2 Sep 14

Priorslee Lake: 5:35am – 7:00am // 8:15am – 9:24am

8.5°C > 13.5°C: fine and clear apart from bank of cloud to S & E that encroached at times; calm / very light NNE wind; good visibility.

New this morning were the first Meadow Pipits of Autumn: 3 over the lake. (Belvide Reservoir logged its first on 30 August)

(93rd visit of the year)

Other notes
Rather few geese and all outbound this morning with 8 of the Canada Geese stopping off at the lake. The inbound passage was while I was at The Flash and more birds arrived than had been logged outbound.
15 of the 21 Mallard flew off before it was light-enough to sex.
Even fewer Black-headed Gulls today.
No hirundines here.
No Song Thrushes seen or heard today
A Common Whitethroat seen at the W end.
Fewer Chiffchaffs today but not statistically significant, though the calm, clear night was just the weather to tempt migrants to leave.
Similar corvid passage
A larger bat sp., Noctule-sized, seen
2 Speckled Wood butterflies, one seen feeding from the now rotting blackberries.
One moth on the lamps – my first Flounced Rustic of the year.
A blue butterfly seen in the distance: probably a 2nd brood Common Blue based on date and location – Common Blues tend to fly below shoulder-height and Holly Blues above. The only other species of ‘blue’ in Shropshire is the Silver-studded Blue that can only be seen easily on Prees Heath.
Still 3 moths in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel: a Common Marbled Carpet joining 2 of yesterday’s moths.
1 Kingfisher seen at both the lake and The Flash: also heard in flight along the line of the Wesley Brook suggesting perhaps a single bird commuting between the sights.
At least 3 Nuthatches calling between the lake and The Flash as well as birds heard at both these locations.

2 + 4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
27 Greylag Geese (all outbound)
68 Canada Geese (all outbound, but 8 on lake for a while)
21 (?) Mallard
1 (0) Tufted Duck
5 + 5 (3 broods) Moorhen
72 Coots
39 Black-headed Gulls
22 large gulls (16 of these over)
3 Meadow Pipits
1 (0) Common Whitethroat
4 (0) Blackcaps
9 (2) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 39 Jackdaws and just 8 Rooks

The sun just rising over the lake.

Here is a Common Marbled Carpet: this is a rather variable species (with a confusingly very similar and equally variable species, Dark Marbled Carpet) and this individual is quite different from the specimen I photographed at the end of May.

A Flounced Rustic moth on one of the lamps at the lake.

Common Whitethroat amongst the haws, no doubt soon to be eaten by the thrushes and Blackbirds once they are softened by the first frosts. The rather strong eye-ring suggests this is an adult male.

A fine pose from this female Eristalis pertinax hoverfly – a female because the eyes are separated: on hoverfly males the eyes meet (mother told me never to trust anyone whose eyes meet – or was that eye-brows?)

Another ‘just right’ shot showing all the upper surface plumage details of a typical juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. Can be identified on tail-pattern alone: a Herring Gull would show less contrast between the tail band and a more mottled and hence browner-looking rump. The band on the a Yellow-legged Gull would be narrower.

The same bird showing the dark underwing, the dark surround to the eye and the smaller bill when compared with Herring Gull. The bill is obviously all black whereas at this age some Herring Gulls show a hint of a pale base.

A different juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull at full-stretch. The three others show how variable this species can appear, both due to individual variation and the angle of the light.

These two immature Great Crested Grebes seemed to have teamed-up this morning: clearly from different broods with only one still showing prominent head-stripes. I cannot recall seeing one so stripy recently and it may have flown from elsewhere though normally I would expect on so-marked to be yet to fledge.

What? Autumn colours already? This Acer sp. seems to be turning very early.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:10am – 8:05am

(80th visit of the year)

Almost all the geese flew in while I was walking around the water.
Several groups of House Martins high over but probably the same local group: no juveniles heard this morning.

2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
103 Greylag Geese
57 + 1 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
24 (17) Mallard
1 all-white feral Mallard
22 (12) Tufted Ducks
2 + 1 Moorhen
18 Coots
14 Black-headed Gulls (8 of these over)
10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over
>8 House Martins
1 (1) Chiffchaff

Compare and contrast: adult Wood Pigeon on the right and juvenile on the left, lacking the neck markings, the eye-ring and with a much duller bill. However it still shows (less) white on the bend of the wing which separates from, for example, Stock Dove or Feral (Rock) Pigeon.

These two ducks were quite instructive. The bird on the left is a typical winter-plumage duck Tufted Duck with a hint of white around the base of the bill; a small but obvious ‘tuft’ and rather blotchy flanks. The bird on the right shows rather extensive white around the bill and a rather more rounded head with plain flanks, suggesting Scaup sp. But careful examination shows there is the hint of a very small ‘tuft’, so a Tufted Duck it must be – or at least a hybrid with mostly Tufted Duck genes.

This view, even more against the light, shows what I could not see with binoculars: a small but definite ‘tuft’.

Just some of the geese that arrived at The Flash: predominantly Greylags, but a few Canada's visible. Can you spot the 8 Mallard, 7 Black-headed Gulls and single juvenile Coot?

(Ed Wilson)