24 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:24am - 8:00am

Telford sunrise: 4:59am

9.5°C > 11.5°C. Clear to far E but clouding with light rain c.06:00, drizzle c.07:30 and more persistent rain after 08:00. Lightest of W wind, almost calm. Very good visibility, but good later in rain.

Had hoped for more action when the rain started but nothing seen passing. Several interesting sightings, especially at The Flash.

(63rd visit of the year)

- no idea where all the Great Crested Grebes have suddenly appeared from. When I did the ‘sweep count’ of the Coots at 7:00am I only noted 5, but a few minutes later I counted 9 and the 2 juveniles. Almost immediately I saw what I presumed was another fly in high from the W. I did a recount and there were then 11 adults. A strange time of year to be still moving about?
- single drake Tufted Duck seen leaving the lake but it could have only been there a few minutes. Left very high to the E.
- Kingfisher seen again (and photographed).
- just 2 Swallows passed through after 7:30am: otherwise just the occasional one or two Swifts seen.
- yet another Reed Warbler in another patch of reeds this morning.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 5 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 8 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 4 (4♂) Mallard
- 6 Cormorants (3 groups)
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 7 Feral Pigeons
- 3 Stock Doves
- 202 Jackdaws
- 120 Rooks
- 1 Raven

Count of hirundines etc
- 7 Swifts
- 2 Swallows

Count of singing warblers
- 7 Chiffchaffs still
- 1 Willow Warbler still
- 14 Blackcaps again still
- 1 Common Whitethroat still
- 10 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 7 (4♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Tufted Duck
- 11 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 26 Coots

The advancing cloud pushing away the red sky this morning – at 4:50am so you missed it!

A light snack for breakfast. The bug is almost as large as the stretch spider sp. Why do they not get obese and diabetes then?

A female Reed Bunting with breakfast for the nestlings.

And from this angle we see some of the subtle brown and black plumage details.

Just to prove that Kingfisher is about even during the breeding season. Paused here only momentarily for this grab-shot and was gone before I could reposition to get rid of the branches in the foreground.

Well this is instructive - not: a beetle sp. on a hawkweed sp. flower! It looks like something identified as a ‘Musk Beetle’ on the web but I think not. In Chinery [Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe] that species (Aromia moschata) looks more-robust, holds its antennae differently, is described as feeding on trees rather than flowers. It also does not normally emerge until June.

A Stock Dove in flight: one day one will come close. But this is close-enough to see the blue-grey underwing with a broader and more diffuse dark trailing edge than is shown by Feral Pigeons (the dark under the outer wing is accentuated be being in shadow). We also see no white on the neck as shown by the longer-tailed and more robust Wood Pigeon – though this feature is absent in juvenile Wood Pigeons.

A Great Crested Grebe in ‘threat’ posture to one of the many others crowding the lake this morning.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 8:05am - 8:57am

(49th visit of the year)

Highlight was the (same?) Reed Warbler now singing from a small clump of reeds and mainly sedges at the very N end of the water.

Plenty of strange things to look at this morning
- initially 3 Tufted Duck with one drake trying to muscle in on the action with the pair. He soon flew off and apparently disappeared high to the E. Some 15 minutes later the same ménage à trois with this, perhaps a different drake, eventually leaving to haul out on the island.
- a Great Crested Grebe seen chasing another toward the nest site. Later a bird was sitting on the nest and the other(s) nowhere to be seen. Was this bird being chased to sit back on the eggs before the Crows spotted them? Seems unlikely a rival would be chased towards the nest.
- one of the pairs of Coot with very new juvenile(s) peeking out: but this from the nest that I photographed being built as recently as Thursday (21st). She could not possible have laid and hatched in that time: was she just adding to the nest to stop the impending juveniles falling out? Or was it as I thought, and as one of the dog-walkers separately thought, a replacement nest and did she bring the eggs / young?
- talking of Coots there were 9 juveniles seen from 5 separate nests, but 2 groups were still being brooded and the counts mat be incomplete. Another 2 birds sitting with no juveniles evident. And one more nest still being rebuilt after all the juveniles were apparently lost.

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 8 Swifts
- 12 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps again
- 1 Reed Warbler

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans
- 33 Canada Geese
- l Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 12 (9♂) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
- [the white feral duck not noted]
- 3 (2♂)? Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 2? Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 1 Moorhen
- 18 + >9 (5 broods) Coots (see notes)

The Canada Geese have been for their constitutional this morning and confirm that it is a no through road.

Five of the eight Mallard ducklings. Two of them have a hint of a neck ring which might suggest they are boys even though the face-pattern is more like their mother. On the other hand the left and right birds in the front have bill-colour that most closely resembled a drake. Confused: me also.

Meanwhile the other three are bold and have gone off on their own to explore the big wide world.

Now this is odd: a very juvenile Coot peeking out from its brooding parent. But this is the very same nest that was photographed apparently still being constructed on Thursday 21st. How so? Don’t know but see narrative above. And those are water-droplets on the adult – it was raining.

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2007
Priorslee Lake Map
(Ed Wilson)