10 - 29 Jun 14

No sightings reported over this period.

9 Jun 14

Atcham: Pink-footed Goose still with Canada Geese (Jenni Hood)

8 Jun 14

Atcham: Pink-footed Goose with Canada Geese (Jenni Hood)

7 Jun 14

No sightings in today.

6 Jun 14

Priorslee Lake: 10:45am – 12:05pm

17.0°C > 18.5°C. medium high cloud and hazy sun: Force 3 SE wind; good visibility

(65th visit of the year)

Unable to make an early visit but decided on a visit during the middle of the day to try and add some butterfly species to the site year list – and failed to see a single butterfly. Not sure why – it was certainly warm-enough (>10°C) and there was hazy if not direct sun. There was a brisk SE wind but that did not deter the 100s of damselflies.

Nothing much of note with the sailing boats probably deterring anything other than the residents.

A few insects of note
Added Blue-tailed Damselfly to my site year-list
Added the moth Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) to my site year-list
Several Red-and-Black Froghoppers (Cercopis vulnerata)
A female Cheilosia pagana

4 +3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
2 Cormorants
2 + 2 Swans
4 (2) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
2 Moorhens
25 + 12 (4 broods) Coots
1 Swallow

A so-called mating-wheel of Common Blue Damselflies.

This looks like a bumble bee sp. about to leave the Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris). Oddly though there is no sign of pollen-sacs or pollen sticking elsewhere to the body so perhaps it is a parasitic Cuckoo-Bee. Identification of bees is a nightmare with size and markings both variable.

This is the underside of a Silver-ground Carpet. Note the feathered antennae indicating this is a male. The antenna are used for detecting the pheromones given off by the females and the hairier they are the more sensitive they are. Some species can detect females at distances of several kilometres. One wonders what the many and varied artificial smells man manufacturers and uses does to this mechanism.

This a Red-and-Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) [NB: the generic name is often also (mis?) quoted as Cercopsis]. And, yes they can be orange rather than red. And are also known as Black-and-red froghopper – depends on your perspective I suppose.

and the other end.

This beetle looks to be a Leistus sp. One very common species is Leistus ferrugineus but that has red legs as well as a brownish / orange body and this clearly has black legs. So ...

A juvenile Long-tailed Tit – until it moults in July / August it will show an all-dark head.

Another view showing some still-growing feathers. The red eye-ring seems to be more prominent at this age.

This a Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moth. Common on nettles and easily found in daytime.

A male Blue-tailed Damselfly. More slender than many other damselflies. While the Common Blue Damselfly has a blue tail it has some blue on the other body segments. A Blue-tailed Damselfly can often be recognised in flight because it is one of the few species where the wings beat slowly-enough to make it look like a helicopter.

 A small hoverfly: not much to go on here, but

From the side some body-markings can be ascertained. I have had this identified for me and it is a female Cheilosia pagana. I seems the antenna of females are diagnostic. A new species for my growing list of hoverflies, but a long way to go ..
I know I did this yesterday but an upgrade – a male Red-eyed Damselfly.

(Ed Wilson)

5 Jun 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:22am – 6:05am // 7:05am – 8:55am

8.5°C > 18.5°C. broken medium-level cloud moving away; a few puffy clouds later: feeling fresh in Force 3 W breeze; good visibility.

(65th visit of the year)

Best were the 2 Oystercatchers that called as they flew over going S at 7:05am: my first of the year here. Perhaps failed / non-breeding birds from the flooded fields near Wall Farm?

Almost more unusual were 5 House Sparrows in the Ricoh hedge at the W end. From my recording area I can occasionally hear this species from the gardens in the estate. It is at least 5 years since I have seen birds actually around the lake.

Other notes
Only 3 juvenile Great Crested Grebes: the loss of another is confirmed.
2 drake Tufted Ducks: again did much flying about but never looked like flying out.
A pair of Moorhens with 3 juveniles: adults celebrating by mating again.
In better weather the Coots were motivated to allow their juveniles out of the reeds so a higher count.
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over. 2 more stopped to try and feed on the dead Carp sp. floating in the water but there were no lesions in the corpse to allow them access and they flew off. Also a party of 42 large gulls that seemed to come off of Bayliss Pool area: there were both Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls in the group but they flew against the light and I was unable to specifically identify most of them.
7 Swifts did an apparent fly-by at 4:40am but a few minutes later more(?) started to appear over the lake and surrounding trees and eventually there were more that 60 birds, most still present at 8:45am.
1 Swallow and 4 House Martins joined the Swifts after 8:00am.
Feeding family of Nuthatches this morning.
A Treecreeper heard calling was by first since 12 April.
The Lesser Whitethroat was singing along the E side of Castle Farm Way again today.
Corvid passage almost all parties of Jackdaws this morning.
4 Silver-ground Carpet moths flushed
What was likely a Yellow Shell moth flushed but it failed to settle in view to allow confirmation.
1 Speckled Wood butterfly was my first of the year
>100 Common Blue Damselflies; at least 1 Azure Damselfly; and my first Red-eyed Damselfly in Shropshire.
1+ smaller weaker-flying damselfly but as it / they were females identification is likely to be impossible, especially as I was unable to get a photo.

4 +3 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant over
2 Grey Herons
2 + 2 Swans
1 Canada Goose
5 (2) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
2 (2) Tufted Ducks
3 + 3 (1 brood) Moorhens
18 + 12 (4 broods) Coots
2 Oystercatchers over
47 large gulls: 45 of these over
c.60 Common Swifts
1 Swallow
4 House Martins
6 (6) Song Thrushes
7 (5) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
4 (3) Common Whitethroat
1 (1) Garden Warbler
13 (10) Blackcaps
6 (6) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal: 118 Jackdaws and 27 Rooks
5 (4) Reed Buntings

Cloud beginning to break at dawn 

A young Wren – note the yellow at the gape

Not some obscure biplane but 2 drake Tufted Ducks in close formation.

The moment of truth: a damselfly emerges from its exuvia – well I suppose strictly it is emerging from its larval case to leave its exuvia (even more strictly, but rarely used these days, it is leaving its exuvium). It has yet to pump itself up and dry out. It will attain its colour, if it is a male, over several days. Females change colour through muted shades of greys and browns over weeks. At this stage identification is almost impossible – not easy with adults as we will see.

Better light this morning so I can upgrade the photo of a male Common Blue Damselfly.

This seems to be a normal brown female Common Blue Damselfly.

Which might make this a male Common Blue Damselfly yet to acquire the blue colouration. Confused? Me too!

This seems to be a female Azure Damselfly based on the pattern of the stripes on the thorax.

This damselfly seems to be a Red-eyed Damselfly which is a new for me here.

This may just be Cuckoo-spit as produced by a frog-hopper feeding on this plant. To my eyes this example looks more extensive and rather better formed in a cellular structure than usual. It is also several weeks since Cuckoo-spit was first obvious. Searching the web has failed to come up with any other explanation. There are several different species of froghopper and perhaps that is all it is.

Despite Severn-Trent strimming the vegetation on the dam last year we still have a good display of Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber). Note that some plants have pinkish flowers and others are red.

I was moved to take this photo of the 8 Mallard ducklings with their parent to see whether, from a photo, it was yet possible to sex them by bill colour. I failed because I cannot even be certain which is the adult! Counting from the left #2 looks rather like an eclipse drake and #7 like a duck which would mean there are only 7 ducklings. Gulp. Certainly #1, #3 and #5 look like they might become drakes, but ...

Mum decided to give them a flying lesson and here we can see they are almost full-winged and probably only need more practice to fully fledge.

Its must be an effort looking after all your eggs when you have put them all in one basket this size! A female spider sp. struggles to cope.

This stunning looking insect is a scorpion fly, probably Panorpa communis. From this angle you cannot see the way the head is down-turned to form a very obvious and diagnostic ‘beak’. The common name arises from the ability of males to raise their tails, in fact their genitalia, to resemble the sting of a scorpion though these flies are harmless to man.

As flies go this is almost attractive. The nearest I can get from the Collins Guide to Insects of Britain and Northern Europe is Graphomya maculata. but ...

