30 Jun 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:19am - 5:40am // 6:40am - 9:07am

Telford sunrise: 4:48am again

13.0°C> 20.0°C. Almost cloudless. Light ESE wind. Good visibility

(82nd visit of the year)

- a single very small juvenile Moorhen seen with a parent – likely more as they were mostly keeping inside the reeds
- another new brood of Coots (#9)
- four different Black-headed Gulls dropped in briefly, the first two before 4:30am: one of these was a very recently fledged gingery-looking juvenile, sadly while it was too dark to photograph it
- most of the passing large gulls were too distant to specifically identify
- >25 Swifts by 4:30am and stayed until 5:15am. After 8:30am a party of 15 dropped in to drink and then sped off E – migrants already?
- rather fewer corvids today: passage of Rooks was already under way when I arrived this morning; many of the Jackdaws were flying very low over the fields to the E and others were probably below my line of sight

- Meadow Brown and Small Skipper butterflies were new for the year
- Small Tortoiseshell was a new butterfly for me this year at this site
- Ringlet and Large Skipper were also seen
- many grass moths, mostly unidentified; my first-ever Shropshire and lake record of Burnet Companion; a Clouded Border moth, new for this year – and first seen on 01 July last year; and a single Silver-ground Carpet
- my first wasp sp. of the year here.

- first Common Marbled Carpet of the year found in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel
- usual Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies, this morning in abundance
- some beetles Oedemera nobilis: it is only the males of this beetle that have thickened femora

Despite my early starts and the warm weather I have seen no bats in the last two days and only two so far this year. Previously I would have seen up to 6 animals flying around as I arrived during similar conditions, mixing it with the early arriving Swifts. I know that an environmental survey done prior to the school building work identified the presence of a bat roost but I was not told where it was or how they were proposing to preserve it.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 2 Cormorants
- 16 large gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 179 Jackdaws
- 131 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- c.45 Swifts
- 2 Barn Swallows
- 6 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 9 Chiffchaffs
- 13 Blackcaps
- 2 Common Whitethroats again
- 4 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 14 (12♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron
- 6 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 45 + 14 (6 broods) Coots
- 4 Black-headed Gulls

No red sky this morning: just a great morning to be around early.

Of course as it is now past the longest day Autumn with spider-webs covered in dew cannot be far away!

Flash needed to get any colour on this Common Marbled Carpet on one of the lights in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel.

Mr. Bullfinch takes the morning sun.

This rather faded moth was very lethargic and soon buried itself in the grass. With the help of a friend in Cornwall I now know this to be a Burnet Companion moth, a species I last saw some 20 years ago, co-incidentally in Cornwall. As its name suggests I should be looking out for burnet moths – day-flying metallic-looking black and red moths which can be tricky to identify though luckily we only get one species in this area. New for my 2015 list, my Shropshire life-list and of course my Priorslee Lake life-list.

A fine and particularly cleanly marked Silver-ground Carpet moth

This is rust fungus, Phragmidínm ssp., on the stem of a bramble. Once affected the fungus stays with the plant both under- and above- ground.

Well: here is my attempt at a better Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) photo. This is better, but not ‘best’.

Can’t do much about the contrast I am afraid but a worthwhile shot of a singing Reed Warbler. Difficult to see any features here but in a way that confirms the identity. The bill is certainly on the large size for a warbler but in its excited state the crown feathers are raised and mask the sloping forehead look of this species.

The forehead shape is better shown when it is quiet!

These flowers are from Woody Nightshade (amongst many other names – scientifically Solanum dulcamara). It is very toxic but the attractive red berries are very bitter – hence Bittersweet as another name.

Just a small part of the Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) that is gradually spreading along the dam-face. Here two forms are involved. The roots can be boiled to make a sedative. The origin is probably as a garden escape here.

I will struggle to get a more cooperative Small Tortoiseshell than this specimen.

And here feeding on its favourite – the nectar of brambles.

These are the flowers of Perforate St John's-Wort (Hypericum perforatum) growing on the dam. This is fast-becoming something of a herbal lesson: this plant is used to treat depression and apparently is as good as any prescription drug and without many of the side-effects. So why ....?

Another view: the small black dots on the stems and edges of the flowers help identify.

Another Large Skipper: this is a male, identified by the streak on the forewing which contains scent scales – though nowhere can I find whether these are used to detect females or attract them!

A different specimen: you just don’t get views like this too often!

The much plainer wing identify this as a Small Skipper. The forewing is not visible here so the sex cannot be determined from this view.

Had to correct the ID of a butterfly yesterday: THIS is a Meadow Brown (yesterday’s was a Ringlet which is why it had several circles on the wing – doh!)

Covered in pollen from Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) this is the beetle Oedemera nobilis: it is only the males of this beetle that have thickened femora. Another small fly is lurking. Not entirely sure what is in the mouth of the beetle.

Another view of another specimen.

This small moth is Anthophila fabriciana, also known as the Common Nettle-tap. It has a huge range from the Pacific coast of China and all across the Himalayas and Europe.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 5:50am - 6:30am

(58th visit of the year)

- Swans seen today but behaving rather atypically. One cygnet seen on its own and calling before it joined the pack of Canada Geese and they all seemed quite happy feeding together. The pen later came off the island with 3 other cygnets and may no attempt to find the ‘lost’ cygnet. Meanwhile the cob was elsewhere minding his own business
- the small Cackling / Lesser Canada Goose sp. seen today
- at least some of the geese seem to be able to fly still as there were more Greylags and fewer Canada's today, though with birds able to hide away inside the island hard to be certain
- the new brood of 4 small Mallard ducklings seen again: the long-term brood of 8 not seen but the number logged suggests that these were scattered among other birds
- pair of Tufted Duck, the drake well out of breeding plumage
- the juvenile Great Crested Grebe with one of the parents: the other parent was tidying the nest
- a Nuthatch calling outside the dentist surgery was my first at this site this year

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Hirundines etc. seen
- 1 Swift
- 4 House Martins

Warblers heard singing
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 3 Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 63 Greylag Geese
- 158 Canada Geese
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 36 (27♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 + 1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- no Moorhens
- 19 + 4 (1 brood) Coots

Superb light on this flying Grey Heron made it irresistible.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2010
Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)