22 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:33 – 6:00am // 7:00am – 8:05am

13.5°C.> 17.5°C  fine and clear with just a few wispy bits. Calm / light wind. Good visibility.

(81st visit of the year)

Other notes
Just 2 adult Great Crested Grebes this morning: I know I left earlier than normal but that is not usually a problem with this species.
More Moorhens but fewer Coots – the latter probably because of earlier count while some birds still in the reeds.
2 Kingfishers together and being very noisy about it.
Rather strange was a juvenile Pied Wagtail fly-catching from the top of the bushes at the W end.
1 Pipistrelle bat
5 large bats
1 Herald moth on the lamps.
Otherwise most of the usual insects in somewhat smaller numbers as I left earlier
Fox cub seen – any connection with recent loss of the cygnet?
Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly – only my 2nd record here this year.
Managed my first Blackberry of the year
2 Grey Pug moths in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
2 Greylag Geese inbound
>6 Canada Geese both outbound and inbound
25 (?) Mallard
5 + 8 (4 broods) Moorhens
24 + 16 (5 broods) Coots
42 Black-headed Gulls arrived briefly
8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
9 Common Swifts
1 Swallow
4 House Martins
5 (2) Song Thrushes
7 (4) Reed Warblers
9 (4) Blackcaps
6 (2) Chiffchaff
Corvid roost dispersal: 221 Jackdaws and 134 Rooks

Another clear morning ...

With the almost traditional burning bush.

The early light gives this Wood Pigeon rather a strange hue: note in particular that this is a juvenile without any white in the neck. Can still be easily separated from other pigeons by the white visible on the edge of the folded wing.

Almost wrapped up amongst all the cobwebs on the lamp is this Herald moth – an obvious name really.

My heart sinks when I see a pug moth: the monograph on this group of moths gives the ‘confusion species’ for each of the pug species and it usually runs to about a list of eight. The very horizontal leading edge to the wing at rest and the prominent dark spot on each forewing without any hint of white in the hind wing suggests to me this is one form of Grey Pug – the so-called ab. obscurissima which, I read, is common in urban areas. Just as well as there were two almost identical moths together in the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.

Despite some rather fluffy feathers in the wing this has to be a male Great Spotted Woodpecker that is moulting. Females lack the red on the nape and juveniles have the entire crown, gradually losing it from the front. At this date there would be more extensive and rather blotchy red shown.

Surprisingly hard to see when they settle on the ground: this is a male Black-tailed Skimmer. As they mature males acquire yellow marks along the flanks and one such mark is just visible on the penultimate segment. Females are yellow (I cannot recall ever having seen one). The map in my Field Guide shows that we have a disjoint and uncommon population in Shropshire but it seems common-enough around Telford and Newport.

Robins have begun to sing in some numbers again and here is one reason: this juvenile is beginning to acquire the red breast and will now have to establish a territory and defend itself against other Robins – the red on the breast is the ‘red rag to a bull’: juvenile Robins are spotty otherwise their parents would attack them.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:05am – 6:45am

(69th visit of the year)

Another new brood of Coots – but only 1 juvenile seen from this brood.
At least 1 Swallow flew through while I was counting geese – scarce here this year and my first this month. Have apparently not bred in the smallholding to the N of here this year.
A splendid Black Arches moth on the lamps.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
55 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
152 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
15 (14) + 5 (1 brood) Mallard
1 all-white feral Mallard-type
9 (?) Tufted Ducks
2 + 3 (3 broods) Moorhens
13 + 9 (? broods) Coots
1 Black-headed Gull
11 Swifts
1+ Swallow
16 House Martins
1 (1) Song Thrush
2 (0) Blackcaps
3 (1) Chiffchaff

This most attractively marked moth is a Black Arches. Males can be identified by slightly more intense markings, as here.

(Ed Wilson)