23 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:20

Sunrise: 05:00 BST

9°C > 13°C Low cloud breaking; then puffy clouds. Moderate NW wind. Very good visibility

Things beginning to quieten down with migration more or less complete and birds too busy raising families to sing quite so much

That said a Sedge Warbler was new in at the lake: whether this was a late migrant or a bird that had failed to find a mate elsewhere and trying somewhere else is hard to say

(82nd visit of the year)

Saturday night’s rain had done some damage particularly where the Wesley Brook had clearly over-topped the footbridge and flattened a lot of the vegetation. It has also made the whole area very wet – Wellies again.

Other notes
- the 2 Mallard ducklings have survived the weekend’s yachting and boating
- 1 male Sparrowhawk seen circling to the S carrying prey
- Little Grebe heard again, but had moved along the shore a bit
- 2 broods of Coots: brood #1 = 3; brood #3 = 1; no sign of brood #2 but many birds sheltering in reeds
- one Lesser Black-backed Gull peeled off from an over-flying group and briefly landed on the water
- most of the time there were about a dozen Common Swifts but at the same time as a party of 7 gulls went through the swift numbers suddenly temporarily jumped to >40. I am sure this was co-incidence
- a group of 4 Bullfinches seems likely to have been a family party: they were against the light and I could get no markings on them. An early date I would have thought: seed-eaters are typically later breeders than insectivorous birds
- one or more Linnets heard in flight while I was on the dam: unable to locate. An unusual date for the location – in Woodhouse Lane: yes; over the lake: no

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1♂ Sparrowhawk
- 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 5 Wood Pigeons
- 3 Jackdaws
- 19 Rooks
- 1+ Linnets

Hirundine etc. approximate maxima
- >40 Common Swifts
- 1 Sand Martin
- 2 Barn Swallows
- 8 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 6 (6) Chiffchaffs
- 16 (13) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler
- 1 (1) Common Whitethroat#
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 6 (5) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 11 (8) + 2 (1 brood) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Little Grebe heard as usual
- 5 Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 Moorhens
- 18 + 4 juveniles (2 broods) Coots
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Many of the Jackdaws and Rooks passing overhead are carrying food. This can make distant birds hard to separate as the ‘pointed bill’ look of Rook is often not apparent. An alternative approach is to look at the wings because most Rooks have now begun their post-breeding moult and, as we can see here, there is a ‘gap’ where the inner primaries and / or outer secondaries have been dropped. This feature, where present, can be seen at long range and is not present in any of the Jackdaws as yet.

A female Reed Bunting. Although somewhat ‘blown-out’ the white outer tail-feathers of this species can be seen. The female, as we see, lacks the black head of the male.

Here we see the grey nape as well.

With its long-antennae this looks superficially like a caddis-fly sp. But the legs are short and lack the obvious and characteristic ‘spurs’ that would aid identification. This is in fact an Alder Fly, probably Sialis lutaria.

This is one of the ‘stretch spiders’, likely the Common Stretch-spider (Tetragnatha extensa). Note the two rows of eyes.

A ‘woolly bear’ type caterpillar, showing what is politely referred to as ‘frass’ at the left end. It is covered with hairs that promote an itching response so that these caterpillars are safe from most predators – not Cuckoos who seem impervious to the irritation. Note that there seems to be ‘tuft’ at both ends of the body.

On the basis of the position of the ‘frass’ this must be the business end. I am open to correction but I think this will turn in to a Drinker moth though I have never recorded this common species moth at the lake.

(Ed Wilson)

The Flash: 09:25 – 10:00

(49th visit of the year)
Time for a more gentle explore around this morning. It failed to turn up anything of real import

- although there were Common Swifts over the lake area I failed to find any in the distance over St Georges where they were traditionally flying around the church area
- although not noted over the lake when I was leaving the calls of the local House Martins over the estate seemed to include juveniles – rather early?

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 3 Common Swifts
- 3 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 1 (1) Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 + 6 Mute Swans
- 10 Greylag Geese
- 39 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 19 (15♂) Mallard
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 10 Coots

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Mink seen by locals
(Ed Wilson)