9 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:20

: 05:21 BST
15°C > 17°C Mainly high cloud with medium cloud from E / NE at times. Moderate E wind. Good visibility

(72nd visit of the year)

- first brood of Mallard this morning
- two Little Grebes heard calling from the reeds this morning
- just 4 Great Crested Grebes seen: two of these seemed to be a non-breeding pair; the other two might have partners on nests, but one pair seemed to be missing
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls logged as from the lake area: in practice none of the these individuals actually landed on the water, each staying a few inches over the water before moving on
- Reed Warblers rather quiet this morning. Three seen chasing around N-side reed bed, but only one of these singing. The bird singing from blackberry scrub along the S side again
- male Orange-tip butterfly: my first of the year here

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 (3♂) Mallard
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls
- 3 Wood Pigeons again
- 1 Collared Dove
- 1 Jackdaw
- 1 Rook

Hirundine etc. totals
- 13 Common Swifts
- 2 Barn Swallows again

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 16 (12) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Garden Warblers
- 1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
- 3 (3) Common Whitethroats
- 6 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 10 (7♂) + 5 (1 brood) Mallard with ducklings
- 2 Little Grebes heard
- 4 Great Crested Grebes only
- 3 Moorhens only
- 23 Coots again
- 2 Common Sandpipers
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

(Ed Wilson)
Mum Mallard with her five ducklings: these look several days old though not seen before.

One of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls that almost landed on the water: we can tell it is an immature bird by the rather blotchy wings and, more easily, by the dark band at the tail-tip.

Meanwhile this Lesser Black-backed Gull looks more like an adult with a clean white tail and yellow legs. But to my eyes there is some brown tones in the wing and there are no white ‘mirrors’ in the primaries which suggests it is perhaps a third summer bird. This one touched down-enough to have a quick drink.

This one was not stopping: a classic 1st summer Lesser Black-backed Gull flying over.

This was a surprise: two for the price of one! I was panning the Sparrowhawk – the upper bird – when a Buzzard flew the other way (out of focus because it was closer). The Buzzard helps to give scale to the Sparrowhawk that, on size, is clearly a female. In fact if we zoom in we can see the breast is barred - the smaller male would show a rufous wash and very faint barring on the breast.

These two Jays seemed to be having some sort of dispute, the top bird with its crest raised and both displaying the blue and black panel in their wings rather more prominently than usual.

 it has put its crest down now.

This view of Common Whitethroat shows both the wing markings and the white-throat to good effect. Note the slight curve on the upper mandible.
Here is a male Garden Warbler. As previously noted the lack of features is one of the ways to identify this bird. The neck side is rather grey and that certainly helps. What does not help on this view is that we cannot really be sure that the bill is stouter than a Blackcap. And is that a hint of brown on the fore crown that means it is a female Blackcap. Well I can’t really explain the brown: certainly the bird is stockier than a Blackcap and ....

... while this view will not win any prizes it does show it is singing and therefore not a female anything.

A different take on one of the non-biting midges: here seems to be eating from bird-droppings. I think it is the front legs that are sticking out and there are just small antenna from the head. This is relevant because ....
This different insect on a different bird-dropping has longer, feathered antenna – but is also resting (feeding?) with the front legs extended forward. Note also the different ‘tail’ which I take to be the male genitalia.

A male Orange-tip butterfly dipping its tongue in the Hedge Garlic flower

And here winding its tongue back. When you look closely the name of this butterfly is incorrect – it has black wing tips!
En route to The Flash

 A Marsh Marigold (aka Kingcup) (Caltha palustris) flower

And a cluster of them (with attendant small flies). Brighten any morning but beware – the plants are poisonous.
(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 09:30 – 10:00

(44th visit of the year)

- both Swans out on the water this morning. So what about the nest ....?
- the all-white feral duck still missing: I asked several residents but none knew anything about its disappearance
- a rather odd-looking sleeping duck – I think – on the island that I have been unable to ID – see pix
- no sign of Great Crested Grebes either on the water or lurking about traditional nest sites
- today’s Willow Warbler in a very different location from the previous week
- a terrapins sp. again
- a Green-veined White butterfly while walking from the lake
- Marsh Marigold (aka Kingcups) (Caltha palustris) flowers by the upper pool between the lake and The Flash

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines seen here today

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 26 Canada Geese
- 12 (10♂) Mallard
- 8 (4♂)Tufted Ducks
- 1 unidentified duck (see notes and picture)
- 13 Coots

Would someone like to tell me what this bird is please. This was the only angle I could see the sleeping shape from. Perhaps larger than Mallard but considerably smaller than a Canada Goose. I have no idea and all I can come up with are possible first-summer drake Pintail or Goosander that has not acquired full plumage. But both seem rather unlikely.
This one is easier! Robin – do I need to say that?

(Ed Wilson)


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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

Grasshopper Warbler
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill

(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

Arctic Tern
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

2 Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)