12am

14.5°C > 15.0°C:  Very mild again: some breaks in the low cloud also some drizzle. High overcast. Light / moderate SSE wind. Moderate visibility.

Best today was the first Goosander of the period overhead.

Plenty of over flights this morning despite the rather poor visibility: included the first decent passage of winter thrushes.

Today’s counts
- c.850 Wood Pigeons
- 7 Sky Larks
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 20 Pied Wagtails
- 193 Fieldfare
- 246 Redwings
- 372 Starlings (9 came out of two separate roosts in the reeds
- c.50 Goldfinches

Yet another large count of corvids and for the 3rd day a decline in the number of Rooks.

(121st visit of the year)

Other notes
2 Cormorants over together.
Yesterday’s Wigeon seemed to have left but as I was climbing in to the car to leave 3 arrived from the W.
Many fewer Tufted Duck this morning.
No idea where all the Moorhens were this morning.
A few of the Black-headed Gulls were seen repeatedly flying through the tops of the willows on the N shore. I assume they do this to glean insects. It happens once or twice most years, though I did not record it in 2013.
c.60 Wood Pigeons were seen flying in to the copse at Ward’s Rough to the NE but these seem to leave and join one of the parties heading S.
As usual the Fieldfares and Redwings mostly flew W, appearing to cone from the fields to the E.
Almost all the Starlings were also heading W.

4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants over
2 Swans
26 Canada Geese outbound
3 (?) Wigeon
3 (2) Gadwall
21 (12) Mallard
4 (3) Pochard
52 (?) Tufted Duck
1 (0) Goosander over
2 Moorhen
165 Coots
c.275 Black-headed Gulls
c.725 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: c.600 of these stopped on the water.
5 Herring Gulls noted among the other large gulls on the water.
Corvid roost dispersal: c.980 Jackdaws and 48 Rooks.

This is why gulls are hard: the two Herring Gulls in the middle are somewhat different in size (male are typically larger than females but there is much variation), the mantle tones are slightly different (northern birds are darker – and larger), and the extent of the white ‘mirror’s in the black wing-tips is different – this often a key feature for separating Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls from ‘just’ a Herring Gull but here supports the ‘northern’ origin of this Herring Gull. Meanwhile the four adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls show very different amounts of dark streaking on the head and strength of marks on the bill. The bill of the bird on the right looks very long, probably because the feathers at the base are being moulted.
(Ed Wilson)