5 May 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:55

Sunrise: 05:30 BST

6°C > 12°C Clear with just some thin high cloud. Light S / SE wind later wind. Very good visibility

Nothing specific to highlight: the warblers were all over the place today with two of the Reed Warblers singing from inside hawthorn hedges; two of the Sedge Warblers singing from the reeds; a non-singing Common Whitethroat where one of yesterday’s Lesser Whitethroats had been singing; the (different?) Garden Warbler nowhere near the bird that was seen yesterday; and the normally skulking Cetti’s Warbler popped out to have a look at me. Suggests that many of the birds have yet to establish territory.

(69th visit of the year)

Other notes
- all the Tufted Duck now seem to have left
- 2 Common Sandpipers seen, but only after 09:00: where were they earlier?
- for over 30 minutes there was, unusually, a lone Common Swift overhead. Later a party of up to 15
- the Starlings over seemed to be doing feeding forays from nests in the estate
- Small White and Peacock butterflies
- 2 wasps sunning on one of the lamps; strangely did not seem to be queens looking for nest sites. Early for workers?

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Mute Swan
- 5 Feral Pigeons (single + group)
- 1 Stock Dove
- 8 Wood Pigeons
- 13 Jackdaws
- 8 Rooks
- 7 Starlings

Hirundine etc. totals
- 15 Common Swifts
- 1 Sand Martin
- 2 Barn Swallows

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Cetti’s Warbler
- 8 (7) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warbler
- 18 (10) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Garden Warbler again
- 3 (1) Common Whitethroats again
- 3 (3) Sedge Warblers
- 9 (9) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 9 (7♂) Mallard
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 29 Coots
- 2 Common Sandpipers

Peering out and singing from the unlikely place inside a Hawthorn bush is a Reed Warbler. We can just about make out the sloping forehead: the longish bill is easier to see as is the eye-colour.

As long as they continue to pose ahead of being hidden by leaves I’ll take their photos. This Chiffchaff, lit by the early sun, shows legs that are not really ‘dark’ but are hardly the ‘light brown’ of many Willow Warblers. At this angle there is almost no supercilium visible.

Indeed this bird seems particularly poorly marked ...

... though a slight turn of the head improves matters.

Here is my friend the male Willow Tit still looking for a mate.

Great Crested Grebe in full breeding finery.

and again with interesting reflection.

Only day 2 for this species so I have a chance for a better photo later. But this shows all the salient features of Garden Warbler – it has none! And don’t expect to see it in your garden – they were named in the days when Capability Brown was laying out gardens of many acres with shrubs and woods.

The first Hawthorn blossom I have found here.

Not at all sure about this bug: the head-shape and longish antennae almost suggest a cockroach, but in the UK these insects are almost always in buildings.

Not too sure what this bee was doing with the dandelion: seemed to be asleep!

A close-up failed to resolve the matter.

It’s war out there: a spider captures a plumed midge. Spiders tend to get larger as they get older, shedding their exoskeleton at each stage of growth. This time of year they are small.

This morning’s Small White butterfly.

A small fly sp. in another dandelion.

I noted yesterday that there was but a single flower-head of Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis): today there were dozens and here is a better condition specimen.

One of two wasps on one of the lamps: check the pattern and compare ...

... with this other wasp but inches away. The pattern on this looks like that of Red Wasp (Vespula rufa). The previous wasp looks a bit like a Cuckoo Wasp (Vespula austriaca) which uses the nests of Red Wasp.

This seems to confirm Red Wasp, noted for a thick vertical line on the face.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 07:55 – 08:40

Another walk around the fields and along the lane was rather more productive, especially in the number of Blackcaps, but nothing outstanding

- in addition to the Stock Dove at the lake there were 2 (a pair?) over the lane
- one of the Yellowhammers, a female, seen carrying nesting material

Some numbers (numbers in brackets are singing birds)
- 3 (3) Sky Larks
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff again
- 7 (5) Blackcaps
- 5 (3) Common Whitethroats
- 4 (3) Song Thrush
- 4 Linnets
- 4 (1) Yellowhammer

A slightly different yellow vista this morning.

And again. Whatever you think about the farming policy that produces this crop the results are spectacular.

These are the flowers of White Dead-Nettle (Lamium album). The hairy stems and leaves do not irritate like Stinging Nettles.

This is Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea). There are in fact just 5 petals, each of which is deeply notched making it look like 10 petals in 5 pairs.

Another new flower for my year-list this morning: this is Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon)

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in..........................
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Several Pied Flycatchers
2 male Common Redstarts
2 Wood Warbler
3 male Tree Pipits
(Glenn Bishton)

Priorslee Lake
2 Common Sandpiper
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatears
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)