2 Jul 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:18am - 9:03am

Telford sunrise: 4:50am

15.5°C > 19.5°C. Low cloud rapidly spread in suppressing a promising sunrise through broken high / medium-level cloud. Cleared after 07:00 to reveal a mid-level overcast. Later some low cloud again ahead of rain later. Moderate W wind fell light. Good visibility

(84th visit of the year)

- up to 4 Grey Herons this morning: 1 bird flew off at 4:40am; an adult was flushed at 5:10am; two immatures were present at 9:00am
- first returning Common Sandpiper of the year: seen asleep on one of the boat launching piers at 4:30am. Not seen or heard thereafter
- gull numbers increasing with more at the lake including some of the larger gulls stopping off for a while. Amongst these were 2 Herring Gulls
- tight party of 26 Feral Pigeon looked like Racing Pigeons on a mission but when they encountered the circling local Buzzard they too went round and round in circles for a while
- usual early group of c.30 Swifts by 4:30am with some staying but most gone by 4:45am. Small numbers passing later
- many more corvids today, starting at 4:40am with 140 Jackdaws and 224 Rooks in very spread-out group all across the sky
- an apparently newly emerged Great Tit seen: this species, unlike Blue Tit, is often double-brooded
- a Common Whitethroat seen carrying faecal sac suggests these are also on their second brood

- a single large bat sp. seen briefly this morning ahead of the Swift’s arrival
- at least one small toad, probably Common Toad (Bufo bufo) unusually hopping across the path but a photo revealed its warty skin: a second was noted walking like they are supposed to. Seems this my first-ever toad at the lake
- the overcast weather meant fewer species of butterfly and dragon/damsel-fly around: 7 species of moth noted
- a lacewing sp. (Chrysoperia carnea) and the misname blood-sucker beetle Rhagonycha fulvam were new for the year

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Cormorant
- 76 large gulls
- 26 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 2 Collared Doves
- 429 Jackdaws
- 356 Rooks
- 6 Starlings

Count of hirundines etc
- >40 Swifts
- 5 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 8 Chiffchaffs
- 15 Blackcaps
- 3 Common Whitethroats
- 3 Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 13 (10♂) Mallard
- 4 Grey Herons (see notes)
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Common Sandpiper
- 8 Moorhens
- 52 + 17 (7 broods) Coots
- 9 Black-headed Gulls
- 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

Well it was 4:30am and quite dark. Wound the ISO to 3200 and managed this record shot of the first returning Common Sandpiper – just as well as I neither saw or heard it again.

Here we go again: seems that making a food offering before / while mating is a common feature of Snipe-flies. Probably non-PC to suggest humans do much the same.

Clever trick if you can do it – put you legs behind your back to clean it! This hoverfly is a poorly-marked example of the variable drone-fly Eristalis tenax.

More dung flies with these are feeding on more natural food than my previous photos. Exactly what deposited the dung on top of these leaves is unclear – looked too large to be bird-droppings.

So engrossed in their feeding they allowed a closer approach for a ‘plan’ view.

Well it hopped so I assumed this small amphibian was a frog sp. but a photo reveals the warty skin of a toad sp. and almost certainly Common Toad (Bufo bufo).

Alongside the Public Footpath at the W end of the lake and between the path and the Ricoh ground is a scrubby mix of brambles and, as shown here, Field Rose (Rosa arvensis).

Now you know how Ringlet butterflies got their name. Will not usually give this view as they often rest with wings open and even when they close them they tend to move to keep danger behind them and getting a side-on view is not easy.

Beyond being eggs deposited on a thin grass stem I have no idea who laid them.

Another common flower from an unusual perspective: this is ‘just’ White Clover (Trifolium repens). The pink tinge is not unusual.

A surprise for us all perhaps: I was photographing this grass moth in the hope of identifying it later. When I looked at the photo I see that a fly sp. has got in on the action. I am not sure its intentions to the moth are all that friendly. The moth is Chrysoteuchia culmella or Garden Grass-veneer though the angle is not helpful.

This is the Shaded Broad-bar moth. It flies by night but is easily disturbed from its day roost in grass.

This is the beetle Rhagonycha fulvam sometimes known as the Blood-sucker beetle only because of it colour. Harmless to man.

This looks fierce but is probably also harmless to man. Obviously a female spider as it has a ball of eggs between its back legs.

This is what is known as a larder! Each fly has been individually wrapped and then stored in this group. I can recognise some of them as the caddis fly Mystacides longicornis which was abundant a few days ago.

When I saw the ‘waisted’ body I assumed this was going to be an ichneumon but I think it is not pinched-enough and anyway ichneumons tend to have clear wings. So ...

Another great-looking fly that has defied my attempts to ID it!

This lacewing sp. is probably Chrysoperia carnea: what a splendid creature when well-seen.

Its a vicious world out there. A Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis) feeding on a male Common Blue Damselfly. I think this is a rather opportunistic encounter, the damselfly having been entangled in, and perhaps killed in, a web: and then the fly just happened by.


Woodhouse Lane: 5:30am – 6:45am

(8th recent visit)

- Red-legged Partridges heard again
- spotty juvenile Dunnocks and Robins seen
- no Linnets this morning
- Reed Bunting still singing in the oilseed rape field

- my first Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) flowers of the year
- also identified from here were Corn Chamomile (Anthemis austriaca) and Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)

Selected other counts
- 2 Sky Larks in song
- 2 Chiffchaffs in song
- 1 Blackcap in song
- 5 Common Whitethroats with 3 singing
- 2 Yellowhammer in song: another heard

Another early-morning shot: two Buzzards on one of the power-line poles. Very different in tone even if the immature on the left (note lack of broader dark band at base of tail) is showing its back whereas the adult on the right (note the yellow) cere is facing us. Buzzards come in different colour morphs and the fact that the juvenile is paler is co-incidence.

A rural scene: hard to believe this is less than 200 yards from the lake and the M54 is within half a mile!

This bumble bee sp. seemed to have gone to sleep inside one of the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) flowers. Cannot say I have ever noticed the fine hairs around the lip of the flower before.

Here is a spike of Foxglove from an unusual angle.

Another flower from a unusual close-up view – a boring Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas).

This is Corn Chamomile (Anthemis austriaca) now largely over with most of the white petals having dropped off. The distinctive aroma was apparent even without treading or handling the plants.

Another flower past its prime. What is left of the flower identifies it as a crucifer and I think it is Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense). It is growing at the edge of a field often used to grow Oil Seed Rape (Brassica napus ssp. oleifera), which is also a crucifer, and it could as a result be a hybrid.

You can almost see what this male Yellowhammer has had for breakfast! Bird-song is much reduced now but this species, being primarily a seed-eater, breeds later than insect-eaters. It will likely sing until about 20th August.

Yesterday it was Common Willowherb around the lake: here we see Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium). Often called Fireweed from its rapid colonisation of railway embankments in days when they were subject to controlled burning to prevent steam trains accidentally starting uncontrolled fires.

This is Spotted Crane Fly (Nephrotoma appendiculata)

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2010, 2012 and 2013

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Redshank
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)