8 May 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:17am - 8:30am (with a walk to Woodhouse Lane)

Telford sunrise: 5:24am

6.0°C > 13.0°C. Broken cloud early giving way to advancing high cloud ahead of afternoon rain. Calm / very light E wind increasing moderate SSE. Moderate visibility with some mist; becoming very good visibility.

(49th visit of the year)

Highlight this morning was the Yellow Wagtail that flew over at 7:30am

- Oystercatchers present for over two hours this morning.
- hirundines largely absent in fine and calm weather. A single Sand Martin flew through at 5:45am and an unidentified hirundine was seen VERY high over at 6:15am. A few Swifts drifted in after 7:45am with the odd Swallow and Sand Martin soon after.
- rather oddly no Dunnocks were seen or heard this morning: usually up to 7, but only 2s and 3s in the last few days. But none!

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Canada Geese
- 5 (4♂) Mallard
- no gulls – here or anywhere else
- 2 Feral Pigeons
- 64 Jackdaws
- 39 Rooks
- 1 Yellow Wagtail
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Count of hirundines etc (see notes)
- 12 Swifts
- 2 Sand Martins
- 3 Swallows

Count of singing warblers
- 7 Chiffchaffs
- 1 Willow Warbler
- 9 Blackcaps
- 1 Garden Warbler
- 3 Common Whitethroats
- 4 Reed Warblers
All exactly the same as yesterday

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 4 (3♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 32 Coots
- 2 Oystercatchers

a fine, calm start to the day

Woodhouse Lane

Some notes from Woodhouse Lane
Not too much should be read in to a single visit
- just 1 Sky Lark heard (and seen) in song
- 2 Chiffchaffs only in song
- only 1 Blackcap heard in song
- a Garden Warbler singing: this is not uncommon around the sluice exit
- at least 5 Common Whitethroats singing along the lane: none, unusually, around the sluice exit
- >10 Blackbirds seen flying in to out of the rape: feeding (nesting?)
- one pair of Linnets and another un-sexed bird flew over
- 3 Yellowhammers in song and several more calling
- 1 Reed Bunting at least feeding (nesting?) in the rape

A touch of mist in places: here along Woodhouse Lane.

Woodhouse Lane fringed by plenty of yellow-flowering oil-seed rape.

Indeed a sea of yellow.

White (dead) Nettle (Lamium album) is a common wild flower in the verge of Woodhouse Lane.

The family resemblance with Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) is obvious here. Note the leaves of this species are smoother and less toothed.

A male Linnet also in Woodhouse Lane

The female Linnet is doing an even better job of hiding but here we can see the plain breast. There is a hint of red on the crown – this is more extensive and brighter on breeding-plumage males (in the previous photo of the male his head was turned away).

‘the lark ascending’: note the dark under tail with white outer feathers [‘the lark ascending’ is the title of a poem of 122 lines by the English poet George Meredith. I’ll stick to a photo!]

Go on put some effort in to it! A male Yellowhammer in full cry! Here we can see the unusual curved shape of the lower mandible, a feature in all buntings in the genus Emberiza – Yellowhammer is indeed a bunting in this genus.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 8:34am - 9:17am

(41st visit of the year)

The men from the Council were on the island dipping the Canada Geese eggs in paraffin to render them infertile. This is done at the behest of (the majority of?) the residents. The resultant disturbance may have had some effect on the numbers.

- the eight Mallard ducklings seen again today and doing well
- the pair of Coots alongside Derwent Drive were still on / around the nest: only 1 juvenile could be seen
- yesterday’s Garden Warbler not heard today

No birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 12 Swifts again
- 6 House Martins again

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 33 Canada Geese again
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 11 (8♂) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 3 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 18 + 3 (2 broods) Coots

Mrs. Mallard and her brood of 8 still doing well. It is interesting to note that even at this early age the bill colour is quite variable – the literature seems to have no information about whether this enables the sex to be determined or whether it indicates slight differences in maturity. 

This looks like a Crane-fly sp. but I suspect it is a ‘Phantom Crane Fly’ a fly of the genus Ptychoptera and possible Ptychoptera albimana, Note the longer antennae and relatively few veins in the wings.

