15 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

5.5°C > 9.0°C: Some clouds but mostly clear. Light / moderate W wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 06:12 BST

Another day with very many singing Willow Warblers – 10 at the lake; and apparently 16 at The Flash. Again nothing much else new in: at least 2 Common Sandpipers at the lake; and a few Barn Swallows with the Sand Martins at the lake

Priorslee Lake: 05:36 – 06:55 // 07:45 – 09:30

(55th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- Pheasant calls very persistent today and I think possibly more than one bird involved
- 2 Common Sandpipers seen after 08:00. One bird only noted at 06:00 and that seemed to fly off W soon after – certainly it was a wader sp. that did not flight-call. When they fly off Common Sandpipers do not fly with their usual distinctive fluttery and jerky flight and can be confused with many other smaller waders
- arrived slightly later than I would have liked and may have missed some of the early Jackdaw passage
- regular gang of Sand Martins. One or more Barn Swallows heard with them at 06:50 and one seen c.08:30
- even higher count of singing Willow Warblers
- the Linnet fly-over on a rather later than usual date
- apparently 7 different Reed Buntings seen today, none of them singing even though several were noted as males
- a Brindled Beauty moth was on one of the lamps: new for me in Shropshire
- at least one hoverfly Melanostoma scalare
- possible Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)
- Red Campion (Silene dioica or Melandrium rubrum) about to start flowering

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 4 Canada Geese (2 pairs)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Wood Pigeons only
- 156 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook
- 1 Linnet

Hirundine counts
- >40 Sand Martins
- 2 or 3 Barn Swallows

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 12 (8) Chiffchaffs
- 10 (10) Willow Warbler
- 13 (9) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 9 (7♂) Mallard
- 6 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 7 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 17 Coots only
- 2 or 3 Common Sandpipers (see notes)

Another morning and another sunrise for your delectation.

The sunrise was before the waning moon had set.

The sunrise a bit later and a different angle.

One more view.

Not my best-ever photo of a Common Sandpiper but the obvious and diagnostic white area from the breast to the shoulder is easily seen.

Here is another Willow Warbler. The facial markings always look neater and better defined than on a Chiffchaff. Here we see the longer wings reaching to the start of the tail. The pale legs are obvious too.

See what I mean about the rather less well-defined facial markings on the Chiffchaff. The white eye surround is more obvious on Chiffchaff. Once you get your eye in these features are quite easy to see in the field, though it helps that all these birds were singing. Chiffchaffs tend to be slightly more ‘hyper’ than the rather deliberate foraging of Willow Warblers; and Chiffchaffs also dip their tails much more frequently than Willow Warblers.

This (same) Chiffchaff was one of a presumed pair (the other bird only called and did not sing) and here he seems to have spread his tail in a display.

A male Reed Bunting having a breakfast of Hawthorn leaves. It is said that an infusion of Hawthorn leaves helps reduced blood pressure (and the berries can be used in the same way – not eaten!)

And here is his less-strikingly marked partner.

A Brindled Beauty moth found on one of the lamps: I have recorded the somewhat similar Pale Brindled Beauty previously but this moth is new for me in Shropshire.

This is I think the hoverfly Melanostoma scalare. The way this, and a number of other similar species, hold their wings tends to obscure the markings but it seems to me this specimen shows yellow antenna which clinches the ID. A very common species that will be seen until late October and beyond in mild autumns.

This is either Hairy or Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine) sp. The hairs on the stem do not mean much but as I found it in a shady position this would tend to support Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa). The basal leaves are the best way to separate these so I will have to have another look. Certainly on the open dam-top it is Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) that can be found.

Yet another flower I cannot identify at the moment. They look somewhat like a rose in structure but I cannot see any spikes on what appear to be rather ‘fleshy’ pink-tinged stems (that might just be from a separate shrub as these are reminiscent of dogwood the flowers of which are in clusters and with only 4 petals). Possibly Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)? Will have to investigate this further as well.

These are the sheaths and the tip of the first flower of Red Campion (Silene dioica or Melandrium rubrum). Some years I have recorded this species flowering throughout the winter months so perhaps it wasn’t such a mild winter after all.
(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:00 – 07:40

(42nd visit of the year)

Notes from here
- could there really have been 16 different Willow Warblers singing? I think there were for at one point I could hear 8 different birds singing. Many of the birds were tending to move N and W through the lower vegetation although 4 were higher up in the tops of taller willows where they have been for almost a week and perhaps are establishing territories. Did not notice any non-calling (presumed female) birds at all
- ‘bluebells’ in so-called Squirrel Alley but as there were as many white ones and blue I suspect they are garden escapes and may be invasive Spanish Bluebells (or hybrids) anyway

Birds noted flying over

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 3 (3) Chiffchaffs remain
- 16 (16) Willow Warblers
- 2 (2) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 29 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 14 (13♂) Mallard
- 24 (13♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 14 Coots

A rare moment when one of these hyper-active sprites was still long-enough – a Long-tailed Tit of course.

Those red-rimmed eyes make it look like it has had a bad night.

Yes: you

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- single Moorhen scurrying back to the lower pool through the foot tunnel
- single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler singing around the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Local Area
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Grey Herons
2 Greylag Geese over
9 Tufted Duck
1 Little Ringed Plover
2 Common Sandpipers
10 Blackcaps
6 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warbler
117 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cackling-type Goose
29 Tufted Ducks
3 Blackcap
4 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
4 Great Crested Grebes
5 Tufted Ducks
4 Blackcaps
3 Chiffchaffs
7 Willow Warblers
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Middle Pool
3 Great Crested Grebes
8 Greylag Geese
13 Tufted Duck
3 Blackcaps
2 Chiffchaffs
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
4 Wheatear
Willow Warbler
(Ian Grant)

Priorslee Lake
2 Great Crested Grebe
1 Buzzard
3 Chiffchaff
(Tony Beckett)

Long Lane, Wellington
10 Ringed Plover
5 Dunlin
(J W Reeves)

Nedge Hill
2 Redstart
1 Wheatear
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake
Grey Wagtail
1 Common Sandpiper
5 Tufted Duck
1 Kingfisher
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
Common Redstart
11 Wheatear
(John Isherwood, Ed Wilson)

Telford Railway Station
11 Waxwings
(Colin Wright)

Nedge Hill
1 Buzzard
4 Skylark
1 Fieldfare
3 Willow Warbler
2 Chiffchaff
3 Greenfinch
4 Linnet
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Village
Black-tailed Godwit
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
3 Greylag Geese
3 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Duck
1 Water Rail
3 Common Sandpiper
1 Ringed Plover
12 Chiffchaff
7 Willow Warbler
6 Blackcaps
1 Sky Lark
2 Grey Wagtail
1 Willow Tit
4 Greenfinch
3 Linnet
5 Reed Bunting.
(Martin Adlam, John Isherwood)