16 Jul 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:05 BST

17°C – 19°C. Medium overcast with scattered below. Moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility. Feeling humid

(72nd visit of the year)

- the lone cygnet started off on its own well away from the parents but gradually moved toward them: they made no move in recognition of its arrival
- no goslings noted
- 1 adult Canada Goose lying dead on the W side
- the 6 Tufted Ducks ducklings remain
- despite no obvious sign of a nest the Great Crested Grebes have juvenile(s): at least one on the parent’s back
- just 1 brood of Coots seen today: more adults than usual logged
- 1 Chiffchaff singing this morning
- 2 Blackcaps, both silent females / immatures, in the bushes at the N end

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- House Martins heard only

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 2 (2) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 83 Greylag Geese
- 53 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 16 (14♂) Mallard
- 35 (33♂) + 6 (1 brood) Tufted Ducks
- 2 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 27 + 3 (1 brood) Coots
- 1 Black-headed Gull yet again

Rather distant but record shot of a juvenile Great Crested Grebe here.

Who ate the fish then? and what sort of fish was it anyway?

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:55

(107th visit of the year)

Best record this morning was finding a Grizzled Skipper butterfly – as far as I can recall this is a new species for me. This is a nationally scarce butterfly: I need to talk the Shropshire Wildlife Trust about its status locally – I know special measures are in place for the also rare Dingy Skipper

Other notes from today
- all three Tufted Duck seemed to be ducks this morning: light not of the best to separate birds in eclipse plumage
- Great Crested Grebes largely the same as yesterday: one of the adults and a juvenile from the NW area probably hiding in the reeds
- another new brood of 3 juvenile Coots this morning
- a lone Swift raced through
- many fewer corvids logged: possibly in part because I was head down pursing insects
- a Willow Tit calling: my first log since 20 May. Apparently just a single bird and I assume he never found a mate. Good to know he is still around
- the only Swallow arrived at the W end not from the village but from across the M54
- the House Martins were found as I was checking out an over flying Rook: they were very high up and out of ear- and eye-shot otherwise
- the Sedge Warbler added Blackbird alarm calls to its repertoire this morning
- many Reed Warblers out and about away from the reeds suggests successful fledging
- the over-flying Starling seemed to have nothing to do with any nests around the estate: anyway birds seem to have left there now
- an over flying Pied Wagtail – my first here since 07 June when the locally raised brood stopped feeding on the dam. Co-incidentally (?) three birds flew over Newport as I was waiting for the bus and these too were my first for some weeks there
- conventional wisdom says a warm overcast night will produce many moths on the lamps: it didn’t!
- there were many moths in and flushed from the grass including Shaded Broad-bar; the micro moth Udea lutealis (aka Pale Straw Pearl); and a grass moth Agriphila straminella (aka Pearl Veneer)
- Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies also flushed from the grass: as did several skippers but I don’t have a positive ID as to which species
- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies in some number
- Common Darter dragonflies
-  A female Black-tailed Skimmer
- four species of hoverfly with Helophilus pendulus new for the year here
- a single beetle Rhagonycha fulva (aka Hogweed Bonking-beetle) was eventually found on Hogweed: and then another on Ragwort

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 17 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 18 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 10 Rooks
- 1 Starling
- 1 Goldfinch

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Swift
- 1 Swallow
- 4 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 7 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 5 (5) Blackcaps
- 1 (0) Garden Warbler
- 2 (1) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 9 (3) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 28 (25♂) Mallard
- 3 (0♂) Tufted Duck again
- 1 adult Grey Heron
- 8 + 4 (3 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 + 1 Moorhens
- 44 + 10 (7 broods) Coots
- 25 Black-headed Gulls (no juveniles)

The young are starting to be taught to fish: the adult Great Crested Grebe dropped its catch in front of the juvenile, forcing it to work for its breakfast.

This caused me some problem both in getting a clear shot and then identifying it. After it flushed several times I knew I would have to be careful: this was the underside view as it was deep in long grass.
I made my way around carefully and through waving grass eventually managed to get a clear shot. But what is it? I assumed a moth but far better: my first-ever Grizzled Skipper butterfly! It is a nationally scarce butterfly of high conservation priority and is mainly found to the south and east of us. I need to report this to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

This one of the more-common species of skipper: from this angle it is not possible to separate Small and Large Skipper – despite their vernacular names they are almost the same size. The underside of the antenna are not black so we can rule out Essex Skipper.

An attractive and common moth easily disturbed from grassy areas – a Shaded Broad-bar.

This moth, lurking in the grass, is Udea lutealis (aka Pale Straw Pearl).

A slightly different view – the way the antenna are held over the back gives a clue.

Grass moths are hard to identify and this is not the best of shots but I am pretty confident that this is Agriphila straminella (aka Pearl Veneer).

A female Black-tailed Skimmer.

This view shows the intricate veins in the wings rather well.

An Episyrphus balteatus (Marmalade hoverfly) on Bistort (with another small beetle getting in on the action).

This is the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus sometimes called ‘The Footballer’ from its stripy thorax. The scientific name translates to ‘dangling marsh lover’ which seems a lot nicer. Shown here on Ragwort.

This hoverfly was tricky: with wings closed over its back the exact pattern of the yellow spots is hard to discern: then a side view ....
... seems to confirm an orange spot on the thorax – but as in the previous shot it is light reflection from the Ragwort and this is Melanostoma scalare, sometimes Checkered Hoverfly. Beware as males (this is a male) are longer than females and the yellow spots a different shape.

I searched and searched all the available Hogweed flowers for this critter and eventually found this single specimen: it is the beetle Rhagonycha fulva (aka the Hogweed Bonking-beetle).

And then I found another single specimen on Ragwort.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Report from today Here

Priorslee Flash

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

2 drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)