1 Sep 15

Priorslee Lake: 05:38 – 06:55 // 07:45 – 09:26

Telford sunrise: 06:19

10.5°C > 12.5°C. Early low overcast with some breaks developing and cloud lifting somewhat. Light / moderate NW wind. Moderate visibility: good later

Highlight today was the Hobby that shot over the lake dispersing the House Martins for a while. My first of this year at the lake

Severn-Trent contractors have flailed all the vegetation on the dam making it rather exposed

Yesterday’s rain had little effect on the water level: one of the fishermen told me that last week it was higher than he could ever recall with the marker buoys all-but submerged

(103rd visit of the year)

Other notes
- small number of Canada Geese pitched in for a while. One of the fishermen reported that ‘hundreds’ of geese have been stopping for a while late in the evenings with rather fewer doing the same thing in the mornings. He too was surprised that the Swans leave them alone
- 9 of the Mallard left before dawn
- no Tufted Ducks early. Later I noted a drake fly in and join three hitherto unseen ducks / immatures
- 4 Little Grebes this morning: mainly hiding in the reeds and I could not reliably age them all
- three pairs of Great Crested Grebes with 4, 2 and 2 juveniles. No other birds noted
- 3 sightings of Sparrowhawk(s)
- possibly my highest-ever count of Moorhens, with at least 20 juveniles – these too mobile to determine how many broods
- just 5 of the 161 Coots were obvious juveniles
- no Swifts recorded: probably all gone
- Kingfisher seen and photographed by one of the fishermen perched on one of his rods
- Ravens all flew SW in groups of 3, 1 and then 2
- no visible migration: the 2 Swallows apparently local birds feeding as usual over the SW grass and the lake; and the House Martin group containing many juveniles
- still reasonable number of warblers around with 12 Chiffchaffs (3 in song) and 4 Blackcaps noted. Reed Warblers seem to have gone
- no Song Thrushes singing today
- no dragonfly or butterfly species recorded
- moth species on the lamps: 3 Agriphila tristella (Common Grass-veneer), an Udea ferrugalis (or Rusty-dot Pearl) and a Marbled Beauty
- moth species in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel: a Herald and a Rustic
- no moths flushed
- several different spiders recorded

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 7 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 67 Canada Geese (7 groups)
- 33 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 8 Feral Pigeons
- 178 Jackdaws
- 61 Rooks
- 6 Ravens
- 3 Pied Wagtails

Count of hirundines etc
- 2 Barn Swallows
- c.20 House Martins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 14 Canada Geese
- 23 Mallard
- 4 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 4 Little Grebes
- 6 + 8 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 + 20 Moorhens
- 161 Coots
- c.150 Black-headed Gulls

A family snapshot – more or less, as it is missing one of the parents. Great Crested Grebes of course with the four juveniles growing fast.

One of the fishermen had this bird perched on a rod this morning – this was the best I could do with a Kingfisher. One or more birds will be with us until April or the lake freezes over, whichever occurs first.

A lucky shot with the bird in mid-hop a few feet along the landing platform.

Two of the Ravens over the lake: on the leading bird we can see the relatively massive head and bill and on the trailing bird we see the distinctive shape of the upper mandible as the bird calls.

Not entirely sure what this Blackbird was doing: it was standing stock-still with bill pointing upwards. Might have just been getting some warmth from a rare burst of sun. I think this is a juvenile male – the hint of yellow on the bill suggests a male; an adult female would show more of a streaked-effect on the breast whereas our bird shows dark-centred feathers giving more of a blotchy effect.

This seems to be my first-ever Shropshire Udea ferrugalis (or Rusty-dot Pearl) moth. This moth is a migrant but occurs in large numbers most years (a harvestman species, likely Leiobunum rotundum, can be seen lurking off-stage).

This rather neat-looking moth is a Marbled Beauty, resting on one of the lamps at the W end of the lake.

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

A splendid example of a Herald moth, here on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue tunnel. I see this distinctive moth here most years.

This moth is rather less distinctive: a Rustic (not to be confused with Common Rustic). This is on a strip-light on the roof of the Priorslee Avenue tunnel.

Few insects about this morning: this small midge sp. had just flown in to the spider’s web and was rapidly dispatched. The spider looks like Araneus diadematus or European garden spider.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash:  07:05 – 07:35

(76th visit of the year)

a very quiet morning with just 3 geese – one Greylag and a single Canada Goose loosely paired with the all-white feral goose

Best was the collection of fungus found: probably ...

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 1 Canada Goose
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 37 (24♂) Mallard
- 20 (8♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 21 Coots
- no Black-headed Gulls

Someone / something had helpfully uprooted one of the fungus fruits – the gills are often useful in identification of fungi.

And here is a group the right way up. I do not have much literature on fungi and a quick trawl through the thumbnails on the first-nature.com/fungi web site has failed to resolve the ID. I suspected a Russula sp. but the dark gills seem to rule that genus out of contention.

(Ed Wilson)


Devil's Dingle: 7:00am

1 Green Sandpiper

(John Isherwood)


River Severn, Buildwas: 8:30am

1 Little Egret
2 Common Sandpiper
4 Goosander

(John Isherwood)

On this day in 2006, 2010 and 2012
Nedge Hill
1 Hobby
1 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
Tawny Owl
5 Swifts
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Common Tern
2 Swifts
(Ed Wilson)