23 Oct 17

Priorslee Lake: then Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool

9.0°C > 13.0°C: Low cloud and slight rain to start; breaking after 09:00 somewhat. Light SE wind until clearance brought moderate S breeze. Moderate visibility, becoming very good

Sunrise: 07:49 BST

Priorslee Lake: 06:55 – 09:35

(127th visit of the year)

A busy morning overhead without any real ‘movement’ as such – just a few of many things

The continuing mild weather makes for little movement of wildfowl. Nevertheless three Shoveler dropped in: and the first early overflight of Goosanders towards The Flash(?) was noted

Against the trend Chiffchaffs seem to have gone / quietened down early this year – I normally log the odd bird until the end of the month

Other notes from today:
- now five drake Gadwalls: 3 as pairs and 2 ‘spares’
- rather few Wood Pigeons seen until I noticed a migrant group of 72 birds flying S far to the W. Did not see any more large groups here – but see notes from Trench Lock Pool
- no Starlings seen leaving any roost around the lake this morning: there was an overnight fisherman near the reeds so perhaps they decided not to stop
- several Redwings were calling from the tree-tops as I arrived: first of the season in the trees
- all the over-flying Pied Wagtails were headed E today: when I logged the largest numbers they were headed S – presumed migrants
- a Meadow Pipit again put up from grass around the lake: also three singles over
- Willow Tit was calling loudly again this morning and did not seem to be with other tits
- the three unidentified finch parties was frustrating: just too much road noise from a wet M54 to hear their flight calls
and
- 1 November Moth-type on the lamps
- a bee sp. also on the lamps rather oddly

On with today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 46 Canada Goose (1 group inbound)
- 6 (?♂) Goosander
- 1 Common Buzzard
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 176 Wood Pigeons
- c.650 Jackdaws
- 2 Rooks
- 10 Starlings (1 group)
- 6 Pied Wagtails
- 3 Meadow Pipits
- 1 Fieldfare
- 24 Redwings (8 singles/groups)
- 2 Skylarks again
- 1 Greenfinches
- 4 Goldfinches (1 group)
- 1 Siskin
- 2 Lesser Redpolls
- 13 unidentified finches (3 groups)

Warblers seen or heard today
None

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 8 (5♂) Gadwall
- 11 (6♂) Mallard
- 3 (1♂) Shoveler
- 28 (13♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 6 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 151 Coots
- >180 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Kingfisher

The inbound three Shoveler: the middle one with the blue forewing pattern is obviously a drake. It is grey on females.

And in the morning’s early murk here is that drake, still not in breeding plumage.

The characteristic pattern of a migrating party of Wood Pigeons – I make it 79 (and there may be a few more out of the frame) so I am pleased with my estimate of 80!

A male Blackbird – of course – with a single white-tipped feather – a not uncommon feature of males. Do females have the same aberration? Or is not so noticeable? I am not sure.

‘Just’ a Dunnock but nicely posed against the neutral background of the Holy Trinity Academy. Good job it is half-term – pointing the camera at a school! The neat white edges to the tertials will wear off during the winter.

This is instructive though it took a long while to identify. Superficially a wasp sp. – and it is indeed one. I was unsure it was wasp-waisted enough and seemed too hairy. Many hoverflies resemble wasps though most of these can be dismissed as they have short-antennae. My main problem was being unable to match the very distinctive pattern on the thorax with any bee, wasp or hoverfly in any of my reference books. A search for wasp mimic on the web led me, eventually, to this web site Here, where there is a photo comparing a Common Wasp (Vespula (Paravespula) vulgaris) with the female hoverfly (Chrysotoxum cautum) in which the wasp markings looks exactly like this – even if it doesn’t look like of them in my reference books! So Common Wasp it must be.

Today’s November Moth-type.

The Field Blewit (Lepista saeva) fungus from Friday is now fully developed – my size 10 (UK) boot for comparison.

This was the example that was almost buried in the leaf litter having now forced its way through.

