26 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:22am - 8:16am

Telford sunrise: 4:57am

9.5°C > 13.0°C. Mainly cloudy with some clearer spells. Moderate NW wind, dropped light later. Very good visibility.

(65th visit of the year)

- the cob Swan was kept busy this morning. A single adult Swan flew in but quickly took the hint and left: two more adult Swans arrived and took rather more persuasion to leave: finally 2 Greylag Geese flew in and after some distant posturing he singled one out to chase, but it refused to go and they all lost interest and carried on.
- the Tufted Duck were distant fly-bys.
- the oldest juvenile Coot reappeared today. No sighting of yesterday’s new brood and there was no sign of the nest itself either.
- an Oystercatcher flew around and landed but briefly.
- still some Swallows passing W early: then 2 birds seemed to be coming and going across the M54 to somewhere in Stafford Park. Singles / pairs of Swifts also moving W early and the odd martin as well. After 7:30am a group of up to 14 Swifts and 6 House Martins took up temporary residence over the water / E end.
- not sure why there were fewer Jackdaws and Rooks: the usual parties went over but all were smaller than recently.
- Blackcaps singing everywhere this morning – another record total. And more birds heard calling as well.
- Starlings still making the special calls they use when juveniles are around. Today they were in trees inside the Ricoh grounds and had I not known they were hole-nesters I would have been tempted to say this was a breeding site. But they must surely be just perching the juveniles there while they gather food. However ... usually the juveniles take a very few days to get full confidence in feeding and flying and join their parents in more open country.

- I first noted the flowers of Common Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) today.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 9 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 5 (4♂) Mallard
- 3 (2♂) Tufted Duck
- 4 Cormorants (2 groups)
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull again
- 3 Feral Pigeons (1 group)
- 3 Stock Doves
- 3 Collared Doves
- 108 Jackdaws
- 54 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc.
- 23 Swifts
- 2 Sand Martins
- 15 Swallows
- 7 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 6 Chiffchaffs
- 1 Willow Warbler still
- 20 Blackcaps
- 2 Common Whitethroats
- 7 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 5 + 1 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 6 (5♂) Mallard
- 7 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes again
- 2 Moorhens
- 29 + 1 (1 brood) Coots
- 1 Oystercatcher

A gentle red sky to start this morning.

Became quite threatening-looking for a while.

And then: the red is gone.

Two interloping adult Swans look apprehensive.

As well they might: “its my pool!”

Closing in.

Well: I had better go then – note how it runs across the water to get enough airspeed to lift its large body.

A yellow carpet of buttercups with white Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) flowers behind.

The first flowers of Common Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) that I have noted this year. The Common Blue butterfly likes to lay its eggs on this plant.

Perfect touch-down for this Greylag Goose ...

...........though it does rather end in a messy splash.

Its presence gives the Swan more work.

“he’s hot on your tail”.

Better move then ...

.......but not too far.

Nope: off we go again. This set displays the plumage features of Greylag Goose to good effect.

This Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus) seems to have befriended a smaller weevil sp. Although weevils go through the usual phases of development known as instars, my reading of Mr. Google’s results is that all five instar phases are larvae. (In shield bugs, for example, later instars at least look somewhat like small versions of the adults). Thus the smaller weevil must be a different species. Note how the scales of the larger insect have already begun to wear away leaving it quite dark-looking.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 8:19am - 9:11am

(*** 50th visit of the year ***)

- after a single drake Tufted Duck most of the time a pair walked off the island in to the water.
- usual variation in number of Coot seen: in addition to juveniles from 4 broods there were 6 more nests, 4 of these being brooded and 2 apparently deserted.
- the Feral Pigeons noted as flying over are in addition to any seen to the N of the water where birds are fed / kept at the houses in St Georges.
- good number of House Martins in the dull and breezy conditions – my highest count this year here. A few Swifts and Swallows with them.
- a Garden Warbler was singing very intermittently in the bushes to the N of water. Amazingly a bird then started singing from a tree in the NE corner of the water and seemed just possibly to be a different bird. Only had one previous record here this year and that was about 3 weeks ago. Conversely the Reed Warbler in the same general area on Sunday was not heard today.

Birds noted flying over
- 7 Feral Pigeons (3 groups)

Count of hirundines etc
- 2 Swifts
- 2 Swallows
- c.20 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- no Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps yet again
- 1 or 2 Garden Warblers (see notes)

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans
- 42 Canada Geese
- l Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 12 (10♂) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 all-white feral duck not noted
- 3 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 20 + 7 (4 broods) Coots (see notes)

It is not only at the lake that the Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is especially abundant. This wild-looking glade is but a few yards from The Priorslee pub at The Flash.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:19am - 9:25am // 10:10am - 10:41am

(26th visit of the year)

- the hatched young of one pair of Great Crested Grebes were again hidden on one parent’s back throughout: one bird of the other pair is still sitting.
- again did a complete check and count of the Coot this morning: 17 juveniles in 6 broods; 3 more birds sitting on eggs or brooding young juveniles; 1 empty nest.
- 13 Feral Pigeons did not exactly fly-over, circling over the S end: but they were not the usual group I see in the distance over the estate.
- best number of House Martins of the year here, feeding with Swifts in the lee of the S side trees in the overcast conditions. No sign that they were from the estate to the N / NE and have still to see any birds in that area this year.

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Canada Geese
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Count of hirundines etc
- 6 Swifts
- 2 Swallows
- c.12 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 6 Blackcaps again

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 8 Canada Geese
- 4 (3♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Duck
- 4 + ? (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens again
- 37 + 17 (6 broods) Coots

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 9:30am - 10:05am

(9th visit of the year)

- a new brood of 10 Greylag goslings.
- a new brood of 3 Canada goslings. Also 4 older goslings seen with 4 adults – could not decide whether this was one or two broods: whichever several goslings have gone absent since my last visit.
- the rather cloudy weather no doubt contributed to my first Swift and Swallow of the year here!
- Grey Wagtails seen: at least a female and 1 juvenile but very mobile and probably more. They are supposed to breed along fast-flowing streams so where these have come from is hard to say. Perhaps they have not read the book saying what they are supposed to do?
- a Chocolate-tip moth was new for me this year and new for this site. It has been a dire year for my moth records with the street-lights at the lake out of order due to the academy construction work. But it has been a poor year everywhere as friends who run moth-traps tell me.

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 1 Swift
- 1 Swallow

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 3 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 19 + 21 (4 broods) Greylag Geese
- 62 + 7 (2 or 3 broods) Canada Geese (see notes)
- 12 (7♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks still
- 2 + 3 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens again
- 4 + 3 (1 brood) Coots

What on earth? Well when it is 15’ up a lamp-post amongst overhanging trees you do not have much chance to get a better angle. This is a Chocolate-tip moth, named for obvious reasons. Related to prominent moths though most of them have the ‘tuft’ at the front of the body.

A Grey Wagtail – remember that wagtails are named for their back colour so this is NOT a Yellow Wagtail. This is a female. Some females have more dark on the throat (in breeding season the male’s throat is jet-black). But a juvenile would not have such a strong yellow tone to the under tail. Note the length of the tail – longer than any other species of wagtail and constantly pumped making a sharp photo hard.

And here is a (rather distant) juvenile: a much more sombrely-marked bird with no obvious yellow on the under tail (though not easy to see at this angle).

Not a new species: just a drake Tufted Duck covered in weed!

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2009
Priorslee Lake Map
Common Sandpiper
2 Common Terns
(Ed Wilson)
Priorslee Lake Map
Common Tern
(Ed Wilson)