10 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

6.0°C > 9.0°C: Broken rather high cloud. Brisk W wind later. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:24 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:36 – 07:00 // 07:50 – 09:00

(53rd visit of the year)

The paths around the lake have at last dried out from the winter deluge and this was the first morning I dispensed with the Wellingtons

Notes from today:
- the 4 Black-headed Gulls arrived at 06:35 and circled round and round for over 30 minutes before landing on one of the boat launching platforms. They stayed until c.08:35. This species is unusual in April – they will begin to drift back in mid-June
- 4 Sand Martins appeared to fly through at 06:15, with 4 more at 06:20 and another 4 at 06:30. Upon reflection these were likely the same birds and thereafter numbers built until at least 70 present by 08:30
- single Barn Swallow eventually located amongst the Sand Martins
- on size a presumed female Sparrowhawk seen circling over with its undertail coverts fluffed out – but would a female display like this?. What was probably the same bird then shot past me, twisted through the branches and twigs and briefly perched nearby in trees. I did not see exactly where it landed and as I tried to locate it the bird saw me and shot off. One day I will get a good-enough view to positively eliminate Goshawk
- the two Willow Warblers likely new arrivals as in different locations from any earlier birds
- no moths again
- first few flowers on the Hawthorns (Crataegus sp.)

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 1 Canada Goose
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 2 Wood Pigeons only
- 240 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 1 Meadow Pipit

Hirundine counts
- >70 Sand Martins
- 1 Swallow

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 12 (7) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warblers
- 9 (7) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 7 (6♂) Mallard
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 20 Coots only
- 4 adult Black-headed Gulls

It seems to be that time of year: sunrises are certainly worth catch. Not the most spectacular today; But still an interesting start ....

... that then started to colour.

A sweep of colour.

Quite different as the sun rose and the cloud had mostly moved away.

A rather battered-looking Grey Heron flies off. Perhaps one of the three battling birds seen here recently has really lost out.

Not too often you see Coots in flight: this is about as far as I note them flying. I have never, ever seen one fly in or out of the lake (or anywhere else come to that) – just flying from one side to the other. I assume they move between waters at night.

With full black heads I had assumed the four Black-headed Gulls were all adults: this shot shows the landing bird has a black tail band and the right hand bird has some brown in the wing-coverts so these two are 1st summers.

A trio of Sand Martins low over the water: note the dark breast-band easily visible on the middle bird; and the pale collar not so visible on the right-hand bird.

Every so often for reasons that are not clear all the birds will rise up in to the air – about c.40 here.

Another close-up Chiffchaff.

Here are the first Hawthorn flowers.

This rather startling feather was found in the roadway approaching to the lake. After scratching my head for a while I have concluded it is a died feather from a feather duster.
(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:10 – 07:45

(40th visit of the year)

- nothing special today

Birds noted flying over

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 3 (3) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (5) Willow Warblers
- 5 (3) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 15 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 16 (14♂) Mallard
- 23 (14♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Great Crested Grebe only
- 4 Moorhens
- 15 Coots

I do not often photograph Magpies, not least because they are often very mobile and wary of close approach. Grabbed this opportunity.

Another grabbed opportunity – a Starling of course. This is a male – in the breeding season boys have a blue base to the bill and girls have a pink base.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- 1 drake Mallard on the lower pool
- 1 Moorhen on the upper pool
- singing Chiffchaff around the lower pool once more
- singing Willow Warbler back around the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Local Area
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
4 Great Crested Grebes
6 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
3 Greylag Geese
13 Tufted Duck
2 Common Sandpipers
1 Dunlin
>50 Sand Martins
1 Swallow
8 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Woodhouse Lane
4 Sky Larks
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
3 Linnets
3 Yellowhammers
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes
10 Greylag Goose
1 Cackling-type Goose
26 Tufted Ducks
1 Common Sandpiper
2 Blackcap
4 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
1 Common Redstart
1 Wheatear
> 50 Meadow Pipits
(John Isherwood)

The Flash
Cackling Goose
(Tom Lowe)

Priorslee Lake
1 Fieldfare
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
3 Wheatear
10 Meadow Pipit
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Redstart
3 Wheatear
1 Redwing
6 Lapwing
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
2 Sand Martin
Ruddy duck
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake 
5 Great Crested Grebes
2 Herons
11 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
387 Jackdaw
2 Stock Doves
1 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Sky Lark
1 Tree Pipit
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Grey Wagtails
17 Wrens
10 Dunnocks
17 Robins
18 Blackbirds
4 Blackcaps
5 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warblers
8 Greenfinches
5 Siskins
5 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)