26 Aug 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:20

Sunrise: 06:10 BST

12°C > 17°C: Fine and clear with just a few puffy clouds later. Light SW breeze. Excellent visibility

(86th visit of the year)

- not sure where all the Mallard were today: birds were being fed the ‘other’ side of the island, but I could see all (most?) of these birds
- the 3rd adult Great Crested Grebe reappeared but I suspect it has been present throughout and just feeding under overhanging vegetation

Birds noted flying over (in poor conditions)
- 4 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Jackdaws

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 4 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 10 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 22 (16♂) Mallard
- 22 (9?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 3 + 1 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 + 1 Moorhens
- 16 + 3 (2? broods) Coots
- 1 Black-headed Gull only

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:25 – 09:50

(121st visit of the year)

Notes from today
- the 4th pair of Great Crested Grebe surprised me by appearing with at least 1 juvenile on the parent’s back. No idea where the nest was!
- the immature Cormorant, unusually, spent some while standing on the sloping concrete ramp –perhaps because the two ‘piers’ were full of gulls
- the Common Sandpiper flushed off the dam by dog-walkers. After last evenings deluge of rain there is no mud at all at the moment
- big number of Black-headed Gulls; many on the ‘piers’ but most on the water in the NE area. More than 100 birds flew off SE c.08:30. Then c.80 birds flew in from the NE some 10 minutes later – assumed to be some of the same birds
- a family party of Reed Warblers seen – at least 1 adult and 2 juveniles; the 4th eluded positive aging
- 2 Ravens flew E to the N; some 10 minutes later 2 flew S – presumably the same birds
- several Common Darter dragonflies
- two different hawker-type dragonflies, neither of which seemed to be Brown Hawkers or Emperors. These are the only hawker species I feel confident to identify in flight
- many craneflies (Tipula sp.) this morning: Autumn approaches

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 Canada Geese
- 1 (1♂) Mallard
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull
- 3 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 18 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Collared Doves
- 4 Jackdaws
- 2 Ravens
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Hirundines etc. 
None seen here today again

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 10 (?♂) Mallard
- 9 (5?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 8 + 7 (4 broods) Great Crested Grebes again
- 5 Moorhens
- 48 + 8 juvenile Coots
- 1 Common Sandpiper
- >350 Black-headed Gulls
- 34 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls

Some while since I showed the progress of the sole surviving cygnet. Now almost full-grown. I have not seen any sign that it is trying / being taught to fly as yet.

You will have to take my word for it: there is at least one brand new juvenile hiding on the back of this adult Great Crested Grebe.

Part of the big group of Black-headed Gulls on the water this morning.

This bird in an extreme state of wing moult. As I understand it this species moults its inner primaries first. In that case all but the outer two have been shed and are regrowing – makes sense and P3 seems to be a very short new feather. Therefore P1 and P2 are the last of the old feathers.

This is a different bird showing the upper side view.

This bird is more advanced and P1 and P2 are still regrowing with the rest of the primaries fully regrown.

Another variation: in the middle bird only P1 remains to be dropped.

Perseverance: this is the ‘illustrative’ juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull photo that I have been after for a while.

... or perhaps this is it!

Another juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull shakes the water off after a bathe.

An underside view.

And at rest.

And coming in to land.

A Raven flies by calling. Huge head and bill separate from Crow. The big diamond-shaped tail is not too evident here. The usual rule when trying to identify this species is that if you only think it is a Raven it is a Crow. When you see a Raven they are unmistakable.

Unusual to see these in the open in Autumn: a male Blackcap.

Another Dunnock / Hedge Sparrow: here a moulting bird with almost no tail.

At last: a ‘proper’ male Common Darter – a fully adult and therefore red male.

This is the hoverfly Eristalis tenax.

The mists of Autumn ...

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: [08:20 – 08:45]

Just around the sluice and up the concrete road to the lane. Very quiet again

- the only Swallow of the morning flew E across the fields: whether this was a migrant or a bird from the farms to the E was hard to say. Either way a lone bird is rather unusual at this date
- the only butterfly of the morning was a Speckled Wood by the sluice. Generally a dreadful year for butterflies

Some numbers (numbers in brackets are singing birds)
- 3 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (0) Blackcap
- no other warblers
- no Song Thrushes
- no Linnets
- no Yellowhammers

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Yellow Wagtail
(Ed Wilson)