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:15am – 6:55am

(56th visit of the year)

Tuesday’s additional Great Crested Grebe not seen.
Despite the efforts of the council to make all the eggs infertile one late clutch of Canada Geese has eluded them: just 2 goslings.
Able to make a better attempt at a count of the juvenile Coots: but where are all the adult?
Stock Dove flew over – unusual here and my first of the year at this site.

2 Great Crested Grebes
1 + 1 Swans
1 Cackling Goose
87 + 2 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
6 (6) Mallard
Only the white feral Mallard-type duck seen
3 (2) Tufted Ducks
2 Moorhen
5 +12 (3 broods) Coots
4 Common Swifts
6 House Martin
1 (1) Song Thrush
2 (2) Blackcaps
4 (2) Chiffchaffs

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 9:20am – 9:45am

(27th visit of the year)

Not much change again

Only 6 broods of Coots noted.
One of the House Martins calling as if it were a juvenile – early?
1 Speckled Wood butterfly

The counts
3 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Swans
4 + 5 (1 brood) Canada Geese
1 (1) Mallard
3 Moorhens
25 + >23 (6 broods) Coots
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
3 House Martins
2 (2) Blackcaps
1 (1) Chiffchaff

(Ed Wilson)

4 Jun 14

No sightings reported today.

3 Jun 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:24am – 5:55am // 7:00am – 7:45am

11.5°C > 15.5°C. overcast with a few breaks after 07:00: wind WSW 1; moderate, later excellent visibility.

(64th visit of the year)

Only 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe seen with one of the pairs today, but they all spent much time inside the reeds and the other juvenile may have been hiding.
5 drake Tufted Ducks, flying and chasing around: later 4 flew off together. One of these birds (and the drake at The Flash) are starting to loose the bright white flanks of breeding plumage and already entering eclipse-type plumage. Presumably non-breeders.
5 single Lesser Black-backed Gulls over.
Short visits by Swifts in 1's and 2's.
1 Swallow, presumably from Priorslee Village area briefly over the SW grassy area.
Song is starting to diminish in both volume and frequency.
The Song Thrush that can make Swift-like screams is now able to incorporate snatches of both Nightingale (the ‘lu-lu-lu’ crescendo in its song) and Tree Pipit (the ‘siii-siii-siii ending flourish). Strange as Song Thrush is not noted as a mimic but I have watched it make these sounds. None of the other Song Thrushes seems to have this ability.
Now 4 singing Reed Buntings.
3 Silver-ground Carpet moths again flushed.
2 different moths on the operational street lamp: a White Ermine and a male Ghost Moth.
5 spikes of Common Spotted Orchids seem to be new since yesterday.
One adult Moorhen on the lower pool between the lake and The Flash had walked across Priorslee Avenue and was feeding on the well-manicured short turf alongside the Ricoh approach drive rather than the unkempt long grass alongside the pool.

4 +3? (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 + 2 Swans
20 Canada Geese: 16 of these over
6 (4) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
5 (5) Tufted Ducks
4 Moorhens
19 + 7 (2 broods) Coots
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
7 Common Swifts
1 Swallow
7 (7) Song Thrushes
3 (2) Reed Warbler
3 (3) Common Whitethroat
1 (1) Garden Warbler
11 (10) Blackcaps
6 (6) Chiffchaffs
Corvid roost dispersal not logged
5 (4) Reed Buntings

A White Ermine at the lake, with black-spotting scattered about the wings in no apparent pattern.

A male Ghost Moth

New this year: a Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

And the reason for the name – the heavily spotted leaves. 

And a close-up of one of the open flowers.

A male Reed Bunting: this is the partner of the female I photographed three days ago and confines himself to singing rather than the tedious business of collecting food for the youngsters.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:00am – 6:50am

(55th visit of the year)

An additional Great Crested Grebe seen lurking in the overhanging vegetation in the NW area: could there be another pair lurking here?
3 Cormorants in a group flew over here today: and going the ‘other way’ to those seen recently at the lake.
Again only the white feral Mallard: could the dark one be sitting on a nest somewhere? I have always thought both these are drakes – both have curly tail-feathers. But I have seen them trying(?) to mate, so perhaps ...
One of the adult Coots was still brooding her young so the count is incomplete.
Another Common Marbled Carpet moth on the lamps, today with my first Buff Ermine moth of the year.
Also a Clouded Silver moth on the glass of The Priorslee pub: this was my first in the Priorslee area.

