1 Jul 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:20am - 6:00am // 7:10am - 9:32am

Telford sunrise: 4:49am

16.5°C > 27.5°C. Rather angry-looking bubbly clouds at times, otherwise clear. Moderate SSE wind. Moderate visibility and rather hazy.

(83rd visit of the year)

Highlight here was the 2 Oystercatchers that flew off when I arrived at 4:20am: I last noted these on 29 May when one or two birds had been hanging around the area for some weeks. Tempting to think they may have nested nearby. No sign of juveniles though.

- I may have thought that some of the adult Great Crested Grebes present at the start of June had left but today I confirmed that there were still 6 adults in addition to the pair with the 2 well-grown juveniles. Two were ‘pairs’ resting alongside the N side reeds: there was no indication that they might be nesting.
- same number of broods of Coot as yesterday but many fewer juveniles counted.
- again four different Black-headed Gulls dropped in, today all adults with 2 of them staying at least 2 hours.
- significant early passage of large gulls mainly distantly to the E / NE.
- 1 Swift arrived at exactly 4:30am. Immediately after 15 more flew through. Later 2's and 3's mainly stopped to drink before another group of c.15 birds flew through at 9:20am.
- Willow Tit heard in song here after I returned from The Flash where I also heard a singing bird. It is just possible that this was the same bird that had moved along the line of the Wesley Brook. Rather odd that it should be singing again as all the literature suggests that this species is single-brooded and should have finished breeding by now. The bird seemed to be on its own.
- both Nuthatch and Tree Creeper heard alongside Teece Drive – now that access is again possible.

- new brood of Speckled Wood butterflies evident today.
- Shaded Broad-bar moth seen.
- dragonflies emerged in some numbers this morning with Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker and Emperor Dragonflies all being noted and new for me here this year.
- both Common Ragwort and Greater Willowherb were noted in flower for the first time this morning.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Cormorant
- 62 large gulls
- 18 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 247 Jackdaws
- 259 Rooks
- 1 Starling

Count of hirundines etc
- >45 Swifts
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 2 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 9 Chiffchaffs again
- 14 Blackcaps
- 2 Common Whitethroats once more
- 4 Reed Warblers again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 17 (14♂) Mallard
- 1 Cormorant
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Oystercatchers
- 3 Moorhens
- 51 + 9 (6 broods) Coots
- 4 Black-headed Gulls again
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

The rays of the early sun are evident here with a rather angry-looking sky.

I am no fan of the introduced and invasive Grey Squirrel – rats with furry tails and good PR (though I think rats are rather misunderstood). But they can look cute.

A hoverfly gets covered in pollen from Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra). From this view the hoverfly cannot be identified.

I could not get an angle on this Speckled Wood that would avoid a strand of the spider web. The butterfly seems so fresh that it must be a newly-emerged individual. Speckled Wood is more or less continually brooded with new emergences between late March and October.

This is a different, ‘less fresh’ Speckled Wood.

This small moth is probably Celypha lacunana, often known as Common Marble.

Another small moth: this is Pandemis cerasana or Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix. There are plenty of wild cherry (Prunus sp.) trees around the lake to keep this species happy.

Most of the flowers of the Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) are looking rather tatty and past it: this is perhaps the last still looking fresh.

At last: a decent shot of Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)! Most flowers look so much better in close-up – bees are very lucky to see them this close (apparently bees have very different colour perception to us and they would not actually look anything like this!).

No time to waste: the Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris formerly Senecio jacobaea) has only just begun to flower and already attacked by an army of beetles. These seem to be female Oedemera nobilis – without the thickened femora.

... and not just beetles: here we see wingless blackfly (aphids) of varying stages of development. They suck the sap from the plant and secrete a honeydew that ants like – we can see two disappearing over the stem. The ants keep some of the predators of blackfly away – ladybird larvae are particularly voracious eaters of blackfly.

The first flowers of Greater Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) are just opening.

Mating wheel of Common Blue Damselflies.

A male Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly.

This close up of the drive mechanism for the wings looks an engineering marvel (actually taken at Trench but included here for comparison).

