30 Apr 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:10am - 8:15am

Telford sunrise: 5:40am

5.5°C > 8.0°C  Sunshine and a few passing light showers. Light NW wind becoming moderate, even fresh. Excellent visibility.

My timings were all over the place this morning due to closure of Castle Farm Way southbound and also the footpath between the lake and The Flash. The latter now posted as closed until end-June.

After three weeks in the USA it was all-change at the lake with most of the summer migrants now here: I added to my year-list Common Sandpiper, Swift, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler all seen at the lake. Blackcap was new for the lake year list; and House Martin new for the Flash year list.

(42nd visit of the year)

- Gadwall now long gone.
- no Tufted Duck today (though there were 3 (2♂) yesterday afternoon when I stopped briefly).
- 2 Common Sandpipers on the dam then presumably the same two on the SW grass area: the dam is very overgrown this year and probably less attractive to passing birds.
- 1 Swift flew through at 08:15 (no sign of any over their breeding area in St. George’s later).
- Goldcrests heard singing in 5 different locations and apparently all different birds.
- hirundines present after c.07:00 in variable numbers: unclear whether birds were passing or just moving locally. Up to 40 Sand Martins at times with single House Martin and a pair of Swallows noted.
- 2 singing Willow Warblers a bit of a surprise: not bred here for several years and rather late for passing birds.
- 10 singing Blackcaps: but another 7 birds (females?) heard calling.
- 2 Garden Warblers in song – we only had one last year.
- 2 Lesser Whitethroats in song, also better that for some years. A bird heard scolding was probably a 3rd bird.
- 1 Sedge Warbler in the bushes between the lake and the M54 – with both Garden Warbler and Common Whitethroat in same set of bushes.
- at least 4 Reed Warblers singing.
- most of the Rooks were single birds flying to and fro, usually carrying food. I arrived far too late for the corvid roost dispersal.
- 1 Raven over: I suspect this species are nesting in a tree on the N side of the old Celestica site.
- the Wild Cherries (Prunus avium) are in full flower at the moment.
- along the verge of Castle Farm Way just N of the lake are several patches of Cowslip (Primula veris).
- also Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) flowers very evident.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 17 Greylag Geese in 2 groups
- 11 Canada Geese in 5 groups
- 3 Cormorants in 2 groups
- 3 separate Herring Gulls
- 2 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Collared Doves
- 21 Jackdaws
- 16 Rooks
- 1 Raven

Too late for any count of birds leaving roosts around the lake.

Count of hirundines etc
- 1 Swift
- >40 Sand Martins
- 2 Swallows
- 1 House Martin

Count of singing warblers
- 12 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Willow Warblers
- 10 Blackcaps
- 2 Garden Warblers
- 2 Lesser Whitethroats
- 2 Common Whitethroats
- 1 Sedge Warbler
- 4 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 3 (2♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron
- 8 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 35 Coots

 Herons can walk on water!

Fresh Spring colours this morning.

You have to look hard but in the middle you can just make out a singing Sedge Warbler.

 A male Blackcap skulking here.

This is a clump of Lady’s Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis). This is the main food plant for caterpillars of the Orange Tip butterfly. It is the County flower of Cheshire and was also that of Brecknockshire / Sir Frycheiniog (before that became part of Powys).

This shot shows two of the clumps of the same plant: it is common all around the S side of the lake.

As I noted most of the Rooks seen overhead this morning were carrying food.

Lesser Whitethroat is an arch skulker: here there is just enough to ID the bird – the white throat with the darker tones around the ear coverts to separate from Common Whitethroat. Their songs are quite different and the easiest clue to one of these being around.

 Unbelievably the bird briefly ‘popped out’ and allowed this rare view of the whole bird.

One of the local Buzzards overhead.

One of the many Great Crested Grebes apparently taking food to its mate on the nest.

 This Great Crested Grebe looks very wet as if it might not be in very good condition.

And from the other side: despite the water droplets on its back, the feathers on the forward flanks look saturated.

Perhaps a preen will sort it out?

A spider lurking in the Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) blossom.

Not easy to tell from this angle but a Willow Warbler here: note the (dark) brown rather than black legs; the well-defined supercilium; and the extensive pale base to the lower mandible. While some Chiffchaffs have dark brown legs these would normally be atop black feet and not the concolorous feet shown here. This bird was rather sluggish and calling quietly.

The head of a Cowslip (Primula veris) (complete with very small spider).

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) is a common Spring flower in hedgerows: the ‘split’ petals are not especially obvious here – it has 5 deeply-notched petals which are almost divided.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 5:25am - 5:30am // 8:45am - 9:20am

(38th visit of the year)

- most of the Greylag and some of the Canada Geese flew off between my visits
- Mallard duck seen with 8 ducklings (party of 11 noted yesterday by one of the residents)
- only 1 Great Crested Grebe noted: perhaps another on nest somewhere?
- one pair of Coots with 3 small juveniles
- single House Martin over the estate
- rather few warblers here

Nothing noted flying over.

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 18 Greylag Geese
- 36 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 11 (8♂) + 8 Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 9 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 2 Moorhen
- 16 + 3 (1 brood) Coots
No gulls here.

A duck Mallard with 7 of her brood of 8.

Here all the brood of 8 is separate from their mother.

Most Canada Geese have dark skin around the eye: quite why this bird shows pale skin is unclear as otherwise it looked just like any other Canada Goose. It was perhaps rather smaller than some but well within the normal variation in size: probably a female.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2007, 2008,  2009, 2012 and 2013
Priorslee Lake - Map
1 Common Sandpiper
2 Raven
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill - Map
1 Whinchat
1 Yellow Wagtail
1 White Wagtail
2 Common Redstart
40 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)
Nedge Hill - Map
Common Redstart
15 Wheatear
2 Raven
(John Isherwood)

Wrekin - Map
2 Pied Flycatchers
Common Redstart
(Observer Unknown)
Priorslee Lake - Map
(Ed Wilson)
Priorslee Lake - Map
18 Mute Swans

(Martin Adlam)
Nedge Hill - Map
Female Ring Ouzel
(Ed Wilson)