19 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake, The Flash, Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool; then The Wrekin

3.0°C > 12.5°C: Variable medium cloud, increasing after clear start. Calm start; light S wind veering WSW later. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 06:03 BST

So where have all the Willow Warblers gone?

Priorslee Lake: 05:23 – 07:`10 // 07:55 – 09:04

(58th visit of the year)

The singing Reed Warblers became my 85th confirmed species at the lake this year

Other notes from today:
- Common Sandpiper again seen only very early. Same birds as on previous visits? I suspect not
- just 2 Willow Warblers noted and both these were only on my 2nd circuit after returning from The Flash
- the Reed Warblers are over a week earlier than my recorded ‘first dates’ on the previous two years
- single Linnet and Lesser Redpoll over: rather unusual dates for these species
- one of the 4 Reed Buntings logged was singing from the field to the E of Castle Farm Way
- Ramsons (Allium ursinum) flowers just beginning to open

Birds noted flying over the lake: in the poor visibility just
- 2 Greylag Geese (pair)
- 4 Canada Geese (2 pairs)
- 3 Stock Doves
- 4 Feral Pigeons
- 94 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook
- 1 Linnet
- 1 Lesser Redpoll

Hirundine counts
- c.10 Sand Martins
- 2 Barn Swallows
- House Martin heard only

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 10 (8) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (2) Willow Warblers
- 13 (7) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 8 (6♂) Mallard again
- 22 (14♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 6 Great Crested Grebes again
- 5 Moorhens
- 16 Coots
- 1 Common Sandpiper

Oh no! Yep: afraid so. Another sunrise.

More colour today.

About as good as it got.

Sun just about to appear.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) somewhat strangely inspecting an evergreen (Cyprus?) tree.

A better view of a single Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant (Cardamine pratensis) plant.

This is a flower of [Meadow] Buttercup (Ranunculus acris).

Just breaking: the flowers of Ramsons (Allium ursinum).

I submit this is stupid. No-one can possibly read all this as they approach this – let alone at the legal speed limit of 50 mph.

(Ed Wilson)

The Flash: 07:20 – 07:50

(44th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- first brood of Coots for here this year
- yes where have all the Willow Warblers gone!

Birds noted flying over

Hirundines today

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

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 21 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 12 (11♂) Mallard
- 17 (11♂) Tufted Duck again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 17 + 5 (1 brood) Coots

Just about make out 4 of the 5 juvenile Coots here.

A whole bed of Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant (Cardamine pratensis) here.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- singing Chiffchaffs at the lower pool
- a Blackcap singing in the same area

(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool: 09:12 – 09:35 // 10:10 – 10:14

(19th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the remaining cygnet remains
- a new brood of Coots – previous brood lost
- both gulls logged were very distant
- my first House Martin of the year here
- as elsewhere fewer Chiffchaffs and especially Willow Warblers; more Blackcaps

Birds noted flying over here
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull

Hirundine counts
- >6 Sand Martins
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 1 House Martin

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 7 Canada Geese yet again
- 4 (4♂) Mallard again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens again
- 23 + 2 (1 brood) Coots

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 09:40 – 10:05

(15th visit of the year)

- all Tufted Duck gone
- Great Crested Grebes juveniles seen but number unclear
- single Coot juvenile seen: family righat against island and the other juvenile may just have been hidden
- no Willow Warblers heard here today
- a Cowslip (Primula veris) was a surprise find here

Birds noted flying over here

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 1 (1) Blackcap

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 14 Greylag Geese
- 32 Canada Goose
- 15 (13♂) Mallard
- 2 + ? Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 11 + 1? (1 brood) Coots

Against the light so not as clear as I would like: one Great Crested Grebe with a small fish for its stripy off-spring on the back of the other adult.

Two baby beaks just about visible on hand-over.

A surprise find here – a cluster of Cowslip (Primula veris) [plantain and daisies in the same shot].

Taken from below we see these bluebells have black pollen and are therefore the introduced Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) – or hybrids.

(Ed Wilson)


The Wrekin: 10:32 – 12:51

(1st visit of the year)

A visit to try and collect the four specialities of the area (the 5th, Spotted Flycatcher was unlikely to have arrived as yet). Limited success
- a single Wood Warbler heard singing and seen some way above the main track not far beyond the entrance gate
- a male Pied Flycatcher briefly seen near one of the many nestboxes. At least five other males heard singing but even with few leaves on the trees was unable to locate these
- Common Redstart not heard at all
- at least 5 Tree Pipits in song with two of these unusually in the same area as the Pied Flycatchers

Other interesting sightings on the walk to the top and back, close to the main path most of the way
- a Stock Dove calling neat the entrance gate
- a Green Woodpecker seen and probably 2 others calling
- calling and drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers: likely 4 birds at least
- at least 6 Chiffchaffs singing
- at least 9 Willow Warblers singing
- just 2 Blackcaps
- a pair of Bullfinches – I do not often log this species here
- 2 Siskins at least flying over
- 2 Linnets at least: behaviour suggesting they might be nesting

A Song Thrush with two juicy slugs. Someone has to ...

Despite sitting on a rock this is not a Rock Pipit. The song in display flight identified it as a Tree Pipit. Identifying it on plumage is rather harder. The pinkish (rather than yellowish) base to the bill is the most obvious here.

Here identification is possible. A Rock Pipit would have dark legs (and would be unlikely inland anyway). A Meadow Pipit – and they breed on the opposite side of the path to the summit – would show a very elongated hind-claw allowing stability when walking across grass. This bird shows a small pale circle behind the eye – a characteristic of Tree Pipit but usually impossible to see in the field. The contrast between the warm breast and flanks and white belly tends to be more obvious than on Meadow Pipit and the extent of the streaking somewhat less. Voice and habitat are the best guides.

Not at their best yet but real English bluebells.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
1 Kittiwake
1 Sedge Warbler
3 Little Ringed Plover
4 Common Sandpiper
2 Blackcap
Sand Martin
(John Isherwood)

East Priorslee
2 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Whinchat
7 Redstart
57 Wheatear
Meadow Pipit
Lesser Whitethroat
(Mick Wall, John Isherwood)

Redhill Lane
10+ Wheatear
4 Yellowhammer
(Mick Wall)

The Wrekin
2 Ring Ouzel
(Observer Unknown)

Priorslee Lake
1 Common Sandpiper
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Grasshopper Warbler
26 Wheatear
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
1 Swift
2 House Martin
2 Swallow
150 Sand Martin
7 Blackcap singing
1 Common Sandpiper
(Martin and Ian Grant)

Priorslee Lake
1 Pintail x Mallard
1 Kestrel
Tawny Owl 
1 Common Sandpiper
20 Swallow
20 Sand Martins
2 Blackcap
1 Garden Warbler
3 Chiffchaff
4 Reed Bunting 
(Martin Grant, Martin Adlam, Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
2 Wheatear
(Martin Grant)

The Flash
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
6 Great Crested Grebes
3 Ruddy Duck
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
12 Sand Martins
8 Swallows
4 House Martins.
2 Stock Doves
1 Sky Lark
30 Wrens
18 Robins
26 Blackbirds
6 Blackcaps
11 Chiffchaffs
12 Willow Warblers
1 Willow Tit
5 Greenfinches
3 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)