5 Sep 16

The Flash: 07:05 – 07:25

Sunrise: 06:27 BST

14°C > 15°C: Very low cloud lifted only slightly; light drizzle ‘in the air’. Light SSE wind. Very good visibility underneath the cloud but poor elsewhere

Best toady were two Wheatears on the dam at the lake. I was only musing earlier as to why we never seem to see any on Autumn passage – and there they were. Initially both very flighty but one bird, I think a juvenile, let itself be stalked and eventually gave walk-away photographs. My first-ever Autumn record here and also I am sure my first-ever multiple sighting here

(92nd visit of the year)

- nothing of real interest this morning

Very few birds noted flying over under the low cloud
- 2 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Wood Pigeon

Hirundines etc. seen here today

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 5 Greylag Geese
- 8 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 24 (18?) Mallard
- 18 (??) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron once more
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 + 1 juvenile Moorhens
- 14 + 2 juvenile Coots
- 1 Black-headed Gull only

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:25

(127th visit of the year)
Notes from today
- the 2 Canada Geese again left alone by the Swans. If they are the same two they seem to survive the weekend boating
- all the juvenile Great Crested Grebes are sometime separated from their parents and matching the adults and their offspring is not easy. All are now using the whole of the lake which does not help. Did not notice any ‘extra’ adults but really hard to be sure
- some of the more obvious and younger juvenile Coots seemed to be missing this morning: the dull weather?
- almost all the Black-headed Gulls flew in from the Ricoh fields in one mass: many only stayed briefly
- all the large gulls only dropped in for a few minutes to drink and bathe – do you drink your bathwater?
- a lone Barn Swallow flew SE – as well it might on this dull and grey day: must be better in Africa
- no insects seen at all

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 21 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Pied Wagtails again

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

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese again
- 8 (5?) Mallard
- 9 (4?) Tufted Ducks
- 6 + 6 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 5 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 55 + 5 juvenile Coots
- c.210 Black-headed Gulls
- 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

This partly shows why I have trouble sexing Tufted Ducks at this time of year. The brown flanks and the white at the base of the bill = ‘duck’: the length of the tuft suggests ‘drake’. Probably a first year bird.

This has to be a drake with the white in the flanks – when they come in to breeding plumage the white extends from the front all along the flank. But there is almost no ‘tuft’ here.

The juvenile Great Crested Grebe was begging loudly to no avail this morning.

The first chance I got to snap one of the two Wheatears this morning.

A bit more cooperative.

Moving closer.

And head-turned.

Eventually giving close views and seemingly unconcerned. I had to walk away.

From a different angle we see more of the wing markings and the white at the base of the tail. ‘Wheatear’ is supposed to derive from ‘white arse’ – what you see of this bird when it flies away ahead of you.

This is the other bird: less warm-toned. I think this is likely a female and the other, more confiding bird, was a juvenile. From the literature it seems there is considerable individual variation at this time of year when all birds are moulting. A male should look brighter than either of these birds, even on a dull day.

And from the rear.

And the right side! This one was less cooperative but patience won out.

I have no idea what this is a feather from: but aren’t feathers amazing.

A fallen tree more or less blocks the path here.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

Green Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Yellow-legged Gull
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson))

Priorslee Lake

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

(Ed Wilson)