20 Sep 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:54 – 09:43

Telford sunrise: 06:51

7.0°C > 10.0°C. Clear start but with mist 06:10 – 07:00 and then again after 07:20 and only starting to clear by 09:45. Calm. Moderate visibility at best, mostly poor or bad

(121st visit of the year)

Everything affected by the mist and fog

Other notes
- just 1 Shoveler today – a drake
- on two separate occasions a bird working below overhanging vegetation alongside the Wesley Brook was stirring up the water. On both occasions it managed to move off in to the undergrowth without giving me even a glimpse of what it might be. I still suspect Water Rail
- the Rooks and Jackdaws mainly passed during the first blanket of mist and fog
- 9 Chiffchaffs (4 in song again), 2 Blackcaps and 1 Reed Warbler all located this morning

- 1 Pipistrelle-type bat only – rather chilly for their insect food?
- 4 moths on the lamps: my first Mallow moth in Shropshire; a Common Marbled Carpet; a Brimstone Moth and a Square-spot Rustic
- no moths in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
For what it is worth in the misty conditions
- 14 Canada Geese
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Jackdaws only
- 6 Rooks only
- 21 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Meadow Pipit

Hirundines etc

The counts from the lake area – where possible!
- 2 Mute Swans
- 24 (13♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Shoveler
- 23 (10♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Little Grebes
- Great Crested Grebes not counted
- 31 Moorhens (ages not determined)
- Coots not counted
- >300 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

The mist gave another opportunity to look at the sunspot activity: one large spot on the 3 o'clock radial; and two out at 2 o'clock. Usual warning – never look directly at the sun!

Even in the mist there is no mistaking the profile of a Shoveler. Later when the mist lifted somewhat I could tell it was a drake but it was then too distant to photo.

Two 1st winter Black-headed Gulls. The left-most bird has found something that looks rather inedible but the other bird is keen to check.

A tight turn and he is now flying the wrong way!

Black-headed Gulls can perform amazing aerobatics and it is often hard to see whether they do actually invert or whether they level back out again at the last second. I am not entirely sure this bizarre posture helps decide as it is not quite beyond the 90 degree mark but still looks like the blood will rush to its head.

Autumn colours have started: as expected it is the Acer trees that are producing the brightest colours.

This is my first Shropshire record of a Mallow moth. Rather reminiscent of a Shaded Broad-bar moth but I double-checked as Shaded Broad-bar does not normally occur later than August.

Another Common Marbled Carpet moth. One that required some work as this variable species is very similar to the almost as common and equally variable Dark Marbled Carpet. But after reading the literature and studying the angles of some of the lines on the forewing I am happy with ‘Common’.

Another struggle: when I saw it on the lamp I thought it would be a Pale Mottled Willow moth but that species always shows 3 ‘dots’ along the edge of the forewing. So back to the books. It seems it is a (another) rather worn, and hence plain, Square Spot Rustic – you can see the hint of the square spot on the rather more well-marked (but partly covered) right forewing.

This one is thankfully easy: Brimstone moth and my first for the year even though this multi-brooded and common species has been on the wing since April.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011
Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Richard Vernon)

The Flash
(Stuart Edmunds)

Priorslee Lake
Tawny Owl
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)