14 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake:

Evening WeBs report for July: 6:30pm - 8:05pm

Light Breeze to Windy with setting sun.
Water Choppy

38 Coot including 12 chicks from several broods.
3 adult Great Crested Grebes and 4 chicks from 2 broods
16 (6) Mallard
16 adult Black-headed Gulls and 5 juveniles
1 Grey Heron
2 adult Mute Swans and 1 cygnet

(Tony Beckett)

Morning Report: 4:28am – 6:00am // 7:10am – 8:54am

11.0°C > 15.0°C. clear and almost cloudless with a few high clouds increasing. Light W wind dropped away at times. Excellent visibility.

Best bird of the day was my first Hobby of the year in Shropshire. It was seen flying fast to the N of The Flash. Strangely the Swifts in the area seemed to ignore it.

An intriguing record from one of the Priorslee residents. He tells me that one of his neighbours was cycling along the newly constructed route around the site work for the new school when he saw two snakes move away in to the undergrowth. He was unable to specifically identify them without falling off his bike! This was in the area where the children’s play area used to be and close to where, apparently, a local dog was bitten by a snake, presumed an Adder, some years ago. I would love to find a snake around the lake.

(75th visit of the year)

Today’s gulls arriving from the Ricoh fields were almost all Black-headed Gulls, with most of the large gulls flying over SW singly or in small groups.
Some of the well-grown Coots are now hard to separate from adults: the first figure in my counts should be thought of as ‘(near) adult’. As usual here the later broods seem to be faring much better with a much higher percentage of juveniles looking likely to fledge.
Kingfisher again.
Count of corvids probably incomplete: there were teenagers in tents around a camp-fire in a copse at the lake. I spent a while talking to them and trying to ensure they tidied up when they left – and they did, putting all their bottles, cans and packets in carrier bags. They left the carrier bags behind: hey ho!
There did seem to be rather few corvids anyway.
No bats this clear, bright morning: gone before I arrived?
Managed to see the large hawker-type well-enough to confirm it as an Emperor Dragonfly: my first of the year. There was another hawker-type on the wing which seemed smaller but that eluded me.
A female Common Darter dragonfly was also my first this year.
c.25 skipper butterflies were by far the most abundant butterfly this morning. I checked most of them and these were all Small Skippers: strange as in Gloucestershire late last week I could only find Large Skippers.
There are almost no ‘white’ butterflies around this year.
The dead Elephant Hawk-moth still hanging in the foot-tunnel: perhaps in the absence of moths around the lake I am searching harder but the tunnel also produced 2 Riband Wave, 2 Willow Beauty, 1 Engrailed and 1 Snout moths.

2 + 3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
2 + 1 Swans
22 (?) Mallard
3 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
35 + 18 (5 broods) Coots
c.55 Black-headed Gulls
15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.15 Common Swifts
4 (4) Song Thrushes
8 (4) Reed Warblers
2 (0) Common Whitethroat
9 (9) Blackcaps
5 (3) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: just 36 Jackdaws and exactly 100 Rooks
2 (1) Reed Buntings

It looks like a full moon but that was Saturday in my calendar and the highlights in the craters in the 5 o’clock position suggest it is starting to wane.

A bright clear start this morning.

This is one of two Riband Wave moths in the foot-tunnel under Priorslee Avenue. On this specimen the ‘band’ between the cross-lines is clear. It is the more usual form I see in the area.

This Riband Wave moth specimen has the ‘band’ is filled in and gives the species its vernacular name.

This moth is a Snout – well named. Also in the foot-tunnel. My first this year.

This is sadly slightly out of focus but shows a second generation Engrailed moth, the first generation being one of the earliest moths to emerge and was logged by me on 30 March this year. (There is also a Small Engrailed moth but there are no reliable differences in appearance to separate it from the Engrailed moth though it is suggested that the Small Engrailed has just one generation per year and would therefore be unlikely to be on the wing at this date).

A female Common Darter dragonfly – dragonfly because it rests with its wing held horizontally. The males are red and this female will get some russet tones as she ages.

This looks likely to be the female spider Theridion sisyphium and the bundle she is holding in the remains of the web that I stumbled through is the shelter she has built to house her eggs and the spiderlings when they hatch.

Another fine view of a male (the dark mark in the forewing is his sex brand) Small Skipper here on a Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta) flower.

Here is a fine little fellow: but what? I suspect a sawfly sp. And what is that on the opposite side of the stem? I first thought it was a water droplet reflecting the surrounding vegetation but looking closely there are strands of a web leading to it – could it be a spider nest and the contents be small pieces of chewed vegetation protecting the eggs?

Another ‘oil-painting’ effect on the water surrounding the Great Crested Grebe.

While junior Great Crested Grebe waves a foot. Beginning to lose that horrid bare/pink-skin in front of the eye.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:10am – 6:55am

 (63rd visit of the year)

The geese had been disturbed before I arrived: some / many had already disappeared inside the island so nothing too much can be read in to today’s lower counts. There is no sign that the geese are able to fly at the moment.
Again a further increase in number of Tufted Ducks.
A new brood of Coots although only a one juvenile seen.
Willow Beauty and Swallow-tailed Moth on lamps.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
71 Greylag Geese
169 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
12 (11) + 5 (1 brood) Mallard
34 (?) Tufted Ducks
2 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
10 + 11 (? broods) Coots
12 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull over
12 Swifts
3 House Martins
1 (1) Blackcap
3 (2) Chiffchaffs

A Swallow-tailed Moth on one of the lamps at The Flash.

A Harvestman spider sp. also on one of the lamps at The Flash.

(Ed Wilson)