6 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake:

Late Morning Update: 11:00am

Cetti's Warbler - 1 repeatedly calling, (short,explosive) for best part of half hour approximately mid way along northern shore. Views though frustratingly brief - very active and always low.

2 Water Rail - one along Wesley Brook, one in flight near the warbler.
5 adult Great Black-backed Gulls
2 Gadwall
1 Teal

(John Isherwood)

Morning Report:   7:02am - 10:08am

1.0°C > 3.5°C  Mainly fine, clear and frosty; a few low clouds. Light NW wind. Very good visibility

I am told that the M54 is to be resurfaced along the stretch past the lake (amongst others) and the concrete covered in tarmac. This should make the road noise slightly less intrusive when the wind is in the S.
The street lights on the Teece Drive extension towards the M54 footbridge via the W end have been repaired again.
Very busy early on: quieter later. Small amount of hard-weather movement with Wood Pigeons, Fieldfare and Redwings all noted on over-flights.

(138th visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- 13 Cormorants
- 11 Black-headed Gulls
- c.800 large gulls
- 8 Feral Pigeons
- 5 Stock Doves
- 44 Wood Pigeons (in addition to local movements)
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 2 Fieldfares
- 76 Redwings
- c.600 Jackdaws
- 36 Rooks

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake (in addition to the over flights)
- 41 Redwings
- 15 Starlings

The counts from the water
6 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
1 Greylag Goose, briefly
6 (3) Gadwall
19 (10) Mallard
4 (4) Pochard
73 (39) Tufted Duck
20 Moorhens
168 Coots
68 Black-headed Gulls
87 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
26 Herring Gulls

Little Grebe not found this morning.
Now 6 Great Crested Grebes.
All 13 Cormorants in one group that never even looked at the lake.
Yesterday evening’s Shoveler gone.
Significant increase in number of roosting Redwings: 41 seen leaving, probably others heard.
Cetti's Warbler still present (and as skulking as ever).
A lower number of Starlings was seen leaving the roost than was seen arriving last night: but I was not best-placed to see the departure.

Today’s winter sunrise over the lake.

A fine pair of Mallard

And a close-up of a drake having a good scratch.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 10:12am - 11:13am

(115th visit of the year)

Today’s counts overhead here:
- 31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 4 Redwings

Other notes
Several Canada Geese seen wandering around the houses in Derwent Drive: one of the resident’s tells me that one of these has learnt to lift the door-knocker on one of the houses that feeds them. Who said ‘bird brain?’!
Goosanders in force again today – why? There is loose correlation between the state of the Severn and the numbers here: when the river is in spate and very muddy there are often larger numbers here. But there has been no rain for some days and there were no Goosanders present Thursday or Friday
Sparrowhawk seen displaying – slow, floppy circular flight – over wood in SE area.
Kingfisher yet again.

1 Little Grebe
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
2 Greylag Geese
28 Canada Goose
1 all-white feral goose
36 (27) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
50 (35) Tufted Ducks
29 (7) Goosander
7 Moorhens
18 Coots
86 Black-headed Gulls
1 Herring Gull

This rather distant shot shows a Sparrowhawk displaying: the tail is spread, the under tail is fluffed out accentuating the white and the wings are flat and broadly spread. The sharp tail corners are one of the key ways to separate Sparrowhawk from the larger Goshawk. This latter species keeps mainly inside woodland but in Spring will display in a similar manner high overhead when it can be tricky to be certain about its larger size.

Here is an ID challenge. Not too difficult as very few ducks show this amount of white in the wings. The dark glossy head provides another clue. A drake Goosander powers away, tail spread and right foot still waving from the effort.

Note on these two drake Goosanders how the angle of the light affects the apparent colour of the glossy green head.

A nice collection of three drake and one brownhead Goosander. Note their differently-coloured eyes. According to my book the pale iris indicates a juvenile but this bird shows none of the white loral line that juveniles are also supposed to show. It has the clear demarcation on the neck between the brown and white which also indicates it is an adult duck. The extent of the head plumes is hard to judge at an angle and is anyway dependent upon posture and mood: but to me they too look more like adult duck’s plumage.

‘just’ a drake Tufted Duck of course. Included here to again demonstrate the light effect on the head plumage – showing both purple and green in the gloss. There is also a small purple sheen on the hindquarters.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2012
Priorslee Lake
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
c.650 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c.20 Herring Gulls
2 Great Black-backed Gulls.
(Ed Wilson)