1 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:07am - 9:43am

10.0°C > 14.5°C:  Still mild. Cleared after overnight rain. A few clouds building after 10:30am. Very good visibility. Light SW wind.

Best today was the party of 27 Lapwing over the lake: some 30 minutes later 7 seen, but these probably some of the same birds.

Lots of over flights again this morning almost all before 9:00am: thereafter mainly Starlings determinedly heading W.

Today’s counts, all at the lake unless otherwise noted
- >3600 Wood Pigeons
- 6 Sky Larks (also 2 more over Trench)
- 4 Meadow Pipit
- 18 Pied Wagtails
- 213 Fieldfares
- also 213 Redwings
- 406 Starlings (19 came out of three separate roosts in the reeds): another 38 over The Flash and 83 more over Trench.
- 15 Goldfinches
- 1 Redpoll

Still large numbers of corvids outbound

(122nd visit of the year)

Other notes
2 interloping Swans this morning: a 1st winter cygnet wearing a(n unreadable) Worcestershire Darvic ring was soon seen off: an unringed adult took longer to dislodge.
Wigeon gone.
Just a lone drake Pochard this morning.
Whole week without hearing the Water Rail: seems to have moved on.
One of the fishermen reported the Tawny Owl calling in the N side copse last night: in all my pre-dawn visits over the years I have heard bird(s) on fewer than 10 occasions and seen it twice – and one of these sightings was across the E side of Castle Farm Way.
The Pied Wagtails seem to pass in two waves: the first are perhaps leaving a previously noted roost at the M54 Service Station.
Not only were none of the Song Thrushes heard singing this morning but strangely none was seen or heard calling either.

1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
3 + 1 Swans
3 (2) Gadwall
14 (7) Mallard
1 (1) Pochard
64 (?) Tufted Duck
6 Moorhen
161 Coots
27 Lapwings over
c.320 Black-headed Gulls
c.1050 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: c.300 of these stopped on the water
6 Herring Gulls noted among the other large gulls on the water
Corvid roost dispersal: c.1040 Jackdaws and 97 Rooks

Intriguing cloud as the overnight rain clears pre-dawn.

The cygnet seen leaving after a brief chase by the residents: sadly not enough light to fully freeze the action and enable the Worcestershire orange Darvic ring to be read, only to see that it seems to be neither 45L or 68L – birds seen earlier in the week at Trench.

Watch out – they are on the warpath. The resident Swans close in on the adult visitor.

Well: he didn't last that long either.

Some of the, eventually, 27 Lapwings gather over the lake.

and 2 of them in close-up.

When a pair of Gadwall poses like this can the shutter-finger resist? Nope!

But the Mallard were not content to be left out ... here is a duck looking splendid in the sun.

... and the curly-tailed drake, the sun ‘glossing’ the green on the head. But look, like the drake Gadwall, it too has fine vermiculations in the flanks and mantle.

Look closely at the left underwing on this flying adult Lesser Back-backed Gull and you can see that the outer primary – the last to be replaced on the post-breeding moult – is still not full-grown. Note too the extensive dark sub-terminal shadow on underside of, especially, the secondary coverts: on adult Herring Gulls this is much paler – indeed barely noticeable.

Autumn is ‘berry’ time: these are wild rose haws ...

... and these unappealing-looking fruits are Hawthorn haws, soon to be eaten by the thrushes.

They are rather handsome even if they have a (only partly-deserved) bad reputation: a Magpie takes the early sun. Look at the blue sky reflected in the highlight of the eye.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:46am - 10:48am

(102nd visit of the year)

Generally rather quiet, perhaps because of the number of fishermen.

Duck Pochard new in.
Many Tufted Duck seem to have decamped in the last few days – perhaps to Trench?
Thursday’s fruiting bodies of the Shaggy Ink-cap fungus were now just remnant stems: a few more fruits have emerged since then, some of these already autodigesting.

3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
5 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling-type small Canada Goose
60 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
29 (19) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
1 (0) Pochard
18 (7) Tufted Ducks
10 Moorhen
15 Coots
87 Black-headed Gulls
12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 1 of these on the water.

This is one of those lucky shots – this Long-tailed Tit is just leaving a branch and the wings are at full thrust as it lets go. The next shot of the camera-burst was an empty branch.

I noted in my report yesterday that Black-headed Gulls were flying through the tops of willows, perhaps gleaning insects. This morning they were doing it at The Flash though exactly why is harder to explain as they did so only while a pair of Magpies was in the same area.

All that is left of one of Thursday’s Shaggy Ink-cap fungus – the stem.

Here is why they are called ink-caps:: the black ink-like drips from the cap as the spores are released and the whole fruit autodigests.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 10:56am - 11:42am

(45th visit of the year)

Small party of Pochard new in.
Significant increase in Tufted Duck numbers.

The counts
2 Little Grebes
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
39 Canada Geese
2 (2) Mallard
7 (6) Pochard
58 (23?) Tufted Ducks
12 Moorhens
154 Coots
10 Black-headed Gulls
7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

At the lake I struggle to even see the Little Grebe lurking along the edge of the reeds. At Trench they seem to have become more accustomed to people and with care are more approachable. Note the drops of water on the feathers of this winter-plumaged bird. It was continually diving.

... while these fruits are of Black Brony (Tamus communis, also Dioscorea communis): the fruits are poisonous and their juice can cause skin blisters. Plants are either male and female (dioecious). The similar-looking White Bryony (Bryonia alba) sometimes has reddish berries but they are usually black and in rather less dense clusters. Despite their similar vernacular names the two Bryony species are horiculturally unrelated.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2005
Priorslee Lake
A female Blackcap (my first winter record here)
(Ed Wilson)