4 Jun 17

Priorslee Lake and The Flash

8.5°C > 12.5°C: Mainly clear with a few clouds to N and some thin high cloud later. Almost calm start with light / moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility

Sunrise: 04:49 BST

Priorslee Lake: 04:00 – 05:20 // 06:15 – 07:50

(73rd visit of the year)

The amount of birdsong has diminished markedly the last few days as birds either finish breeding or are too busy raising more broods. Most bird are still singing but sporadically

Notes from today:
- early I counted 7 adult Great Crested Grebes and the usual 2 juveniles; later one adult took off, circled gaining height and left to the W; later still there were still seven adults present so presumed it was an eighth that flew off
- similar behaviour from the Swifts: first arrivals just before 04:30 rapidly built up to c.30 birds most of which soon moved on. Thereafter between 6 and 12 birds joined by a single House Martin for a while
- a complete lap pre-sunrise netted me 10 singing Song Thrushes (I usually watch flyovers from the W end to start the visit but at the moment there are none to watch!)
- juvenile Pied Wagtails on both one of the boat-launching platforms and the dam-face
- a Light Emerald moth on the lamps was new for me this year
- single May Highflyer, Silver-ground Carpet and White Ermine moths were all repeat visits to the lamps
- Timothy Tortrix and Common Marble moths flushed from vegetation
- my first skipper butterfly of the year –a Large Skipper
- the usual trio of Blue-tailed Damselflies, Common Blue and Azure Damselflies
- a live Red-and-Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) [previously bodies only in a web]
- 100s of the caddis fly Mystacides longicornis dancing around the edge of the water

On with the bird totals

Birds noted flying over the lake:
- 5 Greylag Geese (2 groups)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 2 Wood Pigeons
- 5 Starlings
- 5 Jackdaws

Hirundine etc. counts:
- >30 Swifts again
- 1 House Martin

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 5 (5) Chiffchaffs
- 1 (1) Willow Warbler still
- 15 (13) Blackcaps
- 2 (2) Garden Warblers
- 5 (3) Common Whitethroat
- 4 (4) Reed Warblers

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 4 Mute Swans
- 12 (10♂) + 4 (1 brood) Mallard
- 8 + 2 (1 brood) Great Crested Grebes (see notes)
- 3 Moorhens
- 30 Coots

Not a very inspiring sunrise.

Somewhat selective: the most interesting part.

Here is the 8th Great Crested Grebe leaving.

Another view – not often I get a chance to photograph flying grebes in such good light.

One of the juvenile Pied Wagtails: has lost most of he ‘eggy’ look at the base of the bill.

Yet another photograph of one of the Garden Warblers. This one is behaving most atypically in that it is unusual for them to sing from so exposed a perch. To have done so for so long suggests it may have yet to find a mate – both the other Garden Warbler males are paired and largely silent.

Another moth at an awkward angle for photography through vegetation: my Light Emerald moth of the year.

This male White Ermine is rather more spotted than many: on a female the markings would be stronger and the background colour pale buff. We can just about make out the feathery antenna.

A male Large Skipper butterfly: a male because of the black scent mark on the centre of the wing; a Large Skipper because the wings are broadly bordered dark. If it were a narrow border we would have to check the underside of the tips of the antenna to separate Small and Essex Skipper – despite its name the latter is not uncommon (and probably overlooked) in Shropshire. Note the coiled tongue.

A female Common Blue Damselfly: a hint of a blue cast to the body.

And this is a male – the second segment identified, helpfully exposed as the insect gets in practice for its mating contortions.

A male Blue-tailed Damselfly. With practice even females are easy to separate from other damselflies in flight as they looks daintier.

An Eristalis pertinax (or Tapered Drone-fly – the male, as here, is more tapered than the female). I see yellow on the hind tibia which separates from Eristalis tenax (Common Drone-fly).

A Red-and-Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata).

At the edge of the dam this was always likely to be Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris). Here we see both diagnostic features: the hairs on the leaves are short; as are the calyx teeth, visible on the unopened flower. All of which presupposes you know what other species of forget-me-not look like.

Just flowering here is the much smaller of two species of willow-herb that occur all around the lake. This is Broad-leaved Willow-herb (Epilobium montanum) and shows toothed leaves that are rounded at the base. The familiar Rosebay Willow-herb or Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) has yet to flower.

These two orchid spikes look rather different but are both Common Spotted Orchid (Orchis (Dactylorhiza) fuchsii) – you can see some spots on the rather shaded leaf at the right.

Now this is different: if I am sorting things out correctly it is a Marsh Orchid (Orchis strictifolia) ....

... as is this, in close-up (with a buttercup getting a look in).

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 05:30 – 06:10

(54th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- my first Greylag Geese here since 08 April – nearly 2 months
- Canada Geese back in some number after yesterday’s low count: 14 of them flew in while I was present
- the Tufted Duck were very noisy and flew around several times; also climbed out and scampered around on the island for a while
- my first Grey Herons since a fly-over also on 08 April – and then there two having a dispute
- no Great Crested Grebes located
- one of the Moorhens a very grown juvenile – obviously from an early brood
- party of Long-tailed Tits of at least 13 birds, many of them juveniles

Birds noted flying over

Hirundine etc. counts
- 8 Swifts
- 2 House Martins

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

The counts from the water
- 2 + 7 Mute Swans
- 4 Greylag Geese
- 81 Canada Geese!
- 1 white feral goose
- 15 (14♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Tufted Duck still
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 + 1 Moorhen
- 16 + 5 (2 broods) Coots

Between the lake and The Flash alongside the path
- a juvenile Moorhen scampered back into the shelter of the lower pool
- a Chiffchaff back singing alongside the lower pool

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Holmer Lake
Black Swan
(Marilyn Morton)