1 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake, The Flash, Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool

8.0°C > 8.5°C: Cloudy with more or less continual light rain / drizzle. Mainly light wind, initially from the E, later from the W. Mainly good visibility but poor in drizzle and heavier rain.

Sunrise: 06:45 BST

The rain and low cloud made for a good day with migrants. At the lake the Sand Martin group also included my first Barn Swallow and House Martin. A Barn Swallow joined one of the groups of Sand Martins at Trench Pool. There were 6 singing Willow Warblers at The Flash as well as birds at Priorslee Lake and Trench Lock. At Priorslee Lake there was an increase in Blackcap numbers with several non-singing males – presumably birds passing through

Priorslee Lake: 05:50 – 07:10 // 08:00 – 09:39

(45th visit of the year)

So two new birds for my year-log at this site
- the Barn Swallow mentioned above becomes my 81st species
- the House Martin was therefore my 82nd species

Other notes from today:
- the hirundines turned up at about 09:15 as they so often do – why? Perhaps this is how long it takes them to get here from transit roosts somewhere to the S?
- a Pheasant heard for the first time this week – but a long way to the NE
- a lone Redwing seen in the trees: April records of this species are always worth noting
- Jackdaw passage rather confusing: bird(s) heard over as I arrived at 05:50 – too dark to see, especially with the new bright street-lights near the academy; then 2 birds seen at 06:02; the next 4 at 06:11; and the main passage not starting until 06:22
- several non-singing Chiffchaffs this morning suggests that females have started to arrive
- I have logged the Meadow Pipit as an overflight: I heard it calling for some time before I saw it in flight and it is possible that it came off of the dam-top
- a Brindled Pug moth on one of the lamps

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 6 Canada Geese (two groups)
- 2 Cormorants
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 3 Wood Pigeons only yet again
- 264 Jackdaws (number of groups not recorded)
- 7 Rooks (all singles)
- 1 Meadow Pipit

Hirundine counts
- >20 Sand Martins
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 1 House Martin

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 15 (11) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 9 (7) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other on nest?)
- 2 Canada Geese briefly
- 6 (6♂) Mallard
- 6 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 Great Crested Grebes again
- 8 Moorhens
- 28 Coots

My books tell me that Crow’s nests are made of sticks so I was surprised to see this bird taking some moss as padding. Must affect the aerodynamics somewhat.

I think this is a Brindled Pug moth: it is a rather worn specimen and not resting at the best angle to see the features. The wing-shape is subtly different from the only confusion pug species at this date – the Double-striped Pug.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:15 – 07:55

(34th visit of the year)

Other notes
- both the Gadwall and the pair of Shoveler seem to have gone
- Tufted Duck numbers holding up well here
- 6 Willow Warblers was a very good count. Likely most of these birds are passing: certainly in recent years breeding has been sporadic, probably as the woods have matured and the trees are rather too tall for this species which likes smaller trees and bushes

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 2 Rooks

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 6 (6) Willow Warblers
- 2 (2) Blackcaps again

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 29 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 12 (12♂) Mallard
- 30 (23♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Great Crested Grebe again
- 6 Moorhens
- 18 Coots

These are Cowslips (Primula veris). I saw some along a roadside in Shropshire yesterday but am slightly unconvinced about these. The inside of the yellow flower shows a rather too-bright orange mark and these may well be garden escapes – there are many such escapes around The Flash. There used to be several plants at the end of Teece Drive on the approach to the lake but I fear these have been lost during the work on improving the road for the academy.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- 1 duck Mallard on the lower pool again
- single Moorhen on the upper pool
- an over-flying Siskin was my first in the area for some 10 days

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:51 – 10:20 // 10:50 – 11:00

(15th visit of the year)

Numbers perhaps affected both by the sheer number of anglers present this morning; and the use of the path along the W side for the Silkin Way Ultra (more than a mere marathon!) with a Check Point alongside the water

Notes from here
- the remaining cygnet still present: one of the anglers confirmed that it can fly – just does not ant to leave home!
- big move-out of Tufted Duck from here
- no juvenile Coot seen and adult numbers well down – some adults on nests and harder to find
- hard to know how many Sand Martins in total. Parties of up to 25 would appear and then move off. Was it these returning or more birds moving through?
- first and largest party of Sand Martins also had a Barn Swallow, not seen subsequently
- both Sand Martin and Barn Swallow were new for me at this site this year
- also both Willow Warbler and Blackcap were also new for me at this site this year
- 3 Starlings over the estate to the E were, surprisingly, the first I had seen from here this year
- a singing Reed Bunting: another new species for me at this site this year: indeed I have no records for this species here for at least 4 years. Surprising as the habitat looks suitable
- some Red Dead-nettles (Lamium purpureum)

Birds noted flying over here
- 2 Canada Geese
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Hirundine counts
- >30? Sand Martins (see notes)
- 1 Barn Swallow

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 4 (4) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warblers
- 1 (1) Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 4 Canada Geese
- 3 (3♂) Mallard again
- 8 (5♂) Tufted Ducks only
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 30 Coots

Here we see Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum). The red leaves at the top of the stem under the flowers are characteristic. Last year this plant had been flowering at the lake for over a week by this date but I have failed to locate any flowers there as yet.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:25 – 10:45

(12th visit of the year)

- much quieter than recently (if you discount the noise of amorous geese)
- 1 Great Crested Grebe on nest: could not its mate

Birds noted flying over here
- 1 Black-headed Gull

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 11 Greylag Geese
- 31 Canada Goose
- 9 (7♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Tufted Ducks only
- 1 Cormorant again
- 1 Great Crested Grebe on nest
- 6 Moorhens
- 11 Coots

The Cormorant here had emerged from its usual resting perch beneath overhanging vegetation and allowed itself to be photographed reasonably well in the poor light and rain.

A close-up of THAT eye and THAT bill.

Including all its long tail that it uses as a rudder underwater. Those back-feathers lightly glossed green and black-edged are amazing
(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
1 Sand Martin
4 Great Crested Grebes
9 Tufted Duck
2 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaffs
127 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Sand Martin
2 Teal
45 Tufted Ducks
1 Blackcap
4 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Woodhouse Lane
1 Chiffchaff
2 Linnets
4 Yellowhammer
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Kittiwake
5 Gadwall
7 Wigeon
Willow Tit
(John Isherwood, Jim Almond, Arthur Harper)

Horsehay Pool
2 Mandarin Ducks
(Jim Almond)

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebe
8 Tufted Duck
3 Chiffchaff
(Ed Wilson)

2 Great Crested Grebe
2 Cormorant
32 Tufted Duck
2 Chiffchaff
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash
33 Tufted Duck
2 Chiffchaff
1 Willow Warbler

The Flash
1 Shoveler
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
7 Great Crested Grebes
9 Tufted Ducks
1 Ruddy Duck
184 Wood Pigeons
2 Stock Doves
1 House Martin
5 Sand Martins
1 Curlew
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Sky Lark
2 Meadow Pipits
25 Wrens
20 Robins
27 Blackbirds
1 Redwing
2 Willow Warblers
3 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Tit
10 Greenfinches
2 Siskins
5 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)