15 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:00am - 10:01am

4.0°C > 6.5°C  Broken cloud clearing somewhat. Light, occasionally moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility.

Another rather quiet morning.

(147th visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- 52 Canada Geese
- 4 (4) Goosanders
- 26 Black-headed Gulls
- 63 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 44 Fieldfare
- 6 Redwings
- >750 Jackdaws
- 13 Rooks
- 3 Ravens

Birds leaving roosts around the lake
86 Redwings
>33 Magpies

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
13 (9) Mallard
3 (3) Pochard
59 (36) Tufted Duck
15 Moorhens
182 Coots
c.100 Black-headed Gulls
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull

Other notes
Geese less distant today and all ID'd as Canada Geese.
Coots have now taken to mowing the grass in front of the shelter: first record this winter of any significant number on the grass here.
Very few gulls around today, especially large gulls.
Rather unseasonal Meadow Pipit fly-over: perhaps a bird returning to the hills after the snow has melted.
6 additional Redwings in trees around the lake later.
Cetti's Warbler still present: went in to the wet scrub on the old Celestica site today.
After yesterday’s comment about Siskins being scarce a female was in trees at W end today.
Yet another species of fungus: a bracket fungus today which is less surprising.

This morning’s sunrise.

And in close up.

Always a tricky species to photograph: a Treecreeper ascends a tree. Needed some retouching to get it even this acceptable!

On this 1st winter Great Crested Grebe we can see both remnant head-stripes from its juvenile days and also the beginnings of breeding plumage with a hint of plumes on the crown and a thickening where the neck plumes will form. The bill too is beginning to change to pink.

A typical bracket fungus: these tend to be more long-lasting than terrestrial fungus. This is likely Daedaleopsis confragosa which is sometimes tinged mauve but more often brown. The pale form seen here is more common willow – I did not ID the stem, but as it was dead I would likely have been unable to anyway.

Makes a change from eating buds: this male Bullfinch seems to be eating blackberry fruits that failed to develop before the onset of winter and are just hard lumps.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash: 10:04am - 10:53am

(121st visit of the year)

Today’s counts overhead here:
- 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 3 Fieldfare

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
4 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
37 (27) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
2 (1) Pochard
31 (14) Tufted Ducks
32 (7) Goosander
9 Moorhens
16 Coots
72 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

One of the 4 Canada Geese was wearing a BTO ring: likely the bird ringed at the lake in 2012 (though ring not read).
Drake Pochard new in: at opposite end of water to the duck.
Many more drake Goosander today, but rather fewer brownheads.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 11:01am - 11:51am

(56th visit of the year)

Drake Pochard new in.

Rather low gull numbers here as well with no movement in or out.

The counts
4 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
26 Canada Geese
5 (4) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
1 (1) Pochard
36 (17) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhens
172 Coots
56 Black-headed Gulls
11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
6 Herring Gulls

Not quite asleep, with one beady eye keeping watch. A duck Pochard has most attractive markings when seen this clearly.

This is somewhat unusual I think. This 1st winter Black-headed Gull is right in under overhanging willows. I suspect it may be trying for an opportunistic meal, hoping to steal from the Great Crested Grebe.

Another ‘feeding frenzy’: note how the Black-headed Gulls use their legs as counterbalance as they manoeuvre around.

Yes more Goosanders: a particularly pleasing group.

Here are two Little Grebes together (with a Coot): the back bird shows partial breeding plumage with yellow in the gape and rufous tones on the head. The nearer bird is likely a 1st winter bird as it shows almost no pale around the gape.

Here is the 1st winter bird in close-up.

This looks like a picture you could use for a speech-bubble competition: the thoughts of the frowning duck Tufted Duck and rather puzzled-looking Black-headed Gull.

A 2nd winter Herring Gull about to take a bath.


(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
Black necked Grebe
2 adult Yellow legged Gulls
(John Isherwood)