28 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:20am - 8:52am

Telford sunrise: 4:55am

8.5°C > 13.0°C. A few showers especially early with good breaks later. Moderate, even fresh, NW wind. Very good visibility.

Suddenly the number of Canada Geese has increased: many more over the lake early; almost double the number at The Flash; and an increase at Trench. I guess those that failed to breed (or those have bred and are leaving their off-spring with the crèches that usually form, looked after by fewer, older adults) are now free to roam around.

(67th visit of the year)

- many Mallard both flying in and out of the lake: and also flying over. Counts are best attempt, but could be over- or under-recorded.
- the juvenile Coots were from the brood first (and last) seen Monday (25th).
- small movement of Swifts and Swallows early. After 7:00am c.15 Swifts stayed around a while and 3 Swallows were hawking over the SW grassy area and the lee of the copse there.
- big party of at least 25 Long-tailed Tits contained many juveniles.
- one of the Reed Warblers was singing from the hedge to the E of Castle Farm Way again.
- another Reed Warbler had me making a log-entry for Goldfinch until I realised it was a stupid place to find one: an excellent mimic.

- two species of micro moth one of them new to me.
- a new species of damselfly for the year - Blue-tailed Damselfly and of a rather unusual form.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 34 Canada Geese (6 groups)
- 4 (3♂) Mallard
- 4 Cormorants (2 groups)
- 42 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 1 Stock Dove
- 2 Collared Doves
- 177 Jackdaws
- 99 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- 29 Swifts
- 15 Swallows
- 4 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 7 Chiffchaffs
- no Willow Warbler
- 14 Blackcaps
- 2 Common Whitethroats
- 9 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 12 (8♂) Mallard
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 25 + 2 (1 brood) Coots

Another day another sunrise.

Shower clearing away and a fresh-washed blue sky.

Compare and contrast: adult Rook with rather conical-shaped bill with silvery bare skin at the base. Wings with primaries often – as here – well-separated in flight.

An adult Jackdaw is smaller, more compact with generally grey tones with a black ‘skull-cap’ and a staring white-eye.

I know its only a Robin but in the early sun against that fresh-washed sky and in full-song who could resist? Not me.

Or is that my better side!?

And bird guides tell you Crows are all-black. Well that depends on the light and whether the bird is rather worn (indeed, though not here, some Crows are prone to have a white wing-bar and this feature tends to run in families – if you have one near you then you may have young birds with the same feature).

No sign of this drake Mallard losing its breeding finery.

Long-tailed Tits have fledged their young and have gathered in to at least one large group. This gives more choice of birds to photograph and some even keep still for a while! This is a juvenile: the black mark on the side of the crown is more extensive in juveniles and reaches below the eye. Juveniles also lack the pinkish wash on the shoulder of adults and the folded wing appears more extensively black.

The pink eye-ring is also most obvious on juveniles and gives them an ‘albino’ effect.

And my other side!

Up close and personal: this is how it came off the camera.

And I could not leave this one out could I? Probably not get such a great photo opportunity with this species all year.

This moth is, I think, Hedya pruniana, sometimes called Plum Tortrix though it feeds on Hawthorn, Wild Cherry and other shrubs. There is a very similar moth, Hedya nubiferana (aka Marbled Orchard Tortrix): size is the best way to separate them but I did not have a ruler with me!

This is a superficially similar moth but just visible here (and not to my naked eye) are the yellow palps which identifies it as Notocelia cynosbatella, sometimes known as Yellow-faced Bell. If you notice a rolled-up leaf of a (wild) rose then the larva of one of these moths may well be inside.

Oh dear: there is no such thing as a ‘Green-eyed Damselfly’ so the ID of this is back to basics. Searching the excellent british-dragonflies.org.uk web site I find a photo of a form of the Blue-tailed Damselfly labelled “Ischnura elegans f infuscans-obsoleta” that is just about a perfect match for this female.

And here we see the bi-coloured pterostigma – the coloured segments in the outer front edge of the forewing that is present in all dragon- and damsel-flies.

