7 Apr 16

Priorslee Lake:  07:15 – 09:55

Sunrise: 06:28 BST

4°C > 6°C:. Cloudy with spells of sometimes heavy rain. Moderate / fresh WSW breeze. Moderate visibility

Arrived just as the rain started in earnest and spent most of the time in the shelter. Managed a quick walk around during some lighter rain and when the wind eased. Typically the rain almost stopped just after I decided to leave and not get even wetter walking to The Flash

Best were the two Curlew that flew W at 07:30. Single birds were usually annual on Spring passage but it is some years since I last recorded this declining breeding species over the lake

Otherwise notable for the number of Sand Martins

(56th visit of the year)

Other notes
- strange that while the number of Tufted Ducks was similar to yesterday’s there were many more ducks today
- Great Crested Grebes noted fighting today: seem to be getting territorial and at least 2 pairs probably have nests at least started
- one Lesser Black-backed Gull fly-by was the only gull seen: I had hoped for more gulls brought down by the poor weather
- even in the pouring rain with the strong and decidedly chilly wind the Sky Lark was singing loudly over the fields to the E and clearly audible from around the lake
- total number of Sand Martins hard to judge. At 07:30 32 birds arrived (with 1 Swallow); by 07:50 this number had increased to c.50 with these all apparently moving off W at 08:00. By 08:05 there were 32 (back?) again, but these also moved off W. At 08:10 8 birds arrived and these steadily built in numbers before there were >60 by 08:30. So were these all the same birds? I think not ...
- single Barn Swallows at 07:30 and 08:15. Then 2 together at 09:15
- most strange was to see small groups of Meadow Pipits struggling across the lake through the Sand Martins

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Curlews
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 7 Feral Pigeons (3 parties)
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 20 Jackdaws
- 9 Rooks
- 3 Starlings
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 10 Meadow Pipits
- 1 Goldfinch
- 1 Siskin

Hirundine totals
- >100? Sand Martins (see notes)
- 4 Barn Swallows

Singing warblers around the lake
- 1 Cetti’s Warbler still present
- 8 Chiffchaffs
- 6 Willow Warblers

The counts from the lake area
**best effort in poor conditions ****
- 2 Mute Swans
- 3 (3♂) Mallard
- 25 (13♂) Tufted Ducks
- 8 Great Crested Grebes
- 12 Moorhens
- [Coots not counted]
no gulls

A ‘grab-shot’ in poor conditions of the two passing Curlews.

From time to time the Sand Martins all flew up high in the sky and moved off W: here we see 25 doing just that.

While standing in the shelter there was little other than the Sand Martins to watch and whenever they came close I made some effort, in the rain, to get at least some shots. Here we clearly see the dark breast-band and also the pale collar.

This shows the plain upper side, relieved only by the pale collar.

The underwing coverts and the arm-pits (humerals) are slightly darker than the rest of the plumage. Despite the overall brown tone the belly can appear strikingly white.

We can see the fine bill on this bird as it approaches.

Turning away we see how it does in, spreading the tail as well as twisting the wings.

Probably the best and closest shot: the available light was not quite enough to allow the camera to ‘freeze’ the wing action.

The only passing gull this morning: a near adult Lesser Black-backed Gull – some of the wing feathers have a brownish tinge which a full adult would never show.

This male Pied Wagtail dropped in for a while. Always need to check birds at this time of year for the Continental race / species ‘White Wagtail’. That species usually looks paler and always has a grey rather than black rump. We cannot see the rump here and the only clinching feature here is the flanks: the greyish marks mean it is certainly a Pied Wagtail – a White Wagtail would show clean white flanks.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in .....................
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Snipe
(Ed Wilson, A. Harper)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes
34 Tufted Ducks
1 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
4 Great Crested Grebes
11 Tufted Ducks
12 Sand Martins
1 Swallow
2 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

2 Little Grebes
5 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
1 Heron
15 Tufted Ducks
1 Sky Lark
3 Meadow Pipits
7 Redwings
39 Fieldfare
149 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Pochard
48 Tufted Duck
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
2 Red-legged Partridge
2 Sky Larks
1 Redwing
1 Linnet
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

20+ Sand Martins
3 Swallows
1 House Martin
7 Chiffchaff
2 Blackcap
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake

1 Redshank
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
Common Redstart
(Observer Unknown)

Priorslee lake

3 Great Crested Grebe
1 Pintail x Mallard
11 Tufted Duck
1 Ruddy Duck
2 Buzzard
2 Sand Martin
5 Meadow Pipit
4 Blackcap
8 Chiffchaff
1 Willow Tit
3 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake

6 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
3 Cormorants
4 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
118 Jackdaws
4 Stock Doves
3 Sky Larks
3 Meadow Pipits
19 Robins
27 Blackbirds
1 Redwing
1 Blackcap
7 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warblers
17 Magpies
3 Jays
8 Greenfinches
10 Siskins
5 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)