15 Jul 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:22am -6:10am // 7:10am - 9:18am

Telford sunrise: 5:03am

11.5°C > 15.0°C. Medium overcast after recent rain; some drizzle for a while and then clearing after 9:00am. Moderate NNW wind and feeling fresher. Good visibility becoming very good.

Could have stayed in bed: the largest group of a very thin corvid passage was at 8:55am and most of the gulls were after 9:00am!

(92nd visit of the year)

- 4 Tufted Duck seen early but gone later
- the 4 Cormorants, all immatures, circled overhead for a long while ‘casing the joint’ and then seemed to decide to land and were seen descending to low level (I could not see the water from where I was at the time). About 10 minutes later one bird seen lifting off and it joined the three others low over – but not 100% sure they all landed
- 1 adult Grey Heron flushed pre-dawn: a juvenile seen later
- all the large gulls examined seemed to be Lesser Black-backs apart from just 2 Herring Gulls on the lake: however a few were so scruffy that it was hard to be sure
- first Swifts at 4:58am with 15 by 5:05am: none of the parties / singles seemed to stay long as all were of differing numbers I have treated them all as different birds

- a Pipistrelle bat pre-dawn: this is my first at the lake this year no doubt partly because the footpath closure forced me to start at ‘the other end’ and it was too late by the time I arrived in this area. That said I have recorded them around the trees at the S end of the dam previously
- another new species of beetle found - apparently Lagria hirta

- a Single-dotted Wave moth found in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 90 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Stock Doves
- 12 Feral Pigeons (3 groups)
- 62 Jackdaws
- 51 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- 36 Swifts
- 2 Barn Swallows
- 5 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 9 Chiffchaffs
- 9 Blackcaps
- 1 Common Whitethroat again
- 4 Reed Warblers again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 21 (?♂) Mallard
- 4 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 4 Cormorants (see notes)
- 2 Grey Herons
- 10 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes again
- 4 + 4 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 67 + 15 (7 broods) Coots
- 55 Black-headed Gulls again
- 105 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 2 Herring Gulls

Here is another recently-fledged Black-headed Gull – this is about the maximum extent of the ginger-brown marks you can see away from the breeding grounds. This was taken at 6:00am on a very dull morning and the camera does not capture the real ginger-brown colouration properly.

Switching from Auto to Program on the camera produced a very different colour-balance even less realistic. They have still to design the perfect camera!

Talk about scruffy! This Herring Gull in moult displays new pearl-grey inner primaries then a gap of re-growing feathers before the old dark outer primaries. The mantle is mainly new feathers. There is almost a white carpal-bar across the leading part of the wing where the base of some of the coverts is exposed by the re-growth of other feathers. The tail is as yet to start to be moulted. It seems to be a 2nd summer bird moulting in to 3rd winter plumage.

And, for comparison, this looks like a 2nd summer Lesser Black-backed Gull moulting in to 3rd winter plumage. Superficially the wings look all dark suggesting it is older but the amount of black in the tail suggests otherwise.

And in similar pose a 1st summer Lesser Black-backed Gull moulting in to 2nd winter plumage. It is a wonder it can fly! There is just an indication that it may be moulting its tail – the central tail-feathers look to be missing.

And here is a mass of Lesser Black-backed Gulls of varying ages and degrees of moult taking off. Of the flying birds the 3rd from the right seems to be another Herring Gull.

A few insects about this morning. This seems to be the beetle Lagria hirta though some references on the web suggest it inhabits sandy areas. ‘Hirta’ comes from the Latin ‘hirtus’ meaning rough (of hair, wool etc.) and it is indeed conspicuously bristly.
Another specimen – they were suddenly abundant this morning. From this angle you have to look harder to see the hairs.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee tunnel (between the Lake and The Flash)

In the tunnel a Single-dotted Wave moth.

This is a Single-dotted Wave moth resting on the side of the tunnel. A common moth but with few of the street-lights operational during the building and road works any moth is welcome this year.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 7:45am - 8:25am

(11th recent visit)

Shorter than usual visit as quiet and little to see / hear
- Reed Bunting yet again singing from oilseed rape field
Other selected counts
- 1 Sky Larks in song
- 2 Chiffchaff in song and 1 calling
- no Blackcaps
- 3 Common Whitethroats in song and 1 calling
- 2 male Bullfinches
- 6 Linnets over
- 2 Yellowhammer in song and 2 calling

- no insects of note seen

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:20am - 7:00am

(67th visit of the year)

- no Mallard ducklings seen this morning
- big increase in number of Tufted Ducks
- the Grey Heron was flushed out of one of the gardens in the Derwent Drive area (eating the fish from the pond?) before flying in to the trees on the island

- although still impossible to see in to the overgrown pond between the lake and The Flash an adult and juvenile Moorhen were on the grass alongside the upper pool

- a Yellow-tail moth on one of the lamps

Birds noted flying over.

Hirundines etc
- 2 Swifts
- 1 House Martin

Singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 75 Greylag Geese
- 176 Canada Geese
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 Canada x Barnacle Goose
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 37 (28♂) Mallard
- 22 (21♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 + 1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 24 + 10 (5 broods) Coots

This is a Yellow-tail moth. Here we cannot see the yellow tail which the male often sticks up between the closed wings but there are no real confusion species, the White Ermine having a neat row of black dots along the wing.

(Ed Wilson)