8 Sep 15

Priorslee Lake:  05:33 – 09:26

Telford sunrise: 06:31

7.5°C > 10.°C. Started clear but rather misty; thicker mist rolled in just after 06:00; cleared for a while c.07:30 but then very low cloud (lifted mist from elsewhere?) drifted across. Calm / light SSE wind. Moderate visibility but poor for a while.

(110th visit of the year)

Best this morning was the first Pochard of Autumn

Other notes
- just 16 Greylag Geese on the lake when I arrived this morning
- rather unusually there were more duck Mallard than drakes this morning. One of these seemed very rufous-toned and I tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to turn it in to an immature Shoveler
- I managed to confirm this morning that there are 9 juvenile Great Crested Grebes and I am almost certain that the 9th is from a 4th brood even though I have never found more than 7 adults
- apart from unseen House Martins high over at 07:20 no hirundines logged until 09:15 when both a few Swallows and a large group of House Martins appeared and began to feed above the lake
- just as the first of the Rooks started passing at 06:05 the fog closed in and almost no more corvids located
- for the 3rd day I have logged just 3 Blackbirds – where are they all? Normally I would expect 10 – 15 birds
- 13 Chiffchaffs (2 in song), 3 Blackcaps and 1 Reed Warblers located today
- 1 Pipistrelle bat
- 1 hawker-type dragonfly flushed
- 1 Painted Lady butterfly
- 1 moth on the lamps: my first Large Yellow Underwing of the year
- 2 moths in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel: a Riband Wave and another moth new for the year – a Centre-barred Sallow

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
All affected by the mist / low cloud
- 10 Greylag Geese (3 groups)
- 31 Canada Geese (3 groups)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 16 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 6 Jackdaws
- 47 Rooks
- 11 Pied Wagtails

Count of hirundines etc
- 5 Barn Swallows again
- >60 House Martins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 16 Greylag Geese
- 23 (10♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Common Pochard
- 8 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 Little Grebes
- 7 + 9 (4? broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 9 + 19 Moorhens
- 172 Coots
- 31 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

Against the light and somewhat in the mist but no mistaking this profile as a Common Pochard, the silver back indicating a drake.

Only a winter-plumaged adult Black-headed Gull but well-lit during the brief clearer spell.

No longer sunny and therefore not so well-lit but this bird – a different individual – shows its underwing pattern well. The outer two primaries are still growing: it will show much more of a wedge of white along the underside of the wing-tip when fully grown.

At this angle the shortness of the outer primaries is easy to see.

A Grey Heron that I flushed: I assume the strangely positioned grey feather in the wing is in fact a loose and moulted feather caught in the primary-coverts.

Not illustrated in many field-guides and hence could be an ID challenge: this is the underwing pattern of a Painted Lady butterfly. In the chilly conditions it was not disposed to open its wings but it was alert-enough to fly off as I tried to reposition to the other side for a shot without the grass and sticks in the foreground.

A Large Yellow Underwing moth on one of the lamp. This is an abundant species and comes freely to light. Enthusiasts who run lights at night to attract and identify moths can catch many 100s some nights! This specimen is rather worn – the bare patch on the head (I know how it feels!).

Here is the Centre-barred Sallow moth that I located in the Priorslee Avenue foot-tunnel. A common species it is one of a number of similar yellow-toned sallow moths that all have flight periods in early Autumn.

An orb-web spider in the centre of his mist be-jewelled web.

Orb-web spiders often produce very regular-looking webs.

Other species are less well organised! Here the head of an umbellifer had been wrapped in silk, probably because the spider’s eggs are hidden somewhere inside.

While other species are even more haphazard. Look how many webs there are in such a small area. I heard somewhere that the weight of spiders in the world exceeds the weight of humans. It seems less unlikely when you see this abundance.

Just some of the 100s of thistle-heads providing food for the Goldfinches – though perversely most seemed to have moved on. Many of these heads seem to be cloaked with spider webs as well.

When it is misty it is possible, **** with care ****, to check for sun-spots. Here we see just a single spot on the 8 o'clock segment. NEVER look at the sun with optics.

An autumn scene – the mist accentuating the shafts of sunlight through the trees.

(Ed Wilson)

Woodhouse Lane:  08:05 – 08:45

(14th recent visit)

Selected bird counts and notes
- at least 50 Wood Pigeons flushed off stubbles
- at least 16 Pied Wagtails in stubbles: these were not the birds recorded flying over the lake as all those were flying N
- 3 Chiffchaffs : 1 in song
- 1 calling Blackcap
- 1 Bullfinch heard
- 2 Siskins over
- 1 Linnet over
- 2 Yellowhammers calling
- no insects noted

This male Yellowhammer has now stopped singing and its breeding finery is gone, the yellow ‘hammer’ (head) now sullied with brown. It will soon start a complete moult, the new feathers having pale tips that will keep it looking rather dowdy until the tips wear off late in the winter to reveal the bright yellow breeding plumage.

(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool:  09:35 – 10:10

(38th visit of the year)

- the 3 Mute Swans again
- no idea where the feral Mallard were: as far as I know they cannot fly. There are places they could hide but it is unusual for them to stay out of sight so long
- also 3 adult Great Crested Grebes again
- 2 small parties of Barn Swallows flew through
- 4 of the House Martins seemed to be local birds with at least one juvenile: 2 more seemed to be moving through
- a Kingfisher seen
- a Grey Wagtail again
- no warblers today
- no insects noted

Birds noted flying over
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (all singles)
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 1 Feral Pigeon

Count of hirundines etc
- 5 Swallows
- 6 House Martins

The counts from the water
- 3 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 1 Canada Goose
- 12 (8♂) Mallard
- no feral Mallard-type ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 Great Crested Grebes again
- 4 + 1 Moorhens
- 136 Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
Today's Report Here
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Adult winter Mediterranean Gull
(J Reeves)

Priorslee Lake
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 juvenile Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)