27 Feb 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:59am  - 9:05am

Telford sunrise: 7:01am

1.5°C > 5.0°C Fine, clear and frosty. Chilly light / moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility.

(24th visit of the year)

- 2 Kingfishers again: as I suspected they really are friends: despite a lot of noise and chasing about they were also sitting quietly together
Rooks were heard passing over, unseen in the dark, by 6:00am so the count was rather low this morning
- a Willow Tit was making a lot of noise today
- 2 Reed Buntings in song and another calling as well as the 2 seen leaving the roost

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 Canada Geese
- 11 Black-headed Gulls
- 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls
- 3 Feral Pigeons
- 242 Jackdaws
- 45 Rooks
- 2 Ravens
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 1 Sky Lark

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 25 Magpies (partial count)
- 18 Redwing
- 2 Reed Buntings

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 6 (3♂) Gadwall
- 6 (3♂) Mallard
- 5 (3♂) Pochard yet again
- 51 (30♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Little Grebes
- 15 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Water Rail seen
- 10 Moorhens
- 72 Coots
- 53 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 3 Herring Gulls
Crisp, clear start with ‘big sun’ at dawn.

Here is the Willow Tit shouting his call. Call and song are by far the easiest way to separate this species from the very similar-looking Marsh Tit. Willow Tits have pale edging on the primaries which are not visible here anyway: but they can be hard to see and are rather subjective and dependent upon freshness of the plumage. Willow Tit has a slightly bigger black bib, but that is of little use here on a bird that is singing with its throat puffed out. Its thicker and more powerful neck is only helpful if you know both species well (Willow Tit is the only British tit species that excavates its own nest hole). I spent a long while trying to get this photo and during all that time I failed to see or hear any other Willow Tits. I hope that is not a bad sign and this bird finds a mate. This species is in serious decline throughout England and here is one of the few places in Shropshire you can see one reasonably easily.

Another species of tit that is making a lot of noise at the moment – Coal Tit is (marginally) our smallest tit. In flight its shorter tail is often obvious.

One day they will all be gone to breed in the local rivers (the Severn has many pairs) but until then here is another study of two Goosanders. The difference in the colour of the head and the extent of the white around the base of the right-hand bird suggests it is a 1st winter. The left-hand bird need a handkerchief.

Nice reflective shot of a Moorhen. Note it has the nictating membrane closed – it is blinking.

Full breeding plumage for this drake Tufted Duck with a huge ‘tuft’ to attract the ducks. Note the water droplets on his back from his last dive.

And here is a duck – note how she has a small tuft. The most reliable way to dismiss any thoughts of Scaup when confronted by a female or immature is that a vestigial tuft will always be present.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:09am - 10:04am

(22nd visit of the year)

- 2 birds overhead were my first Cormorants of the year here
- some of the Shoveler returned again – unless they rest-up inside the island and have been here all the time. I think this is unlikely – when they have been asleep they have been on the water tucked up against the island and reasonably easy to see.

Birds noted flying over
- 2 Cormorants
- 6 Black-headed Gulls
- 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 34 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 20 (13♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 4 (3♂) Shoveler
- 45 (26♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 (?♂) Goosanders
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 9 Moorhens
- 16 Coots
- 35 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
1st year Glaucous Gull
Iceland Gull
(Ed Wilson)