27 Jul 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

11.0°C > 12.5°C: Areas of medium cloud with lower cloud and light rain shower later. Light SW wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 05:20 BST

Highlight today was my first-ever Fox at The Flash – and a very scruffy individual it was too. My attention was drawn to it by a pair of Crows making a lot of fuss as they followed it across the grass at the N end. Amazingly the 3 Greylag and 16 Canada Geese stood transfixed on the grass and watched the Fox go by

Priorslee Lake: 04:30 – 05:55 // 06:45 – 08:05

(84th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- the additional pair(?) of adult Great Crested Grebes were present again: I suspect they are early-brood juveniles as they have very few head plumes, though they have lost the head-stripes
- the Common Sandpiper seen pre-dawn only
- the (same?) pair of Common Terns arrived from the E very noisily at 07:27
- group of at least 130 Black-headed Gulls swooped in at 05:15 to join the c.45 already present. Proportion of juveniles remains low
- a relatively new brood of Great Tits was a surprise: however unlike Blue Tits this species is sometimes double-brooded; so a 2nd brood
- one of the two parties of Long-tailed Tits contained at least 13 birds
- at least 3 juvenile Goldfinches today – my first this year
- several Tetragnatha web spider on the lamps again
- at least 6 Pipistrelle-type bat sps. along the N side pre-dawn: my highest-ever count
- first Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) of the year noted
- Red Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) in bloom again along the base of the dam after having been strimmed earlier

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 11 Greylag Geese (2 groups) all outbound
- 59 Canada Geese (8 groups) all outbound
- 39 Wood Pigeons

Hirundine etc. seen
- 1 Swift at 05:50 only

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 4 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 3 (0) Blackcaps
- 1 (0) Common Whitethroat again
- 5 (2) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 4 Canada Geese again
- 28 (?♂) Mallard
- 3 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 + 6 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 34 + 8 (7 broods) Coots
- 1 Common Sandpiper yet again
- 2 Common Terms arrived at 07:27
- c.175 (>6 juveniles) Black-headed Gulls

All the signs of a repeat of yesterday’s “shepherds’ warning”

Eventually even better.

At its best.

And long after the red had faded still an interesting sky.

Mum (I assume) Great Crested Grebe with a full load (there are 4 if you look really hard).

The young beginning to take note of their surroundings, peering out.

A shot of the Common Tern in flight today (taken in dull conditions and enlarged somewhat so some ‘noise’ in the background).

And the other bird just about to lift off from a buoy.

A number of different immature Black-headed Gulls. When they first fledge they are very ginger-brown but this soon fades and they moult some feathers – here we see extensive pearl-gray in the greater coverts.

This bird has more extensive retained ginger-brown on the nape and a few 1st winter pearl-grey feathers on mantle and scapulars.

Another bird with extensive ginger-brown on the nape but with no new feathers on the mantle.

A juvenile Great Tit showing rather indistinct markings and yellowish tone to what would be much whiter areas in an adult.

As a postscript to yesterday’s spiders here we see a male (at the top) with a female Tetragnatha web spider, probably T. montana (I hope you are viewing this after the watershed ...)”.

The small, flat and tight flower cluster and the feathery leaves identify this umbellifer as Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). My first this year.
Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- juvenile Moorhens calling from reeds in the upper pool
- Kingfisher flying through along the like of the Wesley Brook
- single Chiffchaff and Blackcap calling around the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:00 – 06:40

(65th visit of the year)

Other notes from here
- Mallard ducklings not seen today
- several specimens of the harvestman Leiobunum rotundum on the lamps. Sometimes called Daddy longlegs spider, even though it is not a true spider

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 3 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Hirundine etc. noted
- House Martin heard only

Warblers noted

The counts from the water
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 14 Greylag Geese
- 56 Canada Geese (also 1 dead bird in the water)
- 1 white feral goose
- 18 (12♂) Mallard
- 3 (1♂?) Tufted Duck
- 2 + 3 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 Moorhens
- 12 + 3 (2 broods) Coots only

The harvestman Leiobunum rotundum, sometimes called Daddy longlegs spider, even though it is not a true spider. Note the very small spider / mite in the foreground.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day..........
Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)