5 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

5.0°C > 9.5°C: Clear with some high cloud, especially to the E. Brisk W breeze making it feel chilly. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 06:35 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:37 – 07:05 // 08:05 – 09:33

(49th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- two Grey Herons together again: possibly a 3rd bird? (I lost track of one of them)
- after days of struggling to get counts of 5 or 6 Great Crested Grebes there were frequent views of 9 birds today
- an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull stopped briefly at 06:35
- a Stock Dove heard calling from the area where every year I suspect, but never prove, breeding
- 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers seen disputing something or other and making a lot of noise
- probably more Sand Martins than in the log below: I suspect birds were just stopping off for a few minutes and there may have been >50 involved
- a pair (I assume) of Chiffchaffs seen mating
- one male Blackcap seen and not singing
- no moths on the lamps
- 3 species of hoverfly seen – [ID to come]
- another sighting of the Bee-fly (Bombylius major)
- some Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) plants showing flower buds
- the first Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) umbels showing a few flowers
- a Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) plant that has eluded the mowing and weed-killers applied to the verges outside the academy

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 4 Canada Geese
- 2 (2♂) Mallards again
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Feral Pigeon again
- 4 Wood Pigeons only
- 369 Jackdaws (number of groups not recorded)
- 1 Rook again
- 2 Ravens
- 1 Redwing

Hirundine counts
- c.15 Sand Martins

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

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan only seen
- 6 (5♂) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Grey Herons
- 9 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 24 Coots
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Its time for another sunrise at the lake. At first sight nothing too special though every day is different.

A bit of colour but still rather cheerless.

When the sun eventually appeared the sunrise was rather better than I expected.

From another angle.

And the panorama.

Even at this range we can see this is a Raven from the curved shape of the large bill and the ‘fingers’ of the spread primaries.

There were two birds: this is the other with its beak shut. We can still see the large size of both the head and the bill, the spread primaries, and the large tail.

You want a close-up of a Chiffchaff? Very obvious is the lack of any distinct (any!) supercilium; and the lower mandible is horn-coloured rather than pinkish-orange. The books tell you that the legs of this species are ‘black’ or ‘dark’. Not always so, as we see here.

This bird was having a good preen.

And digging in to get the feathers arranged.

And again.

The angle of the light affects things – the weak supercilium can be seen here.

And while it was preening it was calling all the while.

And here you would say the bill was dark apart from the very base; and that the legs were dark too.

A different bird. We see nothing more than pale brown at the side of the breast. Dark-looking legs again. Side-on the bill looks smaller than that of Willow Warbler.

Here for contrast is a Willow Warbler (taken at The Flash). Once you get your eye in a very different facial expression. Of course I was helped by both birds singing their quite different songs.

I was pleased to get this out in the open: a male Blackcap of course.

Objects in the sky #1. Pre-sunrise this can be seen in the eastern sky: it is the ISS (International Space Station). Their equipment can probably focus better on me than I can on them!

Objects in the sky #1. The aliens are coming in their space-ships? Nope just a strange-shaped cloud.

In many parts of the lake the Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is about over. Here, by the Teece Drive gate, it is about at its best. Perhaps like Hawthorns there are different (sub)species and they flower at slightly different times. Here we are supposed to plant Midland Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) but nursery suppliers often use cheaper ‘foreign’ species.

These are the flower buds of Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon).

The first Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) umbels showing a few flowers.

A Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) plant that has eluded the mowing and weed-killers applied to the verges outside the academy.

Hoverfly_1 [ID to come].

Hoverfly_2 [ID to come].

Hoverfly_3 [ID to come].

Super! another Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major)

Nasty fly sp_1.

Nasty fly sp_2

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:10 – 07:55

(37th visit of the year)

- a pair of Shoveler again today
- what I presume was a Sparrowhawk was displaying over the wood to the E, diving and climbing and also flying with slow elastic wing beats. This latter is more characteristic of the much misidentified Goshawk. It is true this bird looked large for a male Sparrowhawk – and I assume it is the males that display. And it was being ‘seen off’ by Crows that are known to be especially upset by Goshawks. It was against the sun and too far away for any positive ID from the photos I took
- Great Spotted Woodpecker heard drumming from the NW area – usually heard in ‘squirrel alley’ to the SE
- a Common Toad (Bufo bufo) seen crossing the footpath

Birds noted flying over today
- 2 Wood Pigeons again
- 2 Ravens (same as at the lake?)

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 34 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 16 (14♂) Mallard again
- 2 (1♂) Shoveler
- 16 (8♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 5 Moorhens
- 14 Coots

A pair of Mallard ‘roof sitting’ in Derwent Drive.

More or less a record shot of he Shoveler this morning. I thought that when I walked around the water the light would be better – it was but I couldn’t find the ducks!

Makes my neck ache. A Nuthatch in its favourite upside down positions peering about.

This took patience and a lot of pixels for reuse. This Willow Warbler was moving around all the time – moving in tree-tops swaying in the wind. So getting a crisp shot was hard. Of particular note here is the very obvious supercilium, the rather yellow-tinge across the whole breast and the pale underside of more or less the whole lower mandible (I have used another shot of this bird in a ‘compare and contrast’ with Chiffchaff in the lake photos above).

Another view of this bird.

Some of the features can be light-dependent. Here is a different Willow Warbler in the shade and the contrasting supercilium in nowhere near so apparent. But the wash across the breast and the pale lower mandible are present.

Against the light but no mistaking a shouting Wren.

Quite alarming from this angle but a harmless Common Toad (Bufo bufo).

The whole thing.

Sort of ‘bug-eyed’.

Not too sure whether the left rear leg is injured or not – toad locomotion is a ‘waddle’ rather than a hop. I did not notice it struggling at the time.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- drake Mallard on the lower pool again
- Moorhen(s?) heard on both pools
- singing Willow Warbler around the upper pool
- singing Blackcap around the upper pool again

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
3 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
9 Tufted Duck
4 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warblers
131 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Cackling Goose-type
37 Tufted Ducks
3 Blackcaps
4 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
4 Great Crested Grebes
23 Tufted Ducks
3 Sand Martins
1 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Little Grebes 
5 Great Crested Grebes 
2 Gadwall 
23 Tufted Ducks 
2 Redwings
1 Fieldfare
3 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash 
3 Great Crested Grebes
48 Tufted Duck 
2 Brambling
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
4 Lapwings
1 Stock Dove
3 Sky Larks
8 Redwing
(Ed Wilson)

Horsehay Pool
Male Wheatear
(Glenn Bishton)

Priorslee Lake
1 Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Ring Ouzel
60 Golden Plover
20 Yellowhammer
4 Wheatear
(John Isherwood, Andy Latham, John Isherwood, Ed Wilson)

Priorslee lake

2 Great Crested Grebe
17 Tufted Duck
68 Lesser Black-backed Gull
1 Kingfisher
5 Meadow Pipit
1 Blackcap
6 Chiffchaff
3 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
6 Great Crested Grebe
5 Herons
7 Tufted Ducks
3 Lapwings
2 Ruddy Ducks
418 Jackdaws
27 Wrens
26 Blackbirds
47 Sand Martins
1 Swallow.
2 Fieldfares
1 Barn Owl
4 Meadow Pipits
2 Fieldfares
2 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warblers
1 Willow Tit
9 Greenfinches
2 Siskins
7 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson, Martin Adlam)