16 Aug 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:54 BST

11°C > 17°C: Some thin high cloud mainly to the E, otherwise fine. Light E breeze. Very good visibility

Best today was the juvenile Spotted Flycatcher in the front garden of one of the houses along Teece Drive hopping from the garage roof to the lawn and back (I know it is stretching the recording area a tad!). Only my 3rd record at the lake and my first for at least 7 years. With some sort of premonition on my Woodhouse Lane visit I spent a while around the sluice exit where the sun-trap and shelter always seemed to me to be a likely place for migrants to feed. With the wind in the E this area was not sheltered at all and was very quiet whereas the Ricoh trees were sheltering the gardens

(78th visit of the year)

- at least one of he Mallards looked like a (very well grown) juvenile: perhaps more?
- the 2 juvenile Tufted Duck still together and independent from any of the adults
- the juvenile Great Crested Grebe, for he second day, in close company with one of adults and the other adult at the other end of the water
- 1 Barn Swallow flying through SW may have been a migrant
- some of the House Martins were newly fledged juveniles begging in flight
- the same(?) Willow Warbler in song again
- at least 2 Nuthatches at the top end
- an adult and juvenile Moorhen were on the grass outside the upper pool between The Flash and Priorslee Avenue. Both pools are now so overgrown that it is almost impossible to see whether these birds are nesting here

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Starling

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 15 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds, though song very sporadic now
- 2 (1) Chiffchaff
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 1 (0) Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans]
- 32 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 30 (?♂) + 1 duckling Mallard
- 24 (14?♂) + 2 duckling Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons again
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes still
- 5 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 20 + 6 (4 broods) Coots
- 35 Black-headed Gulls (4 juveniles)

Not often a Grey Heron allows a close approach. Herein front a group of loafing Mallard, all drakes with pale bills, all but one in eclipse plumage.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:55

(113th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- 3 Buzzards seen circling over. Another one or two different (?) birds flushed from around the lake
- numbers of Chiffchaffs ‘best effort’: with adults no longer on territory; juveniles exploring their surroundings; and likely a few migrants keeping track to avoid duplication is difficult
- no 100% sure about the Reed Warbler. Could get no response from main reed bed along the N side. Calls around the Wesley Brook bridge seemed likely this species but calls can easily be confused with other warblers
- 8 Pied Wagtails over and I thought initially this might be the start of an autumn roost dispersal. Later a new juvenile on the yacht club landing area suggested these were more likely second-brood family parties on the move
- no moths on the lamps this morning
- several Speckled Wood butterflies seen
- still rather few insects
- a single Common Blue Damselfly
- >10 Common Darter dragonflies
- a Helophilus pendulus hoverfly

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 1 Grey Heron
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons (1 group)
- 2 Stock Doves (singles)
- 96 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 7 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook
- 8 Pied Wagtails

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 4 Swallows
- 14 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds, though song very sporadic now
- 11 (3) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 3 (0) Blackcaps
- 1 (0) Reed Warblers (see notes)

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 24 (?♂) + 2 (1 brood) Mallard
- 5 (1♂) Tufted Ducks again
- 8 + 6 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 + 4 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 44 + 11 (9 broods) Coots
- 31 Black-headed Gulls (>5 juveniles)
- 87 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls

The underside of a 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull showing the extensive underwing markings that separate this from a similar view of Herring Gull.

And here is an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull showing extensive wing moult with all the pale shafts on the outer secondaries visible, the secondary coverts having all be shed and yet to regrow. The inner primaries are also still regrowing.

And here a scruffy immature (black tail tip) Lesser Black-backed Gull also showing missing secondary coverts and regrowing inner primaries.

One of the three Buzzards circling over the lake: this bird shows no dark sub-terminal tail band and must therefore be a juvenile.
Same bird showing that it can do anti-clockwise rotations as well.

Individual feathers can be hard to identify: this is easier than most with its large size limiting the species somewhat. From a Buzzard.

A Robin of course: this one slightly scruffy around the head and yet to complete its moult.

Rather tidier this side.

What a sweetie: the Spotted Flycatcher on a post between houses in Teece Drive. We can tell it is a juvenile because of the pale edging on the tertials and the rather heavier streaking on the crown. The name ‘Spotted Flycatcher’ is not at all apt as at all ages they are mainly streaked.

A Speckled Wood butterfly. One of the ‘brown’ butterflies all of which have eye-spots at the end of the wings with many showing numbers of ‘rings’, with ‘Ringlet’ being the most obviously so adorned.

A Common Darter: adult males are red-toned so this could be a female or immature.

Side-view of a different specimen.

Nicely spread out in the road this specimen is beginning to get some red as it matures in to an adult male.

A Helophilus pendulus hoverfly: this species is sometimes called ‘The Footballer’ because of its striped thorax.

What’s for breakfast? This seems to be midge sp. caught in the web. A much smaller spider is just visible in the top left.

A crane fly sp., likely Tipula paludosa. These are the ‘daddy long-legs’ so common in Autumn. They are however found from April in small numbers. Their subterranean larvae – leather jackets – are the favourite food of Rooks.

Gradually getting to grips with some more flowers. This seems to be Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) with tight umbels on the ends of long stalks. Usually the stem has a mauve tone.

This looks at first glance like another umbellifer: in fact it is Yarrow (or Milfoil) (Achitlea millefolium) and in the Compositae (or Daisy) family.

(Ed Wilson)

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