18 Jun 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

13.5°C > 21.0°C: Fine and clear. Calm. Good visibility

Sunrise: 04:44 BST

Priorslee Lake: 04:13 – 05:40 // 06:35 – 08:51

(78th visit of the year)

Best today were the three Common Terns fishing at 07:15 – my 94th species at this site in 2017. Two of them stayed a matter of minutes, the third landed on one of the buoys and stayed until at least 08:15

Notes from today:
- two groups of 6 Canada Geese over: likely the same party going out to feed and then coming back
- never saw this group of Mallard well-enough to be certain, and never at the same time as the usual group of the duck Mallard with her four well-grown juveniles, but there could have been another four present: either a duck with three fledged juveniles or four fledged juveniles together
- the pair of Tufted Duck present early only
- only 3 adult Great Crested Grebes noted: the pair with two now well-grown juveniles; and a lone bird
- one of the Coot broods was new with one brood from last Wednesday apparently no more
- 5 moths on the new street lamps – a male White Ermine, 2 Brimstone Moths, a Silver-ground Carpet and a Common Pug
- several Timothy Tortrix moths again – easily my best year for this species
- another Silver-ground Carpet flushed from the vegetation
- my first Straw Dot moth of the year flushed from vegetation
- also my first Yellow-barred Longhorn (Nemophora degeerella) moth of the year
- more Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moths
- many Large Skipper butterflies and my first Ringlets here this year
- the usual trio of Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies
- a 7-spot Ladybird; and a Harlequin Ladybird larva
- at least five species of hoverfly with Episyrphus balteatus, Helophilus pendulus and Melanostoma scalare, all confirmed. A probable Anasimyia lineata is new for me. In addition very many ‘drone flies’ hovering at eye-height but separation of the two Eristalis species – tenax and pertinax requires seeing the colour of the hind tibia. Not easy in flight!
- a small group of Semaphore flies (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus)
- the beetle Oedemera nobilis seen
- a crab spider sp. likely Misumena vatia hiding away
- the first Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) just beginning to flower

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 12 Canada Geese (2 groups)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 3 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws
- 2 Rooks
- 5 Starlings

Hirundine etc. counts:
- 4 Swifts
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 3 House Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 6 (6) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler again
- 12 (10) Blackcaps
- 3 (3) Garden Warblers again
- 5 (2) Common Whitethroats
- 2 (0) Sedge Warblers
- 6 (3) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 15 (12♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard (see notes)
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 3 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 5 + 1 (1 brood) Moorhens
- 20 + 6 (4 broods) Coots
- 3 Common Terns
 Nothing too special about the sunrise this morning – only that this was at 04:20.

My first sighting of the Common Terns was this individual fishing. The black tip to the bill and the dark ‘wedge’ on the primaries separates from similar tern species – easy to see in the photo: not so easy with the eyes.

This bill is closer here but we cannot see the wing pattern.

We can here ....

... and here as it manoeuvres for another dive.

At rest on a buoy. An Arctic Tern – the most likely alternative – would show an all blood-red bill and very short legs.

Different lighting from a different angle.

A Common Whitethroat peering out at me: did not like what it saw and disappeared.

‘Only’ a Pied Wagtail. I had to double-check this with the book. There were sounds of Pied Wagtail but there were three birds and this one looked rather long-tailed, more like a Grey Wagtail. What does a juvenile Grey Wagtail look like? Juveniles are supposed to generally have shorter tails though. So look it up. Juvenile Grey Wagtails never show pale edges to the coverts so it is ‘only’ a Pied, likely an adult moulting after breeding.

Showing all the markings of a Brimstone Moth.

Not many features visible on this pug moth to help ID: I think it is the plainest and commonest – a Common Pug.

This male White Ermine moth is sitting such that we can clearly see the feathered antenna.

Lurking in the undergrowth is this Straw Dot moth.

Also in the vegetation was this Yellow-barred Longhorn (Nemophora degeerella) moth.

The markings on the Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moth are rather variable: this one is perhaps one of the best I have seen, certainly this year.

A Large Skipper – a male with the scent mark in the wing.

A different specimen.

An out-of-focus grass stem takes the edge off this shot of a Ringlet butterfly.

With the vertical stripes on the thorax this Helophilus pendulus (The Footballer) is one of the easiest hoverflies to recognise.

However .... this rather darker-bodied specimen is something different – quite what I am still researching.

This much smaller hoverfly also has vertical stripes on the thorax and is Episyrphus balteatus (or Marmalade hoverfly).

This is the larva of the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). They can bite – they eat aphids – but it is harmless.

A 7-spot Ladybird on a Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). My first 7-spot here this year. Until the advent of the Harlequin Ladybird 2-spot and 7-spot Ladybirds were about all you ever saw.

A nice and sharp Common Blue Damselfly – for a change.

Despite being cleaved in half this Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is still managing to flower.

The giant in close-up. It shared with regular Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) the feature that the outer flowers in the umbels have larger petals.

Flies like Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). One assumes the feeling is mutual as they get pollinated

Spiders know that flies like Common Hogweed and lie in wait. I think this Misumena vatia (a crab spider). We can see six of the eight eyes. Not that easy to spot.

Rather small but look on the rock in the middle of the shot – one of a number of Semaphore flies (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus). They fly around and when they settle they open and shut their pale-tipped wings. I had never noticed them until last year: the web suggests anyone with a pond will see these.

The first flowers of Meadowsweet / Mead Wort (Filipendula ulmaria).

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 05:45 – 06:25

(59th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- even larger number of geese this morning with many Greylag Geese as well as the usual Canada Geese
- a different Greylag x Canada Goose this morning – this one needs closer scrutiny to separate from a Canada
- just 1 Great Crested Grebe today
- the Grey Wagtail overhead was my first here since 25 March (I see I logged one here on 09 June last year so perhaps these are birds dispersing after breeding)
- a tailless Pied Wagtail was on the roof of one of the houses in Derwent Drive: my first around the water this year with just two previous fly-over noted as long ago as March
- a Figure of Eighty moth on one of the lamps – new for me in Shropshire

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Jackdaws
- 1 Grey Wagtail

Hirundine etc. counts
- 3 Swifts
- 2 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 43 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 152 Canada Geese
- 1 white feral goose
- 15 (14♂) Mallard again
- 7 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 4 Moorhens
- 18 + 3 (2 broods) Coots

This Greylag x Canada Goose hardly stands out. The ‘chin-strap’ is pure Canada and it was the eye-ring that I noticed first. Then the bill – all dark on Canada – that confirmed it. The body is almost 100% Canada.

A new species of moth for me in Shropshire – it is (fairly) easy to see why this is called a Figure of Eighty.

Of interest between the lake and The Flash today
- an adult Moorhen on the grass alongside the lower pool
- the usual Chiffchaff singing around the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)

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

Trench Lock Pool 
4 drake Pochard 
(Ed Wilson)