2 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:24am - 9:55am

11.5°C > 13.0°C:  Still mild. Wet start after windy night; soon cleared from the W though still mostly cloudy; wing dropped light SW; good visibility.

Fewer over flights after the overnight wind and rain with as many after 9:00am as before that time: all the thrushes were heading S today – W yesterday.

Today’s counts
- 666 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Sky Larks
- 5 Meadow Pipit
- 11 Pied Wagtails
- 359 Fieldfares
- 64 Redwings
- 154 Starlings (56 came out of three separate roosts in the reeds)
- 7 Goldfinches

Still large numbers of corvids outbound and again small parties still passing over 2 hours after the large groups.

(123rd visit of the year)

Other notes
2 Cormorants flew over.
3 of the Mallard were flying over.
A few more Pochard today.
11 of the Tufted Duck flew off W before 6:30am.
After noting yesterday that a whole week had passed without hearing the Water Rail it called once his morning.
Lapwings again today: just 4 over for a while.
The Wood Pigeon parties included the usual occasional Stock Dove: a party of 6 Stock Doves separate from the Wood Pigeons was unusual.
4 Feral Pigeons had tacked on to one of the migrant groups of Wood Pigeons.
2 Ravens over.

1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants over
1 Grey Heron
3 Swans
3 (2) Gadwall
14 (7) Mallard
6 (5) Pochard
71 (?) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
5 Moorhen
170 Coots
4 Lapwings over
c.120 Black-headed Gulls
551 Lesser Black-backed Gulls counted: 156 of these stopped on the water.
1 Herring Gull only noted among the other large gulls on the water.
Corvid roost dispersal: 988 Jackdaws and just 36 Rooks.

4 Tufted Duck going for a fly-around. Hard to sex from below: nevertheless the right-most bird shows some pale feathers around the base of the bill and is therefore a duck; and bird above it shows some dusky flank marks so may be as well, though could be an immature.

Somewhat more evident in this view with the lower birds both showing dusky ‘arm-pits’

If all the gulls flew past in neat formations like this checking for Herring Gulls amongst the Lesser Black-backs would be a lot easier: none here, just 6 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Back by popular demand – of me at least: an ever-handsome Jay.

Another shot of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull that it still acquiring new wing-feathers – here the outer primary may well be an old feather as the two next to it are still growing. And if you look at the ‘bend’ of the wing the inner secondaries are also still growing. This bird shows extensive head-streaking and combined with the pale iris makes the bird appear to scowl.

A fine shot of the underwing of an immature Lesser Black-backed Gull: immature Herring Gulls are never this well-marked. The pale base to the bill suggests this is a 1st summer / 2nd winter bird.

(Ed Wilson)


The Wrekin: 10:08am - 12:47pm

(7th visit)

The objective of this trip was mainly to see whether there was any visible migration from the top. Sub-objectives were to look for fungus, to photograph the autumn colours and to keep vaguely fit. Almost all these objectives failed: there was no visible passage; I found a miserly 5 species of fungus; and the autumn colours were the poorest I can recall.

But some things worth noting
- a party of c.50 Wood Pigeons were flushed from under the beech trees – a larger number than usual.
- 8 Meadow Pipits at the top: these will probably stay in the area until the weather gets very bad.
- just 3 winter thrushes noted: 2 Fieldfare and a lone Redwing.
- Marsh Tits heard and seen in 6 different locations: while I may have met the same party more than once there must have been several groups. Sadly no Willow Tits today.
- as recently noted at the lake and The Flash, more Goldcrests than usual this autumn: at least 5 noted here without trying.
- a party of finches put up from presumably feeding on the beech mast included a fine male Brambling: all the others I checked were Chaffinches. My first confirmed Brambling of the year.
- 1 immature male Crossbill near the top: there seem to be rather few conifer cones this year and many looked rather well-chewed.

Though rather distant – it was – you can see clearly-enough the curved crossed-tip to the bill and the faint red tone to the plumage identifying an immature male Common Crossbill. An adult male would be much redder and the wings more contrastingly dark. Easy for me of course as it was giving its very distinctive call.

Even more distant by this time: compare the size and shape of Common Crossbill with the male Chaffinch. Note especially the large head to support the large and powerful bill. Also its relatively short tail.

No mistaking this fungus with both the vernacular and scientific names equally meaningful – Stink-horn (Phallus impudicus).

These cones look pretty well chewed to me and perhaps why there was a lone Common Crossbill and he didn't stick around. These birds are often in flocks and when feeding are almost silent, often just the falling debris from the cones being snipped open provides the clue to their presence in the tops of conifers. In flight all Crossbills call continually.

After a little ‘gardening’ these were exposed in their glory. I don’t have a good reference to identify this Order. Possibly a Hypholoma species of which the poisonous Sulphur-tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) is the most common – if it were that species I would have expected a tight clump with many more fruiting bodies.

See it is autumn really.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2005
Priorslee Lake
Adult Arctic Tern
157 Redwing
(Ed Wilson)