26 Apr 16

Priorslee Lake:

Early Morning highlights: 06:00

1 Cetti's Warbler along Wesley Brook
1 Reed Warbler
2 Sedge Warbler
4 Common Sandpiper

(John Isherwood)

Morning Report: 07:15 – 09:35

Sunrise: 05:46 BST

1°C > 6°C Frost to start in sheltered areas. Scattered / broken cloud driven by increasing and keen N / NW wind. Excellent visibility

After 10 or so days away quite a change: Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and several Reed Warblers all new in at the lake where there were high numbers of Blackcaps. Near the Teece Drive gate it was possible to stand and here six of the seven species of warbler concurrently in song

All three hirundine species – Sand Martin, Barn Swallow and House Martin at both the lake and The Flash

Of the regular summer visitors we are only short of Swift and Garden Warbler. Swifts typically start arriving in the last few days of April though odd birds have already been around the Midland for a week or so

(62nd visit of the year)

Other notes
- surprising number of Tufted Ducks remain: I had expected most to have left by now. Rather oddly it was The Flash that was lacking most of its Tufted Ducks, a location where they have bred in the past
- other Great Crested Grebes may have been hidden in the reeds on nests
- two (of the three) Common Sandpipers were displaying today – behaviour I do not see at the lake every year
- the split between hirundine species is a best effort. Just a few Sand Martins and Swallows were present when I was at the dam-end with the light behind me. Many more had arrived by the time I was back at the W end but I was looking in to the light
- while some of the Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers seem to have moved on Blackcaps were in profusion with several birds obviously paired up and more singing birds
- the singing Lesser Whitethroat was once again in the Ricoh hedge alongside the footpath at the W end where a bird nested for at least seven successive years, but not apparently in 2014 or 2015
- a Small White butterfly was my first butterfly of the year here

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 4 Canada Geese
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 3 Jackdaws
- 3 Rooks

Hirundine totals
- >35 Sand Martins
- >6 Barn Swallows
- >10 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 9 (6) Chiffchaffs
- 6 (5) Willow Warbler
- 23 (16) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Common Whitethroats
- 1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
- 4 (4) Reed Warblers
- 2 (2) Sedge Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 6 (4♂) Mallard
- 24 (13♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 6 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens
- 32 Coots
- 3 Common Sandpipers

A Blackcap in full song. Unusually in bare branches high in a tree. More often these are low down in big shrubby areas where the leaves are already making photographs hard.

Another view with beak shut.

Same bird in song at different angle.

This female Blackcap was not so obliging.

And probably her mate: as they were likely paired he had no need to sit high and sing, just stay close to his mate in the vegetation.

The leaves presented more of a problem for this Chiffchaff – almost certainly a female as it uttered no song or call while I was stalking it.

Classic side-on view showing the typically weak supercilium of Chiffchaff.

What we can see here is the rather olive tone to the rump area of the same Chiffchaff – not always easy to see and not present on all birds, especially when passage birds may include sub-species from other parts of Europe that have subtle differences in plumage tones.

A view of Chiffchaff you will not see illustrated in field-guides!

And again. Note that this bird does not have the classic ‘black legs’, though they are quite dark and certainly not pinkish. In practice this was easier to ID in the field as it was constantly dipping its tail, something Chiffchaffs seem to do all the time but Willow Warblers only ever seem to do to recover their balance.

This is a different bird – it was singing so it is a male – and it even has black feet. As far as I know the leg and foot colour variations are not related to the sex of the bird.

This, in contrast, is a Willow Warbler. Note how much stronger the supercilium is and also how long the folded wings look.

“are you pointing that at me?”

One of the new species this morning: an obliging Common Whitethroat. The brown in the wings distinguishes it from Lesser Whitethroat. This latter species also shows darker sides to the face.

There were two Common Whitethroats this morning. This other bird was less obliging, peering at me from cover. The eye-colour and the white throat were sufficient to identify (though it was sub-singing which helped).

Now Lesser Whitethroat is MUCH more skulking than Common Whitethroat. There is one singing from the middle of all this scrub but where I could not see!

A male Reed Bunting. The head is still not 100% jet-black but that was only really apparent in the photo.

Even the throat is a bit blotchy.

And this is what his partner looks like in breeding plumage.

Get the angle right and persuade the camera to focus on the right thing and here we see a Great Crested Grebe on its nest.

