8 Aug 15

Priorslee Lake:  04:54 – 09:48

Telford sunrise: 05:39

11.0°C > 17.0°C. Extensive areas of cloud to N & W melted away after 06:00 then fine & sunny. Brisk WNW wind fell away. Somewhat hazy with moderate visibility.

It was a morning of two halves: birds to start with including some impressive mixed tit flocks full of warblers; and as soon as the sun gathered strength out came the insects with butterflies and dragonflies aplenty leading to an extended visit

(98th visit of the year)

Other notes
- some geese were heard leaving the area to the NE passing ‘the other side’ of Limekiln Bank and numbers are likely to be therefore under-recorded
- same 3 Little Grebes today
- only 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebes confirmed this morning with 3, 2 and an unknown number of juveniles
- unusually (exactly) 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on the water when I arrived – and just 2 Black-headed Gulls. The large gulls soon left to the N and then the W. A few other large gulls dropped later and the usual small parties of Black-headed Gulls flew in
- I again specifically counted the Wood Pigeons flying E: today 186. 53 were noted flying ‘back’ W later
- 2 Swifts were high to the NE at 05:40 but did not stay. A single was over at 06:15
- some 15 minutes after the ‘normal’ corvid passage had ceased a large mixed party of 94 Jackdaws and 110 Rooks boosted the day’s totals
- single Noctule-sized bat sp. over pre-dawn again
- a new moth species for the year here: a Chocolate-top moth of the second brood
- butterflies noted were: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Meadow Brown
- dragonflies etc. noted: Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter, Brown Hawker and Migrant Hawker

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- >150 Canada Geese (>10 groups)
- 88 large gulls
- 2 Stock Doves
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- c.240 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 361 Jackdaws
- 166 Rooks
- 2 Pied Wagtails

Count of hirundines etc
- 3 Swifts again
- 2 Barn Swallow
- 2 House Martins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 32 (?♂) + 1 Mallard
- 3 Little Grebes
- 6 + >5 (3? broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 8 + 8 (5 broods) Moorhens
- 89 + 19 (10 broods) Coots again
- 81 Black-headed Gulls
- 63 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

This Blackcap is almost certainly a juvenile – the brown on the crown seems rather too pale for a female. The feathering looks rather ‘loose’ because it is in the middle of a good preening session.

.... as shown here

“how dare you take my photo while I am dressing”!

A juvenile Chiffchaff – the yellow wash tells us that. Chiffchaffs tend to look tubbier than Willow Warblers and on that species the supercilium would be stronger and the yellow brighter-looking if it were a juvenile, especially on the throat. The brown feet is not a problem – many Chiffchaffs show brown feet on black legs – a few even have brown legs.

This Common Buzzard has seen better days and is in moult to get some needed new feathers.

and its companion is not much better

I think the previous two were the parents of this juvenile – not the lack of band on the tail. They were all soaring together.

Does not look much like a Common Blue Damselfly but this a perfect specimen of the drab form of the female of that species. Note in particular the short horizontal bar between the post-ocular spots (behind the eyes). The very similar female Azure Damselfly lacks this bar. This would be almost impossible to see in the field and why digital photography is such a boon to insect ID. It seems to be eating a small fly.

Hawker dragonflies are difficult in flight – apart from Brown Hawker and the large green and blue Emperor Dragonflies. After much waiting about this individual eventually settled so ID is easy? Nope! Apart from Common Hawker all the family show a triangular mark on segment 2. This does not seem to have one so it must be a Common Hawker, right? But I cannot see the bright yellow costa of that species, and the front thoracic stripe looks too small. So?

Well in this view we see that segment 2 does indeed have a triangular mark – the angle in the previous photo made to hard to see. This is a female Migrant Hawker. Note the long claspers.

An, unbelievably, it allowed a close approach: they usually shoot off with a rattle of wings when you get close.

Here we have a female Common Darter: these are more robust-looking than the red males. In the sunlight they glow almost gold.

And this is the male Common Darter.

A Green-veined White is joined by a small fly to feed on what I think is Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense).

Ringlet butterflies are about at the end of their flight period as this scruffy worn individual attests.

This Meadow Brown almost seems to have the hint a second white spot in the black circle on the forewing. But it is too large to be a Gatekeeper and that species would not show the change in colour two-things along the underside of the forewing just ahead of the black circle.

What a tongue! a Peacock butterfly tucks in to some Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris)

Just stunning!

Somebody else with a long tongue – a Small Skipper on what appears to be Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis).

But Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) will do just as well.

And this different view on Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense).

When I see this I always panic that it one of the confusing fritillaries but it is of course a Comma butterfly.

And this is why they are called Commas – the mark on the hind underwing does indeed look a bit like a comma. Unusual shaped head.

I think this hoverfly is Sphaerophoria scripta but identification of the species within this genus is hard as they are all rather variable in pattern.. S. scripta has body which extends beyond the wings tips: hard to be sure with the wings held like they are.

Another view of the amazingly furry and rather pale bee sp. Further research suggested it might be Andrena cineraria with vernacular names of Ashy or Grey Mining Bee though the flight period of that species is supposed to end in June, so ... back to the books!

This bug is likely of the genus Lygus: separation to species needs microscopic examination of the underside as the markings of the species are variable and overlap. ‘Separation of the hairs on the Corium is needed’ – quite!

A Chocolate-tip moth on one of the street-lamps. A second-brood specimen and the strongly feathered antennae tells us it is a male.

Interesting back-lighting effect on this Greater Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) plant.

The sloes are developing well on the Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).

As are the fruits of the Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) – I know this as Woody Nightshade. Do NOT eat the berries (or any other part of the plant): poisonous. Luckily its is very bitter – also known as Bitter Nightshade. Must be Autumn.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 08:10 – 09:00

(12th recent visit)

Woodhouse Lane rather a misleading title today as I spent all the time in the area of the sluice exit and along the edge of the wood running alongside the Wesley Brook. This is always a ‘sun-trap’ and I wanted to see what was feeding on the many insects – I have seen migrant flycatchers here previously (but not today)

The adjacent fields of oil-seed rape have been harvested

I also noted that the blackberries are very late in the hedgerow here this year: several recent years have allowed me a breakfast in late July but it will be at least a week before they are edible this year. Perhaps as much to do with the late flailing of the hedge and therefore the plants needed to ‘start again’ as with the weather?

Other selected bird counts
- 4 Buzzards in the air together
- 6 Chiffchaffs at least
- no Blackcaps
- no Common Whitethroats
- 2 Bullfinches, one a juvenile
- a Common Frog
- butterflies noted: Small Skipper, Green-veined White, Peacock, Meadow Brown and Ringlet
- dragonflies etc. noted: Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter, Brown and Migrant Hawkers

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2008 and 2011
Priorslee Lake
Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)