3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Cormorants
1 + 1 Swans
1 Cackling Goose
74 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
11 (10) Mallard
Only the white feral Mallard-type ducks seen
2 (1) Tufted Ducks
3 Moorhen
5 +>5 (3 broods) Coots
1 Common Swift
1 House Martin
1 (1) Song Thrush
3 (3) Blackcaps
4 (3) Chiffchaffs

A Common Marbled Carpet and Buff Ermine together on a street-lamp at The Flash. Compare the regular line of black dots on the Buff Ermine with ...

A drake Tufted Duck already losing the white flanks as it moults in to eclipse-type plumage. A non-breeding bird I assume, though it is still with a duck.

A Clouded Silver moth: this was on one of the large panes of glass of The Priorslee pub and hard to ‘flash’ and avoid a reflection. The ghosting is due to the double-glazing.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 8:10am – 8:35am

(26th visit of the year)

Not much change since yesterday

Tufted Ducks gone.
7 broods of Coots with some uncounted juveniles still being brooded.

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
2 + 5 (1 brood) Canada Geese
4 (3) Mallard
3 Moorhens
33 + >21 (7 broods) Coots
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
4 Swifts
2 House Martins
2 (2) Blackcaps

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 8:40am – 9:25am

(13th visit of the year)

Other notes
Some of the Great Crested Grebe juveniles now have head-tufts.
4 Swans now. 3 adults (00C, 7FTX and an unringed bird) and 1 1st year (unringed): no sign of any pairing / breeding.
More Greylag Geese broods but small decrease in number of goslings.
Many more Canada Geese (with other unseen birds calling from the side-pool): now 2 small parties of goslings.
Tufted Duck all gone.
2 broods of Coots again, each still with just a single parent.
Grey Wagtails not seen today.

The counts
2 + 3 Great Crested Grebes
4 Swans
18 + 19 (6 broods) Greylag Geese
>96 + 10 (2 broods) Canada Geese
13 (10) + 3 (1 brood) Mallard
4 feral Mallard-type ducks
3 Moorhen
6 + 4 (2 broods) Coots
1 (1) Song Thrush
3 (3) Blackcaps
1 (1) Chiffchaff

 ‘just like Daddy’: the Greylag Goose goslings look for food!

Note how, comparatively, yellow the Canada Goose goslings are.

The 3 juvenile Great Crested Grebes with one of the parents: the back bird is starting to get some of the adult plumes even though it is still very stripe-headed.

(Ed Wilson)

2 Jun 14

Priorslee Lake: 4:25am – 5:50am // 6:40am – 7:50am

12.0°C > 14.5°C. broken medium-level cloud: wind W 0 -> 2; moderate, later good visibility.

Most unexpected today was a Willow Warbler that gave 2 songs at the W end of the lake and was not seen or heard again. My first here since the end of Spring passage on 16 April.

(63rd visit of the year)

Party of 3 Cormorants overhead again.
The cob Swan still chasing the Canada Geese: he seems to single out one particular bird to chase and ignores the other five: why? All eventually departed.
The duck Mallard and her 8 ducklings present again today.
Tufted Ducks initially: 4 flew off with just 1 pair remaining.
One new brood of Moorhens.
Two broods of Coots again this morning.
1 first-summer Black-headed Gull dropped in and out a few minutes later.
3 single Lesser Black-backed Gulls over.
Again two short visits by parties of Swifts: c.25 birds in total.
Swallow and 5 House Martins very briefly: scanned the sky but still no sign of House Martins over the estate.
Mistle Thrushes flew W together suggesting successful breeding in the area. Later a bird was singing very strongly from the Ricoh copse and another was scolding in the same area. The same birds?
The Lesser Whitethroat again heard from the Castle Farm Interchange O-about.
Goldcrest singing around the Wesley Brook bridge for the 2nd day: no sign of their being a family.
3 family parties of Long-tailed Tits with juveniles.
Also a family party of Greenfinches.
Silver-ground Carpet moths flushed.
moths on the only operational street lamp along the Teece Drive extension and the footpath alongside the Ricoh hedge: a Common Marbled Carpet and a Green Pug: this latter species was new for me in Shropshire.
Field Short-tailed Voles heard fighting in the grass.
8 spikes of Early Marsh Orchid noted.
Moorhens have successfully bred at both pools between the lake and The Flash.
Another Common Marbled Carpet moth in the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue.

