7 May 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:33am - 6:40am // 7:25am - 8:10am // 8:50am - 9:10am

8.0°C > 12.0°C  high cloud to start, then passing light showers; moderate WNW wind. Good visibility.

Nothing to highlight this morning.

Migrant counts from the lake
Up to 16 Common Swifts again
1 Sand Martin flew through
1 Barn Swallow flew through
2 House Martins

(51st visit of the year)

Other notes
1 Cormorant visited
Back to two broods of Mallard ducklings: 3 and 9 as previously: the lone very new duckling was not seen
A spotty juvenile Mistle Thrush seen: meanwhile an adult was singing strongly again – about to start a 2nd brood?
1 Sedge Warbler only singing today
Now only 1 Reed Warbler singing
Upon consideration I think only 3 Common Whitethroats: one bird is ranging very widely at the W end (the one in the SE area is singing from both sides of the M54!)
1 female Orange-tip butterfly
2 White-pinion Spotted moths: one on a street lamp and later another flushed from vegetation later
1 Pipistrelle bat flying pre-dawn

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
1 Greylag Goose over
4 Canada Geese over
6 (4) + 12 [2 broods] Mallard
2 Moorhens
26 Coots
2 Black-headed Gulls in full summer plumage visited
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
2 Herring Gulls over
14 (12) Song Thrushes again
1 (1) Sedge Warbler
1 (1) Reed Warbler
3 (3) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Garden Warbler
9 (6) Blackcaps
6 (6) Chiffchaffs
85 Jackdaws and 24 Rooks in roost dispersal

 “pink sky in the morning, shepherd’s what?” Well we did get light showers

This rather attractive moth is a White-pinion Spotted (not sure about the fly sp.)

Grey Herons are rather wary, but this allowed reasonably close approach

I took this ‘grab-shot’ as I always get confused between the upper wing marks on male and female Small and Large White and wanted to look it up at my leisure. However the marks on the underside of the hind-wing, not obvious until I examined the photo, mean this is a female Orange-tip and neither of the species I thought it was. There is another clue in that it looks very white whereas Large and Small Whites often have a yellowish dusting especially when fresh.

(Ed Wilson)

And Woodhouse Lane: 8:10am – 8:50am

(5th visit of year)

Walked the lane and the wooded area around the sluice exit.

The fields alongside the lane were not planted with oil-seed rape this year. They seem to contain cereals, though I cannot specifically identify which until the seed-heads appear. Sky Larks seem to be doing well as a result with at least 5 singing birds.
Yellow Wagtail heard in flight: the fields might suit this species this year.
Usual number of Common Whitethroats along the lane.
No Linnets seen or head.
Yellowhammers were very quiet – they may be feeding young and too busy to call / sign.
The area around the sluice was very quiet with just 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap and 1 Chiffchaff. No Garden Warbler, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Willow Tit or Bullfinch noted today – all usual in the area.

Counts of interest (singing birds in brackets)
1 Common Pheasant
5 (5) Sky Larks
1 Yellow Wagtail
1 (1) Song Thrush
5 (5) Common Whitethroats
1 (1) Blackcap
1 (1) Chiffchaff
3 (2) Yellowhammers

Several of the flowers on this Red Campion (Silene dioica) plant showed aberrant pale marks. None of the other plants in the area showed any aberration.

Large Bittercress (Cardamine amara) which is related to Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis). Large Bittercress has white flowers and blackish/violet anthers. It flowers in May/June and favours damp stream-side conditions. (The April/May-flowering Lady’s Smock prefers dryer ground and is one of the food-plants of the Orange-tip butterfly). Note the so-called cuckoo-spit hiding a nymph of a froghopper bug. Nothing directly to do with the bird except it appears at the same time of year.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash:  6:50am – 7:15am

(45th visit of the year)

Migrant counts

2 Cormorants over
2 broods of Coots this morning: both with 4 juveniles

2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants over
1 + 1 Swans
5 Greylag Geese (1 over)
23 Canada Geese
[the all-white feral goose not seen again]
8 (7) Mallard
Both the all-white and mainly dark feral Mallard-type ducks seen
4 (2) Tufted Ducks
4 Moorhens
12 + 8 [2 broods] Coots
No gulls
3 (3) Blackcap
2 (2) Chiffchaffs

I am curious that this Canada Goose shows a distinct eye-ring, whereas .... 

... this one doesn't. No idea why these should be different. Eye-rings are not illustrated in the literature.

(Ed Wilson)