8 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:02am - 9:40am

1.5°C > 3.5°C  Mainly fine clear and frosty with a few light showers. Light / moderate WNW wind. Very good visibility.

Notable records this morning were:
What I believe to be my largest-ever count of Cormorants when a party of 52 birds flew over (an immature visited the lake much later).
A large count of at least 41 Goosanders at The Flash.

(140th visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- 52 Cormorants
- 2 (2) Goosander
- 164 large gulls: none seemed to be Herring Gulls
- 4 Fieldfare
- 75 Redwings
- 412 Jackdaws
- 12 Rooks
- 4 Starlings

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake (in addition to the over flights)
- 67 Redwings
- 18 Starlings
- 3 Reed Buntings

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
7 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
17 (9) Mallard
6 (5) Pochard
70 (43) Tufted Duck
Heard 1 Water Rail
13 Moorhens
186 Coots
45 Black-headed Gulls
9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
11 Herring Gulls
2 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
Now 7 Great Crested Grebes – and 2 back at The Flash as well.
The only Pied Wagtail noted today was working the dam-top: none seen / heard leaving the roost.
Cetti's Warbler still present (and as skulking as ever).
Starling roost in a different location this morning: only a small number seen leaving.
In addition to the 3 Reed Bunting flying out of the roost there were at least 2 other calling.

A cold clear start.

52 Cormorants: count ‘em! I do not have easy access to my 1980's records for the lake: as far as I recall the highest total I have previously recorded was during the late 1980's when large parties of Cormorants used to visit the lake every morning and herd the fish and have a short feeding frenzy before quickly moving on. From memory the largest number then was 48 birds.

An incoming shower with the cloud lit by the morning sun.

Hey! Spring is on the way. Some vestigial Hazel catkins showing already.

A Grey Wagtail feeding in the Wesley Brook ...

... and tossing leaves about: neither the male nor the female has a black throat in winter plumage. The bright yellow rump causes many people to think they have seen a Yellow Wagtail – a summer migrant that is in Africa and Asia at the moment. Wagtails are named after their back colour, so this is a Grey Wagtail.

A nasty-looking black fungus on one of the fallen trees around the lake. Seems to be Black Jelly Fungus (Exidia glandulosa). New for me!

Makes a change: a Song Thrush with its mouth closed! There are one or two singing briefly at the moment but mostly they are too busy searching for food during these short days. Super breast markings – you can convince yourself they are heart-shaped: ahhh.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:43am - 10:25am

(116th visit of the year)

Today’s counts overhead here:
- just 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

The counts from the water:
1 Little Grebe
2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
34 Canada Goose
1 all-white feral goose
36 (27) Mallard again
1 all-white feral duck
51 (30) Tufted Ducks
41 (8) Goosander
5 Moorhens
14 Coots
54 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Herring Gull

Great Crested Grebes back again.
29 of the Canada Geese flew in.
Amazing sight of 41 Goosanders taking off and flying away: the highest count here this year.

Some of the 41 Goosanders leaving The Flash. 6 here are drakes – the white on the wing is much more extensive. And what red feet they have. The bird in front has much more orange feet: whether female and immature ‘brownheads’ can be separated on leg colour is not tackled in any of my reference books. 

You can see (bits of) 38 Goosanders in this shot.

And here two brownheads come around for another pass. The bird on the left looks like an immature with slightly more extensive white on the throat, more subdued plumage and duller legs, suggesting that females and immatures CAN be separated on leg colour.

As some go others come: 3 Canada Geese about to touch down.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
Black-necked Grebe
Yellow-legged Gull
Black-necked Grebe - Photograph Courtesy of Richard Vernon
(Ed Wilson)