25 Mar 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

-1.0°C > 6.0°C: Fine. clear and frosty with a few high clouds adding interest to the sunrise. Light E wind. Very good visibility apart from occasional wreaths of mist over the water

Sunrise: 06:01 GMT

Priorslee Lake: 05:06 – 08:40

(39th visit of the year)

A Little Ringed Plover heard calling and then seen in flight became my 78th confirmed bird species logged from around the lake this year

The clear weather meant any passage birds were probably flying unseen over head

Other notes from today:
- any party of Feral Pigeons is quite likely to be Racing Pigeons, probably on a training flight at this time of year
- amazing passage of Jackdaws: birds in small groups / pairs all over the place
- big number of Carrion Crows today as well: 17 seen in the air together
- at least 3 Redwings roosting at different locations around the lake
- 2 Reed Buntings heard in song: one of these could be heard singing from the fields across Castle Farm Way
- no moths on the lamps – rather too cold

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 5 Greylag Geese (3 groups)
- 3 Canada Geese (pair and single)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 8 Feral Pigeons (1 group)
- 33 Wood Pigeons
- 449 Jackdaws (89 groups)
- 37 Rooks (32 singles / pairs)
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 1 Goldfinch

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 6 (5) Chiffchaffs again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 7 (6♂) Mallard again
- 23 (15♂) Tufted Ducks again
- 4 Cormorants
- 1 Grey Heron briefly
- 10 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens again
- 26 Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls

A few wreathes of mist over the lake at the start of the sunrise. Those are Tufted Ducks paddling away because I approached the water’s-edge.

The sunrise progresses. The sky is streaked with the vapour trails of airliners inbound to the Continent from America.

A close-up of those trails.

And just about sun-up.

Even more spectacular: the copse is across the other side of Castle Farm Way.

A Great Crested Grebe against the sunrise reflection.

And a Mute Swan.

Little and large: Coot and Mute Swan.

The Coot on its own.

Now that’s what I call a ‘wake’.

What a fine drake Tufted Duck. Here we can see a hint of the mauve gloss only visible when the light is right.

And a pair.

Two drakes and two ducks. At this time of year sexing these birds is easy-peasy.

A Great Crested Grebe with interesting reflections and water-effects.

A classic 1st summer Black-headed Gull.

Part of the bird in more detail.

Note that one tail feather does not have a black tip. Not really sure how / why. I could surmise that it lost this feather and a replacement ‘adult feather’ was produced.

Not often you see this: this 1st summer Black-headed Gull has caught a fish.

Always happy to get a chance to snap a Jay.

Shows the blue in the wing very clearly.

Can Jays look endearing?

Very smart: a male Great Tit (a wide ‘stripe’) sings at dawn, the yellow light enhancing his plumage.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash 08:45 – 09:30

(29th visit of the year)

- a drake Gadwall was my 53rd confirmed bird species logged from around The Flash this year
- the passing Skylark thus became my 54th species here this year

- the other Mute Swan presumed tucked away on the island again
- one of the pair of Canada Geese noted mating
- 2 1st year Black-headed Gulls were my first for several visits
- a Grey Wagtail here

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 6 Jackdaws
- 1 Sky Lark

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 2 (2) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (see notes)
- 35 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 1 (1♂) Gadwall
- 20 (16♂) Mallard
- 23 (14♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 7 Moorhens
- 15 Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls

Not my best ever photo but a record of the drake Gadwall here.

A full adult Cormorant leaving. It is shadow making the pattern on the left underwing.

Almost a full ‘plan’ view. Note the large tail when, as here, spread.

A Chiffchaff – need to get these photographed before they can hide in the leaves. The pinkish base to especially the lower mandible separates on this view from Willow Warbler. The legs do look dark but this feature is not 100% reliable. Willow Warblers wings are longer to support the longer migration – Willow Warblers winter in sub-Sahara Africa while Chiffchaffs stay in the Mediterranean area. Indeed some Chiffchaffs over-winter in the UK but these are not ‘our’ breeding birds.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- a drake Mallard on the lower pool
- a Moorhen on the lower pool
- a singing Chiffchaff around the lower pool
- a Blackcap in sub-song alongside the lower pool in the same location I heard a bird scolding on 10th March.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe
7 Cormorants
2 Gadwall
18 Tufted Duck
1 Kittiwake
1 Sand Martin
7 Chiffchaffs
158 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Kittiwake
(John Isherwood)

Trench Lock Pool
2 Little Grebes
4 Great Crested Grebes
15 Tufted Ducks
2 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Middle Pool
2 Tufted Duck
2 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Little Grebes 
3 Great Crested Grebe 
7 Wigeon 
2 Gadwall 
34 Tufted Ducks 
c.450 Black-headed Gulls
c.350 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.50 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull.
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
3 Great Crested Grebes 
7 Swans 
2 Pochard 
73 Tufted Duck 
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe 
4 Great Crested Grebe 
4 Gadwall
27 Tufted Duck
c.210 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
3 Great Crested Grebe 
36 Tufted Duck
2 Siskins
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Cormorant
2 Shoveler
27 Tufted Duck
1 Green Woodpecker
29 Wren
22 Robin
21 Blackbird
5 Fieldfare
9 Redwing
6 Chiffchaff
36 Magpie
99 Jackdaw
8 Greenfinch
7 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
4 Great Crested Grebe
1 Mallard x Pintail
2 Pochard
17 Tufted Duck
3 Chiffchaff
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Barn Ow
1 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebes
1 Shoveler
26 Tufted Ducks
2 Water Rail
532 Wood Pigeon
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
2 Sky Larks
15 Pied Wagtails
26 Wrens
34 Blackbirds
6 Redwings
1 Willow Warbler
1 Chiffchaff
17 Magpies
4 Jays
1 Brambling
13 Greenfinches
4 Siskins
1 Linnets
5 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)