23 Jun 18

No sightings in so far today...........

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On this day..........
2016
Priorslee Flash
Today's News Here

2012
Priorslee Lake
Plover sp.
(Ed Wilson)

2008
Priorslee Lake - Map
Unlikely as it seems I am pretty convinced about this on the basis of the song alone
I was walking along the W end path at c.06:15 when a strange song caught my attention: there had been young Reed Warblers flitting about the area away from the reeds and it sound 'Acro-like'. But it was far too fast and I then assumed it was a Sedge Warbler (especially after my bird in the town centre last week). But the sound was all wrong with what seemed more like Garden Warbler tones, though with the characteristic Acro dynamics.
The bird was singing from a small patch of bushes growing in the fence at the W end of the yacht compound and I had the choice of a close view directly in to the bright sun; or going the 'other side' and trying to see between the yachts at some distance. I decided to stay where I was and in response to gentle pishing I got a good-enough glimpse to confirm it was a  Reed / Marsh and not Sedge Warbler and certainly an Acro.
The song continued to puzzle and included all manner of oddities, sounding at times like juvenile Great Tit begging, all while singing at full volume.
I decided that the best thing would be to try and record the bird so I dashed back to the car for my digital tape recorder. When I returned the bird was not singing and pishing produced only a Wren and a pair of Bullfinches!
Revisited the area twice more for some 15 minutes on each occasion without success: was not too surprised as it was a small and rather unlikely spot for the bird to stay in.
Worth rechecking - but I went all around the lake twice without hearing anything untoward.
Only my second-ever UK Marsh Warbler - the last was as long ago as when they bred in Worcestershire! But familiar with the birds abroad as recently as May in Poland where I heard maybe 20.
I really cannot see what else it might have been: I am not that confident to say it WAS a Marsh Warbler song, only that I have no idea what else it could have been and it fits the general pattern of song.(Ed Wilson)

2007
Priorslee Village
A pair of Siskins
(Martin Adlam)

2006
Priorslee Lake
Common Tern
(Ed Wilson)

22 Jun 18

No sightings in today.

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On this day..........
2012
Priorslee Lake
Common Tern
(Ed Wilson)

2009
Priorslee Lake
Pochard
Nuthatch
Swarm of bees
(Ed Wilson)

2006
Priorslee Lake
Drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)

21 Jun 18

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:45
The Flash: 07:10 – 07:35 // 09:50 – 10:05

10°C > 13°C: Broken clouds. Moderate / fresh WNW wind combined with lower temperature and low humidity made it very ‘fresh’! And it is mid-summer’s day too. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 04:45 BST: the mornings draw in!

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:45

(80th visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- back to 6 Great Crested Grebes today. Apart from the pair investigating / sitting in the S-side reeds another pair seen displaying (albeit rather halfheartedly)
- an usual sighting was a flattened Magpie in Castle Farm Road. These birds are usually too wary to get hit by traffic – a juvenile that didn’t learn quickly enough?
- a female House Sparrow on the W edge of the football field was just in my recording area

Today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 1 Wood Pigeon only yet again
- 2 Jackdaws
that’s all

Hirundines seen today
- 3 Swifts
- 6 House Martins

Warblers noted: figure in brackets is singing birds
- 6 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 8 (7) Blackcaps
- still no Garden Warblers
- 2 (1) (Common) Whitethroats
- 6 (6) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 4 + 7 (2) Mute Swans as usual
- 16 (14♂) Mallard
- 6 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 31 + 14 (? broods) Coots

Interesting insects, at least partly identified
- butterflies seen
- 1 Speckled Wood
- 3 Ringlets
- 3 Large Skipper
- moths flushed from the vegetation
- 1 Common Marble (Celypha lacunana)
- damselflies / dragonflies
- >10 Common Blue Damselflies
- >10 Azure Damselflies
- >10 Blue-tailed Damselflies
- hoverflies
- 1 Volucella pellucens (Pellucid Fly)
- 1 Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer)
- 1 Volucella bombylans
- flies etc. identified
- a Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum)
- >10 Black Snipe flies (Chrysopilus cristatus)
- >5 Poecilobothrus nobilitatus (‘Semaphore Fly’)
- >50 Mystacides longicornis (a caddis fly)
- a Common Crane-fly (Tipula oleracea)
- a Greenbottle fly Lucilia sp
- beetles and bugs
- 1 Leptura (formerly Strangalia) maculata (a long-horn beetle)
- 1 Tortoise Bug, most likely Eurygaster testudinaria
- no spiders or snails noted

New species of flowering plants
- Meadowsweet / Mead Wort (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Common (or Black; or Lesser) Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
- Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

One of the pairs of hitherto rather sedentary Great Crested Grebes decided to do a bit of displaying ....

