1 Jun 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

13.0°C > 14.5°C: Initially broken medium-level cloud and somewhat hazy; as the cloud broke mist and then fog rolled in and did not begin to clear at the lake until c.07:20 – less foggy at The Flash. Calm with light SW breeze later. Good visibility to start, becoming poor, even very poor at the lake; clearing to good later

Sunrise: 04:52 BST again

Priorslee Lake: 04:10 – 05:30 // 06:20 – 07:50

(71st visit of the year)

An even earlier arrival still failed to find any early Jackdaws passage. Again warblers were singing differently from later
- I now think there may be only one Garden Warbler singing: the regular songster at the W end seems to be singing from its different roost site very early (there is another pair in the NW area but the male here is no longer singing)
- a Lesser Whitethroat was again singing initially along the S side: a few minutes probably the same bird was singing in the W-end hedge and I saw it singing in flight(!) as it flew to the NW. Later it was singing along the N side. Then by the time I left what I assume was the same bird was in the W end hedge but a few yards from where birds bred annually between 2007 (at least) and 2014
- 4 Common Whitethroats were singing: none was singing later
- the Sedge Warbler was singing uncharacteristically quietly

Other notes from today:
- single Cormorant low over was followed by a party of 9 a minute or so later
- the first Swifts were 2 at 04:30: numbers had increased to c.40 by 04:40, with just 4 remaining at 05:00. After the clearance at 07:30 there were c.12 birds back again
- Treecreepers again heard but eluded me to see how many birds involved
- a Fox was my first of the year here
- two large bats over the lake briefly
- White Ermine, Buff Ermine, Cinnabar, Silver-ground Carpet and May Highflyer moths on the lamps: that is more like it!
- 7 more Silver-ground Carpet moths flushed from vegetation
- another Blood-vein moth in the vegetation
- >5 Timothy Tortrix moths
- the first Common Marble (Celypha lacunana) moths of the year
- all manner of webs and spiders including Common stretch-spider (Tetragnatha extensa)
- probably 2, perhaps 3, species of orchid now in flower but I am confused as some are spotted and some are not; some are pale pink; others quite mauve
- several of the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) plants I noted yesterday that were encroaching the Wesley Brook footbridge have been hacked, probably by the fishermen wanting to get past to their pitches. Still DO NOT TOUCH!

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 10 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 10 Cormorants (1 single and 1 group)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 7 Jackdaws
- 6 Rooks

Hirundine etc. counts:
- c.50 Swifts again
- 4 Barn Swallows
- 2 House Martins again

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 6 (6) Chiffchaffs again
- 1 (1) Willow Warblers: the usual
- 11 (11) Blackcaps
- 3 (1) Garden Warblers
- 1 (1) Lesser Whitethroat (see notes again)
- 5 (4) Common Whitethroat
- 1 (1) Sedge Warbler again
- 4 (3) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area - ****as far as possible in the fog****
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 7 (5♂) Mallard
- 5 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens again
- no count made Coots

Well the weather looked OK to start: look in the distance and that fog soon rolled in ...

... and here it comes ...

And you thought June was the start of Summer – we had Summer last week and here comes Autumn ...

It did clear later.

Not sitting at a very accommodating angle, this moth is a May Highflyer – yes I know it is June already but the moth doesn't.

For comparison this is a Common Marbled Carpet: it has a broader wing and is slightly larger [this moth was on the roof of the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue].

Another not very accommodating angle from this Buff Ermine. Buff and White Ermine moths often occur together, as they did today. My first Buff Ermine here for four years.

This is a Cinnabar moth. The yellow and black ‘rugby shirt’ caterpillars feed on ragwort and the warning colours ensure they do not get eaten – apparently they are not poisonous, just distasteful. This adult seems a bit premature and here at least the Ragwort has yet to emerge. I find I have not recorded a moth of this species here also for at least four years.

This is a Common Marble (Celypha lacunana) moth on a leaf – it is a rather small moth. As its name implies it is very common and frequently disturbed from vegetation during the day.

A spider sp. with no visible means of support. Had this been after the fog rolled in its life-line would have been apparent.

A different spider in a characteristic web – could not get at the ‘top side’ of the spider to begin an ID.

It is not just the webs that get water droplets: a ‘star-spangled’ spider: seems to be a Common stretch-spider (Tetragnatha extensa).

I think this is the same species ‘the other way’ – a different specimen though.

And a big brutish looking spider sp. It may be an urban myth but I read that the weight of spiders in the world exceeds the weight of humans.

This insect has met its end in a web. I think it is (was) an alder fly and possibly Sialis lutaria though there are many similar species, all superficially resembling caddis flies.

More wrapped-up prey: these look like Red-and-Black Froghoppers (Cercopis vulnerata).

Despite the apparent absence of hairs I still think this is a Hairy Snail (Trochulus hispidus).

It was concerned about me getting too close!

Trying to resolve my on-going orchid confusion: I am reasonably certain this is a Common Spotted Orchid (Orchis (Dactylorhiza) fuchsii).

A different specimen and on this one we spots on the leaves.

Right in to the flowers!

On this the marks are only slightly different. However the leaves are unspotted and Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) is noted as being very variable. Can anyone help?

Now this IS different and I am sure is a Marsh Orchid (Orchis strictifolia).

Look: no spots!
(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 05:40 – 06:15

(52nd visit of the year)

Visibility not great but much better than at the lake

Notes from here
- remarkably high number of Canada Geese: no juveniles noted. Where have they all come from
- certainly 3 Great Crested Grebes again: the pair I thought perhaps had juveniles on one of the adult’s back were displaying today so I guess not
- fewer Coot juveniles – probably teenagers still in bed: I was about an hour earlier than usual
- a pair of Starlings still attending a nest-site in one of the estate houses: probably a replacement brood as most of the Starlings have long-since left

Birds noted flying over

Hirundine etc. counts
- 1 Swift
- 5 House Martins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 3 (2) Chiffchaffs
- 2 (1) Blackcaps

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- exactly 100 Canada Geese!
- 1 white feral goose
- 8 (8♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck yet again
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens again
- 18 + 4 (4 broods) Coots

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- a Moorhens seen alongside the upper pool
- it was the Chiffchaff’s turn to sing this morning
- a Common Marbled Carpet moth on the roof of the tunnel

Having failed to ID these multi-headed thistles previously I have tried a different reference and now it is clear they are Marsh Thistles (Cirsium palustre). It is not supposed to flower until June but has been doing so for about three weeks.

I hope the spider that owns this web is feeling hungry.

(Ed Wilson)
On this day...........
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
Common Tern
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
2 Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)