9 Jul 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:19am - 5:45am // 6:50am - 9:14am

Telford sunrise: 4:56am

9.5°C > 16.0°C. Fine and clear start with just puffy cloud later. Moderate and rather chilly W wind, falling away later. Good visibility.

(88th visit of the year)

- 3 Tufted Duck were new in
- 10 of the Black-headed Gulls were present when I arrived: c.15 more flew in
- >150 large gulls on the water when I arrived had all left to the N / NE by 04:30. As far as I could tell all but 2 were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. At least 230 more left the Ricoh area before 05:00, also heading N. A few heading W overhead much later
- first Swift early as usual – 04:35: but only 5 today. Later a single flew through
- not sure why there were so few corvids: the sky was clear and visibility good – they just did not seem to come this way today
- 1 Barn Swallow at the very early time of 05:00, just perhaps leaving a roost here.

- at least 2 large bats, probably Noctules, flying around when I arrived
- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies as usual
- Large Skipper, Comma, Speckled Wood and Ringlet butterflies: the Comma was new for me here this year
- in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel I located both Dark Arches and Snout moths at rest: both new for me this year

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 Cormorants
- 235 large gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 1 Collared Dove
- 192 Jackdaws
- 25 Rooks

Count of hirundines etc
- 6 Swifts
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 6 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- 8 Chiffchaffs
- 11 Blackcaps yet again
- 4 Common Whitethroats yet again
- 3 Reed Warblers again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 21 (?♂) Mallard
- 3 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 54 + 13 (6) Coots
- c.25 Black-headed Gulls
- >150 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- >2 Herring Gulls

Not a great picture because it was still rather dark. This Song Thrush is attacking a slug with gusto. We can see it is a juvenile from the yellow at the gape and the row of dots on the tips of the greater coverts.

A Black-headed Gull of course. At first glance the black-head (hood actually) suggests an adult but the brown in the wing tells us it is a 1st summer bird and the overall scruffiness tells us it is moulting in to 2nd winter plumage. It will at that stage likely be inseparable from an adult winter bird.

This is rather strange: the lack of antenna and the overall shape suggests a leaf-hopper but the separation between the thorax and abdomen means it must be a beetle of some sort.

How cute: this is a Reed Warbler. At the time I got the impression it was a juvenile but there is no hint of yellow on the gape so it seems unlikely.

However it does show rather ‘loose’ and ‘fluffy’ plumage.

Female damselflies can be hard: this is, I think based on the marking on segment 8, a Blue-tailed Damselfly. The flanks of the thorax are usually blue but, as we see here, may also be rose pink (or violet or green).

Here is a close-up of the same female Blue-tailed Damselfly.

This is a teneral Blue-tailed Damselfly – has not yet acquired its proper colour. You can get a good idea of size against my (rather grubby) fingers.

The hoverfly Volucella pellucens feeding on bramble. This species, sometimes called a drone fly, is the hoverfly that regularly hovers over paths at just above head height.

Rather a ragged specimen of Comma butterfly – the raggedness accentuates the irregular wings shape of this species.

The very common hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus feeding on Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium).

The business end of the same species of hoverfly.

This is the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus.

In the Priorslee tunnel (between the Lake and The Flash)

This is a Dark Arches moth resting on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel. ‘Arches’ refers to the zigzag marks along the trailing edge of the forewing (there is a Green Arches but that looks rather different and the green cast in this view is a combination of the strip light in the tunnel and the camera flash).

This is a Snout moth resting on the wall of the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel. No prizes for answering “how did it get that name ...?”.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 5:55am - 6:40am

(63rd visit of the year)

- it is confirmed that only 3 cygnets remain
- the erstwhile party of 8 Mallard ducklings is now fully integrated with other adult Mallard – though there were more of these in any case today
- small arrival of Tufted Ducks here also: 8 drakes together; also a pair off the island
- 2 juvenile Grey Herons – one at each end of the water
- Coot juveniles perhaps gone back in to hiding this morning? One adult still sitting on a nest
- 1 Black-headed Gull again
- another Siskin over (I was pleased to read on the Belvide blog that single Siskins had been recorded there on several recent days and that they too regarded this as unusual).

