27 Sep 15

Priorslee Lake: 05:56 – 09:37

Telford sunrise: 07:03

5.0°C > 12.0°C. Clear and fine with some puffy clouds later. Wispy mist low over the lake and grass for a while. Calm with light SE later. Good visibility

Main feature this morning was the ducks: Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Shoveler all at or over the lake, the Pintail being my first this year and my first at the lake for many a year. And there were Wigeon and a high number of Tufted Duck at The Flash

(127th visit of the year)

Other notes
- of the Greylag Geese over-flying there were 65 outbound and 55 inbound in parties of very different sizes, but there may have been some overlap
- pre-dawn I did a count of the geese on the water and thought c.180: I counted only 123 as they left. However I saw no Greylags leaving and I heard at least two calling earlier so perhaps more birds sneaked out
- many ducks today. A mixed party of 21 flew around and around and were then joined by 6 more. As far as I could tell none of these landed. Many of these were Wigeon (properly Eurasian Wigeon to distinguish them from the similar New World species of American Wigeon or Baldpate) and at the time I thought them all this species. But the photos I took of the flying group show both Shoveler and Pintail amongst them. There is certainly a single drake Shoveler and probably 4 duck Pintail
- duck Wigeon was already in the NW area and then 7 more Wigeon were found to be (already?) in the NE area (with a duck Teal)
- 4 of the Mallard logged flew off pre-dawn and seemed not to return
- 10 Tufted Ducks spent more than 10 minutes flying around, going high and then away to E and W: finally they decided to land back on the water
- an ‘extra’ Little Grebe off the NW reeds again (as well as 3 in the NE area)
- quite unable to make any meaningful count of the Great Crested Grebes as they were all continually diving
- very few large gulls seen until after 09:00 when several large groups flew N / NW. All the birds I could see clearly-enough were Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- almost all the Jackdaws passed in a single group a long way to the E about as far as I could see
- 3 Chiffchaffs (2 in song): and it was well after 09:00 before any of them called
- 2 Blackcaps heard, both calling pre-dawn and not later
- not a large number of smaller birds flying over but a good mix with Sky Lark, Meadow Pipit, Siskin and Linnet all logged: and in addition to the normal Pied Wagtail roost dispersal there were a few over later that seemed more likely to be migrants.

- no bats again
- a Fox on the N shore: unlikely as it seems my records show this is my first seen anywhere in the UK this year
- no moths on the lamps or in the Priorslee Avenue foot tunnel
- 1 Speckled Wood butterfly
- an unidentified hawker dragonfly

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 120 Greylag Geese (4 parties)
- 4 Canada Geese
- 26 (8+♂) Eurasian Wigeon
- 1 (1♂) Shoveler
- 4 (0♂) Pintail”
- c.135 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 389 Jackdaws
- 241 Rooks
- 2 Sky Larks
- 22 Starlings
- 32 Pied Wagtails
- 6 Meadow Pipit
- 1 Siskin
- 1 Linnet

Hirundines etc

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2+ Greylag Geese
- 123 Canada Geese
- 8 (5♂) Eurasian Wigeon
- 1 (0♂) Teal
- 15 (7♂) Mallard
- 42 (20♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons again
- 4 Little Grebes
- ? Great Crested Grebes
- 14 + 16 Moorhens
- 189 Coots
- c.120 Black-headed Gulls
- no large gulls

The morning’s misty lake at sunrise: the group of dots are the 10 restless Tufted Ducks that went round and round for >10 minutes before landing back.

A different perspective on the sunrise.

An instructive photo: I thought this group of ducks – 19 here but 21 in total – were all Wigeon but the photo reveals not so. The top left bird is clearly a Shoveler but even better the bird below it and to the right is a Pintail – look at the thin neck, the long tail and the white on the trailing edge of the secondaries. Above this is a classic Wigeon-shaped bird with the rounded head, but the bird in front of it is not a Wigeon either: and I am not sure about some of the others.

This helps a bit: the top bird is the Shoveler; and there are at least 2 birds that do not show the gleaming white belly of Wigeon (which most of them are).

Later when more birds had joined there were 27 birds and here we see what looks like the Shoveler (the bill-shape and dark belly of the bird second from the left); and 4 probable duck Pintails (the other ducks with obvious dusky bellies – it is only drakes in Pintail that have white bellies)

Here is a Wigeon on the lake – the dark green eye ‘mask’ of the adult can be made out. Note the rather long and pointed tail which made ID of some of the flying birds tricky.

Another group of ducks – all Tufted Ducks. It is not easy to sex flying Tufted Ducks unless they show their flanks which these don’t. Drakes have black, as opposed to dark brown, backs but in the strong light here I am not sure that can be seen reliably. Perhaps the lower right-most bird, which seems to have sullied flanks as well as a paler back, is a duck. All the others look like drakes.

Good lighting on this flying Jay. From this angle it looks as if it has a black eye (mask) so where is the dark moustachial stripe?

Another view shows the pale eye above what seemed to be the dark mask on the previous photo – it was indeed the moustachial stripe with the eye hard to discern.

(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Flash: 09:40 – 10:35

(87th visit of the year)

- the ‘new’ cob Mute Swan seems to have left [reports of it causing havoc near Shifnal recently]. Cygnets looking after themselves and the pen on the island
- usual caveat on geese numbers with some returned and inside the island before I could count them: many of the geese flew in while I was walking around
- 3 Eurasian Wigeon pitched in here as well: flew about a bit then settled. There were my first here this year
- big increase in Tufted Duck count – too many to take the time to sex / age
- the 2 Black-headed Gulls arrived just as I was about to leave
- Kingfisher again: 2nd sighting this year
- no hirundines: the local birds seem to have gone [there are still birds in Newport]
- 5 Chiffchaffs (2 in song) was a high number considering the poor total at the lake
- Meadow Pipits over here as well
- 1 Speckled Wood butterfly: rather late but it was my first of the year here!

Birds noted flying over
- 10 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Meadow Pipits

Hirundines etc.

The counts from the water
- 1 + 3 Mute Swans
- 25 Greylag Geese
- 324 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 3 (2♂) Eurasian Wigeon
- 39 (26♂) Mallard
- 108 (?♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 + 2 Great Crested Grebes as usual
- 2 + 1 Moorhens
- 20 Coots
- 2 Black-headed Gulls

A drake Wigeon: no mistaking the sex of this one with the prominent white wing patch clearly visible from the way this bird is holding its wing – not always this easy. Drake Tufted Duck asleep in the foreground.

This also a drake Wigeon on which it is harder to see the white in the wing. What we can see though is the hint of the yellow on the forehead that will be prominent when in full plumage. A duck Tufted Duck asleep here – note the white around the base of the bill, not so extensive or clearly defined as it would be on a Scaup. And a Coot of course.

Another instructive shot. From this angle and with the posture of the bird it has the pointed-tail and thin neck look of a Pintail. But the very rounded crown, the reddish tones in the flanks and the grey bill with a dark tip all mean it cannot be that species and must be a duck Wigeon.

These three Wigeon are easier to sex. We are looking up and as they glide in the wings are held up to reveal the flanks: two drakes with a duck in the middle.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2010, 2011 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
1 Teal
3 Wigeon
1 Kingfisher
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
13 Meadow Pipits
3 Redpoll
Common Sandpiper
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Juvenile Common Scoter
3 Little Grebes
Drake Pintail x Mallard
(Ed Wilson/Andy Latham)