14 Aug 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:58am – 6:40am // 7:35am – 8:43am

12.0°C.> 15.0°C  broken cloud with light passing showers. very light W wind. Good visibility except in showers.

(85th visit of the year)

Other notes
Good number of geese overhead again: some other Canada Geese parties heard but flying below eye-shot. The Cackling Goose seemed to be in one of the groups. A lone Greylag Goose was on the lake when I arrived and despite calling frequently was ignored by the Swans. Some of the Greylags were mixed in with Canada Geese this morning, with the main group of 58 birds passing much later.
2 Tufted Duck seen in flight: not sure whether they were coming or going or, indeed, just flying through.
Rather few Black-headed Gulls again: a good proportion of these were juveniles – 12 out of 23 on one count.
A steady northward passage of >120 large gulls started well before dawn: some 15 stopped off briefly and all these were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Later 2 large gulls on the lake seemed to be juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls.
Again 1 Song Thrush in song with another heard scolding.
2, perhaps 3, Reed Warblers this morning.
Very poor number of corvids on passage this morning and no other birds heard.
Also only 1 Crow seen – normally I log 7 – 10 birds.
Against this trend 3 Ravens flew N.
1 large bat again.
The only insect on the lamps this morning was a wasp sp. (and another was on a lamp at The Flash).
3 species of moths in the tunnel: two new species for the year – Silver Y and Red Underwing; and one new for me in Shropshire, though a very widespread and common species – Tawny Speckled Pug.

2 + 2 (2? broods) Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
82 Greylag Geese (1 on lake: 81 outbound)
1 Cackling Goose outbound
>80 Canada Geese (all outbound)
14 (?) Mallard
2 (?) Tufted Ducks in flight
3 + 1 Moorhens
46 + 9 (? broods) Coots
80 Black-headed Gulls
c.150 large gulls including 2 probable Yellow-legged Gulls
2 (1) Song Thrush
2 (0) Reed Warblers
4 (0) Blackcaps
8 (1) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: only 8 Jackdaws and 7 Rooks

The red sunrise giving a hint that showers were to follow.

Indeed the showers were close behind!

The day looked rather more benign the other way.

Jammed against a light in the roof of the Priorslee tunnel makes it hard to see all the marks on this moth, but the silvery ‘Y’ mark is a good clue: it is indeed a Silver Y moth, a very common migrant often to be seen hovering at nectar during the day.

Another moth on the roof of the tunnel: here a Red Underwing. I record this species annually here. Occasionally it rests with wings partially open allowing the red underwing to be seen: not today.

The last of the trio of moths in the tunnel this morning: one of the easier pug moths to identify – at least it is in this form with the orangey colour in the wing. Not all specimens of Tawny Speckled Pugs show this feature.

The first of several photos showing how the light can affect the appearance of, in this case, immature gulls. In real life this bird seemed to be a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull showing typically rather dark and even-toned upper wings. I was moved to take the photos as from underneath the wings looked strikingly pale and I wanted to look in more detail. Here the photo from above shows somewhat paler inner primaries which is normally a feature of immature Herring Gull.

Different lighting conditions accentuate the pale areas and the pattern now resembles a 2nd winter Great Black-backed Gull, though the small bill on this bird rules that out.

And this is what caught my attention – with the light shining through the wings the pale areas are glaringly obvious. Note the strong marks on the underwing coverts and especially at the ‘bend’ of the wing, features I would not expect in a juvenile Herring Gull.

And another view. Conclusion: most likely a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, but am prepared to be persuaded otherwise as the head looks rather darker than I would expect. I have very little experience of juveniles of this species.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:45am – 7:20am

(73rd visit of the year)

Mallard duckling not noted.
13 House Martins: 4 seemed to be around the breeding area with the others in two small parties moving S.
Chiffchaffs the only warblers again here.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 Greylag Goose
18 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
23 (19) Mallard
12 (7) Tufted Ducks
1 Moorhens
17 + 2 Coots
13 House Martins
4 (1) Chiffchaffs

(Ed Wilson)


Nedge Hill: 12:30pm

1 Hobby chasing House Martins over west side of hill, but unsuccessful.

(John Isherwood)