31 May 17

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

11.0°C > 15.5°C: Periods of medium clouds with some clear spells as well. Calm with light SE breeze later. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 04:52 BST

Priorslee Lake: 04:22 – 06:45

(70th visit of the year)

An early arrival still failed to get me in time to see any early Jackdaws passage, What I was treated to was some different warbler song
- a 3rd Garden Warbler was singing
- a Lesser Whitethroat was singing along the S side: some 10 minutes later what I assume was the same bird was heard and then glimpsed briefly in the W-end hedge
- 3 Common Whitethroats were singing
- the Sedge Warbler was singing as well
All these birds stopped singing by 05:00

Other notes from today:
- single Canada Goose on the water resisted attempts by the cob Mute Swan to shift by the simple tactic of hiding in the reeds – the swan took no notice of it when it was not visible
- initially 8 adult Great Crested Grebes, quite clearly as 4 pairs. One seen circling high overhead and then off W was presumed to be one of these though I could only locate 6 adults thereafter
- large party of at least 50 Swifts by 04:40; most gone by 05:00
- a Willow Tit was in song again: once more he seemed to be the only Willow Tit in a mixed tit flock
- two Sky Larks heard singing from ‘across the (Castle Farm) way’
- the Pied Wagtails visited the boat-launching platforms today
- at least two Mistle Thrushes heard and seen away from their usual area where the male was still singing
- one Yellowhammer also heard singing from ‘across the (Castle Farm) way’
- a large bat sp. was over the lake briefly
- a White Ermine moth was on one of the lamps
- 2 Silver-ground Carpet moths flushed from vegetation
- >30 Timothy Tortrix moths, only seen very soon after I arrived
- a large hatch of the caddis flies: I think Mystacides longicornis but I now learn there are other possibilities. My photo checks out as Mystacides longicornis
- single Blue-tailed Damselfly seen: left rather too early for insects to be flying
- several Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) plants now well over 6’ high and should start flowering soon. Several are encroaching the Wesley Brook footbridge: BEWARE as the sap of this plant can cause serious skin irritation – leave alone!

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 18 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 9 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws

Hirundine etc. counts:
- >50 Swifts
- 2 House Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 7 (7) Chiffchaffs again
- 1 (1) Willow Warblers as usual
- 12 (11) Blackcaps
- 3 (3) Garden Warblers
- 1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat (see notes)
- 5 (3) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 8 (7) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 1 Canada Goose
- 12 (8♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 6 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 3 Moorhens
- 21 Coots

Sunrise in mid-Summer: a very different place across the lake from mid-Winter.

And later with different colours.

And then as the sun actually rose.

One of the Great Crested Grebes in flight: the only possible confusion is with a diver sp. – fat chance inland! – and that would never show white in the wing.

At dawn this juvenile Pied Wagtail looked rather cold and forlorn.

A silhouetted Pied Wagtail.

A White Ermine moth: the relatively sparse spotting indicates a male, confirmed by the feathery antenna used for locating the female from her pheromones.

A silhouetted spider with some of its larder: not sure of the species from this view.

Not possible to get good shots of dancing caddis flies so this one in a web will have to do for ID – it is Mystacides longicornis.

This is what dancing caddis flies look like!

Another flower: I will have to come back to this – no time to do the research at the moment. Enables me to add greenfly to the list!

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:50 – 07:40

(51st visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the 7 cygnets still OK and prepared to upend and even dive to reach food provided
- a large hatch of the caddis fly Mystacides longicornis here as well
birds noted flying over
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 2 Starlings

Hirundine etc. counts
- 4 Swifts
- House Martins heard only

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 2 (2) Chiffchaffs yet again
- [no Blackcaps]

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 47 Canada Geese
- 1 white feral goose
- 13 (11♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 18 + 8 (4 broods) Coots

With persistence: here we see two of the cygnets upending.

And now diving – I am sure adult Mute Swans cannot dive!

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- both pools are rather overgrown making observation difficult: at least 2 Moorhens heard on the upper pool
- singing Blackcap the only warbler this morning

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 07:57 – 08:35 // 09:20 – 09:23

(21st visit of the year)

Notes from here
- good count of new cygnets
- geese only seen when I dropped by on my way back from Middle Pool
- small brood of three well-grown Mallard ducklings
- very low number of adult Coots and several birds located on nests. Some juveniles, though number well below normal for here
- one immature Lesser Black-backed bird briefly circled very low before moving on
- just a single Swift here
- House Martins heard high over but could not locate them
- a singing Song Thrush was, according to my logs, the first for me at this site in 2017!
- a few Common Blue Damselflies had emerged before I left
birds noted flying over here
- 23 Feral Pigeons

Hirundine counts
- 1 Swift only
- House Martins heard

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 8 Mute Swans
- 9 Greylag Geese
- 8 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
- 1 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 + 3 (2 broods) Moorhens
- 15 + 10 (5 broods) Coots
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull briefly
- I checked the plants again and noted new species in flower here: in no particular order:
.... Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus)
.... Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
.... Smooth Sow-thistle or Milk Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
.... Hawkweed (Hieraceum brittanicum)
.... Convolvulus sp. probably Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
.... speedwell
.... Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
.... Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
.... Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.)
.... Cleavers (Galium aparine)
.... Common or Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

The Mute Swans were always ‘at the other end’: here are six of the eight cygnets.

