27 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:55

Sunrise: 04:55 BST
7°C > 13°C Area of medium-high cloud slow to disperse; then some lower puffy clouds. Calm start with light mainly E breeze later. Moderate visibility and rather hazy

A change in routine: a different approach through St Georges allowed me to check The Flash in passing to the lake

(86th visit of the year)

There is a potential problem for some of the ground-nesting birds here. One of the helpers of Telford Sailablity – this provides opportunities for disabled people to sail on the lake – has two uncontrolled spaniel dogs which are running around in all the vegetation and reeds at the W end. The owner of the dogs seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it. I am the last person to want all dogs here on leads, though in fact the Severn Trent notices say that dogs ‘must be kept on leads’. Most dogs are relatively well-behaved and are not really a problem in what should be a ‘shared use’ environment

Much of the bird activity is slowing now: and it is insect-hunting time for the next 6 weeks or so until birds start post-breeding dispersal. But anything can still turn up at any time yet

- the 2 Grey Herons flew over SW together
- the Kestrel was around again: its 4th day. It seems to just ‘appear’ and ‘leave’ and I have been unable to ascertain where it might have been for the rest of the year
- in addition to the Stock Doves overhead there was another bird calling at or near the traditional site where I have suspected nesting for a number of years. The tree concerned has lost several major limbs in the last two winters and seems less suitable as a nest site
- the Cetti’s Warbler was near the main N-side reed-bed this morning. The first time it has moved away from the NW area for about 3 months
- Garden Warbler(s) continue to confuse: one was singing along the S side this morning – yet another location: the 6th so far this year
- many more newly hatched and hatching damselflies, most apparently Blue-tailed Damselflies
- Speckled Wood and Green-veined White butterflies
- numerous 7-spot Ladybirds
- many Red-and-Black Froghoppers (Cercopis vulnerata)
- many Meadow Buttercup flowers with single Oedemera nobilis beetles – small green beetles, the males of which have swollen femurs
- two species of moth: one a White-pinion Spotted rescued from a spider
- a different and fierce-looking spider
- a Mason Wasp
- a Hornet seen in flight

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 2 Grey Herons
- 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 2 Stock Doves
- 7 Wood Pigeons
- 26 Jackdaws
- 59 Rooks

Hirundine etc. approximate maxima
- >25 Common Swifts
- 1 Barn Swallow

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 16 (14) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler
- 5 (5) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 11 (9) Mallard
- 3 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Moorhen only
- 21 + 0 juvenile Coots

A newly-emerged damselfly, yet to acquire any colour. I think it is a Blue-tailed Damselfly: it is difficult at this stage of development.

This was close-by and well be the exuvia.

No prizes for this one: a rather fine view of a 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata).

A very distinctively-marked wasp that I had to scour the web to provisionally identify it as a Mason wasp (Ancistrocerus antilope). A new species for me.

And the ‘side elevation’.

Another mystery insect: the short antennae points towards it being a saw-fly sp. rather than a female Scorpion Fly as I first thought. Anyway it lacks the ‘beak’ of the Scorpion Fly. But what is it exactly.

It was only after I had rescued the moth that I realised that I had spoilt the spider’s breakfast – I did not see the spider when I took the photo of the struggling moth, only when I scooped the moth out of the web.

Here is the rescued moth: whether it will survive ... It is a White-pinion Spotted moth – a species I logged on exactly the same date last year (no idea about the spider).

This is the hoverfly Volucella pellucens.

A micro moth is probably Epiblema scutulana (aka Thistle Bell), but there are several similar species.

The Hawthorn is looking particularly attractive at the moment. Perhaps it smells – does not to my nose, but that is not unusual: I can walk past rotting copses without smelling anything.

Anyone scared of spiders? Looks like one of the Araneus spiders, which include the familiar Garden Spider, but here the body is too rounded for that species. This is the underside.

And the side elevation.

And the plan view!

Meadow Buttercup flower with male Oedemera nobilis beetle – with the swollen femur.

In this shot the beetle has just begun to open its wings – I got too close and he flew off.

Heavy dew last night shows the extent of the spider activity. I heard somewhere that the weight of spiders in the world exceeds the weight of humans. Whether that is an urban myth or not I cannot say.

This behind the dam area – seem to have been a few dandelions this year!

Looking at the rather oval shape to the leaves this is Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) which I have probably assumed to be Common Vetch (Vicia sativa) in previous years.

And a close-up of a single flower which illustrates how hairy it is (note what seems to be an ant scuttling away).

This Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is on the dam and just coming in to flower. Much reduced in quantity after the strimming done on the dam last autumn. It was on these flowers last year that I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Here we see the flower of Goat's-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon (Tragopogon pratensis). It will form a spectacular globular ‘clock’ in a few weeks. This plant is very closely related to Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) which has purple flowers and often escapes from gardens.

(Ed Wilson)

Woodhouse Lane: [08:00 – 08:50]

Back around the fields and lane again
- 2 Red-legged Partridges flushed from the edge of one of the fields
- 2 Stock Doves flushed from the fields again; and then another single
- a ‘mystery warbler’ this morning. It was singing from a part of the hedge where I have recorded Common Whitethroat for several weeks. Although the song was short, like a whitethroat’s, the timbre was much richer and more like a Garden Warbler. It refused to show itself. I have no idea

Some numbers (numbers in brackets are singing birds)
- 3 (3) Sky Larks
- 2 (2) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (5) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler (but see notes)
- 2 (1) Common Whitethroats
- 4 (4) Song Thrushes
- 1 Linnet
- 4 (1) Yellowhammers

One of the specialities of the lane: a Yellowhammer. Here a male that was making its single note call.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:00 – 07:15

(51st visit of the year)
- 31 of the Greylag and 37 of the Canada Geese flew in from the NE while I was walking past
- one of the Great Crested Grebes asleep alongside last year’s nest site: no sign of nest-building as yet

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 8 Common Swifts
- 3 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler as usual
- 1 (1) Blackcap: different location

The counts from the water
- 2 + 6 Mute Swans
- 34 Greylag Geese
- 57 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 18 (14♂) Mallard
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 15 Coots

2 of the many arriving Greylag Geese show off the identification points – bill & leg colour and wing pattern.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
3 Little Egrets
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Little Ringed Plover
(John Isherwood)