10 Jan 17

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:35

7°C > 8°C: Dull and mostly cloudy with some spots of rain: a few holes early on. Moderate W wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 08:17 GMT

(8th visit of the year)

Two new species for my 2017 Priorslee Lake list
#59 Canada Goose: two small parties flew over. Been rather unusually absent this winter
#60 (Greater) Scaup: a duck found amongst the duck Tufted Ducks

Other notes from today
- at least 6 Tufted Duck flew off before dawn when too dark to sex
- I had seen only one of the Grey Herons until late-on I flushed one from the S side reeds: this bird was carrying a large prey item which might just have been a Moorhen!
- Water Rails were very noisy this morning and I fancy there were more than the usual two
- just 1 Wood Pigeon seen over: and only 2 flushed from the trees!
- a Greenfinch heard giving its wheezy song – the first of the year (one also heard at The Flash later giving the same song)
- 2 male Mottled Umber and 1 Northern Winter Moth all on the same lamp: all males – the females of both species are flightless and have only vestigial wings
- a spider sp. on one of the lamps (one of those logged last week but forgot to note which!)

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 8 Canada Geese (2 groups)
- 25 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls
- 1 Wood Pigeon only
- c.228 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook
- 4 Redwings
- 4 Pied Wagtails
- 2 Greenfinch
- 2 Goldfinches
- 3 Siskins

Roost counts
- 66 Magpies
- 2 Linnets

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall
- 9 (6♂) Mallard
- 9 (8♂) Pochard
- 29 (>13♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 1 (0♂) (Greater) Scaup
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 2? Water Rails (heard only)
- 11 Moorhens
- 47 Coots
- 96 Black-headed Gulls (see notes)
- 1 Herring Gull

The light was very bad this morning but there was little mistaking this duck (Greater) Scaup: a very significant amount of white at the base of the bill was the first clue.

This view clinches it in direct comparison with a duck Tufted Duck. Things to note in addition to the white at the base of the bill are: the very different head-shape without any hint of a tuft; the slightly larger size (really only useful in direct comparison, as here); the very different bill pattern, lacking the Tufted Duck’s white band; and the slightly browner flanks.

Later the light was slightly better and this photo shows another feature – the pale cheek patch that is only present in breeding condition duck (Greater) Scaup and never in Tufted Ducks.

My best effort (well the camera did the hard work, all I did was point)

By way of a different comparison this duck Tufted Duck was at The Flash this morning. While it shows extensive white at the base of the bill it is subtly different in shape. This bird fails several of the tests: it has a very obvious ‘tuft’; and the bill has a white band.

This photo will not help identify what this Grey Heron that I had just flushed from the reeds had in its beak: obviously large, I wondered whether it might be a Moorhen as they are usually present in the reeds here.

Just an adult Herring Gull: note how the winter head-streaking is already disappearing, though this feature is variable to start with and lost at variable rate as well.

Here is the male Northern Winter Moth on one of the lamps this morning: new for the year and only my second identified sighting (seen at the end of 2016 though).

One of the male Mottled Umber moths: repeated only to reinforce the variety in ‘plumage’: compare with .....

A much more sharply defined and contrasting male Mottled Umber.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 09:45 – 10:05

(6th visit of the year)

New species for my 2017 Flash list
#39 Pochard: 2 separate drakes today
#40 Feral Pigeon: two birds flew over the N end. Somewhat surprising not to have seen these before as they are common around the houses in St. Georges to the N
#41 Starling: a party of 5 over. These too are common in St Georges and some nest each year in the estate alongside The Flash
#42 Greenfinch: as noted under the lake a bird heard giving its wheezy song here

Other notes
- no Goosanders: the first time for some weeks (apart from when it was ices over)

Birds flying over here
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 2 Feral Pigeons
- 5 Jackdaws
- 5 Starlings

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 5 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 35 (26♂) Mallard
- 2 (2♂)Pochard
- 40 (26♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 1 Moorhen
- 12 Coots
- 31 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Drake Scaup
(Kris Webb)

Trench Lock Pool
Yellow-legged Gull
(Kris Webb)

Horsehay Pool
Ring-billed x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid
Glaucous x Great Black-backed Gull hybrid
1500+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls
20+ Greater Black-backed Gulls
400 Herring Gulls
Yellow-legged Gull
(Kris Webb)

Priorslee Lake
5 Great Crested Grebes
14 Pochard
24 Tufted Duck
c.1200 Black-headed Gulls
c.900 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.300 Herring Gulls
3 Yellow-legged Gulls
44 Great Black-backed Gulls
5 Song Thrushes 
18 Redwings
Tawny Owl
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Pool
204 Canada Geese
3 Pochard
83 Tufted Duck
104 Coot
110 Black-headed Gulls
34 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
17 Herring Gulls
3 Great Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
33 Swans
4 Gadwall
6 Wigeon
15 Pochard
70 Tufted Duck 
2 Water Rail
2 Snipe
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
c.200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Herring Gulls
2 Yellow legged Gull
3 Adult Great Black-backed Gulls
2 Willow Tits
13 Siskins
(Ed Wilson, Jim Almond, John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
18 Greylag Geese
12 Pochard
39 Tufted Ducks
6 Goosanders
c.80 Golden Plover
>1000 Black-headed Gulls
c.250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Great Black-backed Gulls
3 Yellow-legged Gulls
Caspian Gull
9 Herring Gulls
22 Robins
14 Blackbirds
41 Redwings
3 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson, Jason)

Priorslee Lake
2 Gadwall
13 Pochard
51 Tufted Duck
227 Coots
Glaucous Gull
c.1100 Black-headed Gulls
c.170 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
4 Yellow-legged Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull
c.120 Herring Gulls
302 Jackdaws
385 Rooks
2 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)