7 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:20am - 9:21am

10.5°C > 10.0°C:  Overnight rain cleared c.6:50am and then dry but cloudy for a while: showers after 8:45am. Light S wind veered W as rain cleared and then fell light (supposed to be strong and gusty). Moderate visibility at best.

The rain, as forecast, did clear for a while but the later showers caused abbreviated visits to, especially, Trench. Nothing to highlight: nothing brought down by the rain.

(128th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over the lake
- 282 large gulls: apart from 1 Herring Gull all those seen well-enough to ID were Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 73 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 208 Fieldfares
- 14 Redwings (with 14 more in trees around the lake)
- 119 Starlings (49 came out of 2 roosts in the reeds)
- >675 Jackdaws
- just 13 Rooks
The few Wood Pigeon parties were flying in all different directions (there were c.100 more ‘local’ birds).
Most of the Fieldfare were flying E / SE – all W / SW on previous days.
Starlings left the roost and scattered in all directions: later all flying W / SW.

Other notes
Some of the Mallard flew off when it was too dark to sex them.
See The Flash count of Tufted Duck – they seemed to have moved here.
Certainly 2 Water Rails calling this morning.
24 of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls either roosted or arrived very early on this dark morning.

Counts from the water
3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
18 (?) Mallard
4 (4) Pochard
108 (66) Tufted Duck
2 Water Rails
7 Moorhen
158 Coots
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
237 Lesser Black-backed Gulls counted on the water (in addition to the passage birds).
3 Herring Gulls on the water

Today’s gull lesson: here is a typical 2nd winter Herring Gull in flight with the four innermost primaries showing the pearl-grey colour of adult plumage – you can see this on both the upper- and under-wing. Otherwise there is much brown in the wings apart from the black outer primaries. The speckling on the head and neck is also present in many adults from now until February.

Shooting into the sky on dull days requires Photoshop to produce a half-decent shot even when using exposure compensation. Here a Goldfinch has extracted a seed from an Alder cone. Note the red ‘face’ shows a few white flecks: I suspect this means this is a 1st winter bird that is still completing its moult in to adult plumage – I checked all 25 in this flock and none had the juvenile’s plain grey-brown ‘face’.

From here the lower part of the ‘face’ on the same bird looks orange rather than red, which tends to confirm the 1st winter theory. Note the claw firmly grasping the Alder cone.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:24am - 10:03am

(107th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over here
- 296 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls
- 1 Fieldfare

Other notes
Tufted Duck presumably gone to the lake
2 Collared Doves this morning: my first here since 09 September

6 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
48 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
38 (26) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
16 (14) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhen
14 Coots
46 Black-headed Gulls again

At The Flash birds seem to habituate to people moving about, not least because they often get fed! This extends to species that do not directly take part in food scrums. Like yesterday’s Great Crested Grebe here is an unusually bold Grey Heron. Again Photoshop came to the rescue of the awkward contrast that the camera did not get quite right.

(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool: 10:11am - 10:27am

(47th visit of the year)

Now 6 Little Grebes
Resident Swans have chased off the interlopers.
2 all-white feral ducks still here.

The counts
6 Little Grebes
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
31 Canada Geese
13 (9) Mallard
2 feral Mallard-type ducks
59 (27) Tufted Ducks
5 Moorhens
160 Coots again
25 Black-headed Gulls
31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 24 of these on the water

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006
Priorslee Lake1 drake Ruddy Duck
1 Redshank
c.750 Black-headed Gulls
128 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson)