6 Apr 17

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

4.5°C > 10.0°C: Unexpectedly clear with early cloud only to far E and SE; clouded from W after 09:30. Lighter NW breeze but still rather chilly. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 06:33 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:35 – 06:55 // 08:05 – 09:40

(50th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- still unsure whether two or three Grey Herons around
- Sparrowhawk seen at 06:00: looked a rather large bird, certainly a female. Could it have been a / the possible Goshawk seen over The Flash yesterday? Too dark and too far away. Later what was certainly a female Sparrowhawk seen between the lake and The Flash
- whether it was the Sparrowhawk/Goshawk or not, the local Buzzard was inspired to fly around giving typical elastic wing beats of displaying Sparrowhawks: behaviour not usually seen from a Buzzard
- Lapwing(s) heard displaying in the old Celestica grounds again
- 4 probable Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived over the lake 05:50 and circled low for some 15 minutes and then vanished: too dark to positively ID
- 3, perhaps 4, Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing around and calling again
- Stock Dove heard calling from both the Ricoh copse beside Teece Drive as well as the usual trees near the gate. Both saw me and flew off before I saw them
- a few Sand Martins after 08:15 had gone by 08:30
- difficult counting the Blackcaps as territories not yet fixed and birds very mobile. One male heard to give very prolonged song – one of the distinguishing features of the somewhat similar song of Garden Warbler is the greater length of the song. But this bird was most assuredly a Blackcap
- single Redwing seen leaving a roost around the lake
- no moths on the lamps
- just 1 species of hoverfly seen
- Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge (Alliaria petiolata) plants showing well
- the very common wildflower / weed Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) noted
- a Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) noted growing on a verge will be lucky to survive the Council’s mowing contractors

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 4 Greylag Geese
- 2 Canada Geese
- 4 Wood Pigeons only again
- 314 Jackdaws (number of groups not recorded)
- 2 Rooks
- Raven(s) heard

Hirundine counts
- c. 5 Sand Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 12 (8) Chiffchaffs
- 4 (4) Willow Warblers
- 9 (6) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 4 Canada Geese (single and trio briefly)
- 7 (6♂) Mallard
- 5 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 (3?) Grey Herons
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 26 Coots
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Another day another sunrise: a most peculiar vertical ‘shaft’ of red in the sky this morning.

Became even more pronounced for a while.

... and that shaft is still present. I assume a cloud or faded vapour trail but the orientation is strange.

Another view of the sunrise.

One last view ....

 Mr. Swan looking regal.

And Mr. Swan on the warpath: a Canada Goose had sneaked in.

Flypast of 4 Greylag Geese: not been too common here this last winter period.

One of the battling Grey Herons. Not the bright bill and the elongated back feathers that show it is in breeding plumage.

Rather against the light this Song Thrush gazed at me rather quizzically ....

 ... and allowed a surprisingly close approach before it hopped away.

This is clearly a rather different willow (Salix sp.) with catkins that don’t look at all like ‘pussy willow’.

This is the very common wildflower / weed Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris). Remember a weed is only a wild flower in the wrong place.

Not due to flower for a month or so I think this is Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). If this specimen flowers it will have led a charmed life on the verge outside the academy.

These will begin to flower within a week or so: the leaves of Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge (Alliaria petiolata). These smell and taste slightly of garlic and are good to eat raw on their own or in salads.

(Ed Wilson) 


The Flash: 07:05 – 07:55

(38th visit of the year)

- the same(?) pair of Mallard ‘roof sitting’
- Shoveler shoved-off
- first Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis) flowers seen. Food plant of the Orange-tip butterfly caterpillars

Birds noted flying over today

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

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 26 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 16 (14♂) Mallard once more
- 13 (8♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 16 Coots

The pair of roof-sitting Mallard were better lit and closer this morning so I upgraded the shot.

Not readily apparent on the last view is the drake’s ability to stand on one leg.