It may only be a male Chaffinch, but ...

 Rather handsome.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 08:35 – 09:15

(17th visit of the year)

- one of the Mute Swans sitting on nest
- goslings again today with rather few surviving Canada Geese. Perhaps some were hidden on the island?
- just 1 Great Crested Grebes juvenile seen in the water; later it was tucked up at the nest site where one adult could be seen
- at least 3 broods of Coots again: one was very new so one of the previous broods seems to have disappeared
- one of the Grey Wagtails seen in a tree – suggests nesting here
amongst the newly identified flowers here (see below) was a first in the Telford area
- Ragged-Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)

Birds noted flying over here
- 9 Greylag Geese (probably the birds later at Trench Lock, though they were not going that way)
- 2 Jackdaws

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swan (one on nest)
- 22 + 11 (4? broods) Greylag Geese
- 47 + 2 (1 brood) Canada Goose
- 18 (16♂) Mallard
- 1 + 1 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 11 + 8 (3 broods) Coots
- I checked the plants again and noted other new species in flower here: in no particular order:
.... Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)
.... Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)
.... Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
.... Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata)
.... Dog Rose (Rosa canina agg.)
.... Red Stem Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
.... Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus)
.... Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
.... Common or Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
.... Hawkweed (Hieraceum brittanicum)
.... Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
.... Common Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
.... Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris)

A female Grey Wagtail.

Here calling.

Something you do not often see – I cannot recall doing so: a Grey Wagtail in a tree. I conclude she has a nest there somewhere.

This is Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca): and it has a lot of ‘free-loaders’ as well as cuckoo spit (caused by froghopper nymphs).

And this is Ragged-Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi): I always try and ‘string’ this species whenever I see scruffy Red Campion but, as so often, when you see the real thing there is no debate.

This is likely Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris) though there are some similar less-common species.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Long Lane, Wellington
13 Ringed Plover
2 Dunlin
(JW Reeves)

30 May 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

11.5°C > 14.5°C: Mostly cloudy. Moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility
Sunrise: 04:53 BST

Priorslee Lake: 05:37 – 06:50 // 07:50 – 09:22

(69th visit of the year)

The Mute Swans have lost one of their five cygnets: not an uncommon event but when the brood was rather small it could be significant
other notes from today:
- 2 Tufted Ducks were flying off E as I arrived; later a pair were on the water but these left (again?). Assumed all the same birds
- a Collared Dove flew over: for some reason I have recorded fewer than usual this year even though there are birds around the estate as usual
- a Great Spotted Woodpecker was getting very angry with a Grey Squirrel near where I think the birds are nesting. If I were the squirrel I would be worried about that bill!
- a Sedge Warbler was seen interacting with a Reed Warbler that was stripping last year’s dead reed stems, presumably for nesting material. A non-singing Sedge Warbler is a positive indication that it is attempting to breed here – something that does not happen every year
- no fewer than 7 singing Song Thrushes this morning: also 3 others together were likely a family group
- as last year an adult Pied Wagtail was on the dam-face feeding 2 yellow-toned juveniles. I suspect the breeding site is across the M54 in the industrial estate somewhere
- Reed Buntings seem to be holding 4 breeding territories
- a Common Swift moth was a welcome sight on the pole of one of the lamps
- >5 Silver-ground Carpet moths flushed from vegetation
- both Black Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus cristatus) and the snipe fly Rhagio scolopaceus seen again
- more new(ly identified) flowers noted this morning included
.... Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
- one or more species of fungus – neither specifically identified as yet

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 3 Canada Geese (1 group)
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 1 Collared Dove
- 3 Jackdaws
- 1 Rook

Hirundine etc. counts:
- 14 Swifts
- 6 House Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 7 (7) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warblers still
- 9 (9) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Garden Warblers still
- 1 (0) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (0) Sedge Warbler
- 9 (6) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 6 (3♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks (see notes)
- 5 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens
- 26 + 1 (1 brood) Coots

The duck Mallard with her well-grown ducklings. Looking at their bills we see they will be two drakes and two ducks – the ducks have brown along the sides of the bill (#s 2 & 4).