(Ed Wilson)

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Trench Lock Pool: 09:50 – 10:05 // 10:40 – 11:10

(28th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- 3 Great Crested Grebes today: not entirely sure about the ages of these
- the floating dead body of the Lesser Black-backed Gull still visible
- 36 Redwings over in two groups

Birds noted flying over here [apart from the local Wood Pigeons and Jackdaws coming and going]
- 3 Canada Geese (en route to Middle Pool)
- 1 Cormorant
- 4 Wood Pigeons
- 35 Redwings (2 groups)

The counts from the water
- 1 + 7 Mute Swans still
- 3 Canada Geese
- 11 (5♂) Mallards
- 1 (1♂) ‘feralMallard again
- 29 (9♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Little Grebes
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 5 Moorhens again
- 122 Coots again
- 30 Black-headed Gulls
- 6 + 1 dead Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Two very different-looking Little Grebes: the bird on the left is more or less still in breeding plumage; the bird on the right is in winter plumage. I think at this date any juvenile / 1st winter would still show some head-striping.

A different angle.

Just a couple of flying shots of adult winter Black-headed Gull@ no #1.

And #2.

(Ed Wilson)

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Trench Middle Pool: 10:10 – 10:35

(24th visit of the year)

Notes
- a record number of Coots for me here. Probably not an increase as these can be hard to accurately count as there are always some the ‘other side’ of the island
- 1 Grey Wagtail again
and

Birds noted flying over here
- 2 Jackdaws

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans
- 50 Canada Geese
- 23 (15♂) Mallard
- [1 (0♂) ‘feralMallards]
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 12 Moorhens
- 36 Coots
- 36 Black-headed Gulls again

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2010
Priorslee Lake
Water Rail
9 Meadow Pipits
143 Fieldfare
8 Redwings 
(Ed Wilson)

2009
Priorslee Lake
1 Yellow-legged Gull
2 Common Gull
6 Wigeon
(John Isherwood)

2006
Priorslee Lake
Female Blackcap
(John Isherwood)

22 Oct 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

8.5°C > 10.0°C: Light shower clearing; mainly cloudy; clearer spells at times. Moderate / fresh WNW wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 07:47 BST

Priorslee Lake: 06:50 – 09:40

(126th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- the Mute Swan family went for another fly around the lake. I wonder whether the adults are preparing the cygnets to wander outside the lake before their eventual departure
- ever-changing numbers of Gadwall: 3 pairs and an additional drake today
- very few Mallard for some reason – and they certainly weren’t at The Flash as numbers were lower there as well
- a pair of Sparrowhawks over early: the a female – one of these? – much later
- a Water Rail calling again from the S side
- two large groups of c.195 Wood Pigeons flying S: another 70 in 6 smaller groups seem to be climbing out of trees to the N of the lake and trying to catch the big groups. A few more flying E and W as usual, nothing to do with migration
- at least 159 Starlings came out of roosts(s) around the lake: they rather caught me out by coming in dribs and drabs rather than a big group and just a few stragglers. Not entirely sure where precisely they came from – seemed not to the usual reeds. Confusingly at the same time another party from somewhere else flew over
- 3 Meadow Pipits were roosting somewhere around the lake: either in the SW grass or the small copse near the boat-launching platform. Unusual
and
- nothing on the lamps again this morning

On with today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake: (all totals affected by low cloud / restricted visibility)
- 47 Canada Geese (15 outbound; 32 inbound)
- 1 (1♂) Mallard
- 3 Sparrowhawks
- 2 Common Buzzards
- 32 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Stock Dove
- c.300 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- c.500 Jackdaws
- 4 Rooks
- 3 Ravens
- 4 Pied Wagtails
- 32 Starlings (1 group) (see notes)
- 5 Fieldfare (1 group)
- 37 Redwings (7 singles / groups)
- 2 Skylarks
- 2 Greenfinches
- 3 Siskins

Warblers seen or heard today
None

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans as usual
- 7 (4♂) Gadwall
- 5 (3♂) Mallard only
- 39 (15♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe
- 5 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Water Rail heard
- 3 Moorhens only
- 153 Coots
- >170 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 1 Kingfisher

Not much of a sunrise: I’ll take any clear weather at the moment.

