24 Aug 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 06:07 BST

15°C > 17°C: Persistent low cloud failed to clear before I left. Brisk NNW wind. Good visibility, improving later

Best today was a Greenshank at the lake. This saw me before I saw it on the small amount of mud in the SW area. All I saw was a flying silhouette as it sped off E. There was no mistaking the call! This is a very typical record of this wary species. It is many year since I last recorded one at the lake and it is my first record this year.

(84th visit of the year)

- made the effort to sex all the Mallard this morning
- only 1 juvenile Tufted Duck for certain: was unsure about another two
- an immature Cormorant: my first of this species here since 13 May
- an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull: my first of this species on the water here since 17 March
- a party of 4 Swallows flew through N
- juvenile House Martin seen being fed ‘on the wing’
- a Grey Wagtail here: 17 June was my previous record here

Birds noted flying over
- 3 Feral Pigeon again (in addition to resident the birds over St Georges to the N)
- 8 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Pied Wagtail again

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

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 10 Canada Geese (one of these dead in the water)
- 1 all white feral goose
- 42 (22♂) Mallard
- 22 (?♂) + 1 Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 18 + 3 (3? broods) Coots
- 15 Black-headed Gulls (3 juveniles)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

A study in bills: the immature Cormorant (we can just see the pale belly) and one of the two Grey Herons point their bills in the same direction.
(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:25

(119th visit of the year)

Other notes from today
- neither of the recent pair of adult Great Crested Grebes not apparently nesting was seen today
- a Cormorant again, but a different-aged bird from yesterday
- an unusually large number of over-flying Black-headed Gulls: one party of at least 88 birds flew S with only 10 peeling off to land on the water
- a single Feral Pigeon seen very high flying S; then three small parties of, probably, Racing Pigeons flew N
- a pair of Swallows flew through high NW
- single Reed Warbler heard at the W end today: since it sounded like a begging juvenile I assume there was a parent nearby
- 2 Ravens seen leaving the N side one carrying prey – or was it? One of the dog-walkers noted they had earlier found a complete hamburger on the ground and had difficulty persuading their dog not to eat it – in the area where the Ravens were seen leaving
- my first juvenile Bullfinch here this year: there were pairs in at least three locations prior to breeding; since then they have been typically elusive
- a Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella), common grass moth, was on a street lamp
- a Shieldbug, probably Picromerus bidens (aka Spiked Shieldbug) was on the same street lamp
- a single Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer) hoverfly was noted
- a very delicate fungus was found: I have been unable to identify it
- a patch of Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) found today – so not all Greater Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) as I thought. Must have overlooked it previously as it is about to seed”
Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 103 Black-headed Gulls
- 18 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 17 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 27 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Jackdaws
- 4 Rooks
- 7 Starlings
- 1 Pied Wagtail again
- 2 Goldfinches again

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

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 12 (5♂) Mallard
- 5 (5?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 + 6 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 1 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 49 + 12 Coots
- 1 Cormorant again
- 1 Greenshank, as highlighted
- >120 Black-headed Gulls (>25 juveniles)
- 31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls

Maximum dispute: here three juvenile, moulting in to 1st winter plumage, Black-headed Gulls try to claim the same buoy.

Wing moult in adult Black-headed Gulls is shown to good effect here: the outer primaries are still re-growing as are the outer secondaries.

Well I quite like gulls: always helpful to get to know the common species well and then you can spot the ‘strangers’. This is a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull with the primary and secondary coverts as dark as the primaries and secondaries and no ‘window’ of paler inner primaries – the slight effect here is just because they are spread out allowing the paler inner webs to be seen. The all-black bill is another clue as many, but not all, Herring Gulls would begin to show some pale at the base of the bill.

This is a different bird from a different view to illustrate the rather white rump with a few dark spots. A typical Herring Gull of this age would have a greyer rump that contrasts less with the tail band.

Here is the wing-moult of a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull: slightly different from the Black-headed Gull above as here it is primaries 3 & that are re-growing and the two outermost have likely yet to be shed.

No all birds moult at the same time or same rate: this juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull shows no sign of moulting. Whether it has yet to start or has completed early is hard to say from this underside view. I would surmise that the feathers look so neat and unworn that it has likely completed its moult early.

this looks a neat-enough bird to be the upper side view of the same individual.

The shieldbug was not at a very helpful angle, high up on a lamp-post. As a result it is a bit difficult to be certain that it has pointed shoulders – it could just be an enlarged base to the legs. But I think it is Picromerus bidens or Spiked Shieldbug.

the common grass moth Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella).

Another chance to see the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer).

The upper view of the delicate fungus found this morning. While I was doing some ‘gardening’ of the grass around this fruit it broke away. While it enabled me to get better shots of both the upper ....

... and underside removing fungus for examination should be avoided – they are a vital part of the whole eco-system and should be left alone.

Just to prove there is Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) around the lake – this alongside the concrete ramp at the W end.

(Ed Wilson)
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