10 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake:

Evening Update:

2 cy Caspian Gull in  pre-roost, plus 4 Yellow-legged Gulls (3ads & 3w), an adult hybrid Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull and the poor man's Ivory Gull a pure white leucistic Lesser Black-backed Gull. Photo Here

(Tom Lowe)

Morning Report: 7:01am - 10:00am

4.0°C > 6.0°C  Clear with fresh / strong WSW wind to start: wind dropped moderate and veered W: some cloud later. Good visibility but a rather watery sun.

No notable records this morning.

(142nd visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- 2 Cormorants
- 1(1) Goosander
- 16 Black-headed Gulls
- c.750 large gulls: none noted as Herring Gulls but many too distant to specifically identify.
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 81 Wood Pigeons
- 18 Fieldfare
- 18 Redwings as well
- 663 Jackdaws
- 7 Rooks

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake (in addition to the over flights)
- 4 Redwings
- 38 Magpies
Low Redwing count: I have been unable to find anywhere to accurately count these birds as they leave their roost without flushing many of them. From now on I will normally do just a once-a-week check.

The counts from the water
3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
9 (4) Mallard
6 (6) Pochard
82 (45) Tufted Duck
Water Rail heard only
12 Moorhens
170 Coots
68 Black-headed Gulls
83 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
9 Herring Gulls

Other notes
Just 60 Lesser Black-backed Gulls seemed to have roosted.
Most of the over flying gulls passed before 8:00am.
>100 Wood Pigeons flew up from the fields to the E of Castle Farm Way – taking no notice of the bird-scarer of course.
Very low numbers of passerines logged in windy conditions – just 4 Robins in the book whereas c.20 would be normal.
Cetti's Warbler not heard today but conditions far from ideal.
I now think that yesterday’s unidentified fungus is likely Hedgehog Scaleycap (Phaeomarasmius erinaceus).

Here is a Black-headed Gull mostly unusually for the date showing a full dark hood. If you zoom in it even shows the white ‘eye-lids’.

A fine pair of Moorhens on rather scummy water. I suppose strictly “two Moorhens” as it is not possible to determine their sexual proclivities.

I struggled mightily to get a decent shot of the Jay rooting about in the grass ....

... and then he hopped out and posed for me – sadly with the distracting background of the new school ....

... and then came even closer to have a another root about.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 10:03am - 11:01am

(117th visit of the year)

Today’s counts overhead here:
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 32 Redwings

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
21 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
46 (37) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
1 (0) Pochard
33 (18) Tufted Ducks
16 (1) Goosander
3 Moorhens
19 Coots
23 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Now 4 Great Crested Grebes here – fewer at the lake of course.
Pochard a new arrival.
The drake Goosander flew off leaving all the brownheads still on the water.

When I look closely at this group of 6 brownhead Goosanders they are not what I expected. In the field I had assumed that the birds with the paler head were the immatures but they appear to show a fuller crest. While that may be ‘mood’ related, they all have dark tips to the bills and dark eyes which suggests adults. Note the bird on the right has more extensive dark on the bill and a much darker head – it may be this is an immature beginning to acquire the dark green head of the adult drake. I am wondering whether the explanation is that at this date the transition from immature to adult plumage is sufficiently well advanced that separation is unreliable / impossible.

Here I think we see a ‘real’ immature: the right bird shows some white between the eye and the bill and the demarcation on the neck is a bit blurred. The eye looks paler too.

How do they do that? A Grey Heron stands on one foot. More to the point why do they do it?

And when it flew off it did so without putting the other foot out.
And now we see why – it has lost its right foot.

This Carrion Crow does not have a eye problem: here the camera has caught the bird with its nictating membrane closed – this is a translucent third eye-lid that moves horizontally across the eye. It may be it helps protect the eye when the bird is rooting about in dead carcasses – it is a carrion-eater after all. 

Here the eyes look quite normal even if the bird is somewhat wind-swept.

This is actually a different bird: it well illustrates the feathering at the base of the bill: remember that Rooks have bare skin here and more conical bill that they use for getting at their favourite food – leather jackets (Crane fly Larvae) in the grass. Crows eat anything, not just dead flesh and have a more general purpose bill with a bit of a hook for ripping things.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
Black-necked Grebe
Adult Yellow-legged Gull
Adult Little Gull
(Jason / Ed Wilson)