9 Nov 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:16am - 9:23am

2.0°C > 4.5°C: At Priorslee very foggy, clearing only slightly: light S wind and bad / poor visibility. At Trench sunny and clear with very good visibility away from the fog bank to the S.

Best today, all at the lake, were
- the very unexpected female Blackcap (I assume 1st year males would show some black on the cap by now).
- a Water Rail seen taking a brief flight to get around me – perhaps the first I have ever seen fly!
- 2 brownhead Goosanders right by the launching jetty.

(130th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over the lake in very poor visibility.
- 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 9 Pied Wagtails
- 39 Starlings
- c.100 Jackdaws
- 1 Linnet
- 1 Redpoll

Other notes
In addition to the flying Water Rail two more were heard in the same area of swampy vegetation they have been in for some days – their old haunt of the banks of the Wesley Brook near the footbridge seem rather overgrown at the moment.
In the trees around the lake were 2 Fieldfare and 33 Redwings.
Goldcrests still very evident: 2 different ‘pairs’ of birds were seen in dispute, as well as several single birds.
Leaving just one area of reeds were at least 750 Starlings: they left in 8 separate groups of c.100 birds. Oddly this was some 10 minutes after several small groups had already passed over. One of the groups ‘lost its nerve’ after a few 100 yards and returned to the reeds: how the birds avoided colliding with the next group that was already leaving is quite beyond me but there were no floating bodies on the lake.
1 moth on the street-lamps

The counts from the water were limited by the poor visibility. Counts were taken from the edges and run the risk of over-lap and under-lap as birds move about: and the centre of the water was not visible from any point at all. With that limitation I was pleased to log:
2 Little Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Mallard
1 (1) Pochard
74 (57) Tufted Duck
2 (0) Goosanders
3 Water Rails
7 Moorhen
? Coots (not counted)
c.60 Black-headed Gulls
16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

There is always a silver-lining: the mist / fog can be used for atmospheric effects with these reeds reflected perfectly and without any distracting background.

This is a second brood Grey Pine Carpet (and a midge). Not exactly a stunning shot: the low light-level required ‘flash’ and this just accentuates the mist and then dissipates the light. Rather a strange-looking wing outline on the right wing with an apparent slight convex shape but this seems to be an effect of the resting posture as it is not evident on the left wing. Slightly smaller than and of the November Moth complex and the bar across the wing would never be so strong as shown here. It is just a pity that the markings are not clearer. My first record at this site of this common and widely distributed moth, though it does require conifers for breeding.

The current crop of sun-spots was revealed as the sun tried to break through the mist – usual message: NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.

The sun was trying ... but failed here.

Slightly misty but still a good shot of a Great Spotted Woodpecker peering at me ... 

... so it is a male as the red nape demonstrates.

(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool: 9:32am - 9:56am

(48th visit of the year)

Just 2 Little Grebes today.
1 Cormorant arrived: my first here since mid-August.
2 all-white feral ducks still here – I suspect they are non-flyers and will be here for some while.
Strange sexual imbalance in Tufted Duck – usually more drakes than ducks. Even if some of the ‘non-drakes’ are first-winter birds yet to acquire enough white on the flanks for me to count them as drakes it still seems the place to come to pick up girls! Meanwhile the girls should go to the lake to find all the men.

The counts
2 Little Grebes
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Swans
2 Canada Geese
15 (9) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
78 (29) Tufted Ducks
14 Moorhens
158 Coots
31 Black-headed Gulls
6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
2 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull
(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006
Priorslee Lake
>950 Black-headed Gulls
 >1204 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson)