4 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:23am - 7:17am // 9:05am - 10:40am

Telford sunrise: 5:31am

9.5°C > 15.0°C Remnant light shower soon moved away. Then clear for a while: puffy clouds developed before high cloud encroached after lunch. Moderate WSW wind backed S and fell away somewhat. Very good visibility.

(45th visit of the year)

- 2 Greylag Geese dropped in and left: the Swan was more alert than I was to these arriving. Unusually they did not appear to call. The 2 birds seen over later were almost certainly different birds
- Kestrel seen again today.
- 3 Black-headed Gulls dropped in briefly – unusual between mid-April and mid-June. All looked superficially to be adults but inspection photos I took reveals at least 2 of them were immatures.
- first decent count of Swifts (>25) with birds heard screaming over.
- single Sand Martins flew through at 5:30am and 7:00am. 4 by 9:05am stayed.
- 3 singing Garden Warblers this morning: this seems to be my highest-ever count at this site
- 2 Mistle Thrushes seen in flight. A bird singing might have been a 3rd. Song has been infrequent this year.
- 3 Starlings noted over – these taking a short-cut from their nest-sites in estate to wherever they are feeding at the moment.

- plenty of insects around this morning included Large White and Peacock butterflies; and several Scorpion flies (probably Panorpa communis)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 4 Canada Geese
- 1 Cormorant
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls
- 81 Jackdaws
- 22 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- >25 Swifts
- 6 Sand Martins
- 2 Swallows
- 2 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 9 Chiffchaffs
- 1 Willow Warbler- 11 Blackcaps
- 3 Garden Warblers
- 3 Common Whitethroats
- 2 Sedge Warblers
- 3 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 2 Greylag Geese briefly
- 6 (4♂) Mallard
- 2 Grey Herons
- 6 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 34 + 4 (1 brood) Coots
- 3 Common Sandpipers
- 3 Black-headed Gulls

Sunrise as the remnant shower cleared away.

Progress on the new access road along Teece Drive.

Singing Garden Warbler: the main ID feature of this species is its lack of features! Song helps of course. What can be seen here is the grey side to the neck; the rather a thick bill for a warbler; the neat white tips to the primaries; incomplete white eye-ring with slight mask; and the warmer buff flanks.

A little territorial dispute! Would it be sexist to suggest that it is the two females that are watching their mates battle it out?

Probably as they all seem to be at it here!

“great: I've drowned him”!

This Great Crested Grebe was preening and occasionally flapping. We can see here the some of the white in the upper-wing. These birds look most unexpected in flight with their slim elongated shape and extensive white wing patch.

The other unexpected feature of Great Crested Grebe is their large-lobed feet. These are set well-back for swimming and stick out in flight. It also means they cannot easily move on land.

Is there any evidence that Common Sandpipers can read?

A typical pose of Common Sandpiper. Especially on breeding grounds they will sit on posts or isolated rocks and ‘pip-pip-pip’ their territorial call. Not usually heard from migrating birds. The white extending up the side of the breast is diagnostic of this species (and its New World counterpart the Spotted Sandpiper which only has spots in the breeding season).

And a typical flight view with fluttering wing beats with the wings never raised above the horizontal. It is always a surprise when they fly off (as opposed to just around the lake) when their flight is then quite normal.

Say ‘ah’! A Common Whitethroat in full cry.

The warmer weather is bring out the flies. Red eyes and a hairy body do not really help identify the species as many flies share these characteristics ... Possibly Urban Bluebottle Blowfly, Calliphora vicina.

 .. as we can see with this smaller species. Possibly nemorilla floralis

This is a Scorpion Fly, probably Panorpa communis. It is a female – the male genitalia are shaped like the tail of a scorpion and give this fly its vernacular name.

I think this a hoverfly sp. (rather than a bee sp.) but I will have to take advice on its specific ID.

A side view shows it has no pollen-baskets. Possibly Tapered Drone Fly, Eristalis pertinax 

One of the three Black-headed Gulls that dropped in for a while. They all looked superficially to be adults but in flight this bird at least showed that it is still a 1st summer bird despite the dark hood. It is especially evident from the tail-band: the dark in the wings is less prominent ...

 ... particularly from the underside (the cob Swan passing!)

Just to prove the Swifts are back: not easy to photograph these. You can just about persuade yourself that it has a pale chin!

Probably the best of many attempts to photo them.

Not my best shot of a Peacock butterfly either but it flew off before I could reposition for a straight-on view.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 7:22am - 7:55am

(39th visit of the year)

- a pair of Canada Geese with a nest containing 4 eggs right alongside footpath: the Council only treat eggs on the island.
- Mallard duck still with 8 ducklings and seeing off attentions from drakes.
- the 4 Tufted Duck very much behaving as two pairs.
- pair of Great Crested Grebe
- just 2 juveniles noted with one of the pairs of Coots.

Nothing noted flying over.

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 3 Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 32 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 12 (8♂) + 8 Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 5 Moorhens
- 16 + 2 (1 brood) Coots
No gulls here.

A clutch of 4 Canada Geese eggs at The Flash: laid right beside the footpath they have escaped the Council’s attentions so far.

(Ed Wilson)


Nedge Hill: 8:00am - 9:02am

(2nd visit of the year)

A better visit today with 4 Wheatear seen as well as other specials to the location.

Route taken slightly different to yesterday so numbers not directly comparable.

- Red-legged Partridge was new for me this year: 1 bird flushed
- Wheatear was also new for me this year
- no Willow Warblers today either
- 4 Yellowhammers included 3 males (only 1 singing)
- 6 Linnets at least in field with Wheatears (also 1 Meadow Pipit and 2 Pied Wagtails)

- several Rabbits again

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps
- 1 Garden Warbler
- 1 Common Whitethroat

Of the specialities of this location
- 1 Red-legged Partridge
- 6 (5 singing) Sky Larks
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 4 Wheatears
- 6 Linnets

‘hoppity-hop’! This Rabbit didn't seem to notice me and ran towards me.

Oh er: a human: what should I do now?

One of the 4 Wheatears at Nedge.

Careful stalking allowed me to get quite close to this male Wheatear. Note it shows some brown tones in the middle of the back from which I conclude it is a 1st year bird.

Note the rather ragged feathering around the top of the legs. I assume this comes from bounding through wet grass and is not a normal feature.

This is about as close as it would allow me to get before hopping away.

This is a different bird with dry trousers!

Here it is again with a male Linnet – the male Linnet is a striking bird when in summer plumage.

A Sky Lark spiralling back after its song-flight. Evident even at this range is the white trailing edge to the inner wing and the dark under tail.

Lest you think fungus are a sign of Autumn! They can be found at any time of the year. No idea about the species though.

This male Yellowhammer seems happy enough to sit in this well-flailed hedge.

And his rather subtle-coloured mate. Note the orangey-brown rump. This diagnostic feature can often be used to identify birds flushed along country lanes – the white on the outer tail feathers is in fact a slightly different shape from, say, Chaffinch or Great Tit, but that is rarely noticed at first glance.

Could not resist another shot: you rarely get this close to this bird!

A sign that may herald the demise of Nedge as we have known it. Where will all the migrant Wheatears stop over? To say nothing of all the resident birds.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2007
Priorslee Lake - Map
Male Gadwall
(John Isherwood)
Priorslee Lake - Map
2 pairs of Ruddy Ducks
1 Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)