9 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:00am - 10:15am

-0.5°C > 3.5°C  High cloud spreading across after splendid red sunrise. Calm with increasing moderate S wind. Good visibility.

Notable records this morning, both at the lake, were
Another Woodcock in a different location.
The Cetti's Warbler heard giving alarm call at 07:30: then two short bursts of partial song and immediately flew out of its roost and in to the rank vegetation in the area favoured for the last 3 days. I guess that means the bird is a male.

(141st visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 89 large gulls: none seemed to be Herring Gulls
- 28 Feral Pigeons
- 3 Stock Doves
- 9 Wood Pigeons
- 23 Fieldfare
- 4 Redwings
- 441 Jackdaws
- 24 Rooks

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake (in addition to the over flights)
- 69 Redwings
- 2 Reed Buntings
No Starlings today

The counts from the water
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
13 (8) Mallard
3 (3) Pochard
66 (48) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
16 Moorhens
177 Coots
c.100 Black-headed Gulls
c.1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
>11 Herring Gulls

Other notes
c.1000 gulls were on the lake looking settled at 7:00am: I assume they had roosted. There were a few Herring Gulls (and some Black-headed Gulls) in with them but it was too dark to make any reasonable counts. Birds started leaving c.7:20am and amazingly there was not a single gull on the water at 8:15am. A few dropped in thereafter. The outbound birds were mixing with over flying birds making counts of the latter hard to make.
Unusually high number of Feral Pigeons over with 5 small groups all going in different directions. None seemed to be Racing Pigeons on training runs.
Again the only Pied Wagtail noted was working the dam-top.
>50 Goldfinches attacking the Alder cones near the Castle Farm Way lay-by.
4 fruiting bodies of a small fungus, possibly Laccaria laccata (The Deceiver).
Another small bracket-type fungus on a small dead trunk.

The early dawn did not look too promising ...

Beginning to colour ...

Better and better (note the large number of large gulls from the overnight roost).

And now about the best.

A departing gull against the dawn.

4 small fungus in the frosted grass: possibly Laccaria laccata (The Deceiver).

These fungus were growing on a small dead trunk: they seem likely to be Hedgehog Scaleycap (Phaeomarasmius erinaceus) though the Scottish Fungus web site notes that they have been found in every month of the year – except December! The fungus is a specialist of dead willow, helping the natural cycle of decay. Note that like many species of fungus it has had many other scientific names in the past – the classification of fungus is a minefield.

You like Robins? this one shows a distinct brown wing-bar – tips to the greater coverts. And less obviously slight dark tip to the median and lesser coverts.

This bird has just one brown tip on the greater coverts showing and the lesser coverts seem more extensively black. To what extent this is individual variation and to what extent it depends upon the way the wings were last folded is hard to say.

The same bird in quizzical pose: here the brown tip on the greater coverts is not visible.
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool: 10:24am - 11:26am

 (53rd visit of the year)

2nd Cormorant today.
3 drake Shoveler new
Some of the excess drake Tufted Ducks at the lake need to come here and meet the excess ducks.

Count of birds passing over here
- 2 Redwings

The counts
2 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
2 Swans
2 Canada Geese
13 (8) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
3 (3) Shoveler
59 (22) Tufted Ducks
9 Moorhens
158 Coots
151 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
8 Herring Gulls

Drake Shoveler at Trench, with Swan and a small part of a Cormorant which again shows the white thigh patch.

“where did he do?” the Black-headed Gull looks at where a Tufted Duck was a moment ago.

Charge! Coots are less aggressive at this time of year but can still cause a ruckus.

As sharp as the poor light conditions would allow: this Buzzard scattered all the gulls at Trench.

Someone has sat here before. A Lesser Black-backed Gull surveys the traffic on the A442. The dark marks on the bill suggest this is a 3rd winter bird though the rest of the plumage visible here seems indistinguishable from an adult: perhaps the legs are slightly less yellow?

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2012
Priorslee Lake
1 Little Egret
(Ed Wilson)