29 Apr 16

Priorslee Lake

Late Morning Update: 11:00am - 12:30pm

Highlights were:
100+ Sand Martins
6 Swallows
2 House Martins
A male Pied Flycatcher in the northwest wood
Cetti's Warbler singing near the Mute Swans nest also in the southwest corner of the reed bed, could there be 2?
11 Blackcap singing
3 Reed Warbler singing
3 Willow Warbler singing
4 Chiffchaff singing
3 Pied Wagtail.

(Martin Grant)

Early Morning Report: 07:15 – 09:55

Sunrise: 05:40 BST

3°C > 5°C Clear start but cloud building and light hail / soft hail showers. Fresh and keen W wind. Excellent visibility except in showers

New today for my site year list were two Common Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail on the SW grass briefly

(65th visit of the year)

Other notes
- the cob Mute Swan was off the nest for a while this morning, the cob apparently ‘encouraging’ her back in the nest
- a Sparrowhawk over was only my 4th sighting here this year and my first since 10 March
- 1 Common Sandpiper only seen but the fresh wind was encouraging things to hide away
- the same 3 Goldcrests were in song again this morning: another two birds, one with crest raised / open were at a 4th location
- one Blackcap was doing a very good impression of a Song Thrush, repeated phrases included. Had to hunt it down to make sure
- today’s Sedge Warbler was in a different location
- one of the Reed Warblers was also doing some mimicry, with very passable Blue Tit and Goldfinch part of its repertoire
- a pair of Pied Wagtails on the SW grass (with the briefly-stopping Yellow Wagtail): probably the same pair on the dam-top

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Wood Pigeons only
- 10 Jackdaws
- 5 Rooks again
- 2 Ravens
- 1 Starling

Hirundine etc. totals
- 2 Common Swifts
- >75 Sand Martins again
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 3 House Martin

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 9 (6) Chiffchaffs
- 7 (5) Willow Warbler
- 17 (11) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 4 (3) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 10 (8♂) Mallard again
- 26 (15♂) Tufted Ducks
- 8 Great Crested Grebes again
- 5 Moorhens
- 29 Coots
- 1 Common Sandpiper

The cloud building after the clear start.

Goldcrests are ever-active sprites and hard to photograph. The ‘staring’ eye easily separates from the superficially similar Firecrest though with the later species it is a case of once you see one you wonder how you could confuse them – they look very different somehow.

Pretty classic view of a Willow Warbler here. This bird looks much less yellow- or olive-toned than many specimens but the long wings, the rather obvious supercilium, and pale flanks and belly are all good pointers. In the field this silent bird was moving much less frenetically than is usual in Chiffchaff and was not continually dipping its tail.

Apparently singing / calling here, but I heard nothing.

For some reason Chaffinches are never numerous at the lake: there seem to be 3 singing males at the moment and this is one of them.

Here is the Yellow Wagtail from this morning. This looks to be a female. Grey Wagtails are much more contrastingly marked – darker back and brighter yellow, especially in the vent. The call of Yellow Wagtail is nothing like either Pied or Grey Wagtails which can be appear similar: the Grey Wagtail has a much sharper call, presumably to carry better over its preferred habitat of rushing streams. This is the first year I have recorded Yellow Wagtail on the ground for many years – they used to be quite common on Spring passage on the grass here, but the last few years I have only heard birds passing over.

And here is the distinctive shape of a Raven – the huge diamond tail and heavy head and bill are distinctive. This bird looks to be already in wing moult with the inner primaries being re-grown. Ravens nest in February and March and it has likely also fledged its young.
Another view of the other bird of the two that flew over.

Spent a long while trying to get some half-decent pictures of the Sand Martins this morning, with some success.

There were many dozens in the bin to get these.

But the great thing about digital photography is that it is essentially free. This is a reasonable underneath shot.

This bird appears to be peering over its shoulder at me.

Seems they have 8 tail-feathers!

Quite a different shape, the very long narrow wings of Common Swift. This year one day earlier than in 2015.

These flowers are Primulas: exactly what they were doing flowering near the sluice exit is hard to figure: they are certainly a garden escape, but there are no gardens for more than half a mile.
These seem to be Ramsons (Allium ursinum), common in damp and shady places – and there are plenty of such places around the lake. Related to garlic they scent the air with a similar smell. I think I have misidentified these as Three-cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum) on the basis that the stem of these is triangular. But Three-cornered Leek has more bluebell-shaped flowers so Ramsons they are.

Another flower I noticed today is Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). In the cranesbill family from the distinctive shape of the seed heads.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 08:35 – 08:50

A very brief visit to the sluice exit and adjacent wooded area – the only part sheltered from the keen wind.

- the Mistle Thrush is not normally in this area
some numbers (numbers in brackets are singing birds)
- no Sky Larks
- 2 (1) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 1 (1) Blackcap
- 1 (1) Mistle Thrush
- 1 (1) Song Thrush

(Ed Wilson)



A male Whinchat this morning. Via BirdGuides Here.


Donnington: 12:50

Male Iberian Chiffchaff still singing c.100m west of the kissing gate south of Granville Road at c.SJ716123 this afternoon; from Donnington Asda roundabout take Granville Road for c.800m. Via BirdGuides Here.

On this day in..............
Nedge Hill
2 Lesser Whitethroat
10 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Common Sandpiper
4 Reed Warblers
2 Common Whitethroat
18 Blackcaps
7 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

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

Nedge Hill

2 Red-legged Partridges
7 Wheatear
2 Common Whitethroats
3 Blackcaps
1 Chiffchaffs
4 Bullfinches
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

3 Common Sandpipers
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

The Wrekin

1 Wood Warbler
4 Common Redstart
1 Pied Flycatcher
(Paul Rutter)

Priorslee Lake

Common Sandpiper
1 Sand Martin
2 Swallows
6 Reed Warblers
Common Whitethroat
3 Blackcap
4 Chiffchaff
3 Reed Buntings
3 Linnets
1 Yellowhammer
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

4 Great Crested Grebe
6 Tufted Duck
2 Ruddy Duck
3 Swifts
2 Sand Martins
4 Swallows
4 Cormorants
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
3 Common Sandpipers
2 Grey Wagtail
6 Blackcap
1 Garden Warbler
2 Sedge Warbler
2 Reed Warblers
5 Chiffchaff
3 Greenfinch
2 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson, Martin Adlam)

Nedge Hill
1 Ring Ouzel
Common Whitethroat
2 Swallows
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Flash
2 Greylag Geese
1 Grey Wagtail here
2 Chiffchaffs
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Ruddy Ducks
1 Common Buzzard
1 Kestrel
1 Swallows
1 Grey Wagtail
4 Sedge Warbler
2 Reed Warblers
4 Blackcaps
2 Garden Warbler
5 Chiffchaffs
3 Willow Warblers
2 Lesser Whitethroat
4 Greenfinches
2 Reed Buntings
(Martin Adlam)