8 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:07am - 9:17am

3.5°C > 6.5°C:  Rapidly clouding after a red-sky start. Rain by 9:20am. Light SSE wind increasing moderate. Good visibility.

Highlight today were Goosander: 7, all brownheads, flushed off the lake when they were apparently spooked by the Starlings bursting out of their roost in the reeds. Later 6, including a splendid drake, were at The Flash.

Otherwise rather quiet, especially at The Flash where the all-white feral Goose was the only goose present – in the summer at least some of the Canada Geese seemed to be non-flying birds, at least 1 seemed to have a broken wing. Yet here they were all gone! Perhaps a reaction to the fireworks last night.

(129th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over the lake
- 135 large gulls: again all those seen well-enough to ID were Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
- 65 Wood Pigeons.
- 1 Meadow Pipit.
- 7 Pied Wagtails.
- 273 Fieldfares (with 10 more in trees around the lake).
- 11 Redwings (with 19 more in trees around the lake).
- c.580 Starlings (c.520 of these burst out of roosts in the reeds).
- c.600 Jackdaws.
- 21 Rooks.
Apart from the obvious migrant parties of Wood Pigeons another 147 were counted flying low W, either singly or in open groups of up to 10 birds. Some of these were probably also on the move.
The Fieldfare were flying E / SE again.

Other notes
5 Canada Geese flew E (outbound): presumably the same 5 returned W a few minutes later.
Rather too dark to sex all the Tufted Duck this morning.
2 Water Rails calling this morning
20 of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls again either roosted or arrived very early: they had gone by 6:15am.
Visited the usual Redwing roost area pre-dawn: none heard or seen. Later however Blackbirds, Song Thrush and Redwings all feeding in these hawthorns.
A strange-looking fungus found on a wooden post along Teece Drive: id a mystery.

Counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
5 Canada Geese over
8 (4) Mallard
2 (2) Pochard
112 (?) Tufted Duck
7 (0) Goosanders
2 Water Rails
7 Moorhen
153 Coots
c.340 Black-headed Gulls
c.75 Lesser Black-backed Gulls counted on the water (in addition to the passage birds).
5 Herring Gulls on the water.

Not again: another “red sky in the morning” .. ahead of an often wet day.

“always put something interesting in the foreground” the “How to ...” photo manuals tell you. Well not always: here the Swans almost detract from the main subject – the red sunrise.

So, just the red sky and nothing much else: just as it was about to fade.

These fungus were growing out of the top of a wooden marker posts delineating the old car park entrance from the footpath alongside Teece Drive. I cannot come up with any possible identity from the limited literature I have. I did not notice the small fly when I took the shot. Is it eating the fungus? A web site for many fungus photos is Here, but there seems to be no ‘key’ to limit the search unless you are already a mycologist and know about families!

Close-up there are several species of moss and lichen also growing on the same post.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:20am - 9:52am

(108th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over here
- 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 3 Redwings

Other notes
Swan rings read: confirmed as cob Yellow 52F; pen Blue 7FXE (though it is rather battered and hard to read).
My first-ever visit with no geese present (ignoring the all-white feral bird).
Unusually a party of 17 Mallard arrived from ? and flew around before landing: gave me my largest count of the year for this species here.
Tufted Duck still mostly away.
Kingfisher seen again.

4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
1 all-white feral goose
57 (37) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
13 (7) Tufted Ducks
6 (1) Goosanders
3 Moorhen
14 Coots
41 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

A drake and two of the brownhead Goosanders at The Flash. Note the hooked tip to the bills.

Here are all six together. On the brownheads the dark brown heads are relieved only with a cleanly marked white chin-patch and there is a sharp demarcation between the neck and breast suggesting that these are adult females. However the last brownhead in the line seems to lack a shaggy crest, the chin-patch is less extensive and the bill lacks the hook. So, despite the clear neck pattern I would think this is a juvenile.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006
Priorslee Lake
c.587 Black-headed Gulls
938 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson)