4 Aug 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

14.0°C > 17.0°C: Well-broken areas of cloud to start with light shower at 06:45: sky cleared for a while c.08:00 before more puffy clouds developed. Moderate W wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 05:32 BST

Because it is a species wholly associated with water I am in future going to include Kingfishers in the counts from the water bodies – when seen!

Priorslee Lake: 04:35 – 06:15 // 07:20 – 09:05

(90th visit of the year)

Best today was a (Common) Redshank calling and circling over the lake at 06:15. My 97th species here in 2017

Other notes from today:
- many (most?) of the inbound geese and those on the lake for a while were likely some of those seen outbound
- the Black-headed Gulls were coming and going as usual with eventually >350. Earlier I noted just 63 present with 36 of these being juveniles – an unusually high proportion
- very noisy Green Woodpecker heard both in the Ricoh copse and presumed same along the N side
- three Barn Swallows at 08:30 in the SW area were likely local birds
- at least 46 House Martins high over the estate at 06:15 – so perhaps breeding has been very successful this year. Only 4 seen over the lake later
- a hirundine sp., not specifically identified, appeared to be leaving its roost in the NW reeds
- after weeks with no / very small numbers of Jackdaws and Rooks a party of 171 Rooks with 3 Jackdaws flew on the usual route at 05:29: a few more birds followed later. Where have they been? And why change?
- no moths on the lamps today
- 9 pipistrelle-type bats seen today. Still no sign of the larger bats that are usually around pre-dawn to the N and E of the water
- Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown butterflies – the latter my first of the year here (more of a reflection on my trips away I feel)
- a Brown Hawker dragonfly and a Common Blue damselfly
- the hoverflies Eristalis tenax (Common Drone-fly) and Volucella pellucens (Pellucid Fly)
- a hairy bee, possibly Megachile willughbiella (or Leaf-cutter Bee)
- a very small wasp sp., unidentified

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 129 Greylag Geese: 78 (9 groups) outbound; 51 (10 groups inbound
- 233 Canada Geese: 160 (24 groups) outbound; 73 (7 groups inbound
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 28 Wood Pigeons
- 10 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 4 Jackdaws
- 181 Rooks
- 1 Pied Wagtail yet again

Hirundine etc. seen
- 3 Barn Swallows
- >46 House Martins
- 1 unidentified hirundine sp.

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 6 (0) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (0) Willow Warbler
- 4 (0) Blackcaps
- 1 (0) Common Whitethroat
- 3 (0) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 3 Greylag Geese
- 14 Canada Geese
- 21 (?♂) Mallard
- 3 (2♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 7 + 5 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes again
- 9 + 6 (4 broods) Moorhens
- 41 + 11 (? broods) Coots
- 1 Common Redshank over
- >350 (>40 juveniles) Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 1 Kingfisher

Two Greylag Geese leave the lake after stopping off while returning from the fields.

Detail of the upper-wing pattern is better shown on this lone bird. The rather strange head mark is shadow!

Designed to confuse: many of the geese parties this morning had mixed composition – here we see 5 Greylag Geese in with 7 Canada Geese.

Three of the four juvenile Great Crested Grebes with an adult.

The other adult brings breakfast.

A record shot only showing the white wing panel diagnostic of Common Redshank. The call is too which was what first alerted me.

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. We see some of the effect of the moult in to winter plumage with the yet to be moulted outer primaries much longer than the regrowing inner primaries and outer secondaries. The white ‘spot’ in the wing is the white tip of the regrowing secondaries. Note the head has already started to acquire the winter streaking.

The extent of the wing moult is more apparent in this view.

A different bird with only a loose feather to suggest moulting. No head-spotting on this one yet though the evil-looking bill has lost some of its breeding colour. I suppose those legs are yellow – it is hard to get the exposure right on black and white birds in full sun.

Peering out at me was this Song Thrush: just 3 singing this morning as song continues too fade away. Is that a hint of a yellow gape indicating a juvenile?

A rather scruffy Chiffchaff apparently still with baby feathers on its breast. Note too the lack of tail so I guess this bird is not long fledged.

It was attempting to preen but it still looks rather scruffy.

Note here there seems to be well-defined supercilium, but only in front of the eye.

A  change of angle of the light and the supercilium now seems to extend behind the eye.

Well buried in the foliage but still identifiable as a Reed Warbler by the dagger-like bill and sloping forehead.

A female Common Blue Damselfly. The thick stripe down the back of the thorax is, on this individual, split. Not sure whether this is unusual or not.

A bit of a shadow over one wing, otherwise a very smart Speckled Wood butterfly.

A rather faded and worn specimen: a Meadow Brown butterfly. Larger than a Gatekeeper also distinguished by having a single white dot in the black circle on the forewing.
Head-on view.

This hoverfly is a female Eristalis tenax – a very common and widespread species.

Not showing too well here is the long antenna that suggests this is a bee rather than a hoverfly. I do not have any books on UK bees: neither do I have much experience. A trawl around the excellent Nature Spot web site suggests it might be Megachile willughbiella, a leaf-cutter bee.

The work on the dam and surrounding area to install sensors and monitor goes on: this is the small compound.

.. that has now sprouted a ‘standard’ Health and Safety notice much of which seems entirely irrelevant.

Even better, the board with Severn-Trent’s rules has been appropriated to denote the Fire Assembly point! It is outdoors for heavens sake. No wonder Health and Safety gets a bad press.

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- adult Moorhen seen on grass around upper pool

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 06:25 – 07:15

(69th visit of the year)

A report from one of the locals suggests that the three cygnets that have not made it thus far seemed to be weak birds that the adults just abandoned each in turn

I was also told of an ‘all-white heron a few days ago’ – perhaps a Little Egret?

For anyone interested there is a Facebook group run by residents of the estate. Mainly the usual concerns about dog pooh, wanting reliable tradesmen and reporting white-van-man snooping about. But some snippets on the wildlife. More Here

Notes from here
- most of the geese likely away feeding in the fields while I was walking around here
- in addition to the Coot totals a very recently dead adult bird was floating in the SW area – a bird has seemed rather lethargic here for some days
- Sparrowhawk, female on size, seen carrying prey across the N end
- the Barn Swallow briefly: my first here since 13 May when probably a late Spring arrival. It seems none has bred in the area this year
- Wednesday’s large group of fungus, possibly Mycena aetites (aka Drab Bonnet) just about decayed
- several Leiobunum rotundum (harvestmen) on the lamps

Birds noted flying over
- 6 Feral Pigeons
- 7 Wood Pigeons

Hirundine etc. noted
- 1 Barn Swallow
- 4 House Martins

Warblers noted
- 4 (0) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 1 Greylag Goose
- 22 Canada Geese
- 1 white feral goose
- 21 (14♂) Mallard
- 13 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 + 3 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 2 + 4 (3 broods) Moorhens
- 11 + 5 (4 broods) Coots
- 23 (5 juvenile) Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Kingfisher

(Ed Wilson)

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

Trench Lock Pool
4 Common Terns
(Dave Tromans)

Priorslee Lake
Green Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Common Terns
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Black-tailed Godwit
Little Grebe
(Ed Wilson)