29 Nov 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:20 – 09:30

Sunrise: 07:56 GMT

-2°C > +1°C: Fine clear and frosty. Calm / light variable wind. Good visibility with some haze in the distance and mist over the water early

The main target today was to get to Trench Lock Pool after it was fully light and to check whether the Velvet Scoter, first recorded yesterday, was still present. This is a sea duck that is rarely found inland. Many misplaced birds will leave on the first clear night when they can orientate themselves – luckily this bird stayed for me to see it and get some photos. New for my year-list and my first-ever in Shropshire

(160th visit of the year)

No noticeable ice despite the very white frost

Notes from today
- same drake Shoveler as yesterday, still nowhere near the long-term duck
- party of 25 Cormorants passing S to the E was unusual
- fewer Wood Pigeons today with just 4 groups totalling 72 birds other than local fly-overs
- Jackdaw numbers likely underestimated: a party of at least 200 flew very low directly overhead giving me almost no time to estimate how many in the group. 76 later
- two singles and a party of 5 Starlings came out of the reeds this morning
- no moths today

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 1 (0♂) Goosanders
- 25 Cormorants (1 group)
- 38 Black-headed Gulls
- 91 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons (1 group)
- 5 Stock Doves (1 group)
- 103 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- 2 Collared Doves
- >274 Jackdaws
- 12 Rooks
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 18 Fieldfare (3 groups)
- 20 Redwings (4 groups)
- 6 Siskins
- 2 Linnets

Birds leaving roost around lake
- 7 Starlings (see notes)

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall again
- 14 (9♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Shovelers
- 5 (4♂) Pochard
- 87 (48♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons still
- 2 Little Grebes
- 5 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Water Rail heard
- 6 Moorhens
- 63 Coots
- c.65 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Another great winter morning looking from the dam toward the main N side reed-bed.

And the whole N-side panorama.

The remaining leaves on these trees were falling quickly today as the sun reached the frosted branches.

Not very thrilling but here one of the many falling leaves is in the centre of the view here.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool

Late Morning Report: 10:30 – 11:30

(8th visit of the year)

Most of the time spent watching the Velvet Scoter and some other counts incomplete

Other notes
- geese in some number today with birds arriving throughout; some of the arrivals flew low through – to Middle Pool? Other birds only stayed a short while and also left – perhaps also for Middle Pool

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 77 Canada Geese
- 11 (6♂) Mallard
- 27 (17♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Velvet Scoter
- Moorhens not counted
- Coots not counted
- >60 Black-headed Gulls
- >80 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- >6 Herring Gulls

Here is the Velvet Scoter: the age and sex of this bird are both rather puzzling. The two white patches on the face suggest it is a female or a juvenile and as these are rather distinctive then it suggests a juvenile. However the bill shows some orange along the cutting edge and that suggests an immature drake. It must still be quite immature as there is no hint of the dark feathering along the base of the upper mandible shown by drakes from first-winter onwards.

Slightly different light on the bird here.

Can be hard to judge tones in harsh low winter light: to my eyes this bird looks too pale to be anything other than a juvenile.

A quick wing-flap and the white secondaries show well. When flocks of scoter are passing out to sea the white secondaries of this species separates these at long range from the more numerous Common Scoter. The white secondaries can often be glimpsed when the bird it on the water.

The underwing can look very pale in bright light.

And here we see the very pale belly confirming it as a juvenile and taken on its own would seem to be too white for a drake. But we cannot argue that the bill has orange along the edges and the bird must be an immature drake..

Here for size comparison with a drake Tufted Duck.

It wouldn’t be Trench without gulls: here a very near adult Herring Gull – just a few black marks in the greater coverts and some brown marks in the tertials. Only the merest hint of a red spot on the lower mandible – so a 3rd or 4th winter bird.

This rather brutish-looking Herring Gull is a typical 3rd winter bird. Its size suggests it is a male.

Early Morning Sighting: 8:30am

Velvet Scoter still present this morning

(David Tromans)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:10 – 10:25

(4th visit of the year)

This was about 30% ice this morning, the ice sufficiently thick for many of the Black-headed Gulls to be standing on it

This was a quick look while walking past en route to Trench Pool and the counts may be incomplete.

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan
- 10 Greylag Geese
- 12 Canada Goose
- 18 (13♂) Mallard
- no Tufted Ducks
- Moorhens not counted
- Coots not counted
- 182 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull again

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
6 Gadwall
2 Pochard
2 Teal
1 Shoveler
1 Yellow-legged Gull
4 Great Black-backed Gulls
(JW Reeves / John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
3 Gadwall
6 Pochard
33 Tufted Ducks
144 Coots
216 Black-headed Gulls
c.480 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
47 Herring Gulls
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
c.950 Wood Pigeons
16 Redwings
2 Fieldfares
c.560 Jackdaws
81 Rooks
11 Siskins
3 Redpolls
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
3 Yellow-legged Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull
(John Isherwood)

3 Waxwings
(Pete Nickless)

Priorslee Lake
Drake Pintail
(Martin & Ian Grant)

Priorslee Lake
1 Little Grebe
28 Pochard
54 Tufted Ducks
1 drake Ruddy Duck
>1450 Black-headed Gulls
331 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
278 Wood Pigeons
35 Robins
27 Blackbirds
69 Fieldfares
7 Song Thrushes
13 Redwings
1 Siskin
8 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Little Grebes again
2 Wigeon
2 Pochard
47 Tufted Duck
223 Coot
A drake Shoveler
7+ Cormorants
8000 Black-headed Gulls
3500 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
7 Herring Gulls
25 Golden Plover
14 Fieldfares
8 Redwings
13 Sky Larks
7 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)