15 Jun 16

The Flash: 07:00 – 07:20

Sunrise: 04:44 BST yet again

13°C – 15°C Low cloud and very dull start; some brighter spells developed; more rain in the area later. Light NE wind. Moderate visibility

(63rd visit of the year)

- the Mute Swans back and present OK: I gather that the cob left the lake and became trapped by the wiring erected to dissuade the geese from exiting the water and fouling the grass: but all ended happily and the whole family was mixing happily with the geese today
- influx of drake Tufted Ducks: not shared with the main lake
- the fly-over Cormorant may just have been leaving the water – my view was blocked at the time
- the last remaining juvenile Coot seems to have been lost: both its parents were seen around the nest site without any juvenile in tow
- a Willow Warbler was singing on the island today: I last heard a bird here on 28 May when it had been singing at the top end of so-called squirrel alley for some weeks. Same bird between broods?

Birds noted flying over
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Jackdaws

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 House Martin

Warblers seen / heard around the water: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaff
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler
- 2 (2) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 + 6 Mute Swans
- 44 Greylag Geese
- 1 Greylag x Canada Goose
- 175 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral-goose
- 14 (13♂) Mallard again
- 9 (8♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Great Crested Grebe yet again
- 2 Moorhens
- 14 Coots

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake: 07:25 – 09:25

(98th visit of the year)

More beaten-down vegetation indicates another deluge here yesterday: at Newport we had only a little light rain even though the thunder rumbled around for a few hours. There were flooded roads about 2 miles away. How this will affect the breeding season remains to be seen – heavy rain washes insects and their eggs off the vegetation making food harder to glean; and juveniles that have yet to get full waterproofing can die of hyperthermia

- positively confirmed the presence of a brood of at least two Great Crested Grebes juveniles this morning
- just 1 Swift raced through
- Goldcrests have been singing and calling for several weeks now: today I saw my first confirmed juveniles
- the lone Barn Swallow was not apparently one of the usual visitors from the village but flew off E towards the farms there
- neither Garden Warbler nor Common Whitethroat seen or heard on a rather quiet morning
- single Muslin Moth, Common Swift and Map-winged Swift moths on the lamps: the last being a new species for me
- 1 Silver-ground Carpet macro moths and 2 Common Marble (Celypha lacunana) micro moths flushed from the grass
- my first Pandemis cerasana (aka Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix) micro moth this year on the lamps
- my first ‘grass moth’ of the year – a Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-veneer) also on the lamps
- single Blue-tailed and Common Blue damselflies on a cool overcast morning
- another Harlequin Ladybird
- the Giant Hogweed has just started to flower

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 7 Wood Pigeons
- 4 Jackdaws
- 55 Rooks
- 2 Starlings

Hirundines etc. seen here today
- 1 Swift
- 1 Barn Swallow again

Warblers seen / heard around the lake: numbers in brackets are singing birds
- 7 (7) Chiffchaffs again
- 10 (8) Blackcaps
- 4 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 2 Mute Swans
- 12 (10♂) + 2 duckling Mallard
- 6 (4♂) Tufted Duck again
- 1 Grey Heron
- 7 + 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens
- 33 + 4 juveniles (3 broods) Coots

There is a real difference in the size of the two cygnets here.

Not a very good shot at some distance and against the light but this was the only time that two (at least) juvenile Great Crested Grebes were visible on their parent’s back.

When the bird was closer and the light better the feathers were all fluffed up preventing more than a small head and beak being visible.

Ugh: with my (dirty) size 9 Wellington boot for scale the remains of a bird I found on the dam this morning. Hard to be sure but my money is on an adult Black-headed Gull: mainly from the leg colour and the black in the wings. With all the feathering gone the bill shape is I think rather misleading. It is definitely not the first-year bird that looked rather unwell last week – I found a wing only of that on Monday: and the red, rather than orange, leg indicates this is an adult.

This is the micro moth Pandemis cerasana (aka Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix) – one of the easier to identify.

My first ‘grass moth’ of the year: this is Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-veneer).

This is a White Ermine moth: a female Muslin Moth is confusingly similar but with feathered antenna this has to be a male (male Muslin Moths are grey).

Yesterday a Common Swift moth was upside down in the foot-tunnel. Today there was a much less well-marked specimen on one of the lamps. Females are typically less marked but the ‘tail’ sticking out between the wings makes this a male.

A very similar-looking moth but note the wavy marking towards the rear of the wing: this identifies it as a Map-winged Swift moth – many specimens have a very complex wing pattern this one being of the form gallicus. The chequered fringe of the wings is unique amongst map moths. This is a new species for me.

This flower is I think Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans), or something similar, sprawling across part of the dam (cinquefoils freely hybridise with tormentils). Here we see a flower and a seed head.

And here trailing across the dam-face showing the feathery leaves – ignore the brambles!

On the N side some new orchid spikes have shot up since yesterday. Very pale and slightly differently marked but these too seem to be Common Spotted Orchid (Orchis (Dactylorhiza) fuchsii).

Certainly the leaves are ‘spotted’.

The first umbel of Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) are just opening. A plant to be careful of – the ‘sap’ can cause a very painful burning sensation. The dead stem of one of last year’s Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) plants in the foreground.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake

 5+ Willow Tits in the trees alongside the M54 slip-road
(J W Reeves)

Priorslee Lake
Just 2 Mute Swan cygnets remaining, possible Mink in the area
(Martin Adlam)