21 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:23am - 7:11am

Telford sunrise: 5:03am

7.5°C > 14.5°C. Early patches of cloud melted away and then clear before puffy clouds after 9:00am. Calm start with light WNW wind later. Good visibility.

Best today was the most unexpected Redstart singing at Middle Pool. I was initially confused by the first song – totally out of context. The song was almost immediately repeated and confirmed the ID. Hard to place exactly where in the trees it was coming from I spent some 20 minutes searching without either seeing or hearing it again.

Just 4 Swallows flew through the lake early. The calm and fine weather meant hirundines did not need to visit water to find food.

(60th visit of the year)

- a higher count of Coots probably reflects the more benign weather than any real increase.
- the same possible Garden Warbler. Still unable to see this bird.
- more Reed Warblers singing this morning – my highest count this year: again probably weather-related.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 4 Greylag Geese (2 groups)
- 9 Canada Geese (3 groups)
- 7 Cormorants (3 groups)
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 11 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 186 Jackdaws
- 103 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- 19 Swifts
- 4 Swallows
- House Martins heard only

Count of singing warblers
- 6 Chiffchaffs
- 1 Willow Warbler
- 13 Blackcaps
- 1? possible Garden Warbler (see notes)
- 2 Common Whitethroats
- 8 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 8 (5♂) Mallard
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens again
- 33 Coots

A flight of 4 Cormorants over the lake pre-dawn.

And here, eventually, was the dawn.

Progress on the new access road and footpath to the lake: the lamp-posts have been erected. I expect they will have modern lighting with the light spectrum less favourable to attracting moths.

A male Greenfinch in full wheezy song in the morning light. Note the rarely obvious greyer cheeks.

An amazing feat of engineering! Just an ordinary dandelion ‘clock’ but how complex something so common really it.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:16am - 8:06am

(47th visit of the year)

- confirmed 5 cygnets this morning.
- the Lesser Canada Goose sp. / Cackling Goose re-appeared this morning apparently still paired with an ordinary Canada Goose. Pleased to see that there are no offspring to further confuse matters! It was last noted by me here on 10 March.
- one of the 3 pairs of Tufted Duck climbed out of the water and both went inside the island. After this 2 extra drakes appeared and, with one of the other pairs, started to fly around and around. It is just possible that one of these drakes may have been the one from the pair that went inside the island.
- spent some while trying to decide whether a Blackcap was trying to imitate a Song Thrush or vice versa. Eventually I saw what it was – one of each on the same branch and for some reason taking it in turns to sing.

Birds noted flying over
- none

Count of hirundines etc
- 8 Swifts
- 8 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 3 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans
- 22 Canada Geese
- l Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 15 (13♂) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 8 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- no Moorhens
- 16 + 1 (1 brood) Coots

The front bird here is the small Cackling-type Canada Goose. I thought for one moment it had a gosling on its back – something I have never seen a goose do – but it is in fact a loose feather as the bird begins its post-breeding (time, not necessarily event) moult. There are a couple of loose wing-feathers on its mate.

Missing for a couple of days – where can they hide? – here are all 8 Mallard ducklings and mum all present and correct. The duckling are nearing adult size now but see how the wings are still short.

Took a surprising length of time to make sure all 5 cygnets were in view: here they all are.

Say “aaah”!

Say even more “aaah!”. See how the waterproofing on the plumage works even at this age with fluffy down.

2 drake and 1 duck Tufted Duck go for a fly-about. In this view the darker back of the drakes is a clue as to which is which. You can also see the white on the flanks behind the wing.

“You can never have enough sticks!” A Coot still building. Likely at this date a replacement nest.

Drake Tufted Duck of course. I was interested to note that the white flank showed some grey tones towards the rear. There is nothing in the literature about this. I suspect it could indicate a 1st year bird that is not yet fully mature and therefore is not breeding – perhaps while it is still here? But some of the Mallard drakes are already beginning to moult in to eclipse plumage and perhaps this bird is doing just that.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 8:14am - 8:25am // 9:20am - 10:15am

(24th visit of the year)

- the Mute Swans started off on the nest-site but soon went off around the water and there seemed to be no eggs in the nest.
- no Tufted Duck today.
- one pair of Great Crested Grebes have hatched young and at least 2 on one parent’s back: the other pair were later nest-building and are still sitting.
- juvenile Moorhens not located this morning: one pair of adults winning a scrap with a Coot might indicate they were defending juveniles.
- apparently fewer Coot juveniles than on my last visit but perhaps some still being brooded. That said there were 26 adults ‘in the middle’ apparently not part of any breeding pairs leaving only 4 pairs breeding.
- 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls dropped in and sat on the ‘barrels’ for a while – unusual at this time of year. A party of 6 more Lesser Black-backed Gulls passing ‘sucked them up’.
- juvenile Long-tailed Tits and Chaffinches seen around the pool: and juvenile Starlings over.
- more singing warblers today.


- 1 male Orange-tip butterfly was my first of the year here (and I species I did not log here last year).

Birds noted flying over
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Count of hirundines etc
- 12 Swifts
- no House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 3 Chiffchaffs
- 5 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 6 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 5 Moorhens
- 34 + 8 (4 broods) Coots
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Yesterday a cooperative Chiffchaff: today a male Blackcap. Usually hiding behind leaves this bird had chosen to sit in an Ash. The leaves of Ash are yet to open.

And we’ll have a sing while we are here!

And again.

I know its not long since we had a Dunnock and they are not very colourful. But they are full of character and here singing away amidst spectacular Hawthorn blossom.

“Are you pointing that at me?”

I told you the Hawthorn blossom was spectacular.

Believe it or not there are (at least) 2 juvenile Great Crested Grebes on the back of this adult: they stick there heads in as soon as the adult noticed me.

They indeed well-hidden.

A Great Tit pauses between gathering food for the nestlings it should have by now. Hand up: who knew Great Tits have a black alula feather? I didn't. It is shown in some book illustrations but never mentioned in the text.

Well it was the other side of the pool so I was quite pleased with this (un-retouched image) of one of the adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Now I look carefully the legs are perhaps not quite so yellow as I would expect.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 8:35am - 9:15am

(8th visit of the year)

- several parties of goslings but rather few in each family group: not yet formed in to a crèche.
- two families of Coots: another pair seen mating.
- the Feral Pigeon fly-over was my first of the year here.
- the singing Redstart as highlighted.


- 1 terrapin sp. only seen this morning.

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon

No hirundines in the area

Count of singing warblers
- 5 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 13 + 8 (2 broods) Greylag Geese
- 44 + 7 (4 brood) Canada Geese
- 14 (10♂) Mallard
- 4 feral Mallard-type ducks again
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks again
- 2 + 3 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhen
- 10 + 6 (2 broods) Coots

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2006, 2009 and 2012
Priorslee Lake Map
Grasshopper Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake Map
Common Tern
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill Map
(Ed Wilson)
Priorslee Lake Map
1 Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)