25 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 6:07am - 9:13am

Telford sunrise: 7:05am

3.5°C > 9.5°C Fine with early sun. Calm / light W wind. Excellent visibility

 (22nd visit of the year)

- female (on size) Sparrowhawk unusually seen perched in the open: showed unusual white spots on the back.
- remain of a Sparrowhawk kill contained feathers that I cannot identify – a long and narrow white feather, presumed primary, with black on both the tip and all along one side was the most distinctive
- in better weather Song Thrushes singing again – 11 heard this morning
- also heard singing were BlackbirdMistle ThrushGoldcrestChaffinch and Reed Bunting (as well as the year-round birds like RobinWren etc.)
- the Goldcrest had me confused for a while: I had not really appreciated that the louder last notes of the typical song are quite different from the ‘tweedly-tweedly’ part of the song. They carried further and were initially all I could hear from a distant bird: it invited confusion with Marsh Tit (which would have been a new bird at this site for me)
- two species of fungus noted today

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 5 Canada Geese
- 33 Black-headed Gulls
- 22 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Herring Gulls
- 486 Jackdaws
- 84 Rooks
- 2 Pied Wagtails

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 53 Magpies
- 6 Starlings
- ?? Redwing
Redwing roost area not visited this morning

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall
- 5 (2♂) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Pochard
- 53 (36♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Cormorants
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 Little Grebes
- 15 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 84 Coots
- 11 Black-headed Gulls only
- 1 Herring Gull

Several small fruiting fungus bodies. Probably the so-called Orange Peel Fungus (Peziza Aurantia).

This female Sparrowhawk perched here allowed me to approach unusually close before it flew off. It watched me with its piercing gaze! Uncommon are the white spots on the brown back – this feature seems rarely, if ever, mentioned in field-guides. The back colour and the larger size indicate this is a female: an immature bird would show stripes and not barring on the throat.

This collection of plucked feathers looks like the work of a Sparrowhawk.

I extracted one of them and here it is alongside my size 9 boot. It is a long and narrow, presumed primary, all white apart from black on both the tip and all along one side. I can not think of any species that shows this feature. A Feral Pigeon could well show these marks but the feather seem too large and narrow. Anyone got any thoughts?

A close-up of the markings.

Another fungus sp., probably the very common Coriolus versicolor. A world-wide species of polypore fungus, sometimes called Turkey Tail, used in traditional Asian medicine and also as the source for some complementary treatments for cancers.

and one in close-up.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:17am - 10:12am

(20th visit of the year)

- the Lesser Canada Goose ssp. was seen being mated by a regular Canada Goose
- again 2 of the Goosanders were in the plumage that I cannot find in the literature
- another fish in the jaws of a duck Goosander, this time a good sized Perch.

Birds noted flying over
- 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 25 Canada Geese
- 1 Lesser Canada Goose ssp.
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 29 (19♂) Mallard again
- 1 white feral duck
- 2 (2♂) Shoveler
- 44 (23♂) Tufted Ducks
- 9 (1?♂) Goosanders
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 9 Moorhens
- 13 Coots
- 21 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

The Flash seems to be a happy hunting ground for Goosanders: here is another duck with (more than) a beak-full. This time a good sized Perch.

She has dashed out of the scene with these two other ducks in hot-pursuit!

One of the rather pale brownhead Goosanders followed by a regular duck, accompanied by a pair of Tufted Duck.
(Ed Wilson)


The Wrekin: 10:28am – 12:47pm

(1st visit of the year)

On a splendid clear day the 2000’ Abergavenny Sugar Loaf visible in the far distance - >60 miles as the Crow flies!

Rather late in the day for good birdwatching but most of the expected species were noted. I had hoped for Marsh Tit but this species as well as Willow Tit and Long-tailed Tit eluded me.

A Nuthatch

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
An adult winter Kittiwake
2nd winter Great Black-backed Gull.
Adult Iceland Gull
Adult Caspian Gull
(John Isherwood / J Reeves / P Jordan)

2nd winter Mediterranean Gull
(Ed Wilson)