21 Oct 16

The Flash: 07:10 – 07:25: 10:05 – 10:30

Sunrise: 07:47 BST

3°C > 9°C: Scattered high cloud increasing somewhat. Calm start and just frosted in some places; light W wind later. Good visibility locally but mist and fog nearby

All-change after 7 weeks away in Australia!

(94th visit of the year)

The previous reported tree surgery seems connected with the latest attempt to solve the flooding of the footpath in the NE area. This has now gained a small bridge over the stream which has been dredged

The first-pass was pre-dawn and revealed little
- no sign of the lone cygnet: I was told it was present on Wednesday (19th) but not seen yesterday either. It is doubtful that it was yet fledged as no-one seems to have seen it being taught by the parents
- no geese on my first pass (apart from the all-white feral goose), with 70 having arrived before my later visit
- rather few Tufted Ducks, particularly in view of the number on the lake
- very low number of both Moorhens and Coots
- the large count of Black-headed Gulls was made pre-dawn: these birds seemed to be pausing in transit to the lake: where from?
- an Epirrita sp. moth on one of the lamps: likely an Autumnal Moth on date, but individuals in this group can only reliably identified by examination of the genitalia
- an instar of a Shield Bug, likely Picromerus bidens on date
- a few late wasps were the only insects on a sun-lit bank of ivy. Remnant flowers often attract hoverflies on unusually late dates: not today

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Starlings
- 2 Goldfinches

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 41 Greylag Geese
- 29 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 28 (19?) Mallard
- 13 (6?) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 6 Coots only
- >90 Black-headed Gulls

A Wood Pigeon uses a branch in the water as a perch to get to drink rather more easily.

A late wasp (Vespa sp.) tries to find the last of the pollen on the Ivy (Hedera sp.)

The Epirrita sp. moths on the lamp here, also likely an Autumnal Moth.

The instar of a Shield Bug, likely Picromerus bidens.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake

Midday Update: 12:00pm

7 Gadwall
3 Shoveler
1 Wigeon
25 Fieldfare - over SW

(John Isherwood)

Early Morning Report: 07:30 – 09:55

(129th visit of the year)

Best today was the female (on size) Peregrine that shot over at 07:50

Other notes from today
- Gadwall now back in good numbers
- a drake Wigeon present throughout: 4 more – 2 drakes – flew from the W and circled high over a few times before heading back W
- still hard to sex many of the throng of Tufted Ducks: in any case I was concentrating on checking them to try to find any rather similar Scaup – the Belvide site reported a recent small influx of this species in the Midlands
- 2 of the 7 Great Crested Grebes were immatures: both probably fledged though one was still trying its luck begging. All others seem to have gone with a caution that with so many Tufted Ducks around it was hard to count anything
- also 2 of the 11 Moorhens were obvious immatures
- two sightings of probably the same female (on size) Sparrowhawk
- the largest group of Black-headed Gulls arrived, apparently flushed from the Ricoh fields, at the same time as the passing Peregrine
- a lone Lesser Black-backed Gull overhead was the only ‘large’ gull seen. Somewhat surprising as many large gulls, including Yellow-legged Gulls, have been roosting at Belvide: less than 12 miles away
- 88 of the Wood Pigeons logged flying over were in 6 high-flying parties of presumed migrants. Peak number of migrants will be in about 10 days
- I probably arrived too late to see the passing roost dispersal of Jackdaws and Rooks: oddly most of the Jackdaws recorded were flying in very unusual directions more or less at right angles to their usual flight lines
- no fewer than 6 Goldcrests seen on a morning with rather few tits etc. noted. All these double-checked to eliminate similar Firecrest that could be a passage migrant at this date
- single Starling seen leaving W end reeds: 28 others flying over as singles / 3 small groups
- in addition to the 33 Redwings overhead at least 3 more were feeding in hawthorns around the lake
- a few of the 9 Goldfinches were still pale-faced juveniles yet to acquire adult plumage
- two Epirrita sp. moths on the lamps here, also likely an Autumnal Moths
- all September’s Crane-flies seem to have gone
- single fruiting body of the fungus Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyer's Wig (Coprinus comatus)
- checked all the flower still extant and found rather more than might be expected on this date: in no particular order
Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris formerly Senecio jacobaea)
Convolvulus sp.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Bramble / Blackberry (Rubus sp.)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Red Campion (Silene dioica or Melandrium rubrum)
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
Common (or Black) Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Canada Geese
- 4 (2?) Wigeon
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 107 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 25 Jackdaws (see notes)
- 10 Rooks
- 4 Skylarks
- 3 Fieldfare
- 33 Redwings
- 6 Pied Wagtails
- 28 Starlings
- 1 Redpoll
- 6 Goldfinches

Count of birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
- 1 Starling

Warblers seen / heard

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 1 (1?) Wigeon
- 9 (5?) Gadwall
- 10 (6?) Mallard
- 2 (2?) Pochard
- 128 Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 1 Grey Heron
- 7 Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 1 Water Rail heard only
- 11 Moorhens (see notes)
- 56 Coots
- c.250 Black-headed Gulls

The red sunrise that did not portent rain or wind for a change.

Similar view some 25 minutes later.

A duck Gadwall pretends to be asleep.

And a drake Gadwall: here showing both the white speculum and the chestnut wing-patch, sometimes difficult to see.

The 4 Wigeon overhead. #1 and #3 are drakes with the white in the forewing showing on #1 and the yellow crown just about visible on #3. All show the pale bellies of this species.

Here is the drake on the lake (with a duck Tufted Duck sleeping behind).

A record shot and just about identifiable if I tell you it is a Peregrine powering away.

One of the Epirrita sp. moths on the lamps, likely an Autumnal Moth.

The single fruiting body of the fungus Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyer's Wig (Coprinus comatus).

Late-flowering Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium).

A very unusual partial rainbow high overhead (with an aircraft vapour trail cutting across). Cannot recall having seen this phenomenon before – or indeed reading about it. Reference to the web tells me it is a circumzenithal arc – an upside-down partial rainbow – likely caused by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals in the cirrus / cirrostratus clouds, rather than from raindrops.

Between the lake and The Flash

Between the lake and The Flash is an Acer sp. tree with some splendid Autumn colours.

And again.

And again, this time with some of the ‘helicopter’ seeds visible.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Little Grebe
5 Lapwings
1487 Fieldfare logged, mostly flying W. 7 of the flocks estimated at between 110 and 130 birds
25 Redwings
56 Goldfinch
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
62 Swans
5 Wigeon
14 Pochard
22 Tufted Ducks
231 Coots
Great Black-backed Gull
3 Buzzards
1 Kestrel
27 Redwings
c.250 Starlings
8 Siskins
c.15 Goldfinches
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Cormorant
25 Pochard
72 Tufted Ducks
1 Kestrel
1 Kingfisher
20 Robins
17 Blackbirds
15 Song Thrushes
59 Redwing
3 Mistle Thrushes
1 Chiffchaff
1 Blackcap
5 Goldcrests
(Martin Adlam)