Soaring above their parents the local cygnets get their morning exercise.

Dad touches down.

And a perfect two-point landing from Mum.

Junior goes around for another lap.

The other two on finals.

Nine out of ten for this landing I’d say.

Coming to rest air-brakes fully deployed.

One of this morning’s Common Buzzards on a mission to scare the gulls.

A first-winter Black-headed Gull concentrates on the intended landing spot.

Touch-down.

A last-minute re-arrangement to get its balance.

A Lesser Black-backed Gull tries to keep its balance in the strong wind. Apart from smudging around the eye this individual shows little of the sometimes extensive winter streaking on the head and neck. It is a dark-mantled bird and likely of the fuscus form from Scandinavia.

Rather over-blown deliberately to show the pointers this shot provided me with a useful gull plumage lesson. At the time I thought a 2nd winter Herring Gull – which is what it is. What I had not appreciated was how similar the upper side plumage is to 1st winter Common Gull with the pale grey mantle, pale secondary coverts; brown webs on the otherwise grey inner primaries; and even a dotted neck-collar. Clinchers for the Herring Gull option – more obvious in the field when the size was more apparent – are: the wholly black tail which is just a neat black band on a Common Gull; and the sloping forehead leading to the strong bill whereas a Common Gull would show and rounded head and small bill with a neat black tip.

(Ed Wilson)

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The Flash: 09:45 – 10:30

(92nd visit of the year)

Notes from here
- in contrast to the lake the two remaining cygnets here show no inclination to fly – not when I am present at least. One of them seems to spend most of the time consorting with Canada Geese
- I counted 35 Tufted Duck (18 drakes): then as I was about to leave 22 more birds flew in – likely flushed from the lake by the Sunday sailing activity

Bird noted flying over
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 4 Jackdaws
- 5 Starlings

Warblers noted
None

The counts from the water
- 2 + 2 Mute Swans
- >58 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 35 Canada Geese only
- 1 white feral goose again
- 21 (15♂) Mallard
- 57 (>18♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 2 Great Crested Grebes as usual
- 5 Moorhens
- 10 Coots
- 41 Black-headed Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2016
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2013
Priorslee Lake
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull
1 adult Great Black-backed Gull
4 Gadwall
1 Teal
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
A Raven tussling with Sparrowhawk
(John Isherwood)

2010
Priorslee Lake
389 Fieldfare
6 Redwings
(Ed Wilson)

2009
Priorslee Lake
15 Pochard
34 Tufted Duck
13 Moorhens
232 Coots
1 Redwing heard 
(Ed Wilson)

2005
Priorslee Lake
A male Stonechat the west end
2 Gadwall
A drake Shoveler
14 Pochard
44 Tufted Duck
Siskin
Redpoll
C.350 Starlings in the roost
20 Redwings
209 Coot
Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

21 Oct 17

Priorslee Lake only

10.0°C > 10.5°C: Passing showers and mainly cloudy. Moderate / fresh S wind. Good visibility, rather less in showers.

Sunrise: 07:45 BST

Priorslee Lake: 06:55 – 09:40

(125th visit of the year)

Notable sighting today was the c.150 Starlings that shot out of a roost in the NW reed-bed – my first confirmed use of this roost this season. Plenty more Starlings over