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:10am - 7:00am

(59th visit of the year)

Highlight here was my first record of Willow Tit here this year. Although I record this species most years it is uncommon and often just a single day record. The bird was singing from the trees around The Priorslee pub but I was unable to locate it: see also the note entry under the lake heading.

- Swans all together asleep on the island.
- the small Cackling / Lesser Canada Goose sp. seen again today.
- one of the Canada Geese seemed to have some Barnacle Geese genes with quite a different pattern of white on the face.
- many geese and Mallard were tucked away inside the island and not too much should be read in to the numbers.
- one of the Greylag Geese flapped its wings and confirmed that it will be flying nowhere in the near future as all its primaries were missing or very short.
- not sure whether the Tufted Duck(s) were present: I thought I saw a drake lurking alongside the island but failed to see it afterwards.
- no Moorhens seen here: one heard at the upper pool between the lake and The Flash – both pools are so overgrown that detecting the birds is almost impossible now.
- a new brood of 2 juvenile Coots and all the recently extant groups all present and correct for the first time in a while.

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Hirundines etc. seen
- 6 Swifts
- 6 House Martins

Warblers heard singing
- 2 Chiffchaffs
- no Blackcaps – calls only

The counts from the water
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 47 Greylag Geese
- 93 Canada Geese
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 Canada x Barnacle Goose
- [the all-white feral goose not noted]
- 17 (14♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 all-white feral duck
- ? Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 2 + 1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- no Moorhens again
- 21 + 9 (4 broods) Coots

Now here is an interestingly-plumaged Canada Goose. The white on the face is rather more like a Barnacle Goose than Canada. It also lacks the sharp cut-off at the base of the neck and the white breast shown by Canadas. There seems to be more of an eye-ring than would normally be shown by either species.

Alongside a ‘real’ Canada Goose it seems slightly smaller, though females are typically smaller and that in itself is probably not a valid difference. However the neck does seem shorter and proportionally stockier. The wings look rather short – the primaries are only just visible: this is likely just due to the annual moult: however it suggests the bird must have been here a while and why did I not see it earlier? In summary I feel there are a few Barnacle genes in what is mainly a Canada Goose.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:40am - 10:30am

(31st visit of the year)

- one Swan asleep in the middle of the water: the other on the nest (site?).
- usual post-breeding gathering of Mallard.
- one bird of the 2nd pair of Great Crested Grebes still sitting on nest.
- the Swifts, as elsewhere, were swooping to drink and then flying off. If the individuals were flying away and not returning then c.10 birds seen.
- several crows with white patches in the wings, one so extensive that at first glance I thought it a strangely-marked gull.

- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies.
- Black-tailed Skimmer and Emperor Dragonflies.
- Ringlet butterflies.
- an Epiphyas postvittana or Light Brown Apple Moth.

- 1 dead carp sp. floating in the water: the odd death after the spawning season is to be expected.

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 2 Swifts
- 4 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff still
- no Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 13 Canada Geese
- 24 (19♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 46 + 20 (8 broods) Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

This is how Black-headed Gulls take a drink.

... and how they swallow the result.

A Common Blue Damselfly at rest on a White Water-lily (Nymphaea alba).

And a group of three White Water-lilies.

Not a great shot – I flushed this moth; it settled briefly for a grab-shot and flew away. It is probably Epiphyas postvittana or the Light Brown Apple Moth. A pest of apple trees it was accidentally introduced from Australia and is now a pest world-wide. Like all Tortrix moths it is a ‘leaf-roller’ in to which the eggs are laid in a cocoon. [I now read that I need to do DNA analysis to separate this from other Tortrix moths though it is not clear whether these occur in the UK].

I could not work out what was going on here: this Great Crested Grebe was staring intently in to the vegetation and not moving. Eventually an adult Coot emerged from nearby and started to pick food and then its two youngsters appeared from right under the grebes nose. And it continued to peer in to the vegetation. As far as I could work out the grebe is the mate of the bird that has been sitting on a nest since April.

This Crow is one of a family around Trench that show varying amounts of white pigment in the plumage.

A juvenile Moorhen protests at having its photo taken!

Today’s strange fly! I am almost certain it is a saw-fly and the wings and body colour closely match Turnip Sawfly (Athalia rosae) but that species does not have the jet black thorax shown here.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)