This fly is perhaps Phaonia viarum. This is the type-species for genus Phaonia and my guide warns there are “many similar species”.

I had (and have) no idea what is going on here. The spider seems to be attacking what is a seed at the end of poplar fluff.

Yesterday we saw how the scales of the back of the Nettle Weevil can get worn during mating. These shield-bugs have devised a mating strategy that avoids that problem! The distinctive body-shape identifies them as Verlusea rhombea. There seems to be no vernacular name.

Well I've done stretch spiders before: but another poseur.

When the sun goes in most insects disappear without it ever being obvious where they have gone. This bumble bee had probably not warmed enough to fly away and is sitting it out. Probably the common species Bombus terrestris. Bees are another group hard to identify as, to some degree, those from each hive have a ‘team-variation’.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 8:57am - 9:47am

(51st visit of the year)

Most unusual sight was the House Martins perching on TV aerials and then on the sloping roofs of houses in Derwent Drive, presumably to catch the warmth of the sun and some shelter from the rather breezy morning. Several were also flying up to the eaves of the houses, I suspect after insects also sheltering rather than looking for nest sites. I have only ever seen House Martins sitting on sloping roofs once before and that was on a chilly autumn morning on the S Devon coast many years ago when the birds seemed to be warming up for the journey ahead.

Other notes
- the Cob Swan got embroiled in a scrap with a pair of Coots. The Swan has a dislike of one particular Canada Goose and was chasing it away when they both, probably inadvertently, went too close to a pair of Coots with young. The adults set about the Swan in no uncertain fashion and forced him to retreat.
- one of the fishermen told me that a Cormorant had just flown in: I did not see the bird.
- 5 broods of juvenile Coots: one nest with a brooding adult and 4 empty nests.
- a Collared Dove flying from the estate. This once-common bird has declined somewhat in the last 10 years, having only colonised the UK after the 1950s. It is my first here since 18 February and only my 3rd record this year at this site.

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 2 Swallows
- c.15 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 2 Blackcaps still

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans
- 86 Canada Geese
- l Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 9 (6♂) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- [1 Cormorant reported]
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 20 + 9 (5 broods) Coots (see notes)

A House Martin sitting on one of the TV aerials on a house-roof alongside The Flash.

About to launch. The web tells me that a BTO (British Trust For Ornithology) conference failed to answer the question why House Martins have hairy legs.

Here is another bird perching on the ridge tile of a different house.

And here is another investigating the eaves of a house.

And two birds on the sloping roof sunning themselves.

Always a sucker for a close-up. You can sort of see why females, which is what we see here with the yellow bill, and (more particularly) juvenile Blackbirds can be confused with thrushes. But thrushes are always pale with black spots whereas Blackbirds are, at the extreme, brown or reddish-brown with darker spots. Note this bird has, like many Blackbirds, a couple of almost white feathers in her back.

Did I say close-up! Again as it came off the camera.

Bit of a bundle here! What seemed to happen is that the cob Swan was chasing one of the Canada Geese and in doing so got rather close to a family group of Coots. The adults were having none of it.

As usual it was mostly posturing and no feathers were lost in the exchange.

But it looked quite violent for awhile.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:55am - 10:39am

(27th visit of the year)

- there are 2 juveniles with of one pair of Great Crested Grebes. The sitting bird from the other pair left an apparently empty nest this morning and the pair immediately started displaying again.
- another complete check and count of the Coot this morning: 15 juveniles in 7 broods; just 1 more bird sitting on eggs or brooding young juveniles; and 1 empty nest.
- a Coal Tit seen turned out to be my first record here this year!

- male Orange-tip butterflies

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

Count of hirundines etc
- c.15 Swifts
- 1 Swallow
- 4 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 4 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 14 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Duck again
- 4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 44 + 15 (7 broods) Coots

The two juvenile Great Crested Grebes with one of the parents at Trench

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2007
Priorslee Lake Map
2 Ruddy Ducks
(Martin Adlam)
Priorslee Lake Map
Cuckoo just north of the lake.
(Martin Adlam)