Other notes from today:
- an inbound Greylag x Canada Goose peeled off from the Canada Goose group and landed on the water, much to the annoyance of the cob Mute Swan
- the Eurasian Wigeon gone again – as has the ‘extra’ drake Gadwall
- a second pair of Gadwall flew in
- I logged 4 Common Buzzards flying around early on: with the strong wind they were moving between areas more than usual and I was unsure how many birds might have been involved. Later I noted 3 in the air together
- at least 3 Redwings in the trees before dawn may have roosted; later 7 more landed in the trees at the W end; another 72 overhead – see totals below
- 2 Pied Wagtails on the football field
- 11 quite robust-looking finches flew W together in, for finches, a rather open group. Too far away to see any plumage details and to hear any calls. Frustrating
and
- nothing on the lamps again this morning
- yet another species of fungus found – probably Hare's-foot Inkcap (Coprinus lagopus). It is proving to be a bumper year for this important group

On with today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 41 Canada Geese (in 2 groups inbound)
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 3 (4?) Common Buzzards (see notes)
- 25 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 42 Wood Pigeons
- c.425 Jackdaws
- 10 Rooks
- 3 Pied Wagtails
- c.245 Starlings (5 groups)
- 72 Redwings (14 singles / groups)
- 11 finch sp. (1 group – see notes)

Warblers seen or heard today
None

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose (see notes)
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall
- 11 (5♂) Mallard
- 39 (13♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 6 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens only
- 152 Coots
- c.230 Black-headed Gulls
- 22 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 1 Kingfisher

Well it looked OK to start with: showers pretty much all the time.

Just a Wren: but not often they sit (almost) still-enough to photograph.

... twice!

... thrice.

Did you know they stick their tongue out when they sing?

And open wide! I am sorry these are not all 100% sharp: there was just not enough light to ‘freeze’ this hyperactive bird.

I think these are Hare's-foot Inkcap (Coprinus lagopus) fungus. My concern is that the habitat is not quite right – these were on the edge of the football field. Still it was in the area that was reconstructed when the academy was built and who knows what lies under there.

The rather strange name of the species comes from a supposed resemblance of the young fruit to the 'paw of a rabbit' (so why hare?). Here is the underside of this short-lived fungus – we see it already starting to deliquesce.
Here from above – no sign of any rabbit’s feet anywhere.

A close-up.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2016
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2010
Priorslee Lake
Little Grebe
5 Lapwings
1487 Fieldfare logged, mostly flying W. 7 of the flocks estimated at between 110 and 130 birds
25 Redwings
Raven
56 Goldfinch
(Ed Wilson)

2009
Priorslee Lake
62 Swans
5 Wigeon
14 Pochard
22 Tufted Ducks
231 Coots
Great Black-backed Gull
3 Buzzards
1 Kestrel
27 Redwings
Chiffchaff
c.250 Starlings
8 Siskins
c.15 Goldfinches
(Ed Wilson)

2006
Priorslee Lake
1 Cormorant
25 Pochard
72 Tufted Ducks
1 Kestrel
1 Kingfisher
20 Robins
17 Blackbirds
15 Song Thrushes
59 Redwing
3 Mistle Thrushes
1 Chiffchaff
1 Blackcap
5 Goldcrests
(Martin Adlam)

20 Oct 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

10.5°C > 11.5°C: Heavy shower at start, otherwise mainly cloudy. Light / moderate W wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 07:44 BST

Priorslee Lake: 06:50 – 09:40

(124th visit of the year)

Best today was a group of 20 Goosanders that arrived at 07:45. As to be expected, at this date they were all ‘brownheads’, though two looked somewhat more contrasting and likely to become drakes. This number is quite unprecedented at the lake. Not only that: instead of dropping in for just a few minutes as they usually do these birds stayed for over 30 minutes and spent the while fishing as a single group until they all left together. My first in the water here since 4 January

Other notes from today:
- 31 additional inbound Canada Geese stopped off at the lake for a while, much to the annoyance of the cob Mute Swan
- three duck Eurasian Wigeon new in: two of these consorting with an ‘extra’ drake Gadwall
- otherwise just a pair of Gadwall this morning
- 11 Great Crested Grebes: the 4 breeding adults and their remaining 3 juveniles were present. Not 100% sure whether all the others were adults or not
- a Water Rail calling from the main N side reed bed this morning – a new location for them?
- probably 3 Grey Wagtails today: 2 early birds seemed to be leaving very high S over the M54 – local birds usually fly rather low. A bird later on the dam-face
- at least 5 Goldcrests around the lake today: more than I have seen for weeks
and
- nothing on the lamps this morning
- a shoal of small fish under the Wesley Brook bridge was unusual
- more fungus seen

