16 Mar 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

3.5°C > 8.0°C: A strange morning; started clear with a touch of frost and a few low clouds, mainly to N; after 05:45 mist rolled in from the E with visibility becoming very poor; low-level cloud rolled in after 08:00 and cleared the mist and under the cloud very good visibility. Light wind throughout.

Sunrise: 06:23 GMT

Priorslee Lake: 05:15 – 07:10 // 07:55 – 09:31

(32nd visit of the year)

The caravans have now left the W end of the lake

A Brambling calling from trees in the NW area was my 75th confirmed species at the lake so far this year

Otherwise another quiet day with very little seen flying over

Notes from today:
- the Pheasant heard calling several times: sounded as if it might be alongside the M54 – living dangerously?
- one of the Cormorants captured a fish that looked almost as big as itself. It wrestled with it for at least 5 minutes and then seemed to give up
- another single Sand Martin flew through at 09:20
- most of the Jackdaws passed through before the mist rolled in. A larger number than recent days, perhaps because parties that might otherwise have passed well to the E (where it was already very foggy) diverted to pass over the lake. Later 5 birds got ‘trapped’ and spent time in the trees around the lake – behaviour I have only ever noted in very misty conditions and they cannot find their way
- about 30 Magpies left the roost area today: much quieter here now
- more Song Thrushes than usual this morning. A typical number – five – singing. Then four non-singing birds seen. Perhaps merely the same males feeding after they had finished singing?
- Mistle Thrushes heard at each end of the lake: a bird singing in the copse across Castle Farm Way and between there and the M54 was ‘new’
- 2 Reed Buntings seen perched at the top of a 50’ tree. Also one seen flying off from another high perch. Odd
- 4 moths on three different lamps this morning: two March Moths: also single Dotted Border and Common Quaker moths, both new species for me this year, the latter my first for several years
- what was perhaps the same Bombus hypnorum or Tree Bumblebee inspecting one of the street lamps again

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 2 Canada Geese (1 group)
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 6 Wood Pigeons only
- 1 Sand Martin
- 440 Jackdaws (21 groups)
- 3 Rooks (singles)
- 6 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Goldfinch
- 1 Siskin
- 1 Linnet

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

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 6 (4♂) Mallard
- 18 (11♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 Cormorants again
- 1 Grey Heron
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens
- 30 Coots

Before the mist and fog – the waning moon.

The mist rolling in.

This is the Cormorant trying to get to grips with a very large fish. See how far the thrashing fish is away from the end that is in the Cormorant’s grasp.

That does look rather a mouthful!

He tried several times.

Not sure who is winning here.

He seems to have given up. So what happened to the fish? No idea: but the Cormorant did seem to swallow a large piece at some stage.

A Dotted Border moth. This species does have a ‘dotted border’: on the more common and very variable Mottled Umber any dots are much less conspicuous and confined to the fringes. Not sure what the red streak is all about. The moth did not look damaged.

This well-marked moth is a fresh Common Quaker moth. Why quaker? Apparently because of their plain or drab appearance – like the dress-code of the religious order of Quakers. This moth is certainly less intricately marked than many moths but hardly ‘plain’.

No: not Autumn yet! A web with dew – orb spiders can be active at any time of the year if it warm-enough for prey items (flies) to be about.

And more webs hanging among the heads of Greater Reed-mace (aka bulrushes). The seed-heads of the reed-mace are opening and the seeds will soon disperse, aided by the tits who like to demolish the heads for nest-linings.

Some of the Blackthorn bushes have finished flowering. The microclimate at this part of the lake means they are still in full blossom.

Some of the ‘pussy willow’. Three ‘flowers’ (for that is what they are) in different stages.

As close as I could get. Note the moisture droplets from the mist.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash 07:20 – 07:50

(25th visit of the year)

The weather was at its foggiest while I was here and the counts are all ‘best efforts’

- so where were the Mallard? They could not have all been hiding in the mist, could they?
- one of the Coots already sitting on a nest
- two Treecreepers were working one of the garden fences backing on to the water. Cannot recall ever having seen this behaviour before
- 2 non-singing Song Thrushes seen here (as well as rather more than usual at the lake)
- a Spring Usher moth found on one of the lamps: I had more or less given up looking for moths here as all the lamp-heads have been replaced by modern types with ‘bulbs’ that are the wrong colour-temperature (spectrum) to attract most species of moth

Birds noted flying over

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 25 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 6 (6♂) Mallard
- 17 (10♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 2 Moorhens
- 14 Coots

- another Moorhen in the lower pool between the lake and The Flash

Here is a Treecreeper on the garden fence backing on to the footpath around he water. Never seen this behaviour before.

Here we see the bird peering about and using its tail as a ‘prop’. Treecreepers always go ‘up’ (or perhaps occasionally along) trees and trunks; never down. Nuthatches can go any which way with two toes pointing forward and two backwards.

This is a Spring Usher moth.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Today's Sightings Here

Little Wenlock, Candles Landfill Site
1 Iceland Gull
1 Yellow-legged Gull.
(Tom Lowe)

Priorslee Lake
1 Kittiwake 
2 adult Little Gulls
(J Reeves / Jim Almond / Andy Latham)

Priorslee Lake
13 Pochard
18 Tufted Duck
5 Great Crested Grebe
12+ Sand Martin
3 Chiffchaff
17 Pied Wagtails
23 Linnets
11 Greenfinches
(Mike Cooper, (Martin Grant, Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash
 2 Great Crested Grebe
c.12 Tufted Duck
4  Teal
2 Chiffchaff  singing
1 Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock 
30 Tufted Duck 
6 Sand Martins
3 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
( Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe 
7 Great Crested Grebe 
1 Heron
6 Gadwall
19 Tufted Duck
2 Reed Buntings
( Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
4 Great Crested Grebe
15 Tufted Duck
1 Ruddy Duck
3 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
46 Golden Plover
4 Stock Dove
281 Wood Pigeon
27 Wren
38 Robin
21 Blackbird
1 Redwing
4 Chiffchaff singing
3 Jay
35 Magpie
159 Jackdaw
3 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)