29 Oct 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 10:00

Sunrise: 08:01 BST

10°C > 12°C: Low cloud with occasional light drizzle; a few brighter intervals. Light and variable wind. Moderate visibility

Last morning before the clocks change: will be brighter in the morning for a while.

(136th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- another male Gadwall this morning
- a moulting (immature?)drake Shoveler new in
- c.80 Tufted Ducks flew off W towards The Flash just after I left – probably because the yacht club were just about to put their safety launch in the water as I was making my final round
- no passage Wood Pigeons again, just local movements
- pre-dawn I walked underneath the area previously used as a Magpie roost without any response, confirming that at the moment there is no roost
- two large groups of Jackdaws passing S far to the E: c.380 at 07:44 started the passage; and then c.80 some 5 minutes later. Just a scatter after that
- Starlings roosting again in the NW reeds: they were late starting to mutter and it was 08:02 before they left: just possible I gave up on them too early the previous two apparently blank days
- Song Thrush in full song this morning – for all of 2 minutes!
- all the Pied Wagtails seen overhead were flying S: in previous years movement has usually been N or NE
- 3 November Moth agg. moths on the lamps today
- 2 crane-fly sp. this morning, both likely Limonia nubeculosa resting with wings folded

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 19 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 1 Skylark
- >500 Jackdaws
- 16 Rooks
- 7 Redwings (1 group)
- 18 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 1 Greenfinch
- 2 Goldfinches
- 6 Siskins again
- 1 Lesser Redpoll

Count of birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
**this will be my last report under this heading for a while: the first bus will get me to the lake after birds have left roosts***
- 4 Redwings
- c.315 Starlings

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 5 (3♂) Gadwall
- 18 (10♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Shoveler
- 2 (2♂) Pochard again
- 95 (50♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 5 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens
- 63 Coots
- >170 Black-headed Gulls
- 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull about to land – a full adult as there is no hint of dark in the tail. Note the outer primaries have yet to complete re-growth so there are no so-called ‘white mirrors’ in the wing tips as yet. Note too that with wings spread wide there is a hint of a pale ‘window’ produced by the paler inner webs of the inner primaries.

Another adult Lesser Black-backed Gull coming in to land. Note the swollen crop on this bird. This may be because it has been gorging itself somewhere: but may equally be an infection – gulls are prone to picking up botulism from tips.

A group of adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls demonstrating the variability in the dark streaking on the head. Some of this will be due to moult occurring at different times, but a few will stay almost white-headed throughout the winter and some will get more extensive streaking.

A different group. Also identifying them as full adults is the spot on the lower mandible being all yellow – immatures show a decreasing amount of black as they progress to full adult in about 4 years.

This shot is of just part of the Starling flock leaving the roost. You’d be hard-put to ID them from this! Interestingly a quick scan suggests there are c.200 birds in this shot which suggests that my estimate at the time of c.315 (c.300 in the main group and 15 later) was well out and the real number was likely >500.

In addition to the fly-over Siskins a few stopped off to inspect the Alders before deciding the cones were not ripe and moving on. In the poor light here is a male.
Not at all sure about this green bug. It might be a lacewing – a few species hibernate so could still be active in the mild weather. However the body on this specimen is as long as the wings which seems to rule out this group.

More Autumn colour around the lake: all done without frost this year.

this blaze of colour is alongside Castle Farm Way.

Not all Autumn colours are so spectacular, particularly when viewed in detail. This leaf – from a Poplar I think, shows dark marks which could be a fungal growth but I think not as ....

This leaf is all black and it seems unlikely that a fungus would kill a leaf just as it was about to fall due to lack of sustenance from the tree.

These bramble leaves are well marked too ...

... but some are unmarked.

(Ed Wilson)

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


Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here


Priorslee Lake
7 Gadwall
1 Teal
1 Raven
(John Isherwood)

The Flash

1 Pochard
1 Teal
(John Isherwood)


Priorslee Lake
1 Yellow legged Gull
2 Gadwall
1 Shoveler
1 Wigeon
10+ Fieldfare
Willow Tit
(John Isherwood)

The Flash

3 Pochard
(John Isherwood)


Priorslee Lake
34 Pochard a high count 
500+  Lesser Black-backed Gulls
432 Jackdaws
228 Rooks
171 Fieldfare
5 Redwings
2 Siskins
4 Linnets
(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake
115 Canada Geese
9 Pochard
52 Tufted Ducks
1 Kestrel
c.200 Golden Plover
23 Pied Wagtails
17 Robins
18 Blackbirds
12 Song Thrushes
70 Redwing
1 Mistle Thrush
9 Fieldfare
1 Chiffchaff
1 Blackcap
1 Willow Tit
195 Jackdaws
206 Rooks
31 Greenfinches
4 Redpoll
10 Reed Buntings
(Martin Adlam)


Priorslee Lake
Buzzard feeding on earthworms, mobbed by Black-headed Gulls
1 Raven
7 Pied Wagtails
3 Grey Wagtail
11 Meadow Pipits
1700+ Wood Pigeon
192 Redwing
111 Fieldfare
(Martin Adlam)