19 Dec 15

Priorslee Lake: 07:02 – 09:42

Plus a postscript for c.14:00

Telford sunrise: 08:18

13.0°C throughout. Cloudy with spells of light rain / drizzle; fresh S wind. Moderate visibility, poor at times

(155th visit of the year)

A difficult day with wet optics and very dull conditions

- the / a Little Grebe in the NW area today: for weeks the birds logged have generally been at the E end of the N shore
- 2 Grey Herons seen disputing territory well before light; soon after a bird was seen flying in from the N and this may or may not have been another individual. Whatever, after it was properly light only 1 bird noted
- 1 Starling left the NW reeds a few minutes after 3 birds flew out of the W end
- Cetti’s Warbler gave just a single alarm call this morning
- most of the Pied Wagtails flying over were at the W end and were not from any roost in the M54 services
- I suspect that most of the Greenfinches I have recently been recording as ‘flying over’ are coming out of a roost at the E end of the Priorslee Estate. However as I can only realistically visit this area on non-school days (wandering around close to the Academy with binoculars and a camera seems unwise in this day and age) I will continue to record them as flying over
- no moths on the lamps

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
- 1 Herring Gull
- c.340 Jackdaws
- 4 Rooks
- 10 Pied Wagtails
- 10 Greenfinches (see notes)
- 2 Siskins

Birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
- 55 Magpies
- 4 Starlings (2 groups)
- 1 Redwing
- 6 Reed Buntings again

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 11 (6♂) Gadwall
- 10 (5♂) Mallard
- 9 (9♂) Pochard
- 71 (44♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 2, perhaps 3, Grey Herons
- 1 Little Grebe
- 10 Great Crested Grebes
- 18 Moorhens
- ** Coots (not counted)
- c.275 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

As a post-script to this I stopped off while passing at c.14:00 and noted
- 13 (11♂) Pochard now
- 24 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 6 Herring Gulls
Nothing else was counted

- the Little Grebe seemed to be back at its usual haunt
- 3 of the Herring Gulls had ‘dark(er)’ backs than normal: one I judged within the normal variation of the northern population from Scandinavia. Neither of the others had the ‘clean’ look of a Yellow-legged Gull but in the still poor conditions I was unable to get more than record shots that don’t really allow further investigation

More evidence of strange behaviour during the current warm spell. This pair of flies are mating on the Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). Not sure what the flies are – they look rather like Yellow Dung-flies though the female of that species is supposed to be grey. My literature does not give any flies as on the wing in December, just the common Winter Midges.

These flowers look to me rather like Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) though illustration show yellow centres. Perhaps an effect of flowers out of season when they cannot develop properly? Not sharp I am afraid in the poor light.

This equally un-sharp photo of the feathery leaves supports the identification later visit.

Here we see a Herring-type Gull alongside Black-headed Gulls. A classic Herring Gull would have the same tone to the mantle as the Black-heads: this is significantly darker and I would judge too dark to be ‘just’ a Scandinavian race Herring Gull (argentatus). A classic winter adult Yellow-legged Gull would show a head with no (or almost no) head-streaking. Also rather strange is only two white ‘spots’ in the folded primaries – there are normally four [but note the difference in the apparent tone of the Black-heads depending upon the angle].

And here is another example of how difficult it is to judge the true tone: The two large gulls here look quite different in tone, but ...

... here they look almost the same and if there is a difference it is the other bird that looks darker. Gulls: don’t you just love them.

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in 2005, 2006, 2009,  2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake

Today's Report Here
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

3 Gadwall 
7 Pochard
80 Tufted Ducks
231 Coots
268 Black-headed Gulls
8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
11 Herring Gulls
27 Fieldfare
103 Redwings
356 Jackdaws
251 Rooks
2 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Gadwall
11 Pochard
44 Tufted Ducks
180 Coots
1 Great Black-backed Gull
2 Redwings
17 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 adult Yellow legged Gull
5 Great Black-backed Gull
10 Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Holmer Lake
14 Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

Black necked Grebe
7 Great Crested Grebes 
45 Pochard
130 Tufted Duck
302 Coot
>3500 gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull
20 Swans
1 Water Rail
15 Lapwing
15 Herring Gulls
5 Redwings
c.20 Goldfinches
7 Siskins
(Ed Wilson/ John Isherwood)

Priorslee lake
31 Pochard
33 Tufted Ducks
c.400 Black-headed Gulls
c.2800 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
31 Herring Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
18 Pied Wagtails
2 Redpoll
7 Reed Buntings
(Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake

c.400 Black-headed Gulls
150 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
9 Pochard
16 Tufted Duck
200 Coot
1 Water Rail
15 Pied Wagtails
243 Rooks
532 Jackdaw 532
Redwing with a full-blown song
31 Siskins
2 Redpoll
16 Reed Bunting
(Martin Adlam)