... but it didn’t last long.

Posing is a Large Skipper showing the underwing. It is hard to separate Large and Small on this view – the marks on the trailing edge of the upperwing just about ‘print through’. I saw it with wings open so know which species it was.

After yesterday’s almost unmarked upper wing view of a Ringlet here is a glimpse of the more usual underwing – this was the ‘safety shot’ with the grass stem in the way before it flew off never to close its wings again. I checked my books: it is the males that show very little ‘ring marks’ on the upper surface of the wings.

The hoverfly Volucella pellucens or Pellucid Fly.

A very distinctive hoverfly Helophilus pendulus, or ‘The Footballer’.

The dark mark in the wing and the very short antenna mean this is a hoverfly and not a bumble bee. It is Volucella bombylans of the form plumata with a white tail.

A typically scruffy-looking Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum).

A male Azure Damselfly. It does look as if it ought to be called a blue-tailed damselfly with its two blue segments towards the tail but it is rather more robust than a real ....
Blue-tailed Damselfly that has only one blue segment towards the tail and the diagnostic two-tone pterostigma.

A Common Crane-fly (Tipula oleracea).

Most of these small caddis flies were dancing around as usual – I found this one perched: a Mystacides longicornis. Well-named if ‘cornis’ means antenna.

An unidentified fly sp. About 5 on a scale of 10 for nasty-lookingness.

Definitely higher on the nastiness scale this fly seems to be eating a smaller fly.

This is a Greenbottle fly Lucilia sp. As usual there are several different species that I cannot tell apart – does this have “just two pairs of acrostichal bristles behind the suture line” and is hence Lucilia caesar?

This is a Tortoise Bug, most likely Eurygaster testudinaria – there are several similar species. Closely related to Shield Bugs.

A plan view of the long-horn beetle Leptura (formerly Strangalia) maculata.

And the side-elevation. Common on umbellifers. About three times the size of the small yellow and black beetles I photographed yesterday that seem likely to have been Calocoris stysi.

 My first Common (or Black; or Lesser) Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) of the year here.

I noted this as ‘new’ for the year yesterday but it was waving about too much to get a photo. Greater Willow-herb (Epilobium hirsutum).

Well not sure what I photographed the other day – Marsh or Brook Thistle? I thought this was the same and included the leaves and the connection from the stem to the flower and from these I see this specimen, at least, is a Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)! So what did I photo before?

Soon to open the delicate white clusters of Meadowsweet or Mead Wort (Filipendula ulmaria).

The camera I used today seemed to be much happier to get a crisp shot of one of the Common Spotted Orchids (Orchis (Dactylorhiza) fuchsii). So much so ...
That the photo would super-enlarge to show both lip shape and pattern to confirm the ID.

It is all very well chopping down the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) but it just grows again.

(Ed Wilson)

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The Flash: 07:10 – 07:35 // 09:50 – 10:05

(63rd visit of the year)

Notes from today
- just the cob Mute Swan seen again
- the very new group of Mallard ducklings seen in the open – yet another brood with 7 ducklings: at least the 4th such brood noted this year. No sign of any other broods
- at least 18 (13 drakes) Tufted Ducks. Birds were flying around and chasing on and off the island and there could have been as many as 21 (16 drakes) birds
- the Willow Warbler gave a single song and then shut up again
- a party of Long-tailed Tits with at least 3 of the juveniles sitting more of less motionless on branches taking the warmth of the sun

Birds noted flying over or flying near The Flash
None

Hirundines etc. seen today
- 1 Swift
- 2 House Martins

Warblers noted: (singing birds in brackets)
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler, briefly
- 1 (1) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
[nn > nn indicates counts taken c.07:20 > c.10:00, where materially different]
- 1 Mute Swan: the cob
- 6 >38 Greylag Geese
- 1 >1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 95 > 113 Canada Geese
- 16 (13♂) + 7 (1 brood) Mallard
- 18 (13♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 3 Moorhens
- 14 + 12 (4 broods) Coots

The new brood of Mallard ducklings first seen yesterday were in the open today: seven is the correct number of ducklings.

