14 Dec 16

Priorslee Lake: 07:15 – 09:20

Sunrise: 08:14 GMT

9°C > 11°C: Very low cloud to start, clearing after 09:00. Light SE breeze. Moderate visibility, later good

Absolute highlight was the immature duck Long-tailed Duck found at the most unlikely of locations – Trench Middle Pool. This is the 3rd Long-tailed Duck I have now found in Shropshire, the last being on Trench Lock Pool on 11 November 2014

(170th visit of the year)

Most notable was the sudden arrival of >1100 Black-headed Gulls in a rush at 07:50, all coming in low over the Ricoh factory. All bar c.30 had left by 08:30 and the swirling mass of departing gulls prevented me making any realistic count of the number flying over. Later >300 arrived, some with Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and I am tempted to think that many of these were new arrivals. Later some of the gulls were noted on the roof of the Ricoh factory

Other notes from today
- three groups of Goosanders overhead: 4 (1♂) flew W; 3 (0♂) also W; then an hour later 3 (2♂) flew E
- Green Woodpecker heard calling several times today
- three male Winter Moths had joined the female on one of the lamps: another male on another lamp

Counts of birds flying over the lake (in addition to those on / around lake)
- 2 (1♂) Mallard
- 10 (2♂) Goosander
- ? Black-headed Gulls
- 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 8 Wood Pigeons only
- 91 Jackdaws
- 9 Rooks
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Greenfinch
- 1 Goldfinch
- 6 Siskins
- 2 Linnets

Birds leaving roost around lake
- [Magpie roost not logged]
- 2 Redwings

The counts from the lake area
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 9 (6♂) Mallard
- 1 (1♂) Shoveler again
- 5 (4♂) Pochard
- 41 (21♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Grey Herons
- 2 Little Grebes
- 5 Great Crested Grebes again
- 1 Water Rail heard
- 11 Moorhens
- 46 Coots
- >1400 Black-headed Gulls (see note)
- 22 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls

This is rather unusual: a Winter Moth with its wings closed so we can see the underside. Loses some of the detail in the flash: the wind was blowing the wings about and there was insufficient light to capture it otherwise.

Rather long-range: a first-winter Herring Gull on the roof of the Ricoh building

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 11:00 – 11:25

(5th visit of the year)

Long-tailed Duck on the pool 11:15 at least. Spooked a bit when I accidentally flushed the always flighty Goosanders, but seemed to just paddle away happily-enough with some Tufties.

Notes – apart from the Long-tailed Duck!
- the Mute Swan is almost an adult and seems to be unringed
- high number of Tufted Duck today
- Goosanders not uncommon here but always good to see

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan
- 2 Greylag Geese
- 37 Canada Goose
- 13 (9♂) Mallard
- 2 (1♂) Feral-type Mallard
- 18 (12♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Long-tailed Duck
- 4 (1♂) Goosander
- 14 Moorhens
- 9 Coots
- 74 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull yet again

The first glimpse I had of this bird but no mistaking the head pattern – a Long-tailed Duck. Next: what age? sex? There are so many variations in plumage that I always have to resort to ‘the book’ and ...

Get a better view. The rather smudged cheek mark suggests this is a 1st winter duck and that is supported by the bill being all-dark. Note too the small white-tips to the tertials.

Not sure what is hanging from its bill: hope its only weed and not the remains of a long-lost cassette tape (remember those?).

And the other side for completeness.

Meanwhile I tried to avoid getting distracted by these three brownhead Goosander.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 10:05 – 10:55

(10th visit of the year)

Velvet Scoter seems to have gone

Other notes
- high number of Canada Geese scattered all around the lake: many bathing, including some turning upside down to get the water in between their feathers
- many fewer Tufted Ducks than on my last visit – gone to Middle Pool?
- rather few gulls. Superficially the Black-headed Gulls seemed to be harassing the Goosanders but when these ducks moved away the gulls continued to dive almost tern-like in to the water and were likely fishing a shoal of small fry disturbed by the Goosanders

The counts from the water
- 2 + 3 Mute Swans
- 104 Canada Geese
- 14 (8♂) Mallard
- 19 (3♂) Tufted Ducks
- 4 (1♂) Goosander
- 1 Grey Heron
- 7 Moorhens
- 39 Coots
- 61 Black-headed Gulls
- 19 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls

A Canada Goose shows how to get water in the feathers.

Everybody getting in on the action.

Did someone mention “water off a duck’s back”? – well goose anyway.

Have to try harder to get wet.

Another bird having a flap after its bath. The underwing feathers look like they need some more preening to get them all aligned.

And another bird – this one has its underwing feathers rather better aligned ...

 ... but we see it is missing its 4th primary.

Almost a handsome portrait.

This melee of Black-headed Gulls was, I thought, harassing the Goosanders – we see one brownhead on the surface here: the others had dived.

Here we see that they are in fact somewhat closer to me than the Goosanders – all four are on the surface here.

Here two Lesser Black-backed Gulls get in on the action. We also see one of the Black-headed Gulls dipping in the water, and it is close alongside one of the Goosanders rather than actually trying to steal from the duck.

The gulls are still at it and the Goosanders are nowhere to be seen.

One gull here is about to dive in to the water, clearly after something.

This immature Lesser Black-backed Gull seems to have caught something.

Its tough when you get some food: someone else wants it. The front bird is, I think, a 2nd winter Herring Gull; the other bird is a near-adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A very strongly marked adult winter Lesser Black-backed Gull.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake
Today's sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
>550 Wood Pigeons
41 Magpies
1 Siskin
4 Gadwall 
2 Teal 
4 Pochard 
64 Tufted Ducks 
228 Coots
127 Black-headed Gulls
34 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
12 Herring Gulls
12 Great Black-backed Gull
10 Fieldfare
19 Redwings 
78 Jackdaws
7 Rooks
(Ed Wilson/John Isherwood)

The Flash
1st winter female Scaup
167 Tufted Ducks
(Ed Wilson/John Isherwood)

Horsehay Pool
A leucistic large species gull, probably Lesser Black-backed Gull
4 Yellow-legged Gulls
(Jim Almond)

Priorslee Lake
2 Gadwall
9 Pochard
27 Tufted Ducks
c.155 Coots
265 Black-headed Gulls
244 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
42 Herring Gulls
3 Greater Black-backed Gulls
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Mallard x Pintail
>25 Herring Gulls
>500 Wood Pigeons
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
Black-necked Grebe
Little Grebe
2 Gadwall
c.50 Siskins
1 Redpoll
4 Great Crested Grebes 
21 Swans
31 Pochard
92 Tufted Ducks
291 Coots 
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
22 Pochard
48 Tufted Ducks
3 Buzzards
69 Coots
>1300 Black-headed Gulls
>2600 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
23 Herring Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
5 Great Black-backed Gulls
25 Robins
16 Blackbirds
c.60 Fieldfare
c.162 Redwings
32 Magpies
230 Jackdaws
96 Rooks
22 Starlings
14 Greenfinches
1 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson/Kevin Pryce)

Priorslee Lake
3 Ruddy Ducks
Water Rail
1500 Black-headed Gulls
700 Lesser Blacked Gulls
2 Little Grebes
6 Great Crested Grebes
29 Pochard
54 Tufted Duck
234 Coot
176 Jackdaws
179 Rooks
11 Siskins
15 Pied Wagtails
2 Grey Wagtails
3 Redwings
1 Fieldfare seen.
164 Wood Pigeon
5 Reed Buntings
10 Greenfinches
(Ed Wilson)