4 Jul 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:25

Sunrise: yet again 04:52 BST

10°C – 16°C. Almost cloudless with just a few wisps of cirrus approaching. Light and variable wind settled in from S. Sparkling visibility

(68th visit of the year)

- 5 cygnets noted this morning: all were asleep on the island and I could not find an angle to be 100% sure there was not a 6th
- after the new-to-me brood of 2 Mallard ducklings on my last visit there were 3 ducklings today: am inclined to think they are the same group and I missed one last time
- just one Great Crested Grebes seen with nobody on the recently constructed nest

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Jackdaws

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 5 Common Swifts
- 5 House Martins

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 3 (2) Chiffchaffs again
- 3 (2) Blackcap again

The counts from the water
- 2 + 5 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 72 Greylag Geese
- 94 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 13 (9♂) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
- 7 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- no Moorhens
- 14 + 4 (2 broods) Coots

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:30 – 09:55

(103rd visit of the year)

It had been planned for contractors to arrive at 09:00 with special boats to cut the weed growing in the lake: they had not arrived by 10:00. In days of yore the weed was treated by herbicide, part of the lake being done each year. The herbicide that had been used was banned under EU directive some years ago and various attempts have been made to cut and / or pull the weed since, often leaving stinking heaps and flattening the reeds. The weed tangles the propellers of the power-boats used by the water-skiers – no bad thing because they have a reputation for going too close to the banks and washing out grebe and coot nests. It also affects the operation of the essential ‘safety boat’ needed when the Sailability – disabled groups – are using the lake. And the anglers are none too happy with it tangling their equipment. We will see

Also worth comment is that many of my ‘sunny glades’ where I do much of the insect spotting are very poor this year. As the trees mature they are growing to block some of the light – hence the N side is still a very muddy path. And the very wet weather has allowed many plants to grow much taller than normal, also blocking light and access

- just 1 duckling remaining from Thursday’s new brood
- 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebes but only two with juveniles: the 3 juveniles in the NE area not seen, though the parents were lurking in the reeds and the juveniles might have been hiding; 1 juvenile with a pair of adults in the middle of the N side; and a single juvenile with the adults in the NW area
- another new brood of four juvenile Coots this morning. No sign of last Thursday’s new brood
- several of the over flying Black-headed Gulls, all adults, checked out the water as they passed, but none stopped
- a party of c.25 Feral Pigeons circling over the Ricoh area looked more like loft birds than the more usual racing pigeon parties: another single bird over
- a large Long-tailed Tit parties again: at least 18 individuals
- one brood of 3 juvenile Common Whitethroats seen: two singing males in other locations
- a Yellowhammer heard calling from trees in the NE area. Unusual around the water – I normally only log singing birds from the fields to the E; or birds flying over
- a Large Emerald and a Brimstone moth on the lamps
- usual Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moth flushed but strangely no grass moths
- Speckled Wood and Ringlet butterflies
- unidentified black and yellow caterpillar
- usual Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies seen: also Azure Damselflies in small numbers
- my first dragonfly of the year here: shot off before I got a positive ID but likely a female / teneral Common Darter
- no fewer than seven species of hoverflies photographed today
- the common beetle Oedemera nobilis and several small unidentified beetles
- first flowers of Meadowsweet [aka Mead Wort] (Filipendula ulmaria), Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris formerly Senecio jacobaea) and Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) noted this morning. There were also some new thistles but I ran out of time ...!

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 6 Black-headed Gulls
- c.26 Feral Pigeons
- 5 Wood Pigeon
- 1 Collared Dove
- 1 Jackdaw
- 9 Rooks
- 1 Starling
- 1 Goldfinch

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Swift
- 2 Barn Swallows again
- 1 House Martin

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 25 (18?♂) + 1 duckling Mallard
- 6 + 2 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 + 2 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 51 + 8 juveniles (5 broods) Coots

The fine clear weather meant not much of interest around but a great morning to be out and about.

A well-grown juvenile Coot.

One of the adult Great Crested Grebes from the NW area with apparently the only juvenile surviving from the brood.

Not sure what is going on here. Looks to me like a juvenile Blackbird trying its hand(?) at picking up nesting material. I suppose it could be a worn female after a hard season raising multiple broods – we cannot see the bill colour which would clinch the age. Still a strange date to be building yet another nest.

A(nother) Common Whitethroat: at first sight this looks like a juvenile with the yellow gape just visible ....

... but when the same bird turns we can no longer see the gape and the iris colour suggests an adult, though perhaps not quite orange-enough for a male.

The ‘rings’ that give the Ringlet butterfly its vernacular name are more apparent on the underwing ....

... than the upperwing.

Surprised to see any moths still on the lamps after a clear night and a sunny morning. This partially-in-the-sun moth was hard to photo either by natural light ....

... or with flash from any angle. It is a Large Emerald: a new species for me here, though it is a common-enough moth. This species is unusual for a moth in that it rests with wings held partly open. Also unusual in having yellow antenna.

A bit dark under the trees but this Brimstone Moth would have gone had it been sunny.

A Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moth.

Rather blown-out by the sun here is a splendid caterpillar: another group I still have to get to grips with.

A fully grown and hence fully-coloured male Blue-tailed Damselfly.

The shape of the dark mark of segment 3 shows this to be an Azure Damselfly: I have to take photos to be sure!

The hoverfly Volucella pellucens.

And a rather different view as it uses its front feet for a wash and brush-up.

This is the hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus, sometimes called the Marmalade hoverfly.

Another hoverfly – probably Melanostoma scalare but impossible to rule out M. mellinum. New for this year for me.

The 4th species of hoverfly this morning: this is almost certainly Eristalis arbustorum: also new for me this year.

We are on safer and more familiar territory with the 5th species – Eristalis pertinax.

A 6th species this morning: this is a Sphaerophoria sp. perhaps interrupta but as it is a female they cannot be separated except by examining the genitalia.

And a 7th! This is a furry bee mimic and is called Cheilosia illustrata: it is a new species for me.

Two beetles of differing sizes share some Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium).

This is an easy beetle to ID with the swollen hind femur (on males) – Oedemera nobilis (on a Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)).

A hairy spider sp. hiding under the edge of one of the lamps.

Flowers of Greater Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) caught against a plain background. A small hoverfly gets in on the action.

Dense white clusters are a feature of Meadowsweet or Mead Wort (Filipendula ulmaria).

The flower-head of Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) was new for me this year here.

Only Common Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis) but a nice clump. It is not unusual for some flowers to have a pink tinge.

(Ed Wilson)


River Severn, Buildwas and Leighton: 07:15

1 Red Kite - increasingly regular on this SW edge of Telford - perhaps breeding ?
7 Redstart - including 3 juveniles
2 Little Ringed Plover
5 Oystercatcher
5 Goosander

(John Isherwood)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

A female Ruddy Duck. First site record since January 2009 - formerly semi resident in the district, with several breeding records from both the Lake and Flash.
(John Isherwood / Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

Common Tern
2 drake Ruddy Duck
(Ed Wilson)