This is a juvenile Wood Pigeon. They lack the white neck-patch of the adults but they do have white in the bend of the folded wing to distinguish them from the slightly smaller (more stocky!) Stock Dove. We cannot see that feature from this angle: it was obvious when it flew away.

Cannot resist: one of seven singing Song Thrushes this morning.

Making sure it is heard in all directions!

Remember: no obvious features is the hallmark of Garden Warbler. When you hear the song there is no mistake.

Here we see a Reed Warbler collecting nesting material – the stripped stems of last year’s reeds. These birds are rather late nesters as they need to build in new-growth reeds and time their broods so they can fatten up for Autumn migration on reed aphids.

A mouthful!

Not entirely sure what this juvenile Great Tit was up to, tugging away at the fluffy heads of last year’s Great Reedmace (Bulrush). Several were doing it. Were they after the seeds? or insects inside them?

An adult Pied Wagtail with a juvenile in the foreground on the dam.

A closer shot of a juvenile showing the eggy beak and rather blurred markings.

On some individuals the whole face is suffused yellow – not so with this bird.

An the ‘side elevation’ for completeness.

A Goldfinch lurking in the damp grass.

A particularly well-marked Silver-ground Carpet moth.

Interesting: this moth was rather ‘in the dark’ so I chose to use flash. That has resulted in the water droplets sparkling so as to obscure the real marks.

I tried again hoping I could hold the camera steady: it revealed a Common Swift moth – all other species of swift moth would be more patterned though all are somewhat variable.

A rather better shot of the Snipe fly Rhagio scolopaceus.

And a ‘side elevation’. Ought to be a ‘stilt’ fly – now they do have long legs! (I think this just might be a different species, but I cannot be sure of the sex as from this angle we cannot see whether the eyes meet).

I have tried here to show the very small flowers of Common or Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) but they really don’t show too well.
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) seems a reasonable name. Does dock have particular properties to assuage nettle stings or will rubbing with any ‘soft’ plant have the same effect? Or is it all in the mind anyway?

Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) flowers.

This common-enough plant / weed was growing in the area disturbed by the recent O-about and lay-by roadworks. It looks rather different in close-up: Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris).

A forget-me-not sp. Growing at the end of the dam it could be any of Common, Wood or Water Forget-me-not and they are not easy to separate. Looking at the leaves I am inclined to go for Common Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis) [separate from speedwells which only have 4 petals].

The Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) about to open.

One of the two? species of fungus this morning.

At least I assume there were two species even though there very different-looking fruiting bodies were adjacent. Possibly an age-thing?

A snail of course: another group that is rather complex. Using the very excellent Nature Spot Here as a guide I think it might be a Hairy Snail (Trochulus hispidus) – the hairs do wear off.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:00 – 07:45

(50th visit of the year)

No sight or sound of the Reed Warbler this morning.

Other notes from here
- the 7 cygnets still OK
- more Mallard visible today
- just one pair of Tufted Ducks remains. I would have thought it rather late for the other birds to be migrating
- a 3rd Great Crested Grebe: possible juvenile (s) on the back of one of the adults again
- some of the Coots seem to have been sitting on nests a very long time: it is possible that a clutch failed and they re-laid while I was away ..... Not sure how many broods as the oldest juveniles are moving well away from their nest sites
- Nuthatches calling at N end must be a separate family to those seen between the lake and The Flash – see below
- noisy parties of Long-tailed Tits at each end of the water: both included juveniles
birds noted flying over
- 2 Feral Pigeons

Hirundine etc. counts
- 18 Swifts
- 3 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 25 Canada Geese
- [the white feral goose has disappeared again]
- 16 (15♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck
- 3 + ? Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 18 + 6 (4? broods) Coots

One of the many juvenile Long-tailed Tits dashing about at The Flash this morning. Note the rather smudgy head-pattern and ill-defined pink eye-ring of the juveniles.

At The Flash I found this plant. I know it by the vernacular name of ‘Indian Paint Brush’, a name applied to a number of red-flowering plants. It is a form of hawkweed – Orange Hawkweed (Hieraceum brunneocroceum) – and may well be a garden escape here.

And here more in context

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap both back in usual location
- 3 Nuthatches – family party? –seen working the bottom 3’ of an isolated tree near the upper pool.

Between the lake and The Flash there were 3 Nuthatches working at the base of a large Acer tree. Here one pauses to check me out. A presumed family party though they all looked pretty much the same.

Also here I noticed my first Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.) of the year – though it must have been in flower for some while to look like this.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Long Lane, Wellington
13 Ringed Plover
2 Dunlin
(JW Reeves)