On with today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake: (all totals affected by low cloud / restricted visibility)
- 41 Canada Geese (16 in 3 groups outbound; 15 in 2 groups inbound): see also notes
- 1 Common Buzzard
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons
- 55 Wood Pigeons
- c.575 Jackdaws
- 3 Rooks
- 6 Pied Wagtails again
- 65 Starlings (4 groups)
- 3 Fieldfare (1 group)
- 168 Redwings (6 groups)
- 1 Meadow Pipit again
- 3 Chaffinches
- 2 Greenfinch
- 5 Siskins
- 6 Linnets (1 group)

Warblers seen or heard today
None

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans as usual
- 31 Canada Geese (see notes)
- 3 (2♂) Gadwall
- 3 (0♂) Eurasian Wigeon
- 14 (8♂) Mallard
- 34 (14♂) Tufted Ducks
- 20 (0?♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant
- 8 + 3 Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 1 Water Rail heard
- 2 Moorhens only
- 131 Coots
- c.80 Black-headed Gulls

Here is one of the two duck Eurasian Wigeon at the E end – they were not very cooperative!

And here is the duck Eurasian Wigeon at the W end.

Soon after they arrived here are 18 of the 20 Goosanders on the water (Black-headed Gulls and Coots as well).

Here are 12 of them: note #2 and, especially, #5 have whiter breasts suggesting they are eclipse drakes.

8 here with #1 perhaps an eclipse drake.

And centre-stage here.

As they moved in to shaded water exposure was harder.

Perhaps this is what the Goosanders were after: perhaps they drove this shoal up the Wesley Brook. This is the view from the bridge. I originally though the disturbance in the water was because of a Water Rail or Moorhen scampering away under overhanging vegetation. When nothing appeared I looked harder and found these small Perch.

A number of large toadstools appeared today. Here are three of them jammed together.

The underside – often important for identification. These look like Field Blew it (Leister sieve) to me. As ever with fungus I am far from certain!

As there was rather poor lighting under the trees I tried with the flash on – a very different tone. Did not help with the ID!
The shape of the fruiting bodies of this species are supposed to domed until the specimens age. This was the first time I had seen this fungus here but we see one here pushing its way through the leaf-litter suggesting that it may in fact be quite old. I had done quite a lot of ‘gardening’ on the previous examples to remove the leaf litter and other debris.

(Ed Wilson)
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The Flash: 09:45 – 10:30

(91st visit of the year)

Notes from here
- geese back early today and some already inside island
- first Cormorant in the water here since 02 April
and
- what seemed likely to be a road-kill Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 8 Jackdaws
- 5 Starlings

Warblers noted
None

The counts from the water
- 2 + 2 Mute Swans
- >90 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 42 Canada Geese only
- 1 white feral goose again
- 26 (18♂) Mallard
- 36 (19♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens again
- 11 Coots again
- 22 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Kingfisher

Don’t look if you are too squeamish. A crow was finding this an excellent meal. The long and almost hairless tail and the clawed feet suggest it was a Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). As it was in the middle of Derwent Drive I suspect it was road-kill.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2015
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2010
Priorslee Lake
Water Rail heard
>500 Black-headed Gulls
>530 migrating Wood Pigeons
(Ed Wilson)

2009
Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe
65 Mute Swans
7 Wigeon
7 Herring Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
47 Greylag Geese
56 Canada Geese
9 Pochard
19 Tufted Ducks
1 Water Rail
236 Coots
4 Buzzards
Chiffchaff 
27 Starlings
(Ed Wilson)

2007
Priorslee Lake
Water Rail
Goldeneye
100 Fieldfare
(John Isherwood)