7 Jul 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:25am – 5:50am // 6:55am – 9:20am

9.5°C  > 13.5°C . broken cloud clearing from N; calm, then mainly light NW wind; good visibility.

(71st visit of the year)

After yesterday’s large number just 1 distant Cormorant.
1 Starling seemed to have emerged from roost in the reed-bed.
Big corvid passage this morning with Rooks passing as I arrived – perhaps I missed some the previous days? Whatever my highest count this year with the previous high count back as far as 29 January. Fewer Jackdaws but these seemed to be on a different flight-line today with many birds very far to the E
Just 1 large bat this morning.
Another, different, Tortrix moth on the lamps: identified as Celypha striana.
First Shaded Broad-bar moths of the year.
First Small Skipper butterflies of the year.
Two different hawker-type dragonflies accidentally flushed and both disappeared in to the middle-distance
Elephant Hawk-moth resting in the foot-tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

3 + 3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Grey Herons
2 + 1 Swans
29 Mallard: 20 (19) on the water
2 + 4 (2 broods) Moorhens
36 + 21 (9 broods) Coots
6 Black-headed Gulls
c.25 Common Swifts
1 Barn Swallow
2 House Martins
5 (5) Song Thrushes
8 (5) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Common Whitethroat
11 (7) Blackcaps
6 (5) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 236 Jackdaws and 435 Rooks
1 (1) Reed Bunting

Another day: another sunrise.

Giant Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) flower points at the rising sun.

The yellow flowers of Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis): a very common species of rough grassland.

Today’s species of Tortrix moth. This is an easier to identify species – Celypha striana, sometimes called Barred Marble.

Another view which shows the wing-edge markings more clearly.

My first-ever Clouded Border moth at the Flash shares the lamp with the remains of meals of the local spiders (and an out-of-shot Willow Beauty moth).

An Elephant Hawkmoth in the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue: this species can be separated from the similar Small Elephant Hawkmoth by the spotted marks down the body. The right wing shows some signs of wear, but ...

From underneath looks far from pristine

By now male Greenfinches have lost some of their breeding finery but are still quite handsome birds.

Another vetch: this is Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca): perhaps even more common that the previous species.

(Mis-)spent some time this morning trying to photograph this hoverfly as it did what it says on the tin – ‘hover’. This is Volucella pellucens which frequently hovers just about head-height and is usually close to brambles.

Head-on was less successful mainly because of the angle of the light.

Although this small fly was seen hovering I do not think it is a hoverfly: probably Empis trigramma (from the stripes on the thorax) which is associated with hawthorns of which there are plenty. Empis flies are sometimes known as dance flies and are parasitic on other flies as well as taking nectar.

The same species (but a different specimen) head-on.

This is a male Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) butterfly. The dark mark in the forewing is the male’s scent brand. Essex Skipper is a confusingly similar but had black-tips to the antenna and a smaller scent brand. Unhelpfully the Large Skipper is almost exactly the same size though in that species the wings are more extensively edged darker.

The resident Buzzard often uses this post to rest. When I remember it might be there and have the camera ready it is usually missing: when I forget I usually flush it before I can get the camera ready. This morning I thought I was well-hidden behind the bushes as I approached, but the bird has clearly seen me and after this one shot it flew off.

This shows fruits and a single flower of Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara). Also known as Bittersweet Nightshade and what I know as Woody Nightshade. It is frequently misidentified as Deadly Nightshade. But we should not be complacent as it is still toxic, though I ate 3 berries when I was about 5 and lived to tell the tale. I suffered more from the attempts to make me sick than I did from eating the fruits!

4 Mallard: 3 of these are drakes in partial eclipse plumage with patchy green gloss to the head. The duck is most easily confirmed by having a dark bill with thin orange edges.

This eclipse drake Mallard can really only be sexed by the greenish-yellow bill with a black nail.

Another eclipse drake Mallard: on this bird the shadow of the white neck-ring is just visible. Note even the characteristic curled tail-feather is missing.

This small hoverfly is the very common Melanostoma scalare

Another study of a soldier beetle, probably Rhagonycha fulva. Despite is vernacular name of bloodsucker it is harmless to man.

A Shaded Broad-bar moth. Frequently disturbed from grass during daylight. This looks to be a very fresh specimen.

The combination of the pale stripe and the angled marks on the wing-tip identify this as Crambus pascuella (or Grass-veneer). A very common and easily disturbed grass moth.

This grass moth lacks the pale stripe of Crambus pascuella and is therefore the equally common Chrysoteuchia culmella (or Garden Grass-veneer). And no: I have no idea why such similar species are in different genera.

The underside of a Meadow Brown. Getting a photo without the shadow of a grass-stem totally defeated me.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:05am – 6:45am

(59th visit of the year)

Grey Heron sitting high in tree on island.
All Mallard tucked well in the overhanging vegetation and impossible to accurately sex / age.
Still more Tufted Ducks including a probable duck – cannot rule out fledged juvenile.
Number of broods of Coot juveniles – indeed number of juveniles – hard to determine as well-grown birds very mobile. No sign of the new brood of juveniles seen yesterday, but may have been in nest somewhere.
A Willow Beauty moth shared a street-light with my first Clouded Border at this site.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
114 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
240 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
16 (?) Mallard
1 all-white feral Mallard-type duck
11 (10) Tufted Ducks
2 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhen
10 +11 (4? broods) Coots
2 Common Swifts
2 House Martin
2 (2) Blackcaps
2 (1) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)