My first butterfly photo this year: a Small White – the gardener’s scourge when trying to grow brassicas.

The pussy willow is about over now.

Usual caveat over my flower ID capabilities: I think this is Borage (Borago officinalis) growing under the fence of the new Academy, no doubt as a result of the ground being disturbed during the building. A member of the Forget-me-not family (Boraginaceae) and likely a garden escape.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 09:40 – 10:00

(40th visit of the year)
Rather a canter around as I mistimed my arrival and had to shoot off for the bus

- two adult Swans being chased by the resident cob. One, with an orange Darvic ring (from Worcestershire) flew off but the other landed on the N end grass from where she was unable to take off, the resident cob preventing her from entering the water to get a run-up
- the lone Great Crested Grebe was sleeping alongside the putative nest site and I assume its mate was probably on the hidden nest
- all three species of hirundine were hunting in the lee of the island
- more of the Chiffchaffs seemed to have moved on, but five Willow Warblers is a good sign – last year none stayed to breed
- strangely no Blackcaps heard

Birds noted flying over

Hirundine totals
- 4 Sand Martins
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 8 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 3 (2) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (5) Willow Warbler
- no Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 4 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 26 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 11 (9♂) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- no Moorhens
- 14 Coots

The interloper cob Swan: just cannot read the number on the orange Darvic ring.

A bit of fiddling about reveals it as 17H. This bird was ringed at Bewdley, Worcestershire in 2013.

The cob landed on the grass and there is no problem ID-ing him as Blue 7HLP

(Ed Wilson)


Nedge Hill: 07:00

1 Curlew at Wyke - first here for several years
2 Lesser Whitethroat
3 Wheatear - horsefields & Shaw Farm

(John Isherwood)



The male Iberian Chiffchaff still singing c.100m west of the kissing gate south of Granville Road at c.SJ716123 this morning but no sign this evening; from Donnington Asda roundabout take Granville Road for c.800m. Via BirdGuides Here

On this day in .....................
Priorslee Lake
3 Cranes
(Observer Unknown)

The Wrekin
3 Wood Warbler
(Damon H, Jim A, Yvonne C)

Priorslee Lake

1 Cormorant
1 Dunlin
1 Common Sandpipers
1 Yellow Wagtail
1 Wheatear
3 Reed Warblers
12 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
3 Greylag Goose
1 Richardson's / Cackling-type Canada Goose
3 Pochard
7 Tufted Duck
4 Blackcaps
2 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warblers
2 Swallows
1 Redpoll
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Middle Pool
3 Great Crested Grebes
28 Greylag Geese
1 Tufted Duck
1 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
3 Great Crested Grebes
6 Tufted Duck
2 Swifts
c.5 Sand Martins
c.30 Swallows
c.40 House Martins
1 Blackcap
1 Chiffchaff
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
19 Wheatear
(Richard Camp)

Long Lane, Wellington
c10 Ringed Plover
c10 Dunlin
Spotted Redshank
(JV Reeves)

Priorslee Lake

1 Swift
12 House Martin
7 Swallow
(Martin Grant)

The Wrekin

3 Pied Flycatcher
1 Common Redstart
2 Marsh Tit
1 Wood Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

3 Common Sandpipers
1 Sedge Warbler
6 Reed Warblers
9 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

East of Priorslee Lake
6 Whitethroats
2 Sky Larks
1 Yellowhammer
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

4 Great Crested Grebes
7 Greylag Geese
1 Tufted Duck
3 Swallows
3 Blackcaps
1 Chiffchaff
2 Jays
28 Magpies
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
1 Ring Ouzel
(Peter Nickless)

Priorslee Flash
1 Cormorant
34 Blackbirds
6 Willow Warbler
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Lanes to the east of Priorslee Flash
5 Mallard
1 Buzzard
1 Heron
Sky Larks
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
7 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
1 Kestrel
1 Common Sandpiper
6 Stock Doves
1 Swift
2 Sand Martins
2 Swallows
1 Yellow Wagtail
2 Grey Wagtails
26 Wrens
26 Blackbirds
1 Sedge Warbler
3 Reed Warblers
1 Lesser Whitethroat
7 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaffs
2 Willow Warblers
17 Magpies
1 Raven
7 Greenfinches
5 Reed Buntings.
(Ed Wilson)