A Collared Dove of course. The way it is sitting it is none too easy to see the thin black ‘collar’, that is only a part-collar anyway.

Partially hidden but the full range of Willow Warbler features easy to see: pronounced supercilium; pale lower mandible and reddish-orange (not dark) legs. I also appears long-winged – it needs these to migrate from sub-Saharan Africa. Chiffchaffs only come from the Mediterranean and have shorter wings.

And here is a Chiffchaff and the wings are indeed shorter. You would not say the legs were ‘dark’: better ‘darker’. Certainly very little supercilium.

A Wren in full song, upgrading yesterday’s rather poor shot! Even sticking its tongue out.

Even louder! And the other side.

“Who made all that noise?” Wasn’t me, honest.

And another Wren in song: it’s that time of year.

Anything a Wren can do I can do too: a Dunnock about to sing.

Another shot of (the same?) Nuthatch upside down.

 ... and the right way up for a change.

Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis) flowers.

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

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:48 – 10:20 // 11:09 – 11:12

(16th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the remaining cygnet still present
- all Tufted Duck now gone from here (but not from Middle Pool – q.v.)
- a 3rd Great Crested Grebe today: one sitting on nest
- did not hear or see the Reed Bunting that has been present on my last two visits

Birds noted flying over here
- 1 Buzzard
- >16 Jackdaws

Hirundines seen

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 7 Canada Geese
- 3 (2♂) Mallard
- no Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 31 Coots

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:25 – 11:05

(13th visit of the year)

- pair of Coots with 2 juveniles
- at least 2 and probably 3 Grey Wagtails

Birds noted flying over here
- 5 Buzzards in the air together high over
- 4 Jackdaws

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 6 (6) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Blackcap [new for me here this year]

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 23 Greylag Geese
- 32 Canada Goose
- 10 (9♂) Mallard
- 8 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 12 + 2 Coots

Not too often I get the chance to photograph a lady’s legs. This duck Tufted Duck keeps a wary eye out.

A close-pass by this Great Crested Grebe.

A pair of Coots with two surviving juveniles. A ‘normal’ brood is 4 or 5 but the attrition rate is high. In any case early broods may be subject to chilling and not all the brood may have hatched.

I think there are at least three Grey Wagtails around the pool which may explain my confusion last time between males and females. Here a male: he has a darker, almost black throat, and the whole underside is yellow.

This is a female with a little dark on the throat (the amount varies) and a mostly white breast and belly. Both sexes have the bright yellow undertail.

Here we see the yellow of the undertail wraps around on to the rump.

Another view of a male. The tail is longer than on a Pied Wagtail and is pumped continually.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
3 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
12 Tufted Duck
7 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Cormorant
1 Cackling Goose
39 Tufted Ducks
1 Blackcap
4 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
4 Great Crested Grebes
23 Tufted Ducks
1 Sand Martin
1 Blackcap
2 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe 
4 Great Crested Grebes 
1 Cormorant 
2 Gadwall
21 Tufted Ducks 
6 Redwings
1 Fieldfare 
372 Jackdaws
Willow Tit
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes 
1 Cormorant 
1 Pochard 
58 Tufted Duck 
1 Brambling
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Trench Lock Pool
2 Great Crested Grebes 
2 Cormorants
2 Greylag Geese
4 Shoveler 
19 Tufted Duck 
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
50 Meadow Pipit
100 Redwing
Green Woodpecker
3 Red legged Partridge
7 Lapwing
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill 
2 Common Redstart
4 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Flash
Garden Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
20 Tufted Duck
2 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
1 Skylark
36 Meadow Pipit
9 Chiffchaff
1 Redpoll
8 Bullfinch
5 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake 
5 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
6 Tufted Ducks
1 Ruddy Duck
7 Stock Doves
235 Wood Pigeons
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
7 Meadow Pipits
20 Wrens
21 Blackbirds
2 Fieldfares again
2 Blackcaps
5 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warblers
1 Willow Tit
15 Greenfinches
3 Siskins
3 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)