10 Jun 15

Priorslee Lake: 4:18am - 9:19am

Telford sunrise: 4:45am

4.5°C > 10.5°C. Started clear with increasing puffy clouds after c.7:30am. Light E wind, increasing moderate later. Very good visibility.

Best today was my first-ever Hummingbird Hawkmoth for the lake (and possibly my first in Shropshire). Seen feeding on the Valerian on top of the dam.

Not in the same league was my first House Sparrow this year in my recording area – but only because they have re-opened the footpath along the E side of the new school. The bird was in one of the few hawthorns left untouched between the playing field and the school and therefore some way away from the nearest ‘house’. Interestingly my only similar sighting last year was on 05 June.

(79th visit of the year)

- 3 immature Mute Swans visited for a while but were soon seen off. They all had some brown feathers in their wings and even though the amount varied I think they were all 1st year birds.
- pair of Tufted Duck when I arrived: not see subsequently. Not the same drake as yesterday’s bird – this was a 1st year bird.
- single juvenile Coots from brood #3: 2 juveniles from brood #6.
- I did not see the group of Black-headed Gulls until they had passed over and could not age them: it would be unusual for adults to be seen here before the first failed / non-breeders return.
- most of the large gulls were against the very early light and impossible to ID: many seemed to have come from a local source, perhaps Bayliss Pools alongside the M54.
- first Swifts arrived at 4:25am and small numbers appeared / disappeared until after 7:00am when c.25 gathered to hunt often low over the dam and S side grass, again hurtling past inches away from me.

- many more spikes of orchids appearing.
- the Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea was new for me here this year.
- Common Blue butterfly again on the dam-top.
- Blue-tailed Damselflies.
Generally too cool and windy for many insects today.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 10 Greylag Geese (2 parties)
- 15 Canada Geese (4 parties)
- 2 (1♂) Mallard
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 25 large gulls
- 9 Cormorants (1s and 2s)
- 1 Stock Dove
- 1 Collared Dove
- 193 Jackdaws
- 140 Rooks
- single Starling for 4th time!
Count of hirundines etc
- > 15 Swifts
- 2 Swallows
- 4 House Martins
Count of singing warblers
- 7 Chiffchaffs
- 2 Willow Warblers again
- 13 Blackcaps
- 3 Common Whitethroats
- 8 Reed Warblers
The counts from the lake area
- 5 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 7 (5♂) Mallard again
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 36 + 4 (3 broods) Coots

These are the three Mute Swans that visited the lake briefly – soon chased off. The photo reveals what I did not see at the time – all three have some brown feathering in the wings and are therefore 1st year birds.

I am sure this a bug (rather than a fly or a beetle) but cannot trace anything like this in my literature.

Here we see the way it holds its wings – bug-like?
It transpires that this is a Green-legged Saw-fly, Tenthredo mesomelas

We saw this from my photos from RSPB Reserve at Ham Wall: now it is at the lake – it seems to be the Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea which I have not noted (identified?) here in previous years.

This orchid is unusually pale. They do darken a bit after they open and before they fade with age but this is an unusually pale specimen.

Whereas this orchid isn’t! I could make some smart remark about it being a bee orchid or, perhaps an orchid bee, but neither is true even though I am not 100% certain of the ID of either.

Here is the Hummingbird Hawkmoth at the Valerian flowers on the dam. The exposure here is 1/320th second and that is inadequate to begin to freeze the motion of the wings – all we see is the blur of orange at the base of the wing. Note the very long tongue.

And again: no idea how the tongue bends like that!

Or how it rolls it up to put it away!

This perhaps gives the best idea of the position of the colour on the wings and of the body markings.

(Ed Wilson)


Woodhouse Lane: 6:45am - 7:55am

(7th recent visit)

- 2 Red-legged Partridges flushed from along the lane were the first I have seen here this year – only heard previously.
- 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers together: at least 2 juveniles.
- at least 12 Linnets this morning was an excellent count by recent standards: as usual they did not allow close-approach and I was unable to age the birds to see whether the increase was due to successful breeding or just returning failed breeding birds.
- Reed Bunting still singing in the oilseed rape field: there may be two as I have heard and seen birds at both the top and bottom of the field, though never on the same day.

- the first Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) flower is just beginning to open.
Selected other counts
- 3 Sky Larks in song
- 4 Chiffchaffs in song
- 2 Blackcaps in song again
- 6 Common Whitethroats with just 1 singing – family party
- 2 Yellowhammer in song and 2 more heard.

It may only be a Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) but it deserves a better name for adding its bright scarlet to the hedgerow.

The first Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) just opening.

A magnificent Ash along Woodhouse Lane. There are a number of large trees but no younger trees to replace them when they inevitably die. All the hedges are now flailed and no trees are allowed to develop. Our ‘traditional’ landscape will inevitably change as a result. Mind you if they build the houses for which planning in being (has been?) sought on this part of Telford it will change a lot more and sooner.

White-tailed bumblebee in a buttercup: the rather unusually hairy-looking head is masking the first body segments making specific identity even harder than it would be otherwise.

(Ed Wilson)


Devil's Dingle: 7:15am

- 2 Little Ringed Plover
- 2 Oystercatcher
- 2 Sedge Warbler

- 4 Fox a vixen and three well developed cubs
- 6 Fallow Deer

(John Isherwood)


River Severn, Buildwas: 8:30am

- 3 Little Ringed Plover
- 1 Raven

(John Isherwood)