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)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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)

19 Jun 18

No sightings in today.

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

2008
Telford Town Centre
A singing Sedge Warbler by the entrance to the Blue Willow car park.
(Ed Wilson)

18 Jun 18

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake: 07:45 – 09:45
The Flash: 07:15 – 07:40

14°C > 15°C: Broken medium cloud, tending to fill. Moderate / fresh WSW wind. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 04:44 BST again

Priorslee Lake: 07:45 – 09:45

(78th visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- just 6 Great Crested Grebes counted today: one pair now lurking in the reeds along the S side might indicate thoughts of or actual nesting
- the Common Tern throughout: if it has a mate nearby it does not seem to take food back to the nest: perhaps they swap duties when one bird goes absent?
- House Martins feeding unusually low over the sheltered grassy area in the SW area – hopefully reducing the number of snipe flies in the area
- noticeably less song today – see warbler counts. Song Thrush an exception with 5 counted singing
- a presumed family party of Grey Wagtails – three seen together in the Wesley Brook. One of these then, unusually, went and sat in a tree
- a barely-fledged juvenile Reed Bunting noted

Today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Wood Pigeon only
- 2 Jackdaws again

Hirundines seen today
- 2 Swifts
- 2 Barn Swallows again
- >8 House Martins

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

The counts from the lake area
- 4 + 7 (2) Mute Swans
- 15 (14♂) Mallard
- 6 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 34 + 19 (10 broods) Coots
- 1 Common Tern again

More insects in the sheltered areas, especially in any sun. Those identified
- butterflies seen
- 1 Large Skipper
- 2 Speckled Woods
- 3 Ringlets [first of year: sun went in before I could photo them]
- moths flushed from the vegetation
- >10 Yellow-barred Longhorn (Nemophora degeerella)
- 1 grass moth to be identified
- 3 Common Marble (Celypha lacunana)
- 1 Silver-ground Carpet
- damselflies / dragonflies
- >100 Common Blue Damselflies
- >100 Blue-tailed Damselflies
- other possible ‘blues’ not all examined
- 1 probable Broad-bodied Chaser
- hoverflies identified
- >10 Eristalis sp. (drone-flies)
- >1 Volucella pellucens (Pellucid Fly)
- >1 Episyrphus balteatus
- >1 Syrphus sp. (see photos)
- > my first ever Tropidia scita
- flies identified
- >>100 Black Snipe flies (Chrysopilus cristatus)
- at least 1 different Snipe-fly, probably Rhagio lineola
- >5 Rhogogaster viridis (saw fly)
- >20 Poecilobothrus nobilitatus, (‘Semaphore Fly’)
- lacewing sp., possibly Nineta flava
- several other species of Muscid flies remain unidentified
- beetles and bugs
- 1 Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)
- 1 Gastrophysa viridula (Dock Green Beetle)
- 1 female Oedemera nobilis
- no spiders noted
- many slugs and snails

New species of flowering plants
- Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre) or a Brook Thistle (Cirsium rivulare) – to be resolved

One of the three Grey Wagtails that were together in the Wesley Brook.

And one of them then flew in to a tree. When did you ever see a Grey Wagtail up a tree? On the branches hanging over water perhaps: up a tree? I cannot recall seeing one do this.

Greenfinches were not very approachable in Spring to show a singing male in its finest plumage. Here the colour is not as bright nor is the mask as dark as it would have been then, but will have to suffice.

A splendid Large Skipper butterfly.

Sitting quietly on a lamp-post allowed me to take what is possibly my best-ever photo of a grass moth. This is my first Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-veneer) of the year.

This hoverfly is the very common Episyrphus balteatus.

This hoverfly is Syrphus sp. probably Syrphus vitripennis, but could be Syrphus torvus which can be identified by its hairy eyes – but not from this photo!

Hoverfly is my first ever Tropidia scita. The key identification feature of this hoverfly is the arched and swollen hind femur. It also has a large triangular projection on its lower surface near the apex but that is not really visible from this angle.

