8 Mar 15

Priorslee Lake: 5:28am - 8:31am

Telford sunrise: 6:40am

8.5°C > 10.0°C Mainly cloudy: a few breaks early. Moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility

A quiet morning with just a rather late Great Black-backed Gull at the lake of interest

Talking to the Fitzgerald construction workers it was the Environmental Agency that mixed the idea of putting the Wesley Brook in pipes when the Teece Drive extension is reworked as the access road for the new Academy. The steel piling is costing someone – the Council Tax payers of Telford & Wrekin (me!) I assume – over £1 million

I was also told that the whole of Castle Farm Way between the Castle Farm and Limekiln O-abouts is to be re-surfaced commencing 18 March. I hope the work to install the traffic lights at the Priorslee Avenue junction has been finished by then

(33rd visit of the year)

- the very distinctively marked moulting bird was the only Pochard noted and she flew off – see The Flash notes
- the Black-headed Gulls all came in very early this morning – before 06:45: most arrived in three large groups only one of which came from the usual W end. They soon flew off E to the fields. Some drifted back later
Great Spotted Woodpecker heard drumming this morning: for some reason although they are common enough here I rarely hear drumming

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 3 Greylag Goose
- 37 Canada Geese in 12 groups
- 1 (1♂) Tufted Duck
- 26 Black-headed Gulls
- 55 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 7 Herring Gulls
- 436 Jackdaws
- 66 Rooks
- 5 Starlings
- 4 Redwings
- 3 Pied Wagtails

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
- 87 Magpies
- 4 Reed Buntings
Redwing roost area not visited: none seen leaving in the distance

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 6 (3♂) Gadwall
- 5 (3♂) Mallard
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 11 (8♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Grey Heron
- 14 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 74 Coots
- c.275 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 16 Herring Gulls
- 1 Great Black-backed Gull

A rather strange lighting effect as the cloud moved in this morning.

A 1st year Great Black-backed Gull. It was the combination of the large black bill, white-looking head and rather scaly markings on the wing and mantle that drew my attention to this bird. The white head is a less reliable feature at this time of year as all the large gulls moult in to summer plumage.

In this view we see the inner primaries are not so extensively pale as they would be on a Herring Gull: they would be all-dark on a Lesser Black-backed Gull which would also show much darker secondary coverts.

Here it is on the water showing how white the head looks. Note at this angle the base of the bill is not so black as the rest of the bill. I did wonder whether it I had failed to notice that there was a different bird present but looking closely at the first photo there is a hint of this paleness and I think it is just the angle of the light that makes them appear different.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes seem to be trying out these reeds as possible breeding site.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 8:35am - 9:17am

(29th visit of the year)

- additional Mute Swan still present but still not managed to ID the extra bird. Last year’s pen was on the island while the cob was with another bird around the island: this additional bird has to be another pen but apart from noting she wears a blue – and hence Shropshire – Darvic ring no data as yet
- after at least 2 weeks here the Shoveler seem to have gone
- a blotchy duck Pochard asleep seemed likely to be the bird from the lake
- lots of Tufted Duck this morning – largest count of the year: and some of the birds were excitedly calling

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

The counts from the water
- 3 Mute Swans again
- 30 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 28 (19♂) Mallard
- 1 white feral duck
- 1 (0♂) Pochard
- 103 (62♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 20 Coots
- 4 Black-headed Gulls only

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006, 2007 and 2012
Priorslee Lake
1st winter Iceland Gull
2 1st winter Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood)
(Ed Wilson)
2nd winter Ring-billed Gull
(Observer Unknown)
2 Ruddy Ducks
(Ed Wilson)