5 Mar 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:27am - 9:00am

Telford sunrise: 6:47am

1.0°C > 6.0°C Clear and frosty start: cloud at multiple levels gradually increased. Calm, then light and eventually moderate SW breeze. Good visibility

(30th visit of the year)

- adult Swan flew over (and then at The Flash?)
- Teal heard calling well pre-dawn but not seen or heard subsequently (certainly not Gadwall)
- a 4th pair of Gadwall this morning
- 4 Pochard new birds: the recent group of five all seemed to be back at The Flash
- Tufted Duck numbers declined again
- Woodcock seen going to roost pre-dawn
- several sightings of 2 and 3 Stock Doves around the potential nest site
- >150 Wood Pigeons in trees in Ward’s Rough to NE: c.25 around the lake
- Jay heard in the Ricoh copse area: only my second log here this year. I had been wondering whether the road works had disturbed them: however they also seem to have disappeared recently from The Flash. They could be seen or heard almost daily at the back-end of 2014 at both locations
- I was in position early near the Redwing roost site: this should have allowed better viewing of any early Rook passage, but these bird(s) were again unseen as they called overhead pre-dawn
- Willow Tit heard calling in usual NW area at dawn; also as usual soon started to move off W along N side. Today seemed to end up moving back W along the S side

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Mute Swan
- 7 Greylag Geese
- 20 Canada Geese
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 10 Feral Pigeons
- >550 Jackdaws
- >45 Rooks
- 1 Pied Wagtail

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 45 Magpies (partial count)
- 23 Redwings

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 8 (4♂) Gadwall
- ? (1+♂)Teal
- 9 (5♂) Mallard again
- 4 (3♂) Pochard
- 4 (3♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 1 Little Grebe heard
- 12 Great Crested Grebes
- 10 Moorhens
- 72 Coots
- 51 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 9 Herring Gulls

Moonlight over the lake

The red sky this morning did not portend either rain or wind

Rather gnarled Alder cones from last year, as eaten by the Goldfinches, silhouetted against the sunrise.

I know I've done this before but, despite the Burger van in the background, worth repeating with this morning’s sun.

Another silhouette but there is enough here to identify this male Greenfinch. Note how he extends his wings as he emits his nasal call. Later in the season he will make short circular song-flights with slow almost bat-like wing-beats before landing and making the same call.

Here is what seems to be a female Greenfinch: duller overall than the smart males. The faint flammulations on the throat and upper breast suggest this may be a 1st winter bird yet to acquire full adult plumage.

This adult Mute Swan seemed to fly straight over the lake and was perhaps the bird being chased around The Flash later. You can see this bird has a blue Darvic ring on its left leg – means it was ringed on Shropshire – but the figures are not readable. The bone structure in the wing is well shown by the angle of the light here.

Stock Doves are rather shy and wary birds. This bird flew in to a potential nest site – they like ivy-clad trees – and was only exposed for a short time. This species is smaller and shorter-tailed than a Wood Pigeon but when at rest the most obvious features are the neck mark, quite different from the mainly white mark of a Wood Pigeon; and the lack of white at the bend of the folded wing – a feature shown even by juvenile Wood Pigeons that lack the white neck mark.

Not a great shot of a flying Stock Dove but shows the shorter, more compact body with a steeper fore-head and smaller bill. Note also the wing-pattern, with a pale grey centre, a dark border and lacking any white.

Not often you can get this close to a perched Buzzard. I took my chance while the bird was pre-occupied by what the man with the JCB was doing. I didn't get a second chance and the bird was gone before I could press the shutter again.

Here an immature Herring Gull lifts off. Noteworthy here is the way the alula – the small dark feather at the bend of the wing – is angled down. This serves exactly the same purpose as the leading-edge slats on modern airliners – increasing the lift of the wing at slow speed when lift is more important than aerodynamic drag.

The Greylag Geese formation team nearly get the synchronised flapping sorted.

Don’t mess with me! He was only coming to see whether there was some of the burger left for him.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 9:05am - 9:47am

(27th visit of the year)

- additional Mute Swan hiding around the ‘opposite’ side of the island: soon discovered and chased away by the resident cob. Possibly the bird that over flew the lake earlier
- all 5 Pochard seemed to have returned now (with a different lot at the lake)

Birds noted flying over
- 42 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

The counts from the water
- 3 Mute Swans
- 25 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 21 (16♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 4 (3♂) Shoveler yet again
- 5 (3♂) Pochard
- 77 (50♂) Tufted Ducks
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens again
- 14 Coots
- 10 Black-headed Gulls only
- 1 Herring Gull

(Ed Wilson)

Across the border

Aqualate Mere
Location of Hide

Immature Great Crested Grebe

On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
Juvenile Glaucous Gull
2 immature Common Gulls
(Mike Cooper)