5 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake:  2:25pm - 4:35pm

5.5°C > 4.5°C  Some showers but mainly clear; light N wind; good visibility

An unusual evening visit mainly to check the gulls on the water on what is traditionally the busiest day of the week for these birds: not today!

(137th visit of the year)

Evening counts over the lake
- >3000 large gulls
- 11 Pied Wagtails
- 5 Redwings
- 562 Jackdaws
- 26 Rooks
- 5 Starlings

Birds seen coming to roost around the lake (in addition to the over flights)
- 7 Redwings
- >30 Starlings

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
21 (12) Mallard
2 (1) Shoveler
5 (4) Pochard
57 (34) Tufted Duck
24 Moorhens
173 Coots
77 Black-headed Gulls
84 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
22 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull

Little Grebe found in different location to previously.
13 of the Mallard flew off E after sunset, presumably to roost elsewhere.
Pair of Shoveler new in.
A lower number of Tufted Duck is normal in the evenings: some birds fly out to loaf at The Flash.
Disappointing number of gulls on the water and almost no new arrivals: all gone by 16:00.
Many, many skeins of large gulls flying E and >100 birds still overhead when I left when it was almost dark.
The Pied Wagtails were mainly flying W, but 2 at least flew SE towards the M-way service area.
The exact number of roosting Starlings hard to gauge as birds arrived in dribs and drabs, flew around awhile and then settled. As others arrived some (all?) of these seemed to fly up and join them until they all settled once more. That was repeated a number of times. At least 30, perhaps as many as 50 birds.

(Ed Wilson)

Also: 3:05pm - 3:15pm
1st-winter Caspian Gull from 15:05 to 15:15 then flew west. (Via BirdGuides)


Trench Lock Pool: 8:10am - 8:25am // 9:05am - 9:40am

3.5°C > 4.5°C:  Rain cleared for a while; then a shower before clearing again. Moderate N wind. Very good visibility.

With the car in for fettling no early visit to the lake and a different order of visits.

Today’s best were
- a drake Goosander at Trench Lock.
- a Little Grebe at The Flash.

(51st visit of the year)

Other notes
Just 3 Great Crested Grebes but as the 3rd only emerged just as I was leaving and perhaps the 4th was still lurking somewhere.
The Long-tailed Duck again not located: is it still here?
Any roosting gulls had left before I arrived and very few had arrived for a wash and loaf around before I left.
7 Redwings over: my first of the year at this site.

The counts
3 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
10 Canada Geese
13 (8) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
38 (17) Tufted Ducks
1 Water Rail
11 Moorhens
166 Coots
34 Black-headed Gulls
8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
4 Herring Gulls

Earlier this week the Cormorant plumage was showing sign of Spring: now we see that Autumn has yet to finish.

After a wash a 1st winter Herring Gull flaps to get rid of excess water ...

 ... and then tries unsuccessfully to land on the barrel which rotates under its weight ...

 ... and then tries pecking the barrel – in frustration? As I have noted before it almost always Herring Gulls that peck at (and, of the large gulls sit on) buoys. This action has been explained as immatures being conditioned to peck at the red spot on the adults’ bill to get them to regurgitate food: that might explain pecking the red-tinged buoys at Priorslee Lake but does not apply here

The drake Goosander looks as if it could use a handkerchief!

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 8:30am - 9:00am

(25th visit of the year)

3 adult Swans were the usual trio: Blue 7FTX and 7HSZ and Orange 00C.
An early arrival before the dog-walkers started found an exceptional number of Moorhens, some even raiding the litter bins.
Kingfisher here.

The counts
1 Great Crested Grebe
3 Swans
17 Canada Geese
30 (16) Mallard
5 feral Mallard-type ducks
6 (2) Tufted Ducks
20 Moorhen
13 Coots
8 Black-headed Gulls
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over.

In the calm of the early morning before the dog-walkers are about the normally unobtrusive Moorhens are active by the popular feeding area at Middle Pool.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 10:04am - 10:43am

(114th visit of the year)

Today’s counts over here:
- 134 large gulls over as I arrived: seemed to have been flushed from the lake and as a result were directly overhead and harder to specifically identify – most (all?) Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Other notes
Great Crested Grebes still AWOL.
No obvious reason for the increase in Mallard numbers.
Kingfisher again.

1 Little Grebe
2 Swans
3 Canada Goose
1 all-white feral goose
54 (38) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
73 (42) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhens
17 Coots
73 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Herring Gull

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
Woodcock flushed from small copse alongside footpath at W end of the lake.
- c.2700 gulls apparently roosted. With c.1500 Black-headed and c.1200 large gulls
(Ed Wilson)