One of a number of mainly unidentified flies from this morning: the rather glossy red-eyed individual was in the tunnel under Telford Way near The Flash.

And what seems to be the same species around the lake.

This is certainly a Muscid fly sp. – the House Fly genus: but ... It may be a Phaonia sp. but there are many very similar species.

Very similar in marking is this fly. But I am sure a different species.

A different species again – much more slender and iridescent. Same red eyes: why is that so prevalent? Must give them some advantage.

With its stripes it looks rather like a small hoverfly but the marking in the wing indicates it is a Snipe-fly, probably Rhagio lineola.

These flies were rather sweet as they were flashing the white tips of their wings and periodically dancing around. It is the males that do this. They are Poecilobothrus nobilitatus sometimes called the Semaphore Fly. I see I first recorded them on exactly the same date in 2017.

A Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula).

I think this is a female Oedemera nobilis beetle: it lacks the swollen hind femur of the male.

From this angle easy to see the white face that is a good clue this is a Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). While a few other ladybirds have a white face none of these has a pattern like this – though not all Harlequins have quite so extensive white.

A lacewing sp. This group is not easy to identify but on the basis of the prominent long antenna and the rather unusually bright colour I think it may be a Nineta flava – no common name.

The head of a Rhogogaster viridis – a saw fly.

Just opening are these thistles: not Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) as I thought but from this photo I cannot tell whether it is a Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre) or a Brook Thistle (Cirsium rivulare) – as usual I forgot to photo the leaves and the way the flowers are attached to the top of the stem.

Most of the Giant Hogweeds (Heracleum mantegazzianum) near the Wesley Brook bridge have been felled – with good reason, though the stems left are still weeping the irritant sap. This was too far away to be cut and it now in flower – a huge umbel.

(Ed Wilson)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash: 07:15 – 07:40

(61st visit of the year)

Notes from today
- I was told that a pair of Mute Swans with 5 new cygnets was seen on the water yesterday (17th)
- party of 9 geese (8 Canada + 1 Greylag) flew straight over
- just one group of Mallard ducklings with all 7 present
- breezy conditions may have kept some of the juvenile Coots in cover but there did seem to be rather fewer

Birds noted flying over or flying near The Flash
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 8 Canada Geese
- 1 Grey Heron

Hirundines etc. seen today
- 3 Swifts again
- 1 Barn Swallow to the N
- 4 House Martin again

Warblers noted
None

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan: the cob again (but see notes)
- 2 + H Greylag Geese
- 72 Canada Geese
- 11 (9♂) + 7 (1 brood) Mallard
- 10 (7♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Great Crested Grebe again
- no Moorhens
- 17 + 7 (4 broods) Coots

Nothing of interest between the lake and The Flash

(Ed Wilson)

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

2016
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2010 
Trench Lock Pool 
4 drake Pochard 
(Ed Wilson)

17 Jun 18

No Sightings in today
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day..........
2016
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

2006
Priorslee Lake
Just a single cygnet left
(Martin Adlam)

16 Jun 18

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:15
The Flash: 07:10 – 07:30 // 09:25 – 09:40

11°C > 13°C: Cloudy with spells of rain and some dryer interludes. Moderate SW wind. Very good visibility, especially later

Sunrise: 04:44 BST

Priorslee Lake: 07:40 – 09:15

(77th visit of the year)

Bird notes from today:
- the pair of Tufted Ducks that flew E was not the pair from the lake and neither were they from The Flash – unless they flew back again
- 9 Great Crested Grebes counted today: still no sign of nesting with most birds staying in pairs and close-together
- count of juvenile Coots might be incomplete: a burst of heavier rain sent some scurrying for cover before I had competed a detailed census
- a female House Sparrow made it from the estate to the Holy Trinity Academy fence

Today’s bird totals

Birds noted flying over or flying near the lake:
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls
- 2 Collared Doves
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 2 Jackdaws

