22 Feb 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:30

Telford sunrise: 07:12

c.5.0°C. Medium-high overcast with clearance from NW making little progress. Light / moderate W wind. Very good visibility

(24th visit of the year)

Two things to highlight, both distant fly-overs
- early-on a distant high-flying party of Golden Plover was seen heading N to the E. These fly in very distinctive formations and can be confidently identified at a great distance. It has been a much better year for this species with 100s of birds on the fields in the Newport area
- a party of c.20 gulls left the tip area c.08:45 and flew S well to the W of the lake. It contained what seemed to be an Iceland Gull – just perhaps a Kumlein’s Gull. Separation of these closely related (sub?) species requires more than a photo from a mile away no matter how good Mr. Canon’s camera is. Which is a shame as I have never seen a Kumlein’s Gull in the UK

More signs of Spring
- the Swans spent some while inspecting their traditional nest site: and the cob was motivated to stand no nonsense from the two geese this morning and soon dispatched them
- my first Sky Lark of the year flew over; and then one was heard in song over the fields to the E
- no fewer than 9 Song Thrushes singing with another 4 birds seen

Other notes
- the small Cackling / Lesser Canada Goose was with one of the groups of geese this morning. Many of the geese were in pairs (I suppose strictly ‘in twos’ as I cannot sex this species)
- the only Mallard seen this morning were a pair flushed from the Wesley Brook as I was leaving
- 8 (of the 9) Feral Pigeons were in a single group one of which was of the less unattractive so-called red-bar morph
- as a follow-up to Saturday’s notes at least 4 Linnets were seen / heard in the trees at the edge of the estate – one was confirmed visually, though perversely this bird flew in from elsewhere [the Cetti’s Warbler was not heard this morning]

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 32 Canada Geese (11 groups)
- 1 Cackling / Lesser Canada Goose
- 1 Cormorant again
- c.30 Golden Plover (see above)
- 46 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 6 Herring Gulls
- 1 Iceland Gull (see above)
- 1 Great Black-backed Gull
- 9 Feral Pigeons (2 groups)
- 1 Collared Dove
- 10 Jackdaws
- 27 Rooks
- 1 Sky Lark
- 2 Starlings
- 21 Fieldfare (2 groups)
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 9 Greenfinches
- 2 Goldfinches
- 11 Siskins

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese for a while
- 5 (3♂) Gadwall again
- 2 (1♂) Mallard
- 10 (9♂) Pochard
- 12 (5♂) Tufted Ducks
- 5 Cormorants
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 16 Great Crested Grebes
- 19 Moorhens
- 64 Coots
- 33 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls

This edited shot – well the birds were >1 mile away – seems to show an immature (3rd? year) Great Black-backed Gull and a presumed Iceland Gull. To be positive on identification we would have to see the bird much better than this. We have to rule out a leucistic bird (lacking pigment) and the rather similar Kumlein’s Gull, which shows pale grey tones on the primaries and the tail. The only other ‘white-winged gull’ is Glaucous Gull and that is the same size (or larger) than the Greater Black-backed Gull.

Here we see it with two immature Herring Gulls and notice its distinctly chunkier appearance.

And here is the underwing. As best as I can see from these shots it has a dark eye and a mainly yellow bill which perhaps indicates it is not a leucistic bird. And there seems to be no grey in the tail to suggest Kumlein’s Gull. So I would vote for Iceland Gull – statistically the most likely.

Perhaps a pair of Cormorants here. I am not aware of the breeding rituals of this species, the bird on the right seems to be presenting nesting material for inspection by the other bird. Apparently there is no difference between male and female plumages, the amount of white acquired during the breeding season dependant solely upon age. Males tend to be larger but we cannot really tell that here as the poses are so different.

The ‘whitest’ of today’s Cormorants. They are always very wary and do not allow close approach. Shooting through the vegetation is the only option.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

3 Great Crested Grebes 
5 Cormorants 
1 Grey Heron 
7 Pochard 
3 Tufted Duck
11 Redwings
>800 Jackdaws
127 Rooks
9 Ravens
(Ed Wilson)

The Flash
1 Little Grebe 
1 Greylag x Canada x ? Goose 
172 Tufted Ducks 
3 Goosanders 
(Ed Wilson)

Telford Crematorium
Iceland Gull
(Observer Unknown)

4 Sky Larks
1 Meadow Pipit 
1 Redwing 
4 Ravens
c.30 Chaffinches
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

23 Wigeon
4 Gadwall
(Martin Grant)

The Flash
Drake Scaup
(JW Reeves)

Horsehay Pool
Iceland Gull
(Jim Almond)

Little Wenlock, Candles Landfill Site
2 Iceland Gulls 
2 Glaucous Gulls
(Tom Lowe)

Priorslee Lake

1 Great Black-backed Gull
(Martin Grant)

Priorslee Lake

2 Teal
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

1 Mallard x Pintail
4 Tufted Duck
Common Gull
41 Magpie
197 Jackdaw
13 Greenfinch
Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

1 Little Grebe
7 Great Crested Grebes
2 Herons
4 Cormorants
6 Pochard
21 Tufted Ducks
116 Coots
1 Water Rail
627 Wood Pigeon
13 Pied Wagtails
28 Blackbirds
4 Willow Tits
10 Greenfinches
133 Siskins
1 Linnet
6 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)