11 Aug 15

Priorslee Lake: 04:57 – 06:30 // 07:30 – 09:10

Telford sunrise: 05:44

9.0°C > 15.5°C. Thin high cloud giving great sunrise; high cloud tended to increase to SE and no real sunshine but stayed fine. Calm with mist over the water; very light N wind later. Very good visibility

(101st visit of the year)

Other notes
- many fewer geese logged this morning: this may partly be due to my being distracted to take photos of the great sunrise but seems fewer were passing anyway. With a clear night they may have stayed out in the fields feeding all night
- 4 Little Grebes this morning: adult and 3 juveniles
- today’s episode in the Great Crested Grebe saga. There were 4 pairs and a single visible this morning. One pair have a single well-grown juvenile; another pair with at least 2 on one of the adult’s back were displaying – precarious for the young; the third pair had at least 3 juveniles; the fourth seemed to have none. The lone bird did not seem to be guarding a mate nearby – just sleeping
- rather fewer Black-headed Gulls arrived from the Ricoh area at first light; instead c.185 large gulls left heading both N and E. Another group of c.160 large gulls left at 08:40. 27 other large gulls passed over. Just 19 large gulls stopped on the water, mostly briefly. All of the large gulls that were specifically identified were Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- also many fewer corvids this morning: again could only be partly explained by my sunrise photo session. Those seen were in much looser groups with many flying higher than usual
- no Swifts until 07:30 and then eventually 9 birds
- one of the Long-tailed Tit parties flew across a large gap in the trees and allowed me to count 14 individuals (as well as 2 Coal Tits and sundry other tits and Chiffchaffs)
- the shortest possible song from one of the Song Thrushes this morning – less than 10 seconds! 2 others seen in flight
- 1 Pipistrelle-sized and 2 Noctule-sized bats this morning despite the rather chilly start to the morning: below 10°C
- no dragonflies noted
- no butterflies noted
- single moth on the lamps: one of yesterday’s Common Wainscot moths in exactly the same place
- Common Rustic agg. moth on roof of the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel – agg. (aggregate) because separation of Common Rustic from Lesser Common Rustic moths needs genitalia examination
- many grass moths flushed that I did not bother to identify

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 4 (2 groups) Greylag Geese
- 111 Canada Geese (7 groups)
- 372 large gulls (see notes)
- 24 (4 sightings) Feral Pigeon
- 5 Stock Doves
- 170 Jackdaws
- 54 Rooks
- 1 Starling again
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Count of hirundines etc
- 9 Swifts
- 3 Barn Swallows again
- 12 House Martins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 32 + 1 (?♂) Mallard
- 1 Grey Heron
- 4 Little Grebes
- 9 + 5? (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 8 + 12 (7 broods) Moorhens
- 85 + 16 (7 broods) Coots again
- 93 Black-headed Gulls
- 19 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

This is what the lake looked like pre-dawn.

And then a great-looking sunrise.

Getting even better I think.

‘The other way’ with a touch of mist rising.

And the colour gone as the high cloud increases.

I have long wanted to get a decent photo of Treecreeper. Usually they are too high up the tree; ‘round the back’; or just moving too fast. So one in the open was a delight.

Even then not easy as it was constantly on the move, probing under the moss and in the cracks of the bark.

The extent of the white tips to the feathers suggests to me this is a juvenile.

Here is a shot showing its thin curved bill to good effect – ideal for probing into the crevices.

At extreme range for the camera but we see one adult and three juvenile Little Grebe here. Could they have bred here? Usually they are rather noisy while breeding so I suspect not.

This juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls seems rather unwell. It is low in the water and seems disinterested in its surroundings. If you look at the wings closely you can see they are covered in water droplets – it is not pale tips to the feathering. This suggests it has at least tried to bathe recently and that the waterproofing is in order.

Managed to sneak up on this Jay. It was sitting in dappled sunlight making it hard to expose all the bird properly.

In this shot looks a bit scruffy – but then I expect I do at this time in the morning.

And now for something completely different and a sight not often seen. Here a Tornado jet-fighter is in very close company with one of the RAF’s relatively new Airbus tankers – a derivative of the Airbus A330 used by many airlines on long-haul routes. There is no suggestion that the Tornado is refuelling as neither the boom not the drogues are deployed from the Airbus.

Priorslee tunnel (between the Lake and The Flash)

Here is the Common / Lesser Common Rustic moth in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel.
(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 06:40 – 07:20

(74th visit of the year)

- a very quiet morning with only the single passing Barn Swallow out of the ordinary

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 12 House Martin

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 19 Canada Geese
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 26 (19♂) Mallard
- 11 (4♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 + 2? Great Crested Grebes
- 3 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 23 + 2 (1 brood) Coots
- 5 Black-headed Gulls

A juvenile Moorhen: red shield not obvious and generally a browner tone to the plumage. Hint of a green tip to the bill. The white strip along the flanks is just as it will be on the adult.

Without its reflection and in close-up we see the start of the adult’s red shield.

Not sure who erected this notice: advice against over-feeding the wildfowl on bread alone. However: the entry in Wikipedia Here, does not entirely support the ‘too much bread’ theory suggesting that the cause of ‘Angel wing’, while apparently dietary, may be more complex.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:21 – 10:03

(36th visit of the year)

- what was presumably the resident cob Mute Swan made a single half-hearted attempt to chase one of the other swans away but gave up. Perhaps these same four have been present for at least 4 days
- same two adult Great Crested Grebes from different pairs: partners perhaps on nests: is is impossible to see with the growth in vegetation. The juvenile seen is from the only brood so far noted
- four dependent juvenile Coots noted
- at least one of the House Martins was a juvenile – the calls are very different
- a female (on size) Sparrowhawk shot through
- a single Gatekeeper was the only butterfly seen this morning
- no dragonflies noted

Birds noted flying over

Count of hirundines etc
- 7 House Martins

The counts from the water
- 4 Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese
- 34 (31♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks as usual
- 2 + 1 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 + 5 (3 broods) Moorhens
- 83 + 4 (? broods) Coots
- 4 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2007, 2008 and 2011
Priorslee Lake
Green Sandpiper
Tree Pipit
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Possible Wood Sandpiper
A female Peregrine
(Ed Wilson)

7 Teal
(Ed Wilson)