- two dead Field Voles (Microtus agrestis) – also known as Short-tailed Vole – found within a few yards of each other
- almost dead Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus) less than 100 yards away – why?!

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc
- 2 House Martins only

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 1 Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 57 Greylag Geese
- 146 Canada Geese
- [no all-white feral goose seen]
- 47 (32♂) + 2 (2 broods) Mallard
- 10 (9♂) Tufted Duck
- [no all-white feral duck seen]
- 2 Grey Heron
- 2 + 1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen again
- 20 + 3 (2 broods) Coots
- 1 Black-headed Gull

When looked at closely Collared Dove is quite attractive.

Did I say close-up?

I think this a dead Field Vole (Microtus agrestis).

I think this another dead Field Vole (Microtus agrestis). The ears are rather prominent which might suggest Bank Vole (Clethriomys glareolus) but I think that species would look more rufous and I think it is just the way the fur has been parted – by what? – that gives the large-eared effect. The other side was a complete mess and had been partially eaten but whether that was before or after death is not obvious. Amazingly this was less that 10’ from the other vole.

Warning: don’t try and drive along ‘Squirrel Alley’ at The Flash: this was the second felled lamp-post.

This is I think a Pygmy Shrew (Sorex minutus). It was still alive just – I could hear it struggling for breath and it was occasionally kicking its legs. It seemed to be uninjured and I have no idea what might have been wrong.
(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:24am - 9:30am // 10:10am - 10:50am

(33rd visit of the year)

- back to 2 Mute Swans: these seemed rather uninterested in the nest site; because the birds are not ringed impossible to say whether these are the residents or whether they have been usurped
- could not reliably sex the Mallard on the views obtained, now that most males are in eclipse plumage
- the 3 Shoveler were a surprise: I would not expect to see any returning dabbling ducks before August
- one of the second pair of Great Crested Grebes was sitting on the nest: its mate could not be located – given up?
- some of the oldest juvenile Coots are likely recorded as adults – hard to separate

- what seemed to be small ‘black-and-white’ parakeet sp. was glimpsed as it departed with a party of Wood Pigeons I flushed from one of the garden abutting the water. It disappeared in to a large leylandii bush and was not seen again. Obviously an escape but it would have been nice to be able to identify the species. Looked too large for a budgerigar but it was a fleeting view

- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies and Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly
- Large White, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies: Gatekeeper was my first in Shropshire this year; the Large White was a new species at this site for me this year
- continuing today’s mammal theme I logged my first Grey Squirrel and Brown Rat of the year for the site
- a new hoverfly for me – Epistrophe grossulariae

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 2 Swifts
- 2 House Martins

Count of singing warblers
- no Chiffchaffs
- 1 Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 22 Canada Geese
- 19 (?♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 3 (1♂) Shoveler
- 3 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 54 + 15 (9 broods) Coots
- 3 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

An unexpected find – no mistaking the bill of a Shoveler (with Mallard). Note also the long white-edged feathers on the back that identifies this as an eclipse adult male.

My first Gatekeeper in Shropshire this year: not a great view but the double white spot in the black forewing mark is diagnostic.

This is the hoverfly Epistrophe grossulariae which is a new species for me.

I think this is Wood Forget-me-not (Myostis sylvatica): whatever it is an attractive clump! (note the green bug sp. disappearing from view).
(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 9:35am - 10:05am

(11th visit of the year)

- with my last visit being on 5th June I was not really able to tie up the broods of goslings on this visit with those I recorded on my last visit
- the two adult Great Crested Grebes present with one bird sitting again. No sign of any of the juveniles but they may well have successfully fledged and left by now
- another increase in Coot numbers: many of the oldest juveniles not reliably separable from adults and this may account for some of the increase
- a Sparrowhawk over was my first this year here

- just 1 terrapin sp. sunning itself

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc

Count of singing warblers
- 1 Chiffchaff

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 35 + 11 (4 broods) Greylag Geese
- 114 + 2 (2 broods) Canada Geese
- 20 (?♂) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
- 5 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks remain
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 15 + 6 (4 broods) Coots

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2012 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
Highlights Here
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Grasshopper Warbler reeling

(Ed Wilson)