9 Oct 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:34am - 9:03am

9.0°C > 10.0°C:  Heavy passing showers. Moderate SSW wind. Good visibility except in heaviest rain.

Only migrants noted were:
- 2 Meadow Pipits between the showers

(111th visit of the year)

Apart from the water-bird counts all sightings limited to quick sprints between the showers.

Other notes
A pair of Mallard flew in and then out again: otherwise 8 seen flying distantly.
Water Rail heard again.
Of the c.110 Black-headed Gulls present at 8:45am just 4 seemed to be 1st winter birds – in contrast to counts in August where the majority were this year’s immatures.
Lone Chiffchaff singing while it was raining, but silent otherwise.
Large corvid passage of, especially, Jackdaws: in spite of / because of? the weather.
2 single Ravens over.

5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
10 (?) Mallard
50 (29) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
4 Moorhen
132 Coots
c.110 Black-headed Gulls
44 large gulls: 31 of these on the lake, 2 of which were Herring Gulls
1 (1) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 479 Jackdaws and 191 Rooks

A threatening start.

  Even more so as the rain shower approaches

A pair of adult winter-plumage Black-headed Gulls: immatures would show an orange tone to the bill as well as some brown in the wing-coverts (though that can be hidden depending on how the wing is folded). Variation in the strength of the head-marks is normal.

This study of a flying adult winter-plumage Black-headed Gull shows the characteristic pattern of both the upper- and under-wing.
An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull scatters Black-headed Gulls as it takes over the buoy they were disputing ...

... and promptly slides off! This bird is slightly unusual in showing a pink base to the bill which suggests it is a 2nd year bird.
This immature gull shows an all-dark bill and is therefore a 1st winter bird. It is a Herring Gull and can be identified as such from the size of the bill, the extent of the pale on the nape and that the greater coverts are not significantly darker than the median coverts. The scapulars and, more especially the mantle, hint at the pearl-grey of the adult plumage.

(Ed Wilson)