25 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:25

Sunrise: 04:57 BST
7°C > 9°C Medium overcast with a few very light spots of rain. Light N / NNW wind. Good visibility

A rather chilly and cheerless morning

(84th visit of the year)

- just a single cob Swan for much of the time; the cob collected the pen and surviving cygnets just as I was about to leave
- sudden re-appearance of Great Crested Grebes: suspect some were new in as 4 birds, as two pairs, were in the middle of the lake. After an hour or so one of these pairs flew off
- the Lapwing was seen far to the NE: perhaps attempting to breed in the fields there?
- a Kestrel hunting over the SW grass and then perching in the SW copse again
- many of the Coots hiding in the reeds?
- at one point a Swallow alarm-called and all the swifts (>50) and other hirundines climbed high in the sky. I could see no reason for the alarm
- later while I was on the N shore the swifts, mainly, were flying low across the reeds and within inches of me. Their eye-sight must be better than mine as I could not see any flies!
- the party of Barn Swallows took to resting on the concrete boat launching platform, something I have only seen them do before when very windy or raining
- a pair of Swallows flew in from the E: there was a fine male with very long tail-streamers and he was doing a display flight with shallow wing-beats and tail held tight. It looked, momentarily, for all the world like a parakeet sp.
- Goldcrest seen diving in to ivy carrying food, confirming breeding here this year
- the Garden Warbler singing back where it started by the Teece Drive gate this morning

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Lapwing
- 3 Wood Pigeons only
- 17 Jackdaws again
- 38 Rooks again – same # of both species two days running!
- 6 Starlings
- 1 Greenfinch

Hirundine etc. approximate maxima
- >50 Common Swifts
- 3 Sand Martin
- 8 Barn Swallows
- 6 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 7 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 12 (11) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler
- 5 (5) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 16 (13) + 2 (1 brood) Mallard
- 8 (6♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant again
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens again
- 18 + 0 juvenile Coots

One of the apparent ‘extra’ pairs of Great Crested Grebes flying off. This species has a very elongated profile in flight and shows an unexpected amount of white in the wing.

And making another pass before they depart.

This time they were off.

Well it was a long way away and the light not good. 6 Barn Swallows resting on the concrete boat launching platform. It looks like a Sand Martin flying by in the top left.

I did manage to sneak a bit closer without disturbing them but just as I took this shot a dog-walked arrived and that was that for any more shots.

Shooting in to the sky in such dull conditions was never going to reveal too much detail (even with a touch of editing). However the spread of the wings and the use of the small alula feather is well shown in this view of a hovering Kestrel.

And here with wings raised.

It went and perched on this distant tree. If you look behind the Kestrel you can see a Crow approaching. Crows do not like birds of prey ...

 ... as it chases the Kestrel off

A plan view of a passing House Martin. Note the outer tail-feathers are slightly more elongated when spread like this. In normal flight with the tail held more closed-up this gives the slight ‘V-tail’ effect. Top left is a plainer-looking Sand Martin passing.

And for comparison: the side elevation of a passing House Martin.

For comparison a Sand Martin: no white rump and rather brown with just a hint of a pale collar, in practice very hard to discern.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Nedge Hill
2 Ravens mobbing Kestrel.
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
Ringed Plover
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Red Kite

(Ed Wilson)