27 Nov 16

The Flash: 09:00 – 09:45

7°C: Overcast with a very few breaks. Light NE wind. Good visibility

As a PS to my note about a significant movement of Redwings yesterday morning the Belvide blog reported the same thing so it must have been a quite widespread movement

Did things the ‘other way around’ this morning before being taken on to Venus Pool where the highlight was a Green-winged Teal – the New World equivalent of the Old World (Common) Teal. For me another highlight there was a drake Pintail

(118th visit of the year)

- the Mute Swans were logged again today – they must have been circling the island the opposite way to me yesterday
- 3 immature Herring Gulls dropped in briefly when they saw the Black-headed Gulls squabbling with the bread they stole from the ducks being (mis)fed. They did not stay once food was no longer in the offing!
- am not really sure about the Sparrowhawk: it was a very large bird and flying with lazy elastic wing-beats that are characteristic of the larger Goshawk. I would have needed a better view or, preferably, a photo to claim the latter. Strangely none of the birds present on the lake or those calling in the wooded areas seemed to react to its passing – often it is the alarm calls of tits that alerts me to the presence of Sparrowhawks. Goshawk is one of the UK’s most misidentified species and I do not have enough experience of flying birds to be sure from the brief view I had. So logged as the larger female Sparrowhawk. It did look odd though

Over-flying birds noted
- 1 Sparrowhawk (see notes)
- 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 2 Starlings
- 8 Redwings

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 3 Canada Goose
- 1 all white feral goose
- 40 (30♂) Mallard
- 39 (30♂) Tufted Ducks
- 32 (6♂) Goosanders
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 14 Coots
- 51 Black-headed Gulls again
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Herring Gulls (see notes)

A flotilla of Tufted Ducks – 8 drakes and 2 ducks (I’m sure that’s not the right collective noun for Tufted Ducks – a knot of Tufted Ducks?)

The brownhead Goosanders were being reasonably cooperative today, coming quite close to the Derwent Drive roadside and in the shaded water by the island. Despite the rather low winter light-levels this is a decent shot.


Not to be outdone an adult winter Black-headed Gull also posed.

A reflective Black-headed Gull: the marks on the breast are detritus from the water surface.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake: 09:50 – 11:15

(158th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- the ‘spare’ drake Gadwall seemed to have gone
- two duck Teal new in
- also new was a pair of Shoveler
- just 8 Wood Pigeons in a single group flying over
- all the gulls were coming and going: the fewer Herring Gulls were mainly individually recognisable; the Lesser Black-backed Gulls were generally not. Oddly nearly all the large gull were full adults today
- the Yellow-legged Gull was a very smart bird
- a Mistle Thrush was singing quietly for a while
- two species of moth on the lamps, both females: a Feathered Thorn and a Mottled Umber

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 35 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 8 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 22 Redwings (1 group)
- 4 Goldfinches
- 1 Siskin

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 (0♂) Teal
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall
- 20 (11♂) Mallard
- 3 (1♂) Shovelers
- 7 (5♂) Pochard
- 78 (43♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (1♂) (Greater) Scaup
- 2 Grey Herons
- 6 Great Crested Grebes again
- 9 Moorhens
- 61 Coots
- c.75 Black-headed Gulls
- >100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- >6 Herring Gulls
- 1 Yellow-legged Gull

A record shot only: one of the two duck Teal here today.

There was a pair of Shoveler present today (as well as the duck present for over two weeks). This shot shows that the drake is in full adult and was therefore a different bird to the lone drake seen on Friday.

An unusual perch for this Grey Heron.

Had to play around with the contrast on these to show what I wanted. These two Great Crested Grebes look as if they are about to make a synchronised touch-down

But because their legs are set so far back for diving and swimming underwater they cannot use them as water-brakes and crash-land on their bellies.

A very smart-looking and arresting gull.

Here seen with a gaggle of adult winter Lesser Back-backed Gulls. Our bird looks more like a pale Lesser Black than a dark Herring Gull and is the best candidate as a Yellow-legged Gull so far this winter for me.

Another gaggle of adult winter Lesser Back-backed Gulls showing the more or less complete range of head-streaking.

With spread wings as it takes off this adult winter Lesser Back-backed Gull shows how little white there is in the upper wing-tip. The legs and feet are supposed to be yellow, rather less bright in winter: I am sorry but these look pink to my eye (or to the camera?).

Another view of the spread wing.

This is a Feathered Thorn moth: my second here this year. The male has very feathery antennae so as we cannot see these I suspect this is a female rather than a male with its antennae tucked under.

This, believe it or not, is another female moth. It is a female Mottled Umber. In several winter-flying moths the female has no or only vestigial wings. It is thought this adaptation allows all her energy to be devoted to egg-laying and it is the task of the caterpillars to disperse to find a suitable food-plant – a plant that is likely above ground when the eggs are laid.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 11:25 – 11:40

(7th visit of the year)

A rather quick look here

- nothing special to note

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 5 (3♂) Mallard
- 25 (9♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 Moorhens
- [Coots not counted]
- 45 Black-headed Gulls
- 68 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 20 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls
930+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls
95 Herring Gulls
(Tom Lowe)

Priorslee Lake
3 Gadwall
6 Pochard
22 Tufted Ducks
146 Coots
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
8 Redwings
151 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson / John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
50+ Golden Plover
4 Pochard
39 Tufted Duck
1 duck Wigeon
2 Ruddy Duck
2 Little Grebes
200+ Coot
1 Water Rail
1 Kingfisher
12 Redwing
5 Fieldfare
8 Siskin
5 Reed Bunting
(Martin R Adlam)