14 Jan 15

Priorslee Lake7:06am - 9:54am

-0.5°C > 1.0°C Fine and clear with thin covering of lying snow. light W wind increasing moderate as first signs of high cloud approaching from W. Very good visibility.

(2nd visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 26 Canada Geese
- 8 (4♂) Goosander
- 1 Kestrel
- 57 Black-headed Gulls
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 335 Jackdaws
- 90 Rooks
- 6 Ravens
- 4 Redwings
- 1 Meadow Pipit

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 50 Magpies
Redwing roost not visited

The counts from the water
2 Mute Swans
6 (3♂) Gadwall
8 (5♂) Mallard
5 (5♂) Pochard
54 (30♂) Tufted Duck
2 Cormorants
1 Little Grebe
10 Great Crested Grebes
1 Water Rail (heard only)
17 Moorhens
138 Coots
308 Black-headed Gulls
8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
23 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull

Other notes
4 (2♂) Goosanders flew in from the W and circled low over the water but apparently did not land: this before 07:45. Over an hour later 4 (2♂) birds flew high W and are assumed to have been different birds. Quite why this species seems to like The Flash but hardly ever visits / stays at the lake for more than a few minutes is hard to understand.
Kestrel seen to the far E being chased by Jackdaws: good to get this on the year-list for here as only 3 confirmed sightings all last year.
>850 Wood Pigeons left the Wards Rough area this morning: this exodus did not seem to be triggered by the start-up of the bird-scaring cannons in the fields to the E which had commenced some 15 minutes previously. Perhaps they had roosted here and I should add this species to the roost list above?
Meadow Pipit overhead probably moved by the snow at higher levels.

Localised snow in the area this morning: this was the view towards Limekiln Bank where the snow was thickest.

The S side of the lake was also well-covered in a thin layer.

The N side seemed to have been sheltered, or perhaps was slightly warmer as it faces S: less snow generally and some clear areas. Here is the Wesley Brook bridge.

While further along there is no snow at all.
Here is the view along the dam-top.

A mainly clear start.

An adult Cormorant inbound: note that despite being an apparent adult – the breast and belly show no white – there is no sign of the breeding condition thigh-patch or head-plumes. Note also the long tail.

And here we see how it uses that long tail as the first part of the braking system as it touches down.

Despite the cold – note the ice (melting snow) on the branches – this Dunnock was in full song.

Another view of the same bird: this shows the brown edging on the bunched primaries to good effect.

Preening time for these Goosanders. Now why would you want feet that colour? One assumes that this colour affords some evolutionary advantage but it is not obvious what. Perhaps fish cannot see red feet?

They are a charismatic species though.

A 1st winter Herring Gull. The bill is just beginning to show some pale at the base and the mantle feathers have some pearl-grey tips.

Nice sequence showing the differences between these flying birds – a 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull and an adult winter Black-headed Gull. Shows the size and structure differences well.

 Note how the light affects the apparent plumage tones.

And again.

With the Lesser Black-backed Gull looking over its shoulder as the smaller gull closes.

As they tilt showing the underwing.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash9:59am - 10:47am

(2nd visit of the year)

The Goosanders again flew off and before I had properly counted them: 31 (7♂) is the minimum figure and 37 (8♂) the highest possible count.

Counts of birds flying over The Flash (therefore in addition to those on / around water)
- 38 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls

The counts from the water
2 Mute Swans
30 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
39 (30♂) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
2 (1♂) Pochard
25 (16♂) Tufted Ducks
31 (7♂) Goosander
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey Heron
4 Moorhens
14 Coots
141 Black-headed Gulls
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull
13 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2009, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
Scaup - 1st w drake and 2 1st w females
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood)
2.0C sleet showers; moderate / fresh NW wind; moderate visibility.
Drake Scaup
1 Goldeneye
1 Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
(Ed Wilson)
An adult Yellow-legged Gull on the ice
(Mike Cooper)