15 Jul 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:04 BST

12°C – 14°C. Medium / high overcast after earlier flaming sunrise: cloud gradually lowered. Light S wind. Very good visibility

(71st visit of the year)

- was premature in reporting loss of the cygnets – one well-grown individual was apparently begging from the fishermen and well away from disinterested adults: perhaps the same cygnet that seemed to think it was a goose
- three well-grown but unfledged goslings, apparently from three different broods, appeared this morning. How did they escape the egg-dipping and where have they been since?
- and the Tufted Ducks delivered a surprise with more ducks, one of which had 6 baby ducklings. It must be 10 years since I last saw evidence of breeding here (though if they last as long as Mallard ducklings typically do they would be easy to miss)
- I think the ‘additional’ juvenile Coot is because I saw a different brood today and suspect that there are 3 broods extant: 2 of 2 birds that I saw yesterday and only 1 of which I located this morning; and the brood of 3 birds that I only saw this morning
- most of the Swifts logged seemed to be heading off SE – ahead of the weather?
- lone Barn Swallow heard over: these days they seem scarce here except on passage
- no warblers seen or heard today

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 16 Swifts
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 3 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds.

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 86 Greylag Geese
- 69 + 3 (3? broods) Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 24 (21♂) Mallard
- 33 (29♂) + 6 (1 brood) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Moorhens
- 22 + 5 (2 broods) Coots
- 1 Black-headed Gull again

Here are the three juvenile Canada Geese at The Flash: they all seem to be from different broods. So where have these been since they hatched? They look too immature to be able to fly.

Birds in one of the broods of Coots are large-enough to begin feeding themselves.

Today’s big surprise: a duck Tufted Duck with 6 ducklings [the Black-headed Gull in the foreground looks different to the bird seen here yesterday: that had a significant pale area at the base of the bill].

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:25

(106th visit of the year)
Notes from today
- Great Crested Grebes confuse yet again: the pair in the NW area were both visible this morning, each with a juvenile. There were 2 additional adults asleep together along the S side. And another lone adult loafing off the N side reeds – perhaps a 4th breeding pair with its mate on a nest?
- yesterday’s new brood of just 2 juvenile Coots now seemed to comprise just 1 bird
- a party of c.25 Black-headed Gulls flying in a ‘skein’ like geese or large gulls. Too far away before I saw them to be certain of the number
- first Lesser Black-backed Gulls returning – all adults and mostly looking rather worn
- all the Swifts were very distant birds today
- likewise the House Martins: they were over the main Priorslee estate
- all the Jackdaws and the vast majority of the Rooks were flying N along their usual flight-path. Even outside roost dispersal S-bound birds usually dominate
- the Sedge Warbler very vocal and doing display flights around a large area of the S side. This bird is a better mimic than many with recognisable snatches of song or (mainly) calls of Great Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting woven in to its own fast chattering song
- it is a very quiet time of year: I saw 2 and heard another Robin this morning: typically I would log c.20 on any visit
- also struggling with Bullfinches at the moment: in recent years up to 4 family parties have been quite obvious. Not so far this summer
- a Common Emerald moth in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel
- a Ghost Moth on one of the lamps. Both moths were new for me this year and neither was logged in 2015
- no butterflies or damselflies seen on cool and cloudy morning
- no hoverflies either

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 12 Greylag Geese
- >26 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 17 Wood Pigeons
- 44 Jackdaws
- 41 Rooks
- 1 Greenfinch
- 1 Goldfinch

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- c.8 Swifts
- c.8 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 6 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (4) Blackcaps
- 2 (0) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 2 (1) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 29 (24♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck again
- 1 adult Grey Heron
- 9 + 5 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 42 + 9 (8 broods) Coots
- 11 Black-headed Gulls (no juveniles)
- 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

One of the parties of Greylag Geese seen over the lake. What I was not expecting was the two Swifts just about visible. I did not notice these at the time!

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull showing much wear in the flight feathers.

Bill just open and chest expanded to make the ‘churring’ warning call of this species – a Common Whitethroat.

And from a different angle. Note the rather brown forehead – I assume this suggests it is a juvenile though I am not certain. I cannot find a description that includes the iris colour of various ages and sexes. And a juvenile might show a dark bill – this doesn't.

To complete the trio – looking the other way.

The Sedge Warbler gave me a hard time again this morning. I eventually saw it through a gap in the waving reeds and managed this shot. When seen, the head stripes eliminate any possibility of all the other likely (and, Aquatic Warbler apart, all the unlikely) reed-bed specialist warblers. Their songs are different, once learned. Sedge Warbler’s song is much faster and more erratic in tone than the ‘grumpy-sounding’ Reed Warbler.

Then a bit of strategy managed to find it buried in Willowherb and get a passable shot of it singing.

It soon hid itself again, but allowed me to see its mouth colour!

An adult Goldfinch atop what seems to be a crab-apple tree. I read that it is possible to sex Goldfinches by the shape of the red on the face but I have never been able to see any difference. This bird was singing so must be a male.

This Common Emerald moth was on the wall of the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.

The Ghost Moth on one of the lamps.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Today's Report Here