A number of juvenile Long-tailed Tits seemed to be sunning themselves in the trees alongside squirrel alley. Looks rather sleepy here.

And in close-up: I hope it is supposed to look like this and that there is nothing wrong with it.

One of its siblings looks as if it could do with a brush-up.

This one looks more alert.

Of interest between the lake and The Flash
- Moorhens heard calling from both pools – too overgrown to see much on the water

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2013
Priorslee Lake
Possible Black-necked Grebe seen by locals yesterday evening.
(Ed Wilson)

20 Jun 18

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:45
The Flash: 07:15 – 07:35 // 09:50 – 10:05

16°C > 18°C: Some breaks, tending to fill. Spots of drizzle after 09:45. Moderate / fresh WSW wind. Excellent visibility

Sunrise: 04:44 BST still

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:45

(79th visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- 7 Great Crested Grebes counted: later I heard birds calling from their usual N-side nesting area. None of those previously counted seemed to be from this area
- some of the juvenile Coots are old-enough to stray away from their nest-sites and their parents making the precise number of broods represented harder to count
- 2 pairs of Collared Doves flew S over the W end. Most unusually another bird was seen leaving the trees at the W end
- House Martins again feeding low over the sheltered grassy area in the SW area
- many tit parties heard: the extensive foliage and the breezy conditions made checking the groups difficult but most sounded like Great Tits and there seemed to be rather fewer Blue Tits than usual post-fledging
- a male House Sparrow made it as far as the scrubby area by the yacht club shelter
- 2 (Common) Whitethroats seen carrying food to the same area. Also two different birds heard in song

Today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull again
- 1 Wood Pigeon only again
- 4 Collared Doves (2 pairs)
- 2 Jackdaws yet again
- 1 Rook
- 1 Starling

Hirundines seen today
- 2 Swifts again
- 2 Barn Swallows yet again
- 9 House Martins

Warblers noted: figure in brackets is singing birds
- 4 (4) Chiffchaffs
- 12 (10) Blackcaps
- no Garden Warblers again
- 5 (2) (Common) Whitethroats
- 5 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 4 + 7 (2) Mute Swans as usual
- 15 (13♂) Mallard
- 7+ Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 2 Moorhens
- 35 + 16 (8? broods) Coots
- 1 Common Tern intermittently

Interesting insects, at least partly identified
- butterflies seen
- 1 Speckled Wood
- 2 Ringlets
- moths flushed from the vegetation
- >10 Common Nettle-taps (Anthophila fabriciana) – my first of year here
- >5 Yellow-barred Longhorns (Nemophora degeerella)
- 2 Common Marbles (Celypha lacunana)
- damselflies / dragonflies
- >30 Common Blue Damselflies
- >10 Azure Damselflies
- >30 Blue-tailed Damselflies
- hoverflies
- >1 Eristalis sp. (drone-flies)
- 1 Leucozona lucorum – my first of year here
- flies identified
- >100 Black Snipe flies (Chrysopilus cristatus)
- >2 Rhogogaster viridis (saw fly)
- >30 Poecilobothrus nobilitatus (‘Semaphore Fly’)
1 Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis)
1 possible Helina abdominalis
- beetles and bugs
- 2 Harlequin Ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) adults and a larva
- 1 Kidney-spot Ladybird (Chilocorus renipustulatus) – my first here
- 1 Common Green Capsid (Lygocoris pabulinus)
- >5 small yellow and black beetles (Malthinus flaveolus?)
- no spiders noted
- a few snails

Fast-growing juvenile Coot – even getting the forerunner of its white-shield – as bald as a Coot.

