27 Oct 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:45

Sunrise: 07:58 BST

11°C > 13°C: Mainly cloudy with a few clear intervals later. Light / moderate SSW wind. Very good visibility

Some late news: I have a reliable report that a Shelduck dropped in for a while on Tuesday (25th)

The SW wind was bringing much road noise from the M54 – as I noted previously last year’s resurfacing, far from making the road quieter, actually made it worse because the concrete central barriers throw the sound back. All this makes hearing the birds rather more difficult

(134th visit of the year)

Notes from today
- the cygnet, recently given a blue Darvic ring (7IAU?), was seen trying its wings and making it half-way across the water
- two sightings of a Sparrowhawk again (and later seen over The Flash as well)
- most of the Black-headed Gulls seemed to arrive from the W along with a sizeable group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Arrival from the E and the Ricoh fields was very thin today
- just two small groups of migrant Wood Pigeons today: the second group much later than usual at 09:35
- there seemed to be no Starling roost at the lake this morning
- one of the Song Thrushes was heard in sub-song
- the 14 Greenfinches seen overhead may well have come from trees bordering the main Priorslee estate
- 5 Epirrita sp. moths on the lamps today (I see these are generally referred to as November Moth agg. (aggregate) and I will adopt that term from now on)
- a Juniper Carpet moth found in the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue. New for me in Shropshire

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 24 Greylag Geese
- 14 Canada Geese
- 206 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 1 Stock Dove
- 58 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 102 Jackdaws (see notes)
- 2 Rooks only
- 27 Starlings (2 groups)
- 49 Fieldfare (5 groups)
- 7 Redwings (3 groups)
- 23 Pied Wagtails
- 14 Greenfinches
- 5 Goldfinches
- 1 Siskin

Count of birds seen leaving roosts around the lake
- 1 Fieldfare
- 4 Redwings
- 1 Reed Bunting

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 4 (2♂) Gadwall still
- 9 (5♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Pochard again
- 102 Tufted Ducks
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 5 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 59 Coots
- >210 Black-headed Gulls
- 66 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Here is a nice tight group of Tufted Duck flying about. Even from this angle sexing many of them is difficult. The top bird in the photo is clearly a drake; and the last in the group shows white at the base of the bill and so is a duck; the bird ahead of that has a clean divide between the white and black on the breast and is therefore also a drake. The others?

This adult Lesser Black-backed Gull shows the streaks on the head acquired in winter. The extent and strength of these marks is highly variable for reasons that I have never seen convincingly explained.

This adult Lesser Black-backed Gull is much paler on the upper-wing. The head-streaking is rather less. Note that it is still in wing-moult, the outer primary on both wings being ‘short’.

And here is a somewhat darker toned adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, also still in wing-moult.

This is a sub-adult Lesser Black-backed Gull which in addition to showing the streaks on the head has marks on the underwing and dark marks on the bill. What we can see of the upperwing at first glance it looks like an adult being very dark: a full adult would show white spots in the outer primaries.

Between the Lake and The Flash

I saw a moth on the roof of the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue and rather assumed it was going to be another specimen of November Moth agg. but I took a photo of it anyway. And good job I did: it is a Juniper Carpet moth. Turned out to be a new moth for me in Shropshire!

Many leaves down now but still pretty spectacular.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 09:55 – 10:35

(98th visit of the year)

- no longer able to be certain which, if any, of the Great Crested Grebes is the / a immature
- not sure where all the Tufted Ducks came from: some certainly transited from the lake and flew over me while I was walking from one to the other. Birds here generally just loaf their time away though they will join in the frenzy when anyone comes ‘to feed the ducks’. Almost all of the drakes are now recognisable as such, even the immatures beginning at acquire a few white flank feathers
- the over-flying Lesser Redpoll was my first of this species here this year
- the / a shield bug instar appeared on one of the lamps

Birds noted flying over
- 3 Skylarks
- 1 Redwing
- 2 Goldfinches
- 1 Lesser Redpoll

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 37 Greylag Geese
- 19 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 38 (27♂) Mallard
- 119 (53?♂) Tufted Ducks
- 16 (2♂) Goosanders
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 2 Moorhens again
- 11 Coots
- 74 Black-headed Gulls

A 1st winter Black-headed Gull. The head marks are much like an adult. However the bill shows black and pale orange rather than blank and reddish-orange and of course the brown marks in the wings clinch the age.

A different bird with an adult taking off behind it on which the brighter bill and leg-colour can be clearly seen.

And here is an adult in all its winter glory.

Drake Tufted Ducks are beginning to moult in to breeding plumage – most ducks acquire breeding plumage and pair up in early winter, even as early as September for dabbling ducks. So we see a range of birds this morning: this one is mainly grey with white bases showing (oops: clipped the bill-tip!).

This shows white on the lower flanks but still much grey.

While this is almost all-white with just a few grey feathers.

These are paired up: note the duck (at the rear) shows some pale at the base of the bill which will be lost later. Ducks often show a considerable ‘tuft’ like this: they always show at least a vestigial tuft which allows easy separation from duck Scaup – providing you can get a good-enough view.

(Ed Wilson)
On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here


Priorslee Lake
1 Adult Great Black-backed Gull
1000+ large gulls
(John Isherwood)


Priorslee Lake
Great Black-backed Gull
11 Golden Plover
2 Kingfishers
16 Reed Buntings
5 Sky Larks
8 Meadow Pipits
71 Redwings
457 Fieldfare
31 Siskins
1 Linnet
4 Redpolls 
(Ed Wilson)


Priorslee Lake
40 Tufted Duck
16 Pochard
2 Ruddy Duck
Common Buzzard
c.2500 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 Kingfisher
2 Goldcrest
42 Fieldfare
Willow Tit
14 Long-tailed Tits
(Martin Adlam)