17 Aug 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:04am – 7:00am // 8:00am – 9:42am

13.0°C > 15.0°C  Fine start but clouded with short spell of rain 06:40 – 06:50; then cleared: moderate / fresh W wind; good visibility.

(88th visit of the year)

Highlight this morning was the Green Woodpecker alarm-calling along the N shore again: I heard it later from the Ricoh copse near the Priorslee Avenue.

Other notes
1 Cormorant flew in and circled down but there were too many people about and it left without landing.
Plenty of geese outbound: none seen inbound.
Today’s passage of large gulls totalled no more than c.120 with just 20 of these stopping off at the lake.
The same 5 Swallows seen after a lone bird as early as 5:55am.
1 Song Thrush only in song this morning
A very small corvid passage and most of these were Rooks today.
Largest corvid group was, unusually, 8 Carrion Crows together.
2 pipistrelle-type bats today.
5 Speckled Woods and 1 Green-veined White butterflies
An Acleris laterana (Dark-triangle Button) moth here this morning.
Also a complete but recently dead Brimstone Moth
Single Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter and my first Southern Hawker dragonfly in Shropshire this year.
A specimen of the hoverfly Myathropa florea
The same Red Underwing moth yet again in the Priorslee tunnel.

3 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
91 Greylag Geese (all out)
100, exactly, Canada Geese (all out)
10 (8) Mallard
3 + 3 Moorhens
51 Coots
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
c.120 large gulls: no Herring Gulls identified among them.
5 Swallows
1 (1) Song Thrush
5 (0) Reed Warblers
4 (0) Blackcaps
7 (1) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: just 2 Jackdaws and 19 Rooks.

A scruffy and moulting adult Black-headed Gull. Only the outer two primaries are retained with P3 and P4, at least, missing. The other primaries are new feathers not fully grown with the black tips only just showing. There is a huge ‘gap’ in the trailing edge where many of the secondaries are still regrowing.

Emerging from a wash this immature Black-headed Gull shows all the distinctive plumage features: even at this age the white outer forewing ‘blaze’ in evident, if less prominent than it will be both in first winter plumage and then after another twelve months as an adult.

How do they do that: makes my neck ache just looking.

This hoverfly looks like a wasp at first glance. It can be separated by the lack of the very narrow ‘wasp waist’; and the large size of the eyes. It goes by the name Myathropa florea which I also logged on 18 July when it was new for me. Resemblance to insects that sting and / or taste nasty is often called ‘mimicry’ but to my mind that is an incorrect use of a word that implies choice or action: the individual insects have no control over the way they look and belong to a species which has evolved with those characteristics through preferential evolution.

This is a fine mature male Southern Hawker. The green and chocolate markings on the thorax preclude any other species and the pattern of the last 3 segments of the tail are also diagnostic.

 Here is a close-up of the working part of the same dragonfly.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash: 7:10am – 7:50am

(76th visit of the year)

More ‘non-drake’ Mallard today: many of these seem to be fully-fledged juveniles that have yet to acquire any definitive adult features to the bill.
A second-brood Swallow Prominent moth on the same street light that I find this species every year.
The Red Underwing moth still on the same street-light.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
13 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
39 (27) Mallard
17 (6) Tufted Ducks
1 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
19 Coots
3 House Martins
1 (0) Blackcap
3 (0) Chiffchaffs

A Swallow Prominent moth on the same street-lamp that I have recorded this species for the last five years at least. I photographed a first-brood specimen here on 06 July: this is a 2nd-brood specimen.

(Ed Wilson)