9 Apr 16

Priorslee Lake:

Morning Report: 07:15 – 09:25 [with Woodhouse Lane]

Sunrise: 06:23 BST

1°C > 7°C Clear for a while after overnight rain clearing to E. Puffy clouds later. Light W wind, dropping calm. Very good visibility

Lots and lots of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers today with singing birds, calling birds, silent birds and birds chasing each other: all making accurate numbers impossible. But likely my best-ever single day

In contrast just the one Blackcap so far

(58th visit of the year)

Other notes
- the Tufted Duck back again after their absence during the middle of the day yesterday: and some of them flew in while I was away in Woodhouse Lane (numbers at The Flash were well-down so it seems most likely that they went there when disturbed yesterday)
- in contrast I struggled to find rather few Great Crested Grebes
- the male Willow Tit did a complete circuit while I was present: it was near the yacht club HQ when I arrived; moved all the way along the S side and then across the M54 before re-appearing by the sluice exit across Castle Farm Way; and then moved W along the N side and was then back near the yacht club HQ when I left

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Canada Geese (1 group)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 18 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws
- 5 Rooks
- 1 Greenfinch
- 3 Goldfinches
- 1 Siskin

Hirundine totals
- none

Singing warblers around the lake (see proviso on introduction)
- 1 Cetti’s Warbler again
- 10 Chiffchaffs
- 7 Willow Warbler

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 3 (3♂) Mallard
- 34 (20♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 17 Moorhens
- 49 Coots

This Coot display seems to be used both as a threat and, as here, as part of a bonding display.

Two drake Mallard preening away: these seem to be unpaired birds and are perhaps sprucing up for another attempt to woo a duck. Rather unlikely here as there are always about twice as many drakes as ducks.

A lot of empty branches photographed this morning. But at last nailed a Willow Warbler. With the head turned away most of the ID features are not obvious but the pinkish legs are unlikely, but not impossible, in Chiffchaff. I was lucky – I could hear the bird singing so no doubt.

This male Great Spotted Woodpecker is in the process of drumming on the dead snag. Appears to have its eyes closed while drumming away.

(Ed Wilson)

Early Morning Sighting:  06:15

2 Shelduck flew out south at 06:30

(John Isherwood)


Woodhouse Lane: 07:50 – 08:35

A rather more extended walk along the lane manage to nail a couple of Yellowhammers, apparently both males though neither was singing

The notes
- 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming
- 3 Skylarks
- 5 Song Thrushes singing
- 4 Chiffchaffs, with 2 singing
- 1 Willow Warbler not singing
- 1 Meadow Pipit: this bird was briefly on top of a small tree before flying off: I sometimes see Meadow Pipits on passage do this, but only ever in Spring. Otherwise a pipit on a tree would likely be a Tree Pipit
- 2 Yellowhammers as noted
- 1 male Reed Bunting yet again

In Woodhouse Lane I found two Yellowhammers. They both looked like males – this one certainly is – but neither was singing.

And the other way round. Can’t do much about the shadow of the branches across its chest.

A Song Thrush in full flow.

And here it is starring as the first of this year’s “what I had for breakfast” photos.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 09:35 – 10:00

(37th visit of the year)

- the pen Swan likely inside the island, on a nest
- as commented above, most of the Tufted Ducks seem to have gone back to the lake
- what seems to be the same immature Cormorant on the island: then an adult flew in to join it – a different bird from that seen at the lake
- amazing count of singing Willow Warblers: likely more birds around and not singing

Birds noted flying over

Singing warblers around the water (see proviso on introduction)
- 6 Chiffchaffs
- 10 Willow Warblers
- 1 Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 1+ Mute Swan
- 26 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 14 (11♂) Mallard
- 11 (6♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 17 Coots

An adult Cormorant does its ‘wings hanging out to dry’ bit. It has already lost the head plumes (and, though we cannot be sure here, the white thigh patch) though it still the white chin and bright yellow bare skin.

All the unkempt areas around Priorslee are awash with Lesser Celandine (now Ficaria verna) but this is the only specimen that I have found actually alongside the lake or The Flash.

A close-up of two of the flowers. This plant used to be in the genus Ranunculus – the same as buttercup – but has been reclassified.

(Ed Wilson)


Devil's Dingle: 08:15

1 male Common Redstart singing
1 Oystercatcher
4 Teal

(John Isherwood)


Nedge Hill: 07:00

Nothing of note

(John Isherwood)

On this day in .....................
Priorslee Lake

4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
12 Tufted Duck
3 Swallows
7 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warblers
133 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cackling-type Goose
29 Tufted Ducks
5 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
1 Sky Lark
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Blackcap
2 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Middle Pool
4 Great Crested Grebes
22 Tufted Ducks
2 Blackcaps
2 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
5 Tufted Ducks
Little Ringed Plover
8 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Tit
3 Redwings
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Greylag Goose
1 Cackling Goose
73 Tufted Duck
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Long Lane, Wellington
6 Redshank
18 Teal
(Martin Grant)

Nedge Hill

Ring Ouzel
4 Common Redstart
7 Wheatear
(John Isherwood,Ed Wilson)

The Wrekin
3 Pied Flycatchers
2 Common Redstarts
1 Tree Pipit
(JW Reeves)

Priorslee lake

4 Tufted Duck
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Sand Martin
1 Skylark
1 Meadow Pipit
4 Blackcap
2 Willow Warbler
9 Chiffchaff
1 Willow Tit
3 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Village
1 Swallow
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake

5 Great Crested Grebes
3 Herons
1 Cormorant
7 Tufted Ducks
1 Ruddy Duck
259 Jackdaw
4 Stock Doves
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
13 Meadow Pipits
21 Wrens
18 Robins
22 Blackbirds
1 Redwing
3 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warblers
4 Jays
6 Greenfinches
2 Siskin
6 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)