22 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:15am - 8:41am

Telford sunrise: 7:12am

-2.0°C > 1.5°C Clear and frosty start with high cloud soon pushing in from SW. Calm start with SSE breeze increasing moderate, even fresh before I left. Very good visibility.

(19th visit of the year)

- now 14 Great Crested Grebes
- many of the Black-headed Gulls flying over were flying high W in neat V-formations: normally these are just birds arriving FROM the W that fly straight through the lake to the fields to the E. So seemed to be a small movement. The adults are rapidly acquiring their breeding hood
- >250 Wood Pigeons in the fields to the E
- not sure why there were so few Jackdaws logged this morning: there did not seem to be any large groups
- the Raven was flying over VERY high this morning
Mistle Thrush heard in song to the far W: first song here this year (what was probably the same bird was later heard singing to the far E from The Flash)
- 11 Song Thrushes heard singing this morning

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 31 Canada Geese
- 53 Black-headed Gulls
- 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 7 Herring Gulls
- 152 Jackdaws
- 69 Rooks
- 1 Raven
- 1 Stock Dove
- 1 Collared Dove
- 4 Pied Wagtails

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 55 Magpies
Redwing roost not visited and none seen / heard later

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 (1♂) Wigeon
- 6 (3♂) Gadwall
- 5 (2♂) Mallard
- 4 (3♂) Pochard
- 30 (19♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Cormorant
- 2 Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe
- 14 Great Crested Grebes
- 9 Moorhens
- 78 Coots
- 18 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls
Just before sun-up and the high cloud was starting to encroach from S and W.

And then the sunrise.

Last year’s Great Reedmace (Typha sp., often wrongly called Bulrush and what the Americans call cattails) seen here against the sunrise. They have begun to burst. The fluffy seeds will be blown by the wind in due course but meantime will attract tits both to eat the seeds and use the fluff as nesting material. These are the female part of the plant: the male part is the spike at the top of the sausage-shaped female part.

and in close-up.

Male Bullfinch surveys the scene.

It was frosty! some leaves of the Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) plant are present all year and show the frost well.

Another illustration of a pair of Great Crested Grebes. Posturing is brief at present and not yet being followed up by head-shaking display or the presentation of weed. Early days of Spring as yet. With as many as 14 birds around the lake at the moment most of the birds will not breed here.

(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Flash: 8:45am - 9:25am

(18th visit of the year)

Minor changes in numbers again
- most of the Pochard moved out: some to the lake?
- still 3 Great Crested Grebes

Birds noted flying over
- 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls
- 1 Feral Pigeon

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 11 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 32 (20♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 3 (3♂) Shoveler
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 38 (22♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 16 Coots
- 61 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 Herring Gulls

Talking of Spring: these snowdrops were at The Flash. The scientific name for the genus is Galanthus and comes from the Greek gála "milk" and ánthos "flower": very appropriate. (this illustrates why it is proper to use the term “scientific name” and not “Latin name” – many are (partly) derived from Greek and not necessarily Latin). These flowers are probably garden escapes, but hey: so what.

(Ed Wilson)

Trench Lock Pool: 9:32am - 10:21am

(11th visit of the year)

One of the fishermen camping around the lake (brrr!) reported being awoken at 05:30 by “thousands of gulls” on the water, all starting to leave. He had no idea when they arrived, but had not noted them at dusk yesterday. Intriguing. Will have to investigate.

- a good mix of species here today with nothing exceptional
- few more Shoveler
- 3 Little Grebes have re-appeared here after about 2 weeks absence
- a dead Moorhen floating on the water in addition to the ‘live’ count below [dog-walkers had told me there were 2 dead Moorhens last Friday but I did not see them then]
- 1 Kingfisher heard

- 2 Greylag Geese
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 8 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall
- 3 (2♂) Mallard
- 3 feral Mallard-type ducks
- 8 (5♂) Shoveler
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 37 (17♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 (2♂) Goosander
- 2 Cormorants
- 1 Heron
- 3 Little Grebes
- 4 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens
- 59 Coots
- 65 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

Best shot (so far) of flying drake Goosander. Note the bill seems to be open as if it were calling, but I do not recall hearing any calls.

Here there seems to be something inside the bill: cannot see what and indeed whether it is ‘just’ the tongue.

Come on – learn your ducks from this mixed group shot. From the left: duck Tufted Duck, Coot, two drake Tufted Ducks, drake Shoveler (at the back), duck and drake Tufted Ducks, Coot (at the back), pair of Gadwall split by a duck Pochard.

All drakes: from the front Goosander, Pochard with itchy eye, and calling Tufted Duck.

Spot the interloper: a duck Gadwall (the rather bright orange side to the bill is the clue here) with 2 drake and 1 duck Shoveler.

And here it is a drake Gadwall with the same 2 drake and 1 duck Shoveler.

“like water off a duck’s back”, except in this case it is a Great Crested Grebe’s back.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2007
Priorslee Lake
Common Gull
(Ed Wilson)
133 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)