13 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake, The Flash, Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool

5.5°C > 9.0°C: Broken medium / high cloud to E giving another splendid sunrise. Lower cloud with some very light drizzle spread in from W and thereafter cloudy Light / moderate W wind. Mainly good visibility

Sunrise: 06:17 BST

Significant fall of Willow Warblers this morning – 7 at the lake; at least 10 at The Flash; 5 at Trench Lock Pool; and 2 at Trench Middle Pool. Nothing much else new in apart from my first Common Sandpiper of the year – right on cue as the first seems to be on 12 / 13 April most years. Later a single Barn Swallow was at Trench Lock Pool

Priorslee Lake: 05:19 – 06:55 // 07:45 – 08:59

(54th visit of the year)

So Common Sandpiper was new for my year-log at this site – my 84th confirmed species here this year

Other notes from today:
- 6 Tufted Duck seen flying off at 05:25 – 3 to the W and 3 to the E. Whether these returned I am unsure: certainly 6 of the 7 Tufted Duck were together by 08:00
- the first two Jackdaws passed at 05:29; most of the birds passed c.05:50 but there many fewer than in recent days – birds on nests?
- possibly my highest-ever count of singing Willow Warblers here
- no moths on the lamps
- first flowers of Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge (Alliaria petiolata)
- now many flowers of Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis)
- lot more Hawthorn flowers

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 1 Cormorant
- 6 Wood Pigeons only
- 182 Jackdaws
- 2 Rooks
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Hirundine counts
- >50 Sand Martins

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

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 10 (8♂) Mallard
- 7 (5♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 1 Grey Heron
- 9 Great Crested Grebes
- 5 Moorhens
- 24 Coots
- 1 Common Sandpiper

Another morning, another sunrise to explore. Not too promising-looking bit again deceptive.

As so often the case it coloured up quickly.

A later view.

And a panorama view.

And from a different position.

Meanwhile looking the other way the early light makes the trees stand out against the gathering clouds.

... and we can see a faint rainbow.

Two hours later there was another short clearance and the sky was again very interesting.

The cob Mute Swan has lost it Blue Darvic ring with big white letters to identify it. The BTO ring put on at the same time is still present but you rarely get an opportunity to read it like this.

Against the morning sun this Great Crested Grebe has caught a big fish which it took to its mate.

Perhaps it is just the early light that makes the gills look red. I know little about fish ID but think Perch have red gills so ...

The grebe manages to get a proper grip.

This female Reed Bunting did not want to be photographed and did not allow closer approach.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:00 – 07:40

(41st visit of the year)

Notes from here
- a 3rd Great Crested Grebe again
- 2 Feral Pigeons spent some time on the ground at the N end – there are plenty around the houses in St. Georges to the N but they rarely venture here
- a Stock Dove was heard calling from the trees at the S of the water: perhaps my first in the trees here
- record count of singing Willow Warblers – indeed there were so many that it was hard to separate them and it is possible there were a couple more
- a Mistle Thrush singing here – first song here this year (indeed my only previous record here this year was of two birds flying over on 7 January)

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Wood Pigeon

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

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 23 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 13 (12♂) Mallard
- 19 (12♂) Tufted Duck
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 17 Coots

One of the two Feral Pigeons that spent some time on the ground here. I think it is quite smart in its own way.
Here is the other. Neither has any rings so they are not ‘lost’ Racing Pigeons’.

I found this wasp sp. on the underside of a street-light cover. It seems to be a Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris).

Looking directly down on Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge (Alliaria petiolata).

And close-up of the flowers. The young leaves are good to eat raw in salads.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- single Moorhen heard on the lower pool
- a Chiffchaff remains around the lower pool but singing intermittently
- singing Willow Warbler still around the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:07 – 09:40 // 10:15 – 10:19

(18th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the remaining cygnet still present
- many flowers of Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus)

Birds noted flying over here

Hirundine counts
- 1 Barn Swallow

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 3 Greylag Geese
- 7 Canada Geese again
- 4 (4♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 26 Coots

About the only vaguely sedentary Willow Warbler of the day. I assume as new arrivals they were very hungry and mainly interested in feeding. Note the well-defined supercilium.

Always a sweetie: this Long-tailed Tit.

This is Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus). It flowers several months before Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris formerly Senecio jacobaea). Introduced in to the UK at Oxford in the 1700s (Hence its name) it is a much maligned wild-flower. Neither species of ragwort is likely to make horses or cows unwell unless they were to eat nothing else for days at a time.

This had me beat but help from various sources means I now think these are the fertile spore-bearing stems of Field or Common Horsetail (Equisetum arvense). Later the more familiar green non-fertile stems with feathery ‘leaves’ will appear from the same underground rhizomes. The plant was introduced from New Zealand in the 1920's and is classed as an invasive weed. In Asia it is eaten for its medicinal properties but separation from its toxic congeners, especially Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia) is not easy so – DON’T!

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 09:45 – 10:10

(12th visit of the year)

- Great Crested Grebes with juveniles
- Coot juveniles still present: early broods often lost
- the Willow Warblers heard here were my first at this site this year

Birds noted flying over here

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 15 Greylag Geese
- 37 Canada Goose
- 10 (9♂) Mallard
- 3 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens only
- 12 + 2 (1 brood) Coots

At least 2 juveniles on the back of this adult Great Crested Grebe.

These are the flowers of (Common) Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Favours damp places and it was alongside a spring feeding the pool.
I concluded this is a planted Cherry sp, or hybrid growing amongst the other white-flowered Wild Cherries (Prunus avium). But perhaps they are all planted?

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Herons
2 Greylag Geese
1 Common Sandpiper
c.10 Sand Martins
>6 Barn Swallows
1 House Martin
2 Tawny Owls
2 Meadow Pipits
8 Blackcaps
8 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warbler
276 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Greylag Goose
1 Cackling-type Goose
17 Tufted Ducks
1 Swallow
5 Blackcap
5 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Little Ringed Plover 
>20 Willow Warbler
(John Isherwood)

The Flash
2 Shoveler
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Common Redstart
8 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Long Lane, Wellington
47 Black-tailed Godwit
6 Ringed Plover
3 Redshank
1 Dunlin
3 Swallows
(Andy Latham)

Priorslee Lake
2 House Martin
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
7 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
4 Common Sandpiper
4 Gadwall
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
12 Swallow
23 Sand Martin
1 House Martin
5 Great Crested Grebes
3 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
1 Water Rail
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Fieldfares
3 Blackcaps
5 Chiffchaffs
6 Willow Warblers
2 Greenfinches
1 Siskin
1 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)