9 Jun 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

9.5°C > 11.5°C: Broken cloud with some heavy showers. Light SW wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 04:46 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:20 – 06:50

(74th visit of the year)

Some changes while I was away for a few days
- some weed in the lake has been cut by yacht club contractors: there are again several heaps of weed on the banks and plenty of uncollected cut weed floating on the surface
- the street light ‘heads’ along the W end footpath have now all been replaced by the latest LED type and this probably spells the end of moths being attracted to them – they seem to be the wrong ‘colour temperature’ and / or the wrong shape
- the dam-face has been strimmed to remove all the e.g. Red Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) flowers, though there seems to have been no attempt to control the roots of the plants
- the rain and wind has brought down one of the trees across the N-side path
- [later in the day I passed and several ‘Environmental Agency’ vans were parked up opposite the lay-by in Castle Farm Way and looked to be interested in the fields to the E. We are promised hundreds of houses, though the farmer would probably harvest his crops before too much happens]

An abbreviated visit after a late start, all to avoid the sharp showers

Notes from today:
- the Mute Swans have lost another cygnet – just 3 remain
- the 4 Mallard ducklings however continue to do well
- Mallard apart it has been a poor year for breeding waterbirds: just one brood of Great Crested Grebes; no Moorhens as yet – there is time; and the very few Coot broods have all disappeared quite quickly. Last year >20 Coots successfully fledged
- family party of Goldcrests seen today. This species is doing well after several benign winters with at least 4 territories around the lake
- Bistort (now Polygonum bistorta) was newly in flower; as was Snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp. probably S. albus)
- also found Scented Mayweed (Matricaria chamomilla)

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 2 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Collared Dove

Hirundine etc. counts:
- 12 Swifts

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs again
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler still here
- 12 (11) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Garden Warblers again
- 3 (0) Common Whitethroat
- 6 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 10 (6♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 5 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 6 Moorhens
- 15 Coots only

Proud mum Mallard standing guard.

This was quite instructive: the sounds suggested there were Reed and Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats all working these stems. Which is this? With no head stripes we can dismiss Sedge Warbler but separation of Reed Warbler and Common Whitethroat is not so easy. The throat is white but at all ages a Common Whitethroat should show rather more brown in the wing so it must be a Reed Warbler? But the bill colour is blue-grey and it looks rather short and stubby for a Reed Warbler. So? The rather greyer head provides another clue – so a Garden Warbler in unusual habitat?

A few seconds later and the bill is open and no longer looks blue-grey and the wings now look more strongly edges brown. So?

Now we see a rather ragged tail reminiscent of e.g. a Grasshopper Warbler, though that would be streaked all over. And there seems to be some dark on the ear-coverts. So what is it? I genuinely don’t know! I think Garden Warbler is most likely but ...

.... if this is the same bird – and I am not sure it is – it has the ‘jaunty look’ of a Common Whitethroat. No eye ring means it must be a juvenile and all juveniles can be hard.

This cluster of flowers is my first Bistort (now Polygonum bistorta was Persicaria bistorta) this year. Grows all around the lake mainly adjacent to the edges.

I think this is Scented Mayweed (Matricaria chamomilla), a plant with more vernacular names than I could possibly include – (German) c(h)amomile will have to do! The way the petals hang down is distinctive of c(h)amomiles. There are similar species and Corn Chamomile (Anthemis austriaca) is found on the farmland alongside Woodhouse Lane to the E.

These are the unobtrusive flowers of the Snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp. probably S. albus) whose fruits are so obvious in Autumn and early Winter.

And looking deep inside these small flowers.

One of the piles of weed dredged from the lake.

... and an indication of some of the cut weed now on the surface.

A partially downed trees almost blocking the path – when it falls it will.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:00 – 07:45

(55th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- an additional drake Tufted Duck today. The presumed pair still wandering all around the water
- only 2 Great Crested Grebes seen, but as one of these seemed to be ‘standing guard’ there may be another on nest somewhere
- best count of House Martins so far this year. One of the local residents reported the birds returned on time and have been swooping up to their usual nesting areas but there has been no sign of nest-building – too dry to collect the mud until the last few days?
- the Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre) showing well along the Derwent Drive retaining wall

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Jackdaws

Hirundine etc. counts
- 2 Swifts
- 8 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 80 Canada Geese!
- 1 white feral goose
- 11 (10♂) Mallard
- 3 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhen
- 18 + 7 (4 broods) Coots

One of the adult Mute Swans with six of its cygnets.

And the other adult with the seventh cygnet.

A parent Coot with its two juveniles.

Along the wall at this time of year we see Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre), also known as Goldilocks Stonecrop (and many other names).

No visit between the lake and The Flash today

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Local Area
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
7 Reed Warblers
2 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebe
1 Ruddy Duck
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 House Martin
2 Swallow
Reed Warbler
1 Sedge Warbler
3 Blackcap
1 Garden Warbler
2 Willow Warbler
3 Chiffchaff
4 Bullfinch
2 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
2 Cormorants
2 Tufted Ducks
1 Kestrel
3 Stock Dove
3 Swift
4 Swallow
11 House Martin
6 Reed Warblers
1 Lesser Whitethroat
9 Blackcap
5 Chiffchaff
7 Greenfinch
3 Bullfinch
6 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)