1 Feb 16

Priorslee Lake: 10:40 – 12:20

c.14°C. Sunny spells; very strong WSW wind; moderate visibility

Best-effort counts on a day when it was hard to stand up on the dam!

(12th visit of the year)

- low number of Tufted Duck – but not Pochard: perhaps the Tufties had gone to The Flash? Pochard are rather more shy and would perhaps not so readily go there where there are people and dogs passing all the time
- the 3 large gulls on the lake each dropped in briefly
- most of the Black-headed Gulls were using the air-currents to ride along the face of the dam and presumably hoping that morsels would be dashed against the rocks. I did not see what, if anything, they were eating
- Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail seen in the Wesley Brook

- a large bumble-bee (Bombus sp.) was blown away before I could get a proper look at it (I had a smaller specimen on the wall of my house Saturday, no doubt tempted by the mild weather)
- a Grey Squirrel was my first here this year
- Dandelion, buttercup, daisy and hogweed all in flower
- Alder and Hazel catkins

Overhead were
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull
- 2 Redwings
- 2 Siskins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 7 (4♂) Gadwall
- 4 (2♂) Mallard
- 27 (21♂) Pochard
- 18 (11♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron
- 4 Cormorants
- 16 Great Crested Grebes
- 3(!) Moorhens
- 106 Coots
- c.120 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 Herring Gull

A very choppy lake this morning – and I expect it got worse later. All credit to the camera for getting some sharp images of the gulls despite them and me being blown around and my eyes streaming so I was unable to see whether the focus was working properly.

The melee of Black-headed Gulls using the dam-face to soar looking for food being blown / washed up by the strong wind Although on a high zoom and there is some foreshortening it still seems to require considerable skill by the birds to avoid each other.

A smaller group from a slightly different angle.

Two adults in close-up.

Here we see the detail pattern of the spread upper-wing on a full adult winter bird – though in fact only the head will change when the bird acquires breeding plumage.

And the spread upper-wing of a 1st winter showing the wing-tip especially well.

A few seconds later we see the whole upper-wing.

When the sun came out it was hard not to ‘blow out’ the white plumage detail but the underwing shows well here.

This adult from above illustrates how hard it can be to see some plumage details with the naked eye: the primaries on the left wing clearly have white tips whereas the left wing does not show them from this angle.

This bird is starting to acquire its breeding black on the head: and note too the black tip to the bill has almost gone.

Here is a great view showing both the upper and under wing patterns of a typical winter adult.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 12:30 – 12:10

(8th visit of the year)

- large number of Tufted Duck present, perhaps sheltering

Birds noted flying over

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 13 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose
- 32 (20♂) Mallard
- 126 (78♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 all-white feral duck
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Moorhen
- 17 Coots
- 58 Black-headed Gulls

Both Swans were having a good bathe and splash about this morning – always behind some vegetation no matter where I stood! They really do set the water flying and the facial expression looks like he is enjoying himself.

Here is the pen doing the same.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 2013 and 2014

Priorslee Lake

1 female Velvet Scoter
3 Scaup
(John Isherwood)

Holmer Lake
1 Goosander
1 Little Grebe
(John Isherwood)


Little Wenlock, Candles Landfill Site
3 Caspian Gulls
Iceland Gull
3 Yellow-legged Gulls
(Tom Lowe)

Priorslee Lake

7 Great Crested Grebes
21 Pochard
59 Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
3 Dunlin
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
c.120 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
19 Herring Gulls
Glaucous Gull
3 Great Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood, Martin Grant, Andy Latham, Jim Almond)

Priorslee Flash

1 Teal
64 Greylags
32 Tufted Ducks
c.400 Black-headed Gulls
65 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
17 Herring Gulls (Ed Wilson)

Holmer Lake
40 Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake

3 Yellow-legged Gull
Glaucous Gull
6 Pochard
25 Tufted Ducks
(Ed Wilson, Richard Vernon)

Priorslee Lake

1 Little Grebe
7 Pochard
29 Tufted Ducks
>200 Black-headed Gulls
113 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
7 Herring Gulls
107 Wood Pigeons
21 Wrens
40 Robins
26 Blackbirds
6 Fieldfares
10 Song Thrushes
10 Redwings
1 Willow Tit
54 Magpies
2 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

c.450 Black-headed Gulls
c.650 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
26 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull.
10 Great Crested Grebes
16 Pochard
27 Tufted Ducks
168 Coots
200 Wood Pigeons
3 Redwings
2 Willow Tit
17 Siskin
5 Reed Buntings.
(Ed Wilson)