8 Apr 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

2.5°C > 12.0°C: Fine and clear but rather hazy; frost to start and a plume of mist over the lake. Calm start with light SE wind later. Moderate visibility, especially at first.

Sunrise: 06:28 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:23 – 07:10 // 08:05 – 10:07

(52nd visit of the year)

Notes from today: **a very quiet morning generally***
- just 1 Grey Heron today which saved any confusion about whether there were 2 or 3!
- managed to track down one of the calling Stock Doves and check it before it saw me and flew off
- not entirely sure the low count of Jackdaws was down to the mist: that seemed to be at a low-level and I should have – indeed could – see many birds ‘over the top’. Mystery
- 2 Coal Tits singing here, albeit 1 heard from across Castle Farm Way and possibly inaudible on weekdays with traffic noise
- a Chiffchaff apparently flushed from its nest alongside the N-side path then proceeded to do its win-fluttering display to attract its mate: both flew and hopped all around me without calling or singing
- no Willow Warblers heard today
- Kingfisher seen carrying food E over dam
- 4 different Chaffinches in song this morning: best I can recall for some years – normally 2 or 3 territories
- 5 Bullfinches see: all males!
- a male Reed Bunting seen fly-catching. I suppose there is no reason why they would not but rather unexpected
- no moths again
- my first butterfly of the year here and my first Speckled Wood of the year
- several Bee-flies (Bombylius major)
- my first wasp sp. of the year, probably a Red Wasp (Vespula rufa)
- a Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) again

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 5 Wood Pigeons only
- 157 Jackdaws only
- 6 Rooks

Hirundine counts
- 5 Sand Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 14 (10) Chiffchaffs
- no Willow Warblers
- 8 (7) Blackcaps

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 8 (6♂) Mallard
- 5 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 8 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 26 Coots yet again

Did I mention the misty start.

The mist cleared quite quickly.

 Sunrise anyone?

The copse the other side of Castle Farm Way gets in the way of the rising sun.

Or is this more dramatic?

Despite the sun it was a frosty start for these nettle leaves

Very arty: a Great Crested Grebe on fire.

While this one looks rather angry and bedraggled.

Not my best shot but you can see the rather strange feet / paddles as it scratches itself.

Perseverance pays off_1: I managed to stalk this Stock Dove and get a few shots. Here we note no white neck patch and no white in the bend of the folded wing. We also see a black bar across the folded wing which Wood Pigeon lacks.

“Are you looking at me?”


Perseverance pays off_2: at long last the Mistle Thrush was in an exposed position with no branches in the way and lit by the sun.

He even had a sing ...

... from both sides.

Bullfinches are very shy and difficult to get close-enough for a decent shot. Here a male rather too far away.

Here another male Bullfinch not quite so far away.

And perseverance pays off_3. Here is a much closer male eating some Wild Cherry buds – as they do.

A wasp sp. It seems to have no yellow at the base of the antenna and only 2 spots on a thorax that is rather hairy and is therefore likely to be a Red Wasp (Vespula rufa).

My initial thought was a hoverfly but the antenna are too long so it must be a bee sp. The nearest I can get is the cuckoo-bee Bombus (Psythirus) campestris but ....

The side-elevation view.

Can’t resist another Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major).

These are the first Lady's Smock / Cuckooplant / Milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis) I have found around the lake. Already the plants look rather infested with some parasite.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:15 – 08:00

(39th visit of the year)

- the over-flying Grey Heron seemed rather too high to have been coming from or going to the main lake
- one of the Coots sitting some way from the water in the grass to the N of the water: unwell
- change-around for the warblers: most of the Willow Warblers moved on; now more Blackcaps
- 2 different Coal Tits in song here as well: unusual for me to record two on any visit here and with two at the lake quite a ‘Coal Tit morning’
- first Common Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis) noted

Birds noted flying over today
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Jackdaw

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

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (other presumed on nest)
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 20 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 11 (10♂) Mallard once more
- 20 (12♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 5 Moorhens
- 17 Coots

“Shut your beak, dear!”. This Coal Tit was working the top of the Alder tree and managing to sing all the while.


Well: nearly all the while.

 You should all be able to ID this Chiffchaff now ....

Even though with a change of light the supercilium looks more pronounced. Not crisp-enough for a Willow Warbler though.

Another new flower for the year: Common Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis).

Am usually too late at The Flash for a sunrise so this atmospheric shot will have to do.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- 2 Moorhens on the lower pool
- singing Chiffchaff around the lower pool again
- singing Blackcap around the lower pool today

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
4 Great Crested Grebes
3 Cormorants
2 Grey Herons
2 Greylag Geese
11 Tufted Duck
4 Blackcaps
4 Chiffchaffs
284 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes
30 Tufted Ducks
2 Blackcap
2 Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
(Ed Wilson)

The Wrekin
Stock Dove
Willow Warbler
Common Redstart
Pied Flycatcher
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
5 Chiffchaffs
2 Little Grebes 
5 Great Crested Grebes 
1 Heron 
7 Tufted Ducks 
1 Great Black-backed Gull 
28 Redwings
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebes 
1 Canada x ? hybrid goose 
1 Pochard 
59 Tufted Duck 
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool
6 Great Crested Grebes 
14 Tufted Duck 
(Ed Wilson)

Trench Middle Pool
2 Great Crested Grebe 
2 Cormorant 
7 Tufted Ducks 
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
7 Lapwings
2 Skylarks
5 Chiffchaffs
2 Blackcap
1 Willow Warbler
1 Wheatear
2 Jays
(Martin and Ian Grant)

Nedge Hill
5 Wheatear
4 Common Redstart
Ring Ouzel
(John Isherwood)

The Wrekin
2 Tree Pipits
1 Pied Flycatcher
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
Male Common Redstart
Little Owl
(Pete Nickless)

Priorslee Lake
1 Pintail x Mallard
4 Tufted Duck
2 Meadow Pipit
5 Blackcap
7 Chiffchaff
3 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)

Nedge Hill
Ring Ouzel
8 Fieldfare
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake
6 Great Crested Grebes
1 Heron
3 Cormorants
6 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks 
5 Stock Doves
105 Wood Pigeons
4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
9 Sand Martin.
14 Swallow
4 Meadow Pipits
20 Wrens
21 Robins
23 Blackbirds
1 Blackcap
8 Chiffchaffs
4 Willow Warblers
16 Magpies
1 Jay
15 Greenfinches
2 Siskins
6 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson, Martin Adlam)