15 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:30am - 9:26am

Telford sunrise: 7:26am

4.0°C > 5.0°C Low cloud yet again, though brighter c.07:00 for a while. Light E wind. Good visibility, later becoming poor.

A busy morning at the lake with bits and pieces. Best was
- the drake Teal: perhaps the bird seen in flight at The Flash yesterday?

(12th visit of the year)

- a male Pheasant heard calling from the old Celestica site was new for me at this site this year
- 83 of the 94 Black-headed Gulls that flew in from the W flew straight through early. Small arrival of all gulls after 09:00
- 1 Stock Dove heard singing from ivy in the large tree in the NW area: I have suspected this as a breeding site in previous years but have yet to prove it
- c.125 Wood Pigeons in the trees around the lake this morning: again very few others seen
- 2 Collared Doves over were also new for me at this site this year
- 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers seen flying in high circles, chasing
- the Jackdaws were mainly flying very high and ‘cloud-hopping’ and were likely under-recorded. The Rooks may have been ‘lost in the clouds’
- 5 Sky Larks over were my first of the year. Steve Nuttall commented in his excellent Belvide blog Here, that there was a small passage there yesterday.
- 8 Song Thrushes singing this morning [there were 10 here last year]
- 5 Mistle Thrushes in noisy group in NW area. Another new species for me this year
- 1 Meadow Pipit over was only my second here this year
- 7 Siskins: a female stopped briefly in the NW trees; and then a party of 6 flew over. Yet another new species for me this year
- 8 Linnets over in a group: the largest number I have seen here for many a long year

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 8 Greylag Geese
- 54 Canada Geese
- 83 Black-headed Gulls
- 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 10 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Collared Doves
- 179 Jackdaws
- 5 Rooks only
- 5 Sky Larks
- 3 Redwings
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 1 Meadow Pipit
- 6 Siskins
- 8 Linnets

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

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 (1♂) Teal
- 6 (3♂) Gadwall
- 7 (3♂) Mallard
- 2 (2♂) Pochard
- 22 (9♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 Little Grebes
- 9 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Water Rail heard
- 13 Moorhens
- 92 Coots
- c.120 Black-headed Gulls
- 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 10 Herring Gulls

One of the five sparring Mistle Thrushes. Note the well-separated ‘spots’ and the rather small head.

In this view of a (different) Mistle Thrush note the pale edges to the greater and, especially, median coverts: also how the spots typically merge at the side of the breast.

Compare and contrast: on this Song Thrush the ‘spots’ tend to line up in (wavy) rows and the head and bill are proportionally larger.

 and yes: it was singing!

Now is about the best chance to get a photo of a Coal Tit: they are now singing and will often stay still on exposed perches to do so. Normally they are constantly on the move and hard to photograph.

About the best I could do with the drake Teal in the morning gloom. It was not about to let me get close so I had to wait until it swam towards me, still a ways away.

For me the most attractive species of duck regularly at the lake – a drake Gadwall. The compact shape, the fine markings and the hint of brown in the long scapulars in breeding plumage all make for a neat bird.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:29am - 10:12am

(11th visit of the year)

- another Shoveler this morning: an immature drake
- Pochard had a shuffle around: 1 extra drake but a duck gone
- just 1 drake Goosanders seen initially but later a pair seen flying off – duck busy underwater?
- 1 Goldcrest was my first here this year
- 2 Song Thrushes in song here again

Birds counted flying over The Flash
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 23 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 30 (22♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 6 (4♂) Shoveler
- 6 (4♂) Pochard
- 46 (23♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 (1♂) Goosanders
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 11 Moorhens
- 19 Coots
- 41 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull

This was the typical view of the ‘additional’ Shoveler at The Flash this morning – head underwater almost all the time as it span around to disturb its food. The two red feather in the flanks and the pale area at the rear of the flanks point to this being a 1st winter male only just beginning to acquire adult plumage.

The camera shows what happens too fast for the eye to be certain: in the feeding frenzy – birds just ‘lurve’ white bread! – two of the Black-headed Gulls have heads submerged to garb he food on offer. Note also the small white trailing edge to the secondaries on the Coot as it hurries to join in – a feature not often noticed.

This 1st winter Black-headed Gull seems likely to have been a late-fledged bird and still shows much of the brown / black markings.

Another view contrasting with two adult winter birds (many are starting to acquire the ‘black-head’ by now).

A Wood Pigeon of course. Here in poor light the black pupil looks quite normal: in bright light it shrinks asymmetrically and gives the bird a very odd expression.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2012, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
3 Scaup
(Observer Unknown)
Drake Scaup
1st winter Yellow legged Gull
3 Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood)
2nd winter Caspian Gull
(Mike Shurmer)