18 Nov 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:40

Sunrise: 07:38 GMT

1°C > 4°C: Mainly clear and frosty with large shower-cloud away to N. Light / moderate WSW wind. Excellent visibility

Unable to locate the (Greater) Scaup this morning

Nothing to highlight this morning. The lake area seemed to escape unscathed from the line-squall that did damage elsewhere in Wales and the Midlands yesterday: no sign of any tree-damage at all

(151st visit of the year)

Notes from today
- now a 7th Pochard and a duck this time. I presumed the other 6 – 4 adult and 2 1st winter drakes – were the same birds as previously even though they were no longer together as a group
- 5 Goosander flew low W towards The Flash at 07:20 when it was too dark to properly sex them
- a rush of Cormorant sightings: first 4 birds flew S; soon after a lone bird, perhaps one of these, came from the E and was probably spooked by me taking photos of it and so left to the N; then 3 (the other 3 of the original 4?) flew in and stayed about 10 minutes; finally a different immature bird flew E
- the Black-headed Gulls are not behaving as they usually do. The early arrivals normally come from the W, stop and bathe and then commute back-and-forth to the W before some leave to the E for a while. Later what I have presumed are these birds return. The last week at least has seen some of the arrivals from the W fly straight through to the E; others bathe before moving off E; and only a few heading back W. This morning almost none of the original 100 or so arrivals stayed and neither did they return
- just 2 migrant parties of Wood Pigeons this morning: a tight group of c.120 flying NE far to the E; and 38 birds in a more open group flying N to the W. Otherwise 62 lower overhead on assumed local movements
- 3 Meadow Pipits seen leaving the W end grassy area at first light had presumably roosted: confusingly they left at the same time as 5 of the Reed Buntings left the W end reeds. Luckily all the birds called
- Chiffchaff heard calling this morning, very briefly
- Mistle Thrush in song this morning
- a total of 7 Reed Buntings leaving the W end reeds was my highest count this year
- what seem to be a Northern Winter Moth was on the lamps: my first-ever, though a common-enough species

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 5 (?♂) Goosander
- 6 Cormorants
- 9 Black-headed Gulls
- 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Stock Dove
- c.220 Wood Pigeons
- 75 Jackdaws
- 24 Rook
- 11 Starlings (3 groups)
- 8 Fieldfare (2 groups)
- 1 Redwing
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 2 Meadow Pipits
- 1 Chaffinch
- 4 Greenfinches
- 6 Goldfinches
- 3 Siskins
- 2 Linnets
- 1 Lesser Redpoll
- 13 unidentified finches (inc. party of 12)

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
- 3 Meadow Pipits
- 7 Reed Buntings

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall again
- 8 (5♂) Mallard
- 1 (0♂) Shoveler
- 7 (6♂) Pochard
- 68 (38♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 1 Little Grebe once more
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 67 Coots
- c.100 Black-headed Gulls

Another moon picture just to show it was a clear morning.

This was the view as I arrived at the lake with the big shower to the N being lit by the rising sun.

This Cormorant seemed to see me pointing a camera at it and decided not to come fishing.

Whereas these 3 were inbound.

I could almost convince myself that this adult seen leaving the lake is already showing a hint of the white thigh-patch they get when they come in to breeding season. I have never noted this prior to early / mid-December before.

Not often I get the chance to photograph one of the passing Rooks – I am usually looking in to the sun; or they are too far away. Not today. The bare skin at the base of the bill is diagnostic
Another feature of Rooks is the rather triangular bill – that was not evident on the calling bird in the previous shot.

The Mistle Thrush was singing away this morning. Note the pale feather-edges on the wings and back – Song Thrush h does not have this feature.

I am pretty sure this is a Northern Winter Moth – the northern epithet is a bit of a misnomer as it occurs throughout the UK, though not frequently is SE England or Scotland. It immediately struck me as too large for the very common and otherwise similar Winter Moth: and it did not look like the November Moth agg. that have been so common recently. My first record of this common species.

It is not just the Ivy at The Flash that attracts the flies: these three are sunning themselves on one of the lamp-posts. There seem to be two species involved here, the upper fly having smaller head and eyes. Not an entirely reliable guide as females of many species of fly do have smaller eyes.

(Ed Wilson)

The Flash: 09:40 – 10:35

(111th visit of the year)

- very quiet around the water: just where are all the geese? The lone Canada Goose seems unable to fly and I have never seen the white feral goose even try
The sun was again on the bank of Ivy this morning and I noted
- at least 8 wasps, probably of two different species
- no hoverflies
- at least 2 different (unidentified) species of fly
quite remarkable given the rather heavy frost last night

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Siskin was all

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 Canada Goose again
- 1 all white feral goose
- 19 (15♂) Mallard
- 39 (22♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Goosander
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 4 Moorhen
- 12 Coots
- 52 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull – the same?

Looks like this Grey Heron is none too happy with its lot!

Great Crested Grebe pretending to be asleep: I think a first-winter bird.

These look tasty: obviously not as they have been present for days without getting eaten. I think these are berries of Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) [aka dogberry; water elder; cramp bark; snowball tree; European cranberry bush]. I really should have photographed the leaves to double-check. My books say the berries cannot be eaten raw (mildly poisonous) and need to be cooked".

One of the wasps on the Ivy today. The four spots on the thorax would suggest a queen German Wasp. For proper identification the ‘head-on’ face pattern is the best guide. This looks a bit small to be a queen wasp.

About to settle this certainly shows four spots on the thorax ... however.

.. on this view there seem to be six spots: and the barring on the body seems too wide for most species in my reference material.

This looks pretty good for a queen Common Wasp, though the thorax looks rather too hairy.

Fly sp. having a go at the Ivy

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
1 Wigeon 
5 Gadwall 
2 Teal 
1 Pochard 
102 Tufted Duck 
1 Water Rail
229 Coots 
1 Snipe
>500 Starlings
127 Fieldfare
7 Redwings 
99 Jackdaws
1 Brambling
1 Yellowhammer
(Ed Wilson)

1 Waxwing
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Adult Yellow legged Gull
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Flash
1 adult Yellow legged Gull
2 female Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe
36 Pochard
49 Tufted Duck
1 Ruddy Duck
11 Lapwings
1 Woodcock
c.1700 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
>600 Black-headed Gulls
5 Herring Gull
1 Yellow-legged Gull
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
910 Wood Pigeons
22 Robins
21 Blackbirds
258 Fieldfares
13 Redwings
201 Jackdaws
158 Rooks
348 Starlings
4 Reed Buntings
(Martin Adlam / Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
c.1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.1500 Black-headed Gulls
10 Herring Gull
2 Yellow-legged Gulls
1 Wigeon
(Martin Adlam)