28 Apr 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:55

Sunrise: 05:42 BST

1°C > 8°C Touch of frost yet again. Some high cloud faded away and clear for a while before puffy clouds after 09:00. Light / moderate WSW wind. Excellent visibility

A few changes as warblers continue to move through the lake. As expected the Wood Warbler seems to have moved on. A Grasshopper Warbler sang(? – reeled) briefly, my second here this year: and what was likely a different Lesser Whitethroat was very mobile around the W and SW area

(64th visit of the year)

Other notes
- Tufted Ducks again rather flighty today
- the Little Grebe was a surprise: I last logged one here on 15 March. This adult-plumaged bird was lurking off the main reed-bed and close to one of the Great Crested Grebe nests. This can be a very secretive species when breeding and it could well be nesting here
- 4 Common Sandpipers at least: for some reason they seem to favouring the dam-face at the moment rather than the SW grass and the boating platforms. Perhaps an effect of the removal of much of the vegetation from the dam. As a result they are harder to keep track of
- 3 Goldcrests were in song this morning: normally I record just 1 or 2
- one of the Sedge Warblers seems to have gone: the other is faithful to a very small area of scrub but refuses to show to have its picture taken – they are not usually very hard
- 4 Reed Buntings seen today. Three males in song: the fourth, which photos show was a well-marked female, rather confused me by flying in to the top of a >50’ tree and looking about. Females are usually in shrubby areas and can be quite secretive

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 6 Feral Pigeons
- 5 Wood Pigeons again
- 5 Rooks
- 1 Greenfinch

Hirundine totals
- >15 Sand Martins again
- 6 Barn Swallows
- 1 House Martin

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 9 (7) Chiffchaffs
- 4 (4) Willow Warbler
- 22 (15) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
- 2 (2) Common Whitethroats yet again
- 1 (1) Grasshopper Warbler
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 4 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 11 (9♂) Mallard again
- 28 (17♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Little Grebe
- 8 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 33 Coots
- 4 Common Sandpipers

This inbound Cormorant was rather odd-looking from this angle. With the head and bill turned it is difficult to see the hook-tip and its looks more dagger-like. Then it seems the bird has already fed this morning and its crop is bulging giving the body and equally unusual look. The long tail more or less immediately rules out any other species.

A day for strange-looking but common birds: this is ‘just’ a Rook but looks very long-tailed from this angle.

Here is the female Reed Bunting sitting atop its 50’ tree. It does look rather odd and I had to check my books to confirm its identity. The confusion would be the very rare Rustic Bunting even though that is more likely on Autumn passage. Looking in detail the bill lacks and pink tones, and the wing bars are yellow rather than white. So it is ‘just’ a Reed Bunting.

Here is the cob Swan patrolling his territory: the pen has been on the nest for almost two weeks though I doubt she has been sitting on eggs all that time as she would not have had time to complete her clutch after the nest was built. As with most birds (owls are an exception) incubation starts only when the clutch is complete so that all the young hatch at more or less the same time.

4 drake and 3 duck Tufted Ducks flying about. It is easy to separate the sexes at this time of year.

2 drake and 1 duck Tufted Duck coming in to land

And another group lands: against the light less easy to sex these birds

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 08:40 – 09:15

(41st visit of the year)

- had a good search in the distance over St. George’s for any Swifts – they nest in the area and often are seen here first: not yet
- after no Blackcaps recorded on the last visit they were in good number today: but then there were more than yesterday at the lake as well
- Reed Bunting singing here again – now around the field at the N end

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines seen here

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 2 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warbler
- 4 (3) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 27 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 13 (10♂) Mallard
- 7 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 15 Coots

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in .....................
Nedge Hill

2 Lesser Whitethroat
10 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
2 Cormorants
2 Swans
5 Greylag Geese
1 Common Sandpiper
8 Swallows
1 Swift
2 Reed Warblers
2 Common Whitethroat
17 Blackcaps
8 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warblers
1 Common Redstart
1 Nuthatch
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
3 Greylag Goose
1 Richardson's / Cackling-type Canada Goose
1 Pochard
11 Tufted Duck
4 Blackcaps
3 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
6 Goosanders
6 Greylag Geese
2 Tufted Duck
6 Goosander
1 Grasshopper Warbler
2 Sedge Warbler
18 Blackcaps
4 Willow Warblers
14 Chiffchaffs
1 Wheatear
1 Swift
House Martin
Sand Martin
1 Sky Lark
1 Yellowhammer
(Ed Wilson, Phil Walters)

Priorslee Flash
4 Greylag Geese
27 Tufted Duck
5 Blackcaps
4 Willow Warblers
3 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
5 Reed Warblers
2 Common Whitethroat
10 Blackcaps
10 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Priorslee Flash
3 Blackcaps
4 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 Sedge Warbler
2 Reed Warbler
2 Common Sandpiper
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill

1 Whinchat
2 Lesser Whitethroat
18+ Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
6 Great Crested Grebes
6 Tufted Ducks
Ruddy Duck
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Lesser Whitethroat
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warblers
2 House Sparrows
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
2 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Duck
1 Kestrel
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Cormorant
1 Stock Dove
3 Sand Martins
10 Swallows
1 Grey Wagtails
5 Sedge Warbler
2 Reed Warblers
7 Blackcaps
1 Garden Warbler
4 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warblers
1 Lesser Whitethroat
3 Reed Buntings
(Martin Adlam)