24 Oct 16

The Flash: 07:10 – 07:20: 10:00 – 10:35

Sunrise: 07:52 BST

7°C > 8°C: Scattered medium cloud below broken higher cloud: tended to increase. Calm start; light NNE wind later. Very good visibility

All the highlights were ducks today: a duck Teal was new in at the lake where a red-head Goosander was seen leaving, probably to The Flash where 22 Goosanders were present later. Also at The Flash 3 Wigeon dropped in

(96th visit of the year)

Other notes
- the Wigeon were my first of this year here
- increase in Tufted Duck numbers: perhaps birds from the lake moved here during weekend disturbance?
- what was likely the same Epirrita sp. moth on the same lamp as Friday and Saturday: joined by a crane-fly sp. this morning. The latter likely Limonia nubeculosa that rests with wings folded

Birds noted flying over
- none today

Geese leaving while passing in the dark
- 37 Greylag Geese
- >30 Canada Geese

The counts from the water later
- 2 Mute Swans
- 34 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 35 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 3 (1♂) Wigeon
- 27 (20♂) Mallard again
- 36 (18♂) Tufted Ducks
- 22 (3?) Goosanders
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens again
- 14 Coots
- 28 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Here the duck and one of the drake Wigeon that dropped in (two Canada Geese behind).

What will become a drake Goosander when it completes its moult. The term ‘brownhead’ is used for this (and a number of allied) species because immatures cannot reliably be distinguished from ducks or eclipse-plumage drakes. However, as we see here, mature drakes are already acquiring some breeding plumage.

And here is a real brownhead Goosander. Not easy to be certain about age / sex: the bill colour suggests an adult and hence a duck; but there is some pale between the bill and the eye that suggests an immature.

This different brownhead Goosander is almost certainly an immature with the change in neck colour rather fuzzy and extensive white around the base of the bill.

And in this view the whitish flanks suggest it will become a drake when it completes its moult.

This is the crane-fly, probably Limonia nubeculosa, resting with wings folded.

Here a completely different Acer sp. with much yellowier tones.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:25 – 09:50

 (131st visit of the year)

Notes from today
- 4 of the Tufted Ducks flew off E
- c.110 was the highest spot-count of Black-headed Gulls. Birds were coming and going all the while and likely more individuals involved
- just 1 of the 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls stopped off and then only briefly. No more than 4 birds in any group with birds flying in just about all directions an indicating no real movement
- all the Wood Pigeon migrant parties were heading S / SW, mostly passing to the W. The largest group contained 128 birds. As is usual the passing groups ‘sucked-up’ local birds to join them. Passage was complete by 08:30
- the roost dispersal of Jackdaws etc. comprised two main groups far to the E; followed by a sporadic light passage throughout, usually overhead. c.170 at 07:44 was a tight group which included c.20 Rooks. c.110 at 07:55 was a scattered affair of just Jackdaws
- 13 Starlings left the SE area. I was somewhat bemused as I could apparently hear other birds calling in the NW reeds. It was some 15 minutes later before >300 birds exploded from the reeds
- small overhead passage again with Sky Larks, a Meadow Pipit, Siskins and Redpolls all heard and seen
- no moths seen today here
- with the Academy on half-term I felt able to wander about the communal sports field and added some more flowers still extant in late October
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
White Clover (Trifolium repens)
Dandelion sp. (probably Taraxacum officinale)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 39 Greylag Geese again
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 36 Canada Geese
- 39 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 391 Wood Pigeons only (see notes)
- c.350 Jackdaws (see notes)
- c.36 Rooks
- 3 Skylarks
- 28 Starlings (2 groups)
- 30 Fieldfare (6 groups)
- 62 Redwings (2 groups)
- 11 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 3 Greenfinch
- 3 Goldfinches
- 2 Siskins
- 2 Lesser Redpolls

Count of birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
- >320 Starlings (2 groups) (see notes)
- 7 Redwings
- 2 Reed Buntings again

Warblers seen / heard

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall
- 1 (0♂) Teal
- 10 (6♂) Mallard
- 2 (2♂) Pochard
- 98 Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Goosander
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Little Grebe again
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Water Rail heard yet again
- 6 Moorhens
- 58 Coots
- c.110 Black-headed Gulls (see notes)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

A compare and contrast this morning: here is the ‘strange-looking’ apparent duck Tufted Duck again. And ...

And here is a ‘normal’ eclipse drake Tufted Duck from a very similar angle: apart from tufts on the head and some adult white flank-feathers these look remarkably similar, especially the often-critical markings on the bill. From which I conclude the earlier bird is just a ‘strange-looking’ Tufted Duck.

Between the lake and The Flash

This records the progress of Autumn on the Acer sp. Some more leaves lost but more colour today, albeit looking somewhat subdued under overcast skies.

Strangely when viewed from ‘the other side’ there is much less colour evident. Why would this be so on what is the shady side?

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
733 Wood Pigeons
11 Sky Larks
151 Fieldfare
20 Redwings
2 Brambling
2 Linnets
2 Redpolls
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
5 Wigeon
1 Little Grebe
(John Isherwood)

The Flash
1 Shoveler 
1 Teal (female)
1 Common Gull
(John Isherwood)