13 Mar 17

Priorslee Lake, Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool

3.5°C > 9.5°C: Some mainly thin high cloud giving great sunrise. Calm with a hint of mist; light W wind later. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 06:30 GMT

Plenty of Chiffchaffs around with singing birds at all three sites. Only other ‘Spring’ bird was another single Sand Martin through the lake at 08:15 and it was rather quieter than yesterday

Priorslee Lake: 05:23 – 09:02

(30th visit of the year)

There were a few caravans and cars at the W end of the lake yesterday: I assumed some of the yacht club staying over. Unusually they were still present this morning. I do not think they were ‘travellers’ as some of the dog-walkers suggested. The locks on the gate were secure and there were fast motor-boats outside the compound. Exactly what was going on I am unsure. No-one had emerged from the caravans by the time I left

Notes from today:
- very few Black-headed Gulls today
- of the 90 Wood Pigeons overhead 34 were in seven small high-level group
- 5 Chiffchaffs in song: at least one other bird
- more Redwings over and another single bird seen in the trees
- a March Moth on one of the lamps
- later several of the lamps were covered in hundreds of small flies apparently warming in the sun
- a ‘white-tailed’ bumblebee seemed to be interested in gaps in the lamp – perhaps looking for a web-site. I think Bombus hypnorum or Tree Bumblebee
- a smaller and therefore different bumblebee sp. was seen only in flight

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 2 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 9 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 3 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull
- 5 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 4 Stock Doves (singles)
- 90 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 1 Sand Martin again
- 255 Jackdaws (19 groups)
- 13 Rooks (6 groups / singles)
- 6 Redwings
- 4 Pied Wagtails again
- 1 Greenfinch
- 5 Siskins

Roost / departure counts
None again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 3 Canada Geese (1 group)
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall once more
- 6 (4♂) Mallard again
- 21 (13♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Cormorants
- 1 Grey Heron once more
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 11 Moorhens
- 35 Coots again
- 9 Black-headed Gulls only

The (almost) full moon setting behind some trees this morning (it was full at 14:53 yesterday afternoon so technically it is a waning gibbous moon).

The splendid sunrise this morning.

Getting even better.

Colour beginning to fade but attractive in a different way.

Strange upper winds this morning: this wisp of cloud started off as a straight vapour trail of a jet inbound to the Continent from North America and has been twisted well out of shape.

The sunrise provides an attractive backdrop for a humble Coot.

The Mute Swans were ‘at it’ again this morning. This dipping of the heads in the water was the prelude.

The cob (with the brighter bill) closes in.

It is after the watershed isn’t it? Somewhere under there is the pen.

She has to be allowed up for air.

‘How was it for you?’

No need to look so coy.

Buoyed with his amorous encounter the cob in full cry after the hapless feral all-white goose.

More amazing feather detail: a Robin of course.

Having a little sing so probably a male. Females sing in winter as both sexes hold feeding territories. As they pair up the male’s song changes slightly and the female no longer sings.

A female Blackbird posing for me.

Sadly she seems to have a problem with her right eye.

When looking head-on the eye did in fact open slightly.

I am always happy to accept close-up views of Siskins: a male on the Alder cones.

Another shot.

These two birds caused me to pause. Obviously buntings of some sort but a rufous crown? and a dark cheek-patch?
A slightly different view begins to unravel the story. The dark cheek-patch is less obvious and these are ‘just’ Reed Buntings even if they are, for some reason, in the tops of the trees and not in the adjacent weed or willow scrub.

Some of the flies on the lamps this morning: all in danger from the lurking spider. Seem to be at least four species of fly here.

Most of the flies looked like this group: there were hundreds on this lamp.

Here is a bumblebee apparently looking for an entry in to the lamp, perhaps for a nest site?

Here it is stationary: I think this is Bombus hypnorum or Tree Bumblebee. This species was unknown in the UK until 2001 and has now reached Iceland.

I saw this about the same date last year. Still not sure what it is but looks most like a Brown Lacewing sp., perhaps Hemerobius humulinus. Rather odd is the lack of antenna but I wonder whether this insect has been captured and wrapped by a spider – it does look rather desiccated.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:20 – 09:40 // 10:20 – 10:27

(10th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- at least one Coot sitting on a nest
- 3 singing Chiffchaffs here: a new species for my 2017 Trench Lock list

Birds noted flying over here
- 3 Buzzards
- a singing Coal Tit was also a new species for my 2017 Trench Lock list
- surprisingly Chaffinch was yet another new species for my 2017 Trench Lock list

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 25 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) Mallard remain
- 18 (11♂) Tufted Ducks
- 4 (1♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant again
- 3 Great Crested Grebes again
- 5 Moorhens
- 43 Coots again
- 3 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull

This went down in my log as an adult Herring Gull. This photo reveals that it is not quite a full adult with some dusky tipped feathers in both the median and greater primary coverts. At first sight it appears P3 is not fully grown on the right wing but looking more closely it may be that P2 is misplaced and indeed P3 may be missing. The tail apparently lacks any black so my vote would be 4th winter.

But hold hard: from below we see there are a few dark marks on the underside of the tail. 

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 09:45 – 10:15

(8th visit of the year)

- unusually high proportion of drake Tufted Ducks
- lower number of Coots today – some on nests?
- no gulls on the water at all
- 4 singing Chiffchaffs here: a new species for my 2017 Middle Pool list

Birds noted flying over here
- 3 Buzzards (same as those over Trench Lock?)
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 25 Greylag Geese
- 35 Canada Goose
- 14 (11♂) Mallard
- 1 feral-type Mallard
- 24 (19♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Goosander again
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 5 Moorhens
- 9 Coots
- no Black-headed Gulls

Not just a Blackbird with a bad eye: here is a Robin. This is probably a swollen tick. It does look uncomfortable with the wonky bill and quite extensive swelling. The bird seemed chirpy-enough.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
1st winter female Greater Scaup
20 Tufted Duck. 
1 Kingfisher
(Gary Crowder)

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebe
37 Tufted Duck
27 Wigeon
2 Gadwall
1 Cormorant
24 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
4 Herring Gull
1 Great Black-backed Gull
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake
1 Water Rail
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Flash
1 Chiffchaff
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
30 Fieldfare
1 Redwing
7 Lapwing
2 Stock Dove
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
6 Gadwall
4 Pochard
48 Tufted Ducks
1 Lapwing
>1100 Black-headed Gulls
c.30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Herring Gulls, all on the water
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
5 Cormorant
6 Grey Heron
19 Tufted Duck
4 Stock Dove
25 Robin
22 Blackbird
8 Redwing
3 Chiffchaff
47 Magpie
143 Jackdaw
5 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson, Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
7 Pochard
45 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
1 Lapwing
148 Jackdaws
34+ Siskins
6 Redwings
14 Greenfinches
2 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)