18 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:26am -  9:07am

Telford sunrise: 7:20am

2.5°C > 8.5°C Unexpectedly fine and clear to start: clouded after 09:00. Very light SSW wind increased moderate at times later. Good visibility.

(15th visit of the year)

- presumably the same pair of Wigeon still present: 6 ducks flew in together at 06:40, well pre-dawn: 2 (1♂) Wigeon; 2 (1♂) Gadwall and 2 (1♂) Mallard. 4 more ducks, all Mallard (2♂), also flew in immediately after
- 2 Little Grebes seen together and also heard calling again: pairing up?
Great Crested Grebes make a return! Always challenging to count accurately as they can dive for long periods and move some distance while doing so. 10 was the minimum today
- significant reduction in Coot numbers: time will tell whether this was correct (more at The Flash and the same number at Trench later)
- 2 Kingfishers here early on. Managed to confirmed this today what: I have suspected two for a few days but they are hard to see as they shoot by pre-dawn
Jackdaws passing low to both E and W, with Rooks passing directly overhead, all concurrently: not being Janus I probably missed some
- 2 Goldcrests seen: good to see these have survived the worst of the winter
- 2 very noisy Nuthatches were my first this year
- 24 Fieldfare seen to the NE this morning
- 8 Song Thrushes singing this morning (just 1 other seen)
- 5 Reed Buntings: 1 in song at W end – my first singing this year – with another calling; and 3 (2♂) together on N side

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 56 Canada Geese
- 41 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon
- 1 Sky Lark
- 291 Jackdaws
- 141 Rooks
- 3 Starlings
- 24 Fieldfares
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- >65 Magpies (incomplete count)
Redwing roost not visited

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 (1♂) Wigeon
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall
- 8 (3♂) Mallard
- 2 (2♂) Pochard
- 21 (11♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Little Grebes
- 10+ Great Crested Grebes
- 14 Moorhens
- 81 Coots
- 127 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 9 Herring Gulls

The Met. Office forecast said it would be cloudy: the RAF Shawbury report for 05:00 said it was cloudy. Here it was fine.

Just some thin high cloud to add interest ...

... and the odd contrail

Redwings are rather shy birds and can be hard to photograph. I was pleased to get this image, even with the annoying branch.

But judicious creeping allowed this closer shot.

A male Reed Bunting calling its rather uninspiring (to me!) song: first song of the year for me.

Again a slow and cautious approach allowed a closer view.

Later 3 more Reed Buntings appeared on the N side and dived in the scrub. Careful positioning allowed this shot of a female between the twigs.

And from the front

And a male as well

Surprised? me? Two Great Crested Grebes try out their recently acquired plumes. Did not seem quite sure what to do with them as nine of the birds present were pairing up and then moving off almost immediately.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:11am - 9:58am

(14th visit of the year)

- mainly minor changes in numbers
- the Redwing over was my first here this year

Birds noted flying over The Flash
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 1 Buzzard
- 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 2 Feral Pigeons (in addition to party of 17 around houses to N)
- 1 Redwing

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 26 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 29 (18♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 5 (4♂) Shoveler
- 6 (4♂) Pochard
- 49 (29♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 (1♂) Goosanders
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 7 Moorhens
- 22 Coots
- 61 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 10 Herring Gulls

I suppose it is under control. Hardly a straight-in approach and a has just performed a tail-strike. This Canada Goose got down unscathed anyway.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool:  10:06am - 10:25am // 11:20am - 11:44am

(9th visit of the year)

Minor changes in numbers but nothing to specifically note other than
- 1 duck Pochard new in

- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 5 Buzzards
- c.50 Jackdaws

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 15 Canada Goose yet again
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall
- 11 (6♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 4 (3♂) Shoveler
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 31 (12♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 (4♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 64 Coots again
- 51 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Herring Gulls
One day I will get a decent shot of a Sparrowhawk: meanwhile this is OK after I fiddled about with it a bit.

Not really asleep! Three drake Shovelers at rest ...

... with one motivated to look about and show its amazing bill

A handsome gull. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull still with traces of the winter dark streaks on the neck.

Compare with the 3rd winter Herring Gull here, still with many brown feathers in the wing and more extensive black on the bill. This species acquires the pale eye in year two.

Now really compare and contrast! The Herring Gull is the bigger, bulkier bird with the larger bill. While that is evident here you would be hard-pushed to note that on a bird on its own.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:30am - 11:15am

(4th visit of the year)

Mallard not counted: feeding melee when I arrived and then most seemed to climb inside the island while I was busy photographing Cormorants
- 3 Cormorants, two in full adult breeding plumage, were new for me at this site this year
- what seemed to be a 3rd Great Crested Grebe: a pair in SW end of pool and a single at NE end of island.

- 3 Buzzards: new for me at this site this year

The counts
- 2 Mute Swans
- 3 Greylag Geese
- 32 Canada Geese
- ?? Mallard
- 4 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 14 (8♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 Cormorants
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 14 Moorhen
- 9 Coots
- 156 Black-headed Gulls
- 6 Herring Gulls

This adult Cormorant with head-plumes and white thigh-patch clearly visible was leaving Middle Pool. Don’t let anyone tell you Cormorants are boring and black ...

Here, another adult (with an immature) shows what a handsome bird it is with a blue-black gloss on the body, a wonderful blue eye and the egg-yolk yellow at the base of the bill (a Moorhen gets in on the action).

And again! This is another species that is wary of humans and it took a lot of creeping to get close-enough for these shots.

The immature was relaxed-enough to do a bit of preening ...

.. and a bit of wing-stretching.

After me: aah! Not sure these Mute Swans are actually a ‘pair’, but they look good anyway. The bills are different shades, the duller colour on the right-hand bird (as viewed here) suggests it is still rather immature.

I cannot clean my teeth with my toes! An immature Black-headed Gull shows how without falling over whilst standing on one leg.

Moorhen at close range. Another bird that is not ‘black’ but much more subtle.

There seems to be some disagreement about exactly where the Buzzard is overhead: that is what was making some these Black-headed Gulls rather apprehensive.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2014
Priorslee Lake
2 Scaup (1st winter drake and 1st winter female)
(Gary Crowder / Ed Wilson)