5 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:10am - 9:38am

5.0°C > 7.5°C:  Started mainly cloudy with increasing breaks and eventually sunny. Moderate NNW wind. Good visibility.

It was a manic, busy start with thousands of Wood Pigeons flying S / SW mainly to the W; hundreds of large gulls flying W, mainly to the N; and dozens of Jackdaws tracking S well to the E and far-enough away not to be able to rely on call to alert me to their presence. Then there were the parties of thrushes and Starlings .... Quite how one accurately estimates large groups of Wood Pigeons that are constantly changing orientation is beyond me: at one point birds were in a continuous stream from one horizon to another and I estimated at least 3500 birds were involved. With that proviso here we go ...

(by the way: large numbers of all these species are quite usual for early November, but this does not make it less thrilling and exciting to see migration actually happening)

(126th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over the lake
- >11500(!) Wood Pigeons (with 68 more high over The Flash later).
- >700 large gulls, all those seen well-enough to ID were Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
- 27 Lapwings
- 2 Sky Larks
- 7 Meadow Pipit
- 5 Pied Wagtails
- 103 Fieldfares (with 2 more in trees around the lake).
- 47 Redwings (with 4 more in trees around the lake).
- 141 Starlings (just 2 came singly out the reeds).
- >475 Jackdaws
- just 12 Rooks

Other notes
No Little Grebes today.
2 Canada Geese flew in and so long as they stayed on the grass the Swans were prepared to leave them alone.
1 drake Gadwall return / new inSee the notes for The Flash: I suspect the Pochard and Tufted Ducks flew out.
2 Water Rails heard squabbling in the NW area again: the other bird, along the N side yesterday, was not heard today.

Counts from the water
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
2 Canada Geese
8 (5) Mallard
4 (2) Pochard
80 (45) Tufted Duck
2 Water Rails
10 Moorhen
172 Coots
c.60 Black-headed Gulls
123 Lesser Black-backed Gulls counted on the water (in addition to the passage birds)
2 Herring Gulls on the water

Another Mistle Thrush, again showing the pale fringes to the feathers on the wings and tail. Very evident in this view is the strength of the bill, noticeably larger than on Song Thrush, Blackbird etc. even though the head of the Mistle Thrush is rather small for its size (annoying out-of-focus foreground twig is obscuring part of the tail: sorry).

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:42am - 10:55am

(105th visit of the year)

6 Great Crested Grebes again.
22 of the Canada Geese flew out – rather unusual time to leave.
1 Cackling Goose present, unusually on its own, and continually calling for a while.
1 Kingfisher again4 Fieldfare over.
1 Redwing in the hawthorn bushes with other thrushes.
The Pochard and 66 (29) Tufted Ducks flew in as one large group – I assume from the lake.
1 Brown Rat: my first of the year here (first-ever?). This species is certainly more evident this year.

6 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
2 Greylag Geese
81 Canada Geese
1 Cackling-type Canada Goose1 all-white feral goose
29 (18) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
4 (2) Pochard
107 (49) Tufted Ducks
6 Moorhen
16 Coots
86 Black-headed Gulls
108 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: just 1 of these on the water.

One day, one day ... I will nail one of these ever-mobile sprites properly: meanwhile a passable shot of a Long-tailed Tit.

‘only’ a Song Thrush but when you see them like this you see things that you don’t notice on a more casual look ‘in the field’. Did you know that there was a pale brown area around the eye? and fine speckling on the crown? or ...
 ... a green wash on the rump? or buff tips to the wing covert feathers?

... and I didn't know that there was a black bar across the folded wing made by the dark tips of the folded primary coverts. Note also that there are single retained feathers in both the median and greater coverts.

It’s all partly down to the light. Where is the brown area around the eye here? And note too that on this side there are no obvious retained feathers.

and look at this real close-up and marvel at the delicate marks on many of the feathers.

Yes I know its only a 1st winter Black-headed Gull and you've seen lots of those. But be impressed by the light-effects on the surrounding water – or be a philistine!

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2005
Priorslee Lake
Water Rail
3 Ruddy Duck
(Martin Adlam)