17 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 10:00

Sunrise: 05:08 BST
7°C > 13°C Much as yesterday: the broken low cloud clearing before some puffy clouds later. Light and variable wind, becoming S. Very good visibility

(78th visit of the year)

- the duck Mallard now has just 3 ducklings
- I counted 6 (3♂) Tufted Duck on the water; I saw 4 (2) fly off E and they seemed to fly well away. Later there were 6 (3♂) on the lake again: I presume they returned while I was in Woodhouse Lane
- the lone juvenile Coot today was from a different brood: no sign of yesterday’s brood
- 4 different sightings of Great Spotted Woodpecker in all four corners of the area: I assume these are bust feeding young
- today’s Garden Warbler was well away from the sites used by the two previously recorded singing birds: it, like many of the Blackcaps today, was singing very sporadically
- 2 Mistle Thrushes in aerial dispute and bird(s) heard singing from both sides of the M54 this morning
- the Starlings were flying over with newly-fledged juveniles
- the Pied Wagtail that has been collecting food from the dam brought the family party today – 2 parents with 3 newly-fledged juveniles. What I assume is another male bird is collecting food from the SW grass area
- Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood butterflies seen

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Feral Pigeons (1 group)
- 7 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 11 Jackdaws
- 10 Rooks
- 8 Starlings

Hirundine etc. approximate maxima
- >12 Common Swift
- 1 Barn Swallow

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 9 (7♂) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
- 6 (3♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Little Grebe heard only
- 5 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens only
- 28 + 1 (1 brood) Coots

A Reed Warbler ‘giving it some wellie’! Singing birds rarely come out of the reeds to give a clear view: this individual has chosen a bramble patch as potential nest site so perhaps that is why he was more out in the open.

This is the normal view you get through reeds is you are lucky!

Another view of our more cooperative bird.

And another: perhaps it ought to be a whitethroat! Singing like this with crest erect does indeed give it more of the appearance of that species: however if lacks brown in the wings and has reddish-brown rump with a much longer tail. The song is markedly different.

A juvenile Pied Wagtail: this one shows the ‘eggy-gape’ that many recently-fledged birds possess. It may be foreshortened by the angle but the bill seems shorter at this age.

Side-on the bill still looks rather short.

One of the pairs of Tufted Duck that flew out of the lake, but perhaps returned later. The drakes ‘tuft’ is flying behind him like Rupert bear’s scarf (you have to be a certain age to know about that). Shows the white wing-bars well.

A couple of small bugs here: the larger is a midge sp. But is that a white-bodied insect on the lower right? or is it something a spider has wrapped up?

I think this is the same species of midge – whatever that it!

What happens when you fly in to a spider-web. A crane fly, probably Common Crane-fly (Tipula oleracea) is the main focus. I did not notice the green bug also caught up and cannot ID it from this view.

The hoverfly Volucella pellucens distinguished by the prominent white band and its shape more like a bumble-bee than the slimmer wasp-like shape (without the waist) of many hoverflies.

A freshly-emerged Green-veined White butterfly. The yellow scales along the wing leading-edge are soon lost. This species looks, in flight, more ‘white’ than either Small or Large White butterflies that often look creamy.

This is a different specimen with its wings partially open allowing us to see some of the upperwing marking. Again the scales that form the thin black lines are soon lost and apart from the black tip and apical spot the wings then look white [there is a Black-veined White butterfly but is much larger and does not occur in the UK]

A Speckled Wood butterfly: this morning was the first time I had seen this species this year.

This view of Speckled Wood is quite unusual in that you rarely see them sitting with wings closed and are thus able to see the underwing pattern.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: [08:05 – 08:45]

Another visit to the fields and lane
- the Garden Warbler near the sluice exit again
- a Willow Tit singing near the sluice exit and then alongside the Wesley Brook: I assume the bird from the lake as I did not hear it there this morning

Some numbers (numbers in brackets are singing birds)
- 3 (3) Goldcrests
- 2 (1) Sky Larks
- 3 (3) Chiffchaffs again
- 3 (3) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler as highlighted
- 5 (4) Common Whitethroats
- 1 (1) Song Thrush only
- no Linnets
- 4 (3) Yellowhammers

The trees along the lane are now well into full leave unlike only 10 days ago.

The banks of the lane itself are awash with flowers: mainly cow-parsley visible at this range.

Greater Stitchwort here.

And the fields of yellow at just about their most intense. Some more traditional cereals are being grown in the fields in the distance.
A different perspective: the wooded area at the back is named as ‘Ward’s Rough’ on old maps.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Yellow Wagtail
Grasshopper Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Ruddy Duck
(Malcolm Thompson/Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)