13 May 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

9.5°C > 11.0°C: Variable amounts of cloud. Light shower (very) early. Moderate S wind. Good visibility but still rather hazy

Sunrise: 05:16 BST

We needed the rain but it seems to have had little impact with the Wesley Brook between The Flash and the lake still dried-up

Best today was the unexpectedly late Common Sandpiper at The Flash

Priorslee Lake: 04:35 – 06:15 // 07:10 – 07:58

(64th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- could not find the Mallard ducklings this morning: one of the fishermen told me that the brood was originally 8 ducklings when he first noted them
- no progress on identifying the number of juvenile Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Stock Doves seen out in the open on the academy running track / cricket square
- in time to see some of the Jackdaws roost dispersal: unusually a significant number passed after the street-lights went out – I normally use this as signifying the end of the main passage
- 3 different parties of Long-tailed Tits: juveniles only noted with one of these groups
- rather fewer warblers this morning and had to work hard to make the totals shown below. Response to the rain? Or perhaps getting down to the serious business of family duties and no time to sing?
- still no moths on the lamps – indeed nothing at all apart from dead bodies from spider meals
- a Snipe fly sp., probably Rhagio scolopaceus, found on the wall of the yacht club HQ

On with the totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 1 1st year Mute Swan
- 2 Canada Geese (pair) again
- 4 Wood Pigeons
- 92 Jackdaws
- 3 Rooks
- 9 Starlings

Hirundine etc. counts:
- 20 Swifts
- 5 Barn Swallows
- 1 House Martin

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 10 (10) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warblers as usual
- 13 (10) Blackcaps
- 2 (1) Garden Warblers
- 5 (5) Common Whitethroats
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler again
- 4 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 10 (8♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron
- 4 + 1? Great Crested Grebes again
- 2 Moorhen
- 23 Coots

About as good as the sunrise got today.

Looked better in detail.

And even better here.

An adult Great Crested Grebe brings a tasty morsel.

“Here: take this.”

Neither its partner nor any of the sheltering juveniles seemed interested.

On the academy cricket field / running track there were a whole heap of pigeons. All the Wood Pigeons clattered off when I appeared but unusually these Stock Dove were rather less concerned. Note the lack of white on the neck and the bend in the wing; and also the black marks in the wings.

Well if it is going to pose I’ll shoot. A female Pied Wagtail – a male would have a jet-black back with the black of the chin extending on to the breast.

This is a Snipe fly sp., probably Rhagio scolopaceus.

Some Broom (Genista sp.) flowers. Possibly a garden escape.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:25 – 07:10

(48th visit of the year)

The Common Sandpiper was new for my 2017 site list: number 64 and my first here since April 2014

Other notes from here
- just 2 pair of Tufted Duck remain
- House Martins were seen over the estate this morning – at last
- an as yet unidentified group of fungus growing in the wood-chippings left from the lopped willow and being used as a fishing platform

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Jackdaw

Hirundine etc. counts
- 3 Swifts again
- 3 Swallows
- 4 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 23 Canada Geese
- [the white feral goose not seen again]
- 22 (18♂) Mallard
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Great Crested Grebe as usual
- 2 Moorhens
- 19 + 5 (2 broods) Coots

A record shot anyway: the Common Sandpiper on the island.

Blackbird you say: correct. But age? sex? It is not brown streaked so it is not a female: anyway it has yellow on the bill. But not much yellow so it is not an adult male. Would an early brood male look like this already? Or is it from a late 2016 brood and yet to moult in to adult plumage? Just when you think you know ... If we can get this confused by a very common bird what hope is there with a rarity?

Not often you see this: a Long-tailed Tit on a wire. Looks almost too big for it to grip.

These fungus were growing in the discarded chipped remains of some of the trimmed willow wood being used as fishing platforms. With eight times as many fungus as flowering plants in the UK identification is ‘challenging.’

Here we see the underside of the cap in close-up. I am fairly certain it is a Mycena sp. though most of these seem to have an ‘umbo’ (a raised centre) and my specimens do not. Perhaps an age-related feature?

I used to have an Observer’s Guide to British Bird’s Eggs but it seems to have got lost along the line. Egg-collecting is, rightly, frowned upon these days so I have no real way of identifying this egg – about half the size of a chicken egg.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- a Chiffchaff singing again: either a new bird or it has moved – was at the upper pool today
- the usual singing Blackcap

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
2 Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)