18 Jul 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: 05:07 BST

?°C. Fine clear and calm start with a few puffy clouds later. Very good visibility

(73rd visit of the year)

- no goslings noted again
- just 3 Tufted Duck ducklings seen, all diving away and feeding themselves with mum in close attendance
- a 3rd adult Great Crested Grebe for sure: possibly a 4th – as usual hard to keep track of these birds
- 3 broods of Coots seen today
- juvenile Coal Tits seen
- a Blackcap’s turn to be singing this morning

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 3 Starlings

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 19 Swifts
- 4 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 84 Greylag Geese
- 92 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 19 (17♂) Mallard
- 21 (17♂) + 3 (1 brood) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 3 + 1 Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 2 + 1 Moorhens
- 26 + 6 (3 broods) Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls

A rather unusual pose from a flying Great Crested Grebe with legs splayed. Illustrates the extent of the white in the upperwing even though the white trailing edge to the secondaries is rather ‘blown out’ and makes the wing appear ‘stepped’.

Here we see the whole upper wing in more favourable light and with the legs now closed.

And the underside is very pale too.

A rather better shot of the adult and the lone juvenile Great Crested Grebe here.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake

Evening Update: 16:20 - 16:50
Nothing too special bird wise except a Grey Wagtail.

Lots of 'Blue' Damselflies both Azure and Common Blue.
>3 Blue-tailed Damselflies
>2 Red-eyed Damselflies (male and female ovipositing)
2 cracking Emperor Dragonflies along the dam
>3 Black-tailed Skimmer

(Gary Crowder)

Morning Report: 07:30 – 09:25

(108th visit of the year)

Main highlight today was yet another new species of butterfly for me: an Essex Skipper. A species I have only recently realised is ‘possible’ here and a species for which digital photography has been a boon in checking the ID features – the colour of the underside of the antenna tips!

Other notes from today
- the single Canada Goose was left alone by the Swans
- all 7 Tufted Duck were ducks this morning: odd that 10 days ago it was all drakes at The Flash and now it is ducks that predominate here (with several at The Flash as well)
- one family of Great Crested Grebes not seen today
- just one of the juvenile Coots was from a very recent brood
- many of the Black-headed Gulls were swirling around above the Ricoh area probably feeding on the hatch of flying ants
- the Sedge Warbler seems to have gone
- an over flying Grey Wagtail. Later an adult male was on the dam – possibly the same bird. My first here since one overhead on 8th June; the last bird on the dam was as long ago as 7th March
- no moths on the lamps: just a single unidentified caddis fly sp.
- several Shaded Broad-bar and grass moths Agriphila straminella (aka Pearl Veneer) flushed from the grass
- in addition to the Essex Skipper I logged Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. Of these Small Skipper, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell were new for my Priorslee 2016 list
- Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies as usual
- an unidentified large hawker dragonfly only seen in flight
- - three species of hoverfly: a male Sphaerophoria scripta was new for me
- another single specimen of the beetle Rhagonycha fulva (aka Hogweed Bonking-beetle), today found on a grass stem

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Stock Dove
- 11 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Collared Dove
- 1 Jackdaws
- 3 Rooks
- 1 Grey Wagtail (see notes)
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 1 Goldfinch again

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 5 Swifts
- 1 Swallow
- House Martins heard only

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 5 (4) Chiffchaffs
- 6 (3) Blackcaps
- 1 (1) Common Whitethroat
- 5 (2) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 1 Canada Goose
- 27 (22♂) Mallard
- 7 (0♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 adult Grey Heron
- 6 + 4 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Common Sandpiper
- 4 + 3 (3 broods) Moorhens
- 44 + 8 (8 broods) Coots
- c.25 Black-headed Gulls

Great lighting on the eclipse-plumaged drake Mallard – as previously noted it is the yellow-green bill, the colour of which is retained throughout the moult, is the easiest way to sex these birds at the moment. Something I had not previously noted was the white feathers sticking up in the wing rather like a very small version of the ‘sails’ of drakes of the completely unrelated Mandarin Duck.

All buoys together! Note how the right hand of this trio of adult Black-headed Gulls has already lost most of the breeding plumage black ‘hood’.

A Reed Warbler peers out of the willow scrub. A much longer and thicker bill than would be shown by a Chiffchaff and only the faintest hint of a paler supercilium.

A male Grey Wagtail, the bib being black rather than the grey shown by females or 1st summer males.

Another view: these birds can often be hard to approach and the energetically pumped tail can be difficult to get sharp in photos.

The best of the bunch.

The rather diffuse dark trailing edge to this skipper butterfly identify it as a Small Skipper. There is no ‘scent’ mark in the forewing so this is a female. And we can just see orange on the tip on the antenna which rules out the very similar and largely misnamed Essex Skipper.

This rather worn specimen is a male Small Skipper and shows a rather faded ‘scent’ mark in the forewing. The orange on the antenna is clear here and reaches to the tips.

I have no experience with Essex Skipper but this looks good to me with the dark tips to the antenna. The scent mark is parallel to the outer edge of the wing which is another good feature for males of this species. Essex Skipper was generally thought of a species with a ‘south and east’ distribution but that has been partly due ti its vernacular its name. Now that observers are more aware of its features it is being found in new localities. It was recorded in Shropshire on Prees Heath in 2014. And there is no reason why it would not appear at Priorslee.

This more or less ‘head-on’ view seems to clinch the ID.

 Might as well go all the way around: just look at that long tongue.

After that excitement something more mundane but a fine shot of a Ringlet butterfly.

An attractive hoverfly from the genus Sphaerophoria. All species within this genus are rather variable and therefore hard to identify. However this specimen shows an abdomen longer than the wings and is therefore a male S. scripta. A new species of hoverfly for me.

This is a pair of Greenbottles – a name applied to a number of different species of green flies. Likely here we have Lucilia caesar noted to have silvery jowls.

This seems to be a Common Blue Damselfly. Too pale for a male and lacks the ‘spade’ marking in segment 2. The extensive black might suggest a female Azure Damselfly which lacks the ‘U’’ shape mark on segment 2 shown by the male: however she would show a broken line on the thorax that this does not show.

Well: I know we are passed the Summer Solstice but is it autumn already?

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Report from today Here