A side-view here.

The Greylag Goose is a handsome bird.

My first wasp sp. of the year. Too small to be a queen looking for a nest site – I am sure they have mostly done that my now. But am not sure what this specimen was doing. I thought at first it was on this umbellifer stem to chew off the surface to take back to the nest to make more cells for the larvae but it left without apparently doing so.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:25am - 10:00am // 10:40am - 10:46am

(21st visit of the year)

My first visit since 7 April and several summer visitors new for me here this year. Also new for me here was Great Spotted Woodpecker.

- 3 only Great Crested Grebes seen again but another may have been on a nest somewhere
- 1 Song Thrush in song was my first of the year at this site
- 5 Goldfinches with single pairs of Blue and Great Tits were excitedly calling and jumping around on branches of a tree with an ivy-covered trunk. Their behaviour suggested they had found a roosting Tawny Owl: if so it was staying hidden and not about to fly off!

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 2 separate Cormorants

Count of hirundines etc
- 10 Swifts
- 1 Swallow
- 3 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans: pen on nest
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 8 Canada Geese
- no ‘real’ Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 4 Great Crested Grebes: 2 on nests
- 2 Moorhens
- 36 + 2 (1 brood) Coots

Two small beetles huddled up here. I forgot to note what they were resting on. The blur on the left is a midge sp. that was flying off .

And here is the midge itself. It seems to be a male – the females of most species have feathered antennae. That is as far as I can go with an ID.

There are flies, small flies and even smaller flies! I cannot get anywhere with the identity of the largest, let-alone the others!

Yet another unidentified fly – just look at the relative size of the beak stuck in this dandelion (Taraxacum sp.) flower.

Ho hum: Not at all sure about this plant. Does not seem to be a speedwell sp. and may well be a Borage (Borago officinalis). Anyone help please!
This seems to be Oxford Ragwort (Senecio squalidus). Superficially like Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris, syn. Senecio jacobaea) but looks ‘bushier’ an flowers a month or so earlier. Naturalised in the UK it likes rocky areas – as here along the side of Trench Lock Pool.

 A close up. The black marks on the flower heads gave me a clue to identify this.

Red, green and yellow: red-eyes of a Green Bottle (Lucilia caesar) inside a buttercup flower, most likely Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens).

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:05am - 10:35am

(7th visit of the year)

My first visit here since 6 March!

- many of the Mallard seem to have gone off to breed
- only 1 Great Crested Grebe found: none seen around usual nest site at E end of island, but just possibly both (?) tucked up under the vegetation

- 3 Terrapin sp. tempted out of hibernation to bask on logs – not that there was much sun

Nothing flying over and no hirundines in the area

Count of singing warblers
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 16 + 8 (2 broods) Greylag Geese
- 31 + 2 (1 brood) Canada Geese
- 8 (5♂) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
- 4 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 + 3 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhen
- 8 Coots

This is an early instar shield bug, not easy to identify from this angle ...

But from this angle we see the thorn-like points that indicate a Spiked Shieldbug (Picromerus bidens). When adult it will loose the green pigmentation.

Three Terrapin sp. bask in the non-sunshine at Middle Pool.

This quite well-grown juvenile Great Crested Grebe had just been fed its parent. A Canada Goose wants to get in on the action.
This is a Wood Violet, also called Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana).

A pair of Greylag Geese and three of their four goslings. Note the very pale yellow wash to the head of the goslings, otherwise grey.

Here we see two Canada Geese goslings: the yellow on the head is more pronounced and the wash extends to the belly.

A fine patch of Cowslips (Primula veris) shows what you can find in unlikely locations – the bank of Middle Pool in this case.

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2006, 2008 and 2010
Priorslee Lake Map
1 Wheatear
1 Common Sandpiper
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill Map
6 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)
Priorslee Lake Map
Spotted Flycatcher
5 Black Terns
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill Map
2 Wheatears
3 Ravens

(Ed Wilson)
Priorslee Lake Map
2 Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)