21 Jul 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:12 BST

14°C > 18°C. Fine with areas of medium / high level cloud; some lower puffy cloud later. Light WSW wind. Very good visibility

(74th visit of the year)

- no Tufted Duck ducklings seen but they could have been the other side of the island
- the duck Tufted Duck have taken over here as well now
- one Grey Heron flew off: it, or another, flew in from a slightly different direction a few minutes later to join the two that remained
- the 16 House Martins suddenly appeared in a tight group overhead and then just as quickly disappeared: did not seem to be migrating, just flying about (but none was seen at the lake later)

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Jackdaw only

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 2 Swifts
- 16 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 39 Greylag Geese
- 61 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 23 (19?) Mallard
- 24 (10?) Tufted Ducks
- 3, perhaps 4, Grey Herons
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 23 + 4 (2 broods) Coots
- 3 Black-headed Gulls

This is my first returning 1st year (and hence non-breeding) Black-headed Gull. The black tail-band and the markings on the wing tell us it is not an adult with the red on the bill and the black on the head indicating it is not a juvenile of this year. Any adult might show the rather faded black on the head as they too start their post-breeding moult. We also see that the bird is in wing moult with some of the inner primaries missing.
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:55

Now getting very quiet: for the first time this year no Song Thrushes were heard singing. And very few warblers either. Most song was very sporadic

Notes from today
- I initially logged 7 Tufted Duck with one clearly a well ‘tufted’ drake; but later I could only find 5 with 3 of these being drakes
- the ‘centre’ family of Great Crested Grebes was again not seen today with a single adult moving in and out of the reeds. The additional ‘pair’ present again along the S side
- three recent broods of Coots with two of these broods apparently new since Monday
- no Swifts today: last night they were swarming over Newport and I did wonder whether they were about to leave – Swifts are the first summer visitors to depart; most will have gone before August though a few will linger if they have late replacement broods
- a Grey Wagtail again heard and then seen on the one of the boat-launching platforms: a juvenile today
- a Riband Wave moth on one of the lamps: another in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel
- a grass moth, probably Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella) and the micro moth Pale Straw Pearl (Udea lutealis) flushed from the grass
- Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper butterflies logged. Gatekeeper new for my Priorslee 2016 list
- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies as usual
- four species of hoverfly including a new species for me: Chrysotoxum bicinctum (very few hoverflies have venacular names)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (4 groups)
- 18 Wood Pigeons
- 14 Jackdaws
[- no Rooks]
- 3 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Greenfinch
- 2 Goldfinches

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Swallow only

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 27 (??) Mallard
- 5 (3?) Tufted Ducks
- 1 juvenile Grey Heron
- 7 + 4 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 3 (3 broods) Moorhens again
- 40 + 13 (10 broods) Coots
- 17 Black-headed Gulls (2 juveniles)

This juvenile Black-headed Gull was rather distant but conveniently losing its balance on the buoy as it tried to preen and gave occasional views of its very distinctive wing-patterning. Much of this patterning is soon lost as it starts to moult from juvenile to first-winter plumage.

Another, but very different-looking, juvenile Black-headed Gull. The brown tones on the body mean it cannot be a first-summer bird even though the wings and tail are hardly juvenile-like. This looks like an early-to-fledge bird well advanced in its moult to first-winter plumage.

But this view shows how the angle can be important. Here we see more of the mantle on the same bird: there is now no doubt that it is a juvenile.

and again.

Now THESE are ugly ducklings Mr. Andersen! The latest brood of Coots on what must be almost their first outing.

Today’s Grey Wagtail, not in the best light, but good-enough to see it lacks any colour on the breast and is therefore a juvenile.

I have recently shown the underwing of Green-veined White butterfly: here we see some of the upperwing.

And here is all the upperwing. It is the female of this species that shows this strength and extent of the dark markings.

You find one and then they are common – another Essex Skipper.

This Riband Wave moth was actually on the roof of the foot tunnel under Priorslee Avenue ...

... whereas this was on one of the lamps. Note this specimen is of the ‘ribboned’ form which has the dark grey cross band. In our area this form is less frequent than form shown from the tunnel – the further south in the UK you are the more likely it is for the ‘ribboned’ form to occur. Note the lurking harvestman – and the small midge which seems to be using the moth as cover.
This grass moth looks typically ‘surprised’. This specimen is rather too worn to get a positive ID but is most likely ‘just’ Agriphila straminella (Pearl Veneer).

This is the micro moth Udea lutealis (Pale Straw Pearl).

A blue-form female of Blue-tailed Damselfly. The pterostigma (the mark toward the tip of the folded wing) of this species is always bi-coloured.

This is the brown-form female (fuscans) of Blue-tailed Damselfly.

This is an intriguing insect. It was only behaving a bit like a hoverfly, making short forays and then returning to the same leaf to rest. The length of the antenna suggested it is not a hoverfly. However these features indicate the rather atypical hoverfly Chrysotoxum bicinctum which can nevertheless be quite common in grassy areas. A new species for me.

A furry bee sp. at work on a Perforate St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) flower

A splendidly symmetrical flower head of Goat's-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon (Tragopogon sp.) - as it needs to be to make that wonderful and intricate 'clock'.

This specimen has the symmetry spoilt by a Sphaerophoria sp. hoverfly

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Local Area
Report from today Here

Priorslee Lake
Report from today Here


Priorslee Lake
1 Common Tern
1 Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Best was at least 14 Common Sandpipers, perhaps a few more tucked up hidden by all the vegetation on the dam. This number is unprecedented on return passage and has been rarely exceeded on Spring passage. No doubt due to the thundery weather.
(Ed Wilson/Mike Cooper)

Priorslee Lake
Common Tern
(Ed Wilson)