19 Aug 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:59 BST

16°C: Low cloud with light rain starting as I arrived: more persistent rain later with a heavy burst c.08:45. Moderate ESE wind fell away somewhat. Moderate visibility at best

Firstly a correction to my log from 16 July. The insect that I identified as a Grizzled Skipper was in fact a Latticed Heath moth – my excuse being that I have seen neither insect previously.

A reprise of the the insect that I wrongly identified on 16 July as a Grizzled Skipper butterfly: it is a Latticed Heath moth – a not uncommon day-flying moth, though I have never recorded it previously.
The very dull conditions and moderate visibility made sexing ducks rather unreliable: ‘best effort’ below

(80th visit of the year)

- three juvenile Tufted Ducks seen: hard to separate from adults now: we can count it as successful breeding, possibly for the first time here

Birds noted flying over
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 7 Wood Pigeons

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 6 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds, though song very sporadic now
- 4 (0) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 11 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 23 (11?♂) Mallard
- 30 (16?♂) + 3 Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons again
- 1 Great Crested Grebe only
- 3 Moorhens
- 13 + 4 (3 broods) Coots
- 49 Black-headed Gulls (10 juveniles)

This morning’s Grey Heron photo. It flushed from its usual spot and went and stood on the railing of one of the footbridges – not too clever as it would soon be disturbed. Note how the toes manage an apparent 90 degree bend to allow it to stand. (in the background are rather unhappy Black-headed Gulls – birds generally give herons a wide berth).

This shows that there are 3 Tufted Duck ducklings: the bird on the left is clearly an adult duck, the others all look the same slightly smaller size with slightly fuzzy plumage.

Here are all three with fuzziness clearly showing.

A clear shot of a juvenile Black-headed Gull acquiring 1st winter plumage. The gingery juvenile tones are now browner and the base of the bill is now pale red. Still a hint of the hind-neck mark.

Interesting that the other side shows more extensive remnants of juvenile plumage, especially on the hind neck.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:25
(115th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- first significant number of large gulls this season: c.110 arrived from the N and several more small groups arrived later. Most birds only stayed a short while for a wash and brush up. Most were immatures with a good number of this year’s juveniles. Just 2 Herring Gulls among them
- Treecreeper(s) heard in two different locations
- just 3 Wrens heard in the miserable conditions – noted 21 on Wednesday
- apart from a few wasps I noted no insects

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 6 Mallard
- 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 19 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Jackdaw
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Swallow
- 2 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds, though song very sporadic now
- 6 (0) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (0) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 20 (?♂) Mallard
- 12 (6♂) Tufted Ducks
- 8 + 6 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 2 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 37 + 12 (10 broods) Coots
- 28 Black-headed Gulls (5 juveniles)
- >160 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

Part of the melee of large gulls here this morning. The immature with wings raised in the centre of the picture is one of the two Herring Gulls logged this morning. We can recognise that by the pale inner primaries and outer secondaries. To be completely accurate we could only say this is not a Lesser Black-backed Gull: it would need a better view of the whole bird to eliminate Yellow-legged or Caspian Gulls.

Landing at the left is a 1st year Lesser Black-back moulting in to 2nd winter plumage. The black on the back rules out it being an immature with the overall dark wings indicating an immature. We see missing outer secondaries and a few inner primaries – there should be 10 primaries and I can only see 8. Many (all) of the tertials seem to be moulted as well.

A motley collection of bathing Lesser Black-backed Gulls of various ages. The right-hand of the two birds wing-flapping in the centre looks more like an immature Herring Gull with paler wings but I would need to see the upper wing to be sure.

If it is the same bird that it is wing-flapping here then it was a Herring Gull: here we see the secondary coverts paler than the secondaries and the inner primaries also slightly paler. The bill is rather larger too, though that is somewhat sex-dependent and a male Lesser Black-back’s bill can easily be larger than that of a female Herring Gull.

A right scruffy bird! And this collection is all immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

The bird landing here is an exceptionally dark Lesser Black-backed Gull mainly because it retains most of its immature plumage.

Not a brilliant shot in the heaviest of the rain but a contrast between a full adult winter Black-headed Gull on the buoy and the bird on the water with much juvenile plumage yet to be moulted.

And here is that juvenile again.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Nedge Hill

2 Redstart
4 Yellow Wagtails
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

Juvenile Kestrel
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

Spotted Flycatcher
Female Ruddy Duck
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake

2 Common Sandpipers
Peregrine Falcon
(Ed Wilson)