28 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:25

Sunrise: 04:54 BST

10°C > 12°C Cloud at many levels with a few spits of rain early. Some breaks developed later. Light E wind. Moderate visibility and rather hazy

So much for the fine and dry holiday weekend we were promised. It was raining as I left home. The rain soon eased but the rather chilly conditions seemed to stop much in the way of song

(87th visit of the year)

Best this morning was the probable Curlew which flew through my binoculars as I was following the Tufted Ducks that were flying around. It seemed to be leaving the dam area which was at the other end of the lake from me and I only had a split second view before I was blocked by trees. It did not call. A strange date: birds should be on territory by now and failed breeders probably have time to try again – I reckon June 15 as about the first date for returning birds

There is just the possibility that it could have been a Whimbrel but I think not. In the brief view the bill seemed curved rather than kinked down. And Whimbrel are usually very noisy calling as they fly

Other notes
- some of the Jackdaws and Rooks were in small groups of 3 / 4 suggesting family parties on feeding forays
- one of the Swallows was seen heading off E over the fields – normally the birds at the lake come from the area of Priorslee Village to the W. That said, while I was in Woodhouse Lane yesterday perhaps the same birds flew E over head
- the Cetti’s Warbler sang from the NW area again, but then worked all the way along the N side to the far NE corner. Perhaps it has given up trying to attract a mate and goes off looking for one?


Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 6 Herring Gulls as well
- 10 Feral Pigeons (4 groups)
- 5 Wood Pigeons
- 41 Jackdaws
- 73 Rooks

Hirundine etc. approximate maxima
- >25 Common Swifts again
- 3 Barn Swallow
- 6 House Martins

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 11 (9♂) + 2 (1 brood) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 4 Great Crested Grebes only
- 3 Moorhens
- 15 + 1 juvenile Coots
- 1 Curlew (see above)

This is a Herring Gull – not that you can ID it from this shot. But it illustrates that at least non-breeding birds are well in to wing moult. Normally there are 10 primary feathers: this bird shows just 6 on the left wing; and perhaps 7 or 8 – hard to see – on the right wing.

This is worrying: checking the literature it appears to be an Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula). Checking my records from previous years I suspect I mis-identified it as Early March Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata). I do find them confusing! May be easier when the spike is more open and there are more spikes to check.

First chance I have had to get close to a Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus) without getting my feet wet!

Deep throat (if you are under 50 you may not understand ...)

A bank of Ramsons (Allium ursinium) growing alongside the Wesley Brook.

Closer-up showing the flower-heads now open.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:55 – 07:15

(52nd visit of the year)

- just Canada Geese present today
- no sign of either Great Crested Grebe this morning
- a lone House Martin was the only hirundines etc. seen

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 House Martin

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 6 Mute Swans
- 27 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 23 (17♂) Mallard
- 2 Moorhens
- 14 Coots

A Blackbird of course but still not entirely sure why it looks like this. White patches (albinism) are quite common in Blackbird plumage but here the feathering appears to be absent and it is the skin that is white. Note the exposed ear – birds’ ears are not where you expect!

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

2 Ruddy Ducks
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake

(Martin Adlam)