4 +4 (2 broods) Great Crested Grebes
Grey Heron
2 + 2 Swans
15 Canada Geese: 6 of these over
9 (5) + 8 (1 brood) Mallard
6 (4) Tufted Ducks
4 + 2 (1 brood) Moorhens
20 + 7 (2 broods) Coots
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.25 Common Swifts
House Martins
6 (6) Song Thrushes
6 (6) Reed Warbler
1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat
6 (4) Common Whitethroat
1 (1) Garden Warbler
12 (10) Blackcaps
8 (8) Chiffchaffs
1 (1) Willow Warbler
Corvid roost dispersal: 78 Jackdaws and 75 Rooks
5 (3) Reed Buntings

Two for the price of one: two moths on the same street lamp. The lower is another Common Marbled Carpet: the upper a Green Pug. Just a feint green tinge – other than the emerald moths the green colours always fade very quickly on moths.

A Wood Pigeon constructing its nest: usually just a few twigs – enough to stop the eggs rolling away.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 6:00am – 6:35am

(54th visit of the year)

Of the 120 Canada Geese 44 flew off while I was present which give a lie to the idea that they congregate here while they are flightless during the wing moult. Also present was one dead bird – body looked undamaged by fox / dog / whatever.
1 pair of Tufted Ducks still present.
3 confirmed broods of Coot but some staying hidden.
No Blackcaps heard or seen today.
Common Marbled Carpet moth on the lamps here as well.

Great Crested Grebes
1 + 1 Swans
3 Greylag Geese
1 Cackling Goose
120 Canada Geese
The all-white feral goose
14 (12) Mallard
Only the white feral Mallard-type duck seen
2 (1) Tufted Ducks
8 +3 (2 broods) Coots
10 Common Swifts
House Martins
4 (4) Chiffchaffs

Although this looks very different from the specimen at Priorslee Lake above this too seems to be a Common Marbled Carpet moth.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 8:15am – 9:05am

(25th visit of the year)

One adult Great Crested Grebe still sitting on the nest.
1 Cormorant my first here since 20 January.
1 Grey Heron my first here since 23 January (and only my 2nd this year here).
The pen Swan is still on the nest.
The 5 Canada Geese goslings present again.
No Mallard ducklings seen: neither were the 2 resident feral Mallard.
A pair of Tufted Ducks again.
7 broods of Coots. 2 adults still sitting on nests.
A male Peregrine flew over: my 3rd record of this species here this year.
The Lesser Black-backed Gull with a damaged wing remains on the buoys but is starting its natural wing-moult and seems well able to fly.
Swifts and House Martins over the estate: on pair of Swifts seen mating on the wing.
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers: my first of the year at this site. The long-time nest-site by the Blue Pig car park was lost when the tree blew down three winters ago. Looks like they have found a new site as one seen carrying food and calling.
Spotty juvenile Robins noted.
Also family party of Blackcaps.

The counts
4 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
7 + 5 (1 brood) Canada Geese: 4 of these over
6 (6) Mallard
2 (1) Tufted Duck
2 Moorhens
36 + 21 (7 broods) Coots
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 (2) Blackcaps
2 (2) Chiffchaffs

A Grey Heron surveys the scene. Still plenty of breeding plumes – aigrettes – visible.

... can do it on one leg if needed.

This is the long-term immature Lesser Black-backed Gull at Trench. Here the damaged left wing seems just to be missing some primaries and the outer secondaries seem to be new feathers with pale edges (or are they new inner primaries).

But note here how it is holding the wing as it flies – it looks bent at the carpal joint.

Here we can see that there are new feathers in the right wing also. Here they certainly look like inner primaries that are still growing as the secondaries look complete. There are obviously many more missing primaries on the left wing.

Here again we see the left wing being held at a slightly strange angle. This is presumably the reason the bird is staying here and reluctant to fly any distance.
(Ed Wilson)