27 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:22am - 8:13am // 9:19am - 10:32am

Telford sunrise: 4:56am

8.0°C > 13.5°C. Good clear spells with a few areas of cloud. Light SW wind. Very good visibility.

(66th visit of the year)

- a pair of Tufted Ducks when I arrived: these flew off W but at the same time a different pair was flying the other way and landed. Soon another drake appeared for a while. Then later still another pair flew over.
- the Great Crested Grebes were again playing at being submarines but I eventually was happy that there were 9 adults and the 2 juveniles. Then some 30 minutes later I saw 2 birds flying very high over the lake and spiralling down to land. I then failed to establish whether these were additional birds or birds that had gone for a fly-about.
- the oldest juvenile Coot again: also 2 small juveniles from a different nest to those seen on Monday.
- an Oystercatcher again on the SW grass for a while.
- many more Lesser Black-backed Gulls over today: later an immature stopped off and when seen standing on one of the buoys revealed that it had been ringed. Photos I took may just about reveal enough details for its origin to be determined: watch this space.

- an Orange-tip butterfly seen: my first at this site this year.
- a White-pinion Spotted moth found at rest: just about annual here.
- a ? damselfly seen.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 Greylag Geese (2 groups)
- 2 Canada Geese (1 group)
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck
- 7 Cormorants (3 singles; 1 group)
- 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 13 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 2 Stock Doves
- 161 Jackdaws
- 99 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- 24 Swifts
- 5 Swallows
- 2 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 6 Chiffchaffs again
- 1 Willow Warbler again
- 15 Blackcaps
- 1 Garden Warbler
- 1 Common Whitethroat
- 7 Reed Warblers again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 8 (5♂) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 9? + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 4 Moorhens
- 27 + 3 (2 broods) Coots
- 1 Oystercatcher
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

This morning’s sunrise.

Later it looked like this.

Happy families: the Swans with their surviving cygnet.

Several points here: a Jackdaw (on the left) was giving the larger Rook a hard time. Probably trying to get at the food in the Rook’s bill. Very many of the single Rooks passing both S and N over the lake are carrying food at the moment. Note also that the Rook, a species that breeds rather early in the year – the first eggs may be laid in February – is starting its wing-moult. Lots of them are looking rather tatty, the feathers badly worn with all the breeding activity.

Space being prepared for yet another container to hold the Sailing Club’s equipment and keep it safe from thieves.

It might be ‘just a snail’ but the structure is rather clever isn’t it? This is probably a White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis). The marks on snails are very variable and this species can have a brown lip: and the Grove Snail or Brown-lipped Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) may have a white lip!

This attractive-looking moth is the White-pinion Spotted. Not a day-flying species but frequently disturbed around its food plants, chiefly Hawthorn. I see it here most years.

Now we know how the scales get rubbed off the back of Nettle Weevils (Phyllobius pomaceus)!

Another amazing-looking insect. Just look at the way the legs, wings and snout are attached to the body of this crane fly sp.

And here a different crane fly sp. The eye is partially obscured by the front leg here.

Here is the immature Lesser Black-backed Gull with a metal ring on its left leg and a coded colour ring on the right leg – sadly facing the wrong way to be read. The all-dark bill and general brown-looking feathers suggest this is a 1st summer bird (born in 2014). Note the feathers show considerable sign of wear.

As the buoy spins in the wind we get a tantalising glimpse of the codes: apparently L+C.

In flight the male Orange-tip butterfly seems to be white apart from the orange wing tips. But when perched we see the underneath hind-wing is strongly patterned. The female, which lacks the orange mark, shares the same hind-wing pattern and this is the best way to distinguish it from other ‘white’ butterflies.

This damselfly seems to be a female Red-eyed Damselfly even though it does not show red-eyes. When freshly emerged all dragon- and damsel-flies lack some of the colour of adults and females are a particular challenge as they are often less colourful than the males. Here the pattern on the thorax seems to clinch the identity.

(Ed Wilson)


Wrekin: 10:45am - 2:40pm

An amble to the top and ‘down the other side’ with a friend from Surrey to look for the specialities: managed to see all four on the expected list
- 1 Wood Warbler
- 5 Pied Flycatchers
- 3 Common Redstarts
- 2 Tree Pipits
But we missed Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Tit which were possibles

Other birds of note
- 2 Cuckoos calling
- 1 Green Woodpecker
- a Sparrowhawk causing mayhem was new for me at this site this year
- rolling and tumbling Ravens
- Marsh Tits heard calling
- several Meadow Pipits at the summit
- my first Linnet over here this year

- a Speckled Yellow moth near the summit: a very attractive day-flying moth

Not too successful with Pied Flycatcher pictures today. As it gets later in the season the trees are about in full leaf making it easy for the birds to hide and also making it rather dark to photograph these mid-storey birds.

A Tree Pipit in song. Separation from Meadow Pipit never that easy but simple when it sings – the songs are very different. Also sitting atop a tree is a clue – except on passage a Meadow Pipit would not normally perch on anything higher than a small bush.

With its head tilted we can see the pale area behind the eye that is a feature of Tree Pipit. But you need the light at the right angle.

Here a Meadow Pipit carries food for its brood. Features to look for are the streaking continuing all along the flanks, the rather greyer tone and the rather prominent eye. But these are subtle distinctions that vary with the light and plumage wear. What the photo reveals and what is diagnostic is the very long hind-claw that allows this species to walk across the top of long grass and rank vegetation without sinking in.

A different view of a different Meadow Pipit. It is not often you see the rump exposed like this and you will not see the warm buff rump mentioned as a plumage feature in most field guides.

Nor do you often see the streaking on the top of the head like this. The long hind-claw is just visible here.

Another shot showing the top of the head, the rump and the long hind-claw.

An illustration that fungus is not solely the preserve of Autumn. These were very fresh fruits still with fragile stems being blown around by the very light breeze.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2007 and 2009
Priorslee Lake Map
3 Little Egrets
(Ed Wilson)
Priorslee Lake Map
Little Ringed Plover
(John Isherwood)