Hirundines seen today
- 8 Swifts
- 2 Barn Swallows
- 4 House Martins

Warblers noted: figure in brackets is singing birds
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (4) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler again
- 3 (2) (Common) Whitethroats
- 5 (5) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 4 + 7 (2) Mute Swans remain
- 11 (11♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 9 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 35 + 18 (10 broods) Coots
- 1 Common Tern
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

In the cool, wet, breezy and cloudy conditions very few insects
- 1 moth flushed from the vegetation
- a Tortrix moth, probably a Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana)
- no damselflies – where do they hide?
- 1 species of hoverfly
- a Melanostoma scalare (Chequered Hoverfly)
- no flies identified
- no beetles or bugs
- 1 spider noted
- Common stretch-spider (Tetragnatha extensa)
- many slugs and snails

No new species of flowering plants

A rather dull day with rain is not the best conditions to take photos of flying birds and reveal all the stunning plumage details. But here we go anyway. A typical pose of a Common Tern as it searches for small fish in the water below.

Here is passes close-by. Note the fork in the tail – longer in Arctic Tern.

A slightly different angle. Looking at the trailing edge of the underwing we see that the outer secondaries and inner primaries are almost translucent. On Arctic Tern all the outer part of the wing looks translucent.

Same comment about the quality of the photos of this distant flying Lesser Black-backed Gull. But there are ID points to make here. Still ostensibly in summer plumage we see that one or more inner primaries and / or outer secondaries are missing. Note the brown tone to the inner primaries, caused by abrasion.

Here we see the underwing pattern with the all-dark but white-tipped trailing edge. In Herring Gull the dark on the underwing is less pronounced and restricted to the inner secondaries and outer primaries leaving a pale ‘window’.

Quite an aerobat. Here we see again the shape of the wing trailing edge due to the moult. Note also how broad is the white trailing edge to the secondaries.

The reason for the aerobatics was a desire to have a wash – almost total immersion.

See: it didn’t drown.

A White-lipped snail on a tight-rope.

I still get confused by the orchids at the lake. This spike is from an example with spotted leaves. The lip shape is spot-on for Common Spotted Orchid (Orchis (Dactylorhiza) fuchsii) but the colour and pattern looks nothing like any illustration in my books. But it cannot realistically be anything else (unless it is a new species to science – Priorslee Lake Orchid!).

Think I have rather over-enlarged this but step back a bit for best effect of the flowers in close-up.

This cranefly was resting on the roof of the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue. With wings closed like this and the need to ‘flash’ it in order to be able to see it any markings on the wing or the body are hard to discern. But by the same token only the species Tipula confusa regularly sits with its wings closed so that is likely what this is. (NB: the flash has given the image some ‘double legs’ – it has only got six!).

(Ed Wilson)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flash: 07:10 – 07:30 // 09:25 – 09:40

(60th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- just one group of Mallard ducklings: only 6 of the well-grown party, hitherto of 7. Perhaps they are old-enough for the other to have gone wandering alone?
- in the chilly conditions many of the Coots, adults and juveniles, seemed to be staying in cover

Birds noted flying over or flying near The Flash
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Jackdaw again

Hirundines etc. seen today
- 3 Swifts
- 4 House Martin

Warblers noted: figure in brackets is singing birds
- 1 (1) Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan: the cob again
- 2 > 22 Greylag Geese
- 1 > 0? Greylag x Canada Geese
- 64 > 97 Canada Geese
- 10 (9♂) + 6? (1 brood) Mallard
- 7 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 2 Moorhens
- 15 + 10 (5 broods) Coots

Of interest between the lake and The Flash
- 1 (1) Blackcap singing by the lower pool again
- a crane-fly sp., possibly Tipula confusa, sheltering on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue tunnel

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Telford

I saw a Red Kite this morning at 10.30 am flying over A442 near town centre/railway station island.  My first in Telford.

(Diane Hankin)

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

2008
Priorslee Lake
Spotted Redshank
(Ed Wilson)

2006
Priorslee Lake
2 Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)