Yummy again. An adult Common Whitethroat with food.

And what I assume is the other one of the pair with more food.

And then posed nicely for me.

It is almost possible to identify the prey here – the wing-pattern looks like a Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly.

Mr. House Sparrow a long way from any houses. Here in the vegetation around the yacht club shelter.

A male Reed Bunting. He was singing again this morning so I guess after seeing fledged juveniles earlier this week there is the chance of a second brood.

From the top, the ‘rings’ of this Ringlet butterfly are not that obvious. With little sun it stayed with its wings open to warm up and refused to let me take the underside.

Possibly my best-ever photo of a Common Marble moth (Celypha lacunana). Easily disturbed during the day but difficult to approach.

Common Marble moths are small: these are tiny. A Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana).

A fine perched male Common Blue Damselfly.

And another.

And a perched female Azure Damselfly.

I initially though this was a Grey Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) but the antenna are too short so it is must be the hoverfly Leucozona lucorum. Note the dark mark in the wings. This had just had a lucky escape from a spider web though in truth it was probably powerful-enough to escape any web.

A Black Snipe fly (Chrysopilus cristatus).

This may be the fly Helina abdominalis. Then again there are many, many species of fly to choose from – there are 100,000 known species and likely as many unknown.

There were several adult Harlequin Ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis): here is a larva.

Right alongside one of the Harlequin Ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) I found this: a Kidney-spot Ladybird (Chilocorus renipustulatus) and apparently my first at this site.

I cannot recall ever having seen these small, distinctively-marked beetles before – they are on Common Hogweed umbels here. Neither can I find any match with an on-line search. The nearest is Malthinus flaveolus but that is noted as being similar to many other species. Helpful.

This is the first flower I have noted this year of Bistort (Polygonum bistorta (was Persicaria bistorta)). Will be abundant all around the shore of the lake soon.

This dense-flowered umbellifer is growing at the base of the dam and is clearly different to most of the umbellifers around the lake. I believe it to be Hemlock Water-dropwort (Oenanthe crocata). DO NOT EAT! It has claims to be the deadliest plant in the UK.

New species of flowering plants
- Bistort (Polygonum bistorta (was Persicaria bistorta))
- Greater Willow-herb (Epilobium hirsutum)
- what appears to be Hemlock Water-dropwort (Oenanthe crocata)

(Ed Wilson)

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The Flash: 07:15 – 07:35 // 09:50 – 10:05

(62nd visit of the year)

Notes from today
- just the cob Mute Swan seen. Did not meet anyone who could update me on cygnet status
- a very new group of Mallard ducklings with at least 6 zipping in and out of the vegetation: the oldest group of 7 still present with their mother. No sign of any intermediate brood(s)
- the drake Tufted Ducks are rapidly losing their breeding plumage and some are now hard to distinguish from ducks
- male Blackcap seen bringing food to begging juvenile. A different male heard in song
- party of barely-fledged Dunnocks with a parent on the ground in squirrel alley

Birds noted flying over or flying near The Flash
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 1 Jackdaw

Hirundines etc. seen today
- 2 Swifts to N
- 5 House Martin to N

Warblers noted: (singing birds in brackets)
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 3 (1) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
[nn > nn indicates counts taken c.07:20 > c.10:00, where materially different]
- 1 Mute Swan: the cob again (see notes again)
- 2 >12 Greylag Geese
- 97 > 104 Canada Geese
- 9 (7♂) + 13? (2 broods) Mallard
- 10 (8♂) Tufted Ducks
- no Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 20 + 14 (6 broods) Coots

Lurking along the E side was this duck Mallard and a brood of new juveniles – as we see darting in and out of the overhanging vegetation. At least 6 ducklings.

This is the well-grown group of 7 ducklings with their mother (and a Canada Goose). It looks to me as if, numbering from the left, #1. #3 and #6 will be drakes – the rather pale bills. Not easy to tell what #5 might become.

Stupid shoes on this Coot.

Of interest between the lake and The Flash
- Moorhens heard calling from the upper pool

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day..........
2017
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2009
Priorslee Lake
A pair of Siskins
(Ed Wilson)

2008
Priorslee Lake
A drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)