23 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:10am - 11:32am

Telford sunrise: 7:09am

-1.5°C > 5.0°C Clear with a slight frosty: some light wintry showers later. Moderate / fresh WSW wind. Very good visibility.

An extended visit treating a friend to the delights of my local patch: the extension failed to produce much not seen during my normal visiting hours apart from all 3 of the Water Rails that were only heard. There continues to be almost no gulls arriving from the tip area: in previous years they have arrived in some numbers after c.09:30

(20th visit of the year)

- I now understand why sometimes there are two pairs of Gadwall and other times there are three: one pairs spends periods, especially overnight, elsewhere and flies in to a different part of the lake
- 2 Grey Herons seeing each other off around the lake: one seen in the distance may have been a 3rd
- now 15! Great Crested Grebes
- just 7 Song Thrushes heard singing this morning
Bullfinch heard giving its quiet and unobtrusive song – as a result this species is rarely noted singing.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 Greylag Geese
- 30 Canada Geese
- 102 Black-headed Gulls
- 25 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 357 Jackdaws
- 164 Rooks
- 13 Feral Pigeons
- 6 Starlings
- 5 Pied Wagtails

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 71 Magpies
- 8 Starlings
Redwing roost not visited but 3 seen leaving from a distance

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 6 (3♂) Gadwall
- 4 (2♂) Mallard
- 4 (3♂) Pochard
- 46 (31♂) Tufted Duck
- 4 Cormorants
- 2 Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe
- 15 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Water Rails heard
- 9 Moorhens
- 68 Coots
- 39 Black-headed Gulls
- 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 8 Herring Gulls
No apologies for yet another drake Gadwall photo: this nicely lit shot shows the chestnut on the upper wing to good effect. This hard to see in flight when the white speculum draws the eye away from the other marks.

Another male Bullfinch: the bill is open because it is giving its quiet and unobtrusive song.

The song of the Reed Bunting is not much to write home about either, but is given with great gusto. Noticeable here is the length of the claws clutching the stem.

While we are talking about singing with gusto: this Great Tits joined in.

As did a Song Thrush: getting quite noisy these mornings.

In case you think male Blackbirds are black! Though the bill and the eye ring both suggest this is an adult I suspect it is a 1st year male bird and hence the slightly mottled appearance.

What!? In fact just one of last year’s leaves that has desiccated on the tree with the light shining through.

A fine-looking Grey Heron flies by: one of the two birds battling around the lake: wings down and.....

... wings up.

Compare this with yesterday’s breeding-plumaged Great Crested Grebes: this bird is still very much in winter plumage completely lacking any sign of head- or neck-plumes. It is probably an immature that was born in a late brood last year and may well not breed this year.

I've noted before how Herring Gulls in particular seem intrigued by the buoys at the lake and peck at them. Here is a 1st winter doing just that.

It then tried to stand on it, but the wind was rather too strong and it more or less fell off......

... and then displayed its upper-wing marking to good effect.

......and here the whole upper side. You can even see the black nails on the pink toes of this bird.

It has been suggested that the orange colour of the buoys triggers the same mechanism that juveniles use to tap the red spot on their parents’ beaks to get food regurgitated. Here we see what appears to be a 3rd winter bird about to do the same with a different buoy. I would not expect the trigger mechanism noted above to still be present in a near-adult. So perhaps there is another reason.

These nine Magpies were hanging around the sluice area, perhaps confused by the absence of the fast food van in the lay-by (he is on holiday). Such groups are common at this time of year: birds apparently gather in mixed family parties while pairing up for the coming breeding season.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2007
Priorslee Lake
Juvenile Glaucous Gull
(Observer Unknown)
Juvenile Glaucous Gull
2nd-winter Caspian Gull
1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull
(Observer Unknown)
Juvenile Glaucous Gull
1st Winter Iceland Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
(Martin Adlam / Ed Wilson)
2nd winter Iceland Gull
(Pete Nickless)