17 Sep 15

Priorslee Lake: 05:44 – 09:14

Telford sunrise: 06:46

8.5°C > 16.0°C. Clear start with more cloud later; staying fine. Moderate W wind. Very good visibility if somewhat hazy

(119th visit of the year)

Very quiet start to the morning with no song, even from Robins, until 06:05

Other notes
- no geese at all today
- one of today’s Shoveler was certainly a duck whereas they were both clearly drakes yesterday
- the Pochard seemed to be a different bird from that seen at The Flash yesterday though I don’t have a photo to compare directly
- I flushed something out of the Wesley Brook which scurried off in to the undergrowth – behaviour that is more typical of Water Rail than Moorhen. On the view obtained I will have to pass
- the Rooks were almost all in a single group over at 06:19. The Jackdaws started passing some 8 minutes later but this morning were mainly well to the E. Sporadic passage continued until after 09:00
- single Barn Swallow and 3 House Martins seen over head
- first Mistle Thrush logged since 9th June. Once this species finishes breeding they move away to form parties of sometimes more than 50 birds in more open country during the summer. I guess they are starting to drift back
- one or more House Sparrows were in the hedge alongside the academy again
- Grey Wagtail has been around a lot recently but until today I had not seen more than one bird at any one time. There were at least 3 and possibly 4 this morning
- 11 Chiffchaffs (1 in song), 1 Blackcaps and yet another sighting of a late Reed Warbler
- 8 Pipistrelle-type bats with 5 of these together at the S end of the dam
- no moths on the lamps
- the Silver Y moth still in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel
- no other insects of note just a few hoverflies

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
with clear skies these were somewhat harder to find today
- 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Stock Doves
- 1 Collared Dove
- 323 Jackdaws
- 130 Rooks
- 27 Pied Wagtails
- 7 Meadow Pipits
- 1 Siskin

Count of hirundines etc
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 3 House Martins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 27 (16♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Shoveler
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 8 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons still
- 3 Little Grebes
- (Great Crested Grebes not counted)
- 13 + 21 Moorhens
- 185 Coots
- c.300 Black-headed Gulls
- 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

At last: a fine morning.

Blue Tit inspecting lichen- and moss-covered branch for morsels.

... and getting to grips with the task.

A Coal Tit doing the same.

Drake Mallard just about finished with moult with some more glossy green sheen to finish it off.

Here we have a 1st winter Herring Gull: note how the inner primaries are paler-ended than both the outer primaries and all the secondaries. This forms what is called a ‘pale window’. This bird seems to me to show more pale primaries than usual – a larger window. But it appears to be a trick of the low sunlight as ...

... here, on the same bird moments later, there appears to be almost no ‘window’ which might suggest it is a Lesser Black-backed Gull. We can rule that species out as it would show dark greater coverts ahead of the secondaries. The ‘window’ is more evident on the left wings as the light shines through.

A mystery on the roof of the Priorslee Tunnel. Whether it should have 6 or 8 legs is not clear but it appears to have just 3 (plus their shadows). Exactly what it is (or was) is unclear.

(Ed Wilson)


The Wrekin: 09:30 – 12:00

Highlight today
- Peregrines displaying

Selected notes / counts
My main aim for the visit was to photograph fungus: there was rather little to see. But some interesting bird sightings
- 2 Peregrines displaying
- Green Woodpecker flushed from grass near the summit
- at least 2 Marsh Tits in with one of tit parties
- 2 Barn Swallows and 2 House Martins over ‘the top’: more hunting in the lee of the hill on the E side
- 5 Chiffchaffs heard, one in song
- 1 Blackcap heard calling
- c.15 Meadow Pipits at the top
- 2 single Siskins over

- 2 Speckled Wood butterflies
otherwise very few insects apart from Crane-flies

These two Buzzards were have a bit of a spar but whether it was play or for real was hard to say. An enlargement of a rather distant shot that is rather grainy I am afraid.

This equally grainy shot show something that I think is more serious: these are 2 Peregrines and they seem to be completing a dummy ‘food-pass’. The (smaller) male has to convince his partner that while she is incubating their eggs he will be able to feed her and he courts her by catching and then passing food to her in mid-air, talon to talon and hence the inversion. There seems to be no prey involved here and they may well be young birds or a new pairing just beginning to get to know each other.

The wind blowing on to the hill produced enough of an up-draught to allow this Buzzard to hover without having to do the energetic flapping that we often see Kestrels doing. It is all about keeping your eyes still so that you can better spot any movement below.

Being at the top of The Wrekin allows a different perspective on a gliding Buzzard – you are almost level with it.

What I went for: fungus. This is one of the many common ‘bracket fungi’.

Probably the most unusual fungus I saw but as I cannot specifically identify it (or any of the others) I have no idea whether it is ‘rare’.

For fungus identification it is often important to know the shape and colour of the gills. It does not help me as a beginner as I still have no idea which family to start looking in.

(Ed Wilson)


Devil's Dingle: 07:30

1 Green Sandpiper
8 Teal

(John Isherwood)


River Severn, Buildwas and Leighton: 09:00

2 Little Egret
12 Goosander

(John Isherwood)

On this day in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake

Today's Report Here
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Ravens
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
6 Raven 
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 Snipe
3 Common Sandpipers
149 Greenfinch roost
89 Pied Wagtails 
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)