13 Jun 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

11.5°C > 13.5°C: Mainly cloudy, clearance to the W later. Light SW wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 04:45 BST again

Priorslee Lake: 04:42 – 05:55 // 06:50 – 07:55

(76th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- the Mallard ducklings very obvious today
- a juvenile Coot seen today: a single bird and not from a very recent brood – no red on the head: a long was from fledging though
- the two Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived simultaneously from different directions, circled for a while and then flew on
- the usual party of Swifts early but all gone by 07:00. Perhaps they could see the clearance to the W and had headed off for better feeding weather
- the Garden Warbler back on his branch alongside the W end footpath. Yesterday’s new bird still singing away. The male of the paired birds in the NW area was singing intermittently and the female heard calling
- two Sedge Warblers both carrying food this morning
- no moths on the new street lamps
- >20 small moths flushed from the grass early on. All those I identified were Timothy Tortrix moths
- generally too dull and cool for insects
.... another Spotted Cranefly (Nephrotoma appendiculata) was new
.... >20 Black Snipe flies (Chrysopilus cristatus)
- Hedge Woundwort now in flower

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 2 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 10 Canada Geese (2 groups)
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Wood Pigeon
- 5 Jackdaws

Hirundine etc. counts:
- c.15 Swifts
- 2 House Martins again

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 7 (7) Chiffchaffs still
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler as usual
- 11 (8) Blackcaps
- 4 (3) Garden Warblers
- 3 (1) Common Whitethroats
- 2 (1) Sedge Warbler
- 5 (5) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 13 (10?) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 5 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 26 + 1 Coots

Four drake Mallard, all in various stages of moult in to so-called eclipse plumage. The pale bill is retained throughout so enable separation from ducks at this stage.

One of the Sedge Warblers carrying food. Note the wide, creamy supercilium that separates this species from other reed / sedge specialists – Reed, Marsh and Cetti’s Warblers.

And the other of the pair about to take-off, again showing the prominent supercilium.

This rather nicely marked small moth is a Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana). I have looked in vain for this on nettles recently – and this is not on nettles either.

From this angle it is easy to see why Empis livida is also known by the vernacular name of stilt fly. A rather evil-looking fly, especially the male with the long proboscis.

 I think this is a female Empis livida.

My best shot to date of the caddis fly Mystacides longicornis with its red eyes and long segmented antenna clearly shown. Always abundant in dancing groups at this time of the year. Takes some time to find one at rest.

When I took the picture I assumed the green on the insect was a colour-caste from the green centre of the Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) flower. But not so: it appears to be a well-camouflaged insect breaking out of its exoskeleton. No idea what it is though.

I think this slug is a Dusky Slug (Arion subfuscus). While Black Slug (Arion ater agg.) has a brown form that has coarser tubercles (the longitudinal marks on the back). Positive ID would have required me to stroke the slug as see the colour of the body mucus produced! Ugh.

The Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) has been about to flower for a while. The council’s contractors have mown the plants I was watching for fully open flowers. I found more today and this is the first fully-flowered spike.

And a closer view of one of the flowers.

 In real close-up we see the very small white flowers of Cleavers (Galium aparine).

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:00 – 06:40

(57th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the Greylag x Canada Geese back in the main group of birds
- the noisy pair of Tufted Ducks eventually took off, but whether they left or were just flying about was hard to say. Another pair/ Also two drakes, one of which was already losing its breeding plumage very white flanks
- 5 Great Crested Grebes today: an extra pair from the lake?
- 2 of the Coot broods were heard only: juveniles probably still being brooded? One of the long-term nests seemed to have been abandoned, with the parents nowhere to be seen

Birds noted flying over
- 4 Wood Pigeons
- 1 Starling

Hirundine etc. counts
- 12 Swifts
- 3 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag x Canada Geese
- 105 Canada Geese
- 1 white feral goose
- 14 (12?) Mallard
- 6 (4?) Tufted Ducks again
- 5 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhen
- 12 + >5 (5? broods) Coots

Of interest between the lake and The Flash today
- 2 Moorhens flushed from the grass near the lower pool: the immature scurried in to the pool while an adult flew to the upper pool
- Chiffchaff singing around the lower pool again.

Perhaps all is not totally lost with new LED lamps as the lake: this male Buff Ermine moth was on one of the same design at The Flash.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Flash
1 Greylag x Canada Goose
(Ed Wilson)