21 Mar 17

Priorslee Lake, The Flash, Trench Lock Pool and Trench Middle Pool

2.0°C > 6.0°C: Fine clear start with some cloud bubbling up later. Felling distinctly chilly in moderate WSW wind. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:11 GMT

Small passage of Meadow Pipits this morning. At least 5 over the lake – the very clear sky meant finding calling birds rather difficult. Then at least 5 flushed much later – after the school-run – from the running track / cricket pitch by Holy Trinity Academy. Not often I see this species on the ground in the area. Another was overhead Trench Middle Pool

Single adult Herring Gulls at both Trench Middle Pool and then later what was likely a different bird on Trench Lock Pool were noteworthy on a day with very few gulls anywhere

Priorslee Lake: 05:08 – 07:10 // 08:10 – 09:21

(37th visit of the year)

Notes from today:
- the Mute Swans spent at least the latter part of the night apart. Whether the pen was on the nest site I could not see
- the Feral Goose may well have finally got the hint and left: I last saw it circling at some height above the water after yet again having been chased by the Mute Swans and as far as I could tell it did not return
- I flushed a male Pheasant from the S side grass this morning. It flew over the boundary hedge towards the M54 but probably settled on the verge
- even more Jackdaws and a more prolonged passage with the first birds visible at 05:28!
- no moths on the lamps
- when the sun came up my first Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) of the year

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 15 Canada Geese (5 groups)
- 1 Cormorant
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (singles)
- 66 Wood Pigeons
- 551 Jackdaws (72 groups)
- 29 Rooks (22 singles / pairs)
- 2 Ravens
- 1 Starling
- 1 Redwing
- 5+ Meadow Pipits (see introduction)
- 3 Greenfinches
- 3 Goldfinches
- 2 Siskins

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 7 (6) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 all-white feral goose (see note)
- 7 (5♂) Mallard again
- 21 (15♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Cormorants again
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 8 Great Crested Grebes
- 4 Moorhens
- 28 Coots

The waning moon will soon be too small to get a properly exposed shot showing the craters. This will have to do!

A Blue Tit gets stuck in to the Pussy Willow. Probably after the nectar rather than any small insects. This action can sometimes result in pollen on the face and forehead making it look yellow.

This Chiffchaff led me a merry dance; although it was sitting nicely in the sun and staying in more or less the same place it managed to combine singing and preening. Here it is, at last, singing.

Some two hours later and he was still here. “is that you again?”

A male Blackbird sitting ‘downwind’ blowing a few feathers to spoil the effect. And you thought male Blackbirds were black – all sorts of small white flecks when seen like this.

A male Pied Wagtail on the dam. At this time of year birds of the greyer Continental race / species White Wagtail are likely to pass through. Male Pied Wagtails are so dark that confusion is not possible but with females it can be tricky. The only reliable feature is the colour of the upper tail – black on Pied; grey on White.

Taking the morning sun to warm up on this chilly morning is a female Chaffinch.

A fine male Bullfinch, complete with Hawthorn bud in its bill.

A female Reed Bunting. Been studying this for ages and rather wish it did not look so small and that the cheeks weren’t so dark. But cannot turn it in to anything rarer like a Little Bunting (bill shape and eye-ring wrong) or Rustic Bunting (bill colour) so Reed Bunting it will have to stay.

Another bird with a brown cheek-patch: almost impossible to separate male and female Dunnocks. It seems the birds don’t care much either: More info Here

Butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth – much.

Joining the Blue Tit at the Pussy Willow was this Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash 07:15 – 08:00

(28th visit of the year)

- only 1 of the Mute Swans noted: the other was likely tucked away on the island. I have not yet seen where the nest is this year for easy checking

Birds noted flying over

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 3 (3) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 1 Mute Swan (see notes)
- 12 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 13 (12♂) Mallard
- 24 (14♂) Tufted Duck
- 1 Cormorant again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 6 Moorhens
- 16 Coots

And single drake Mallard on the upper pool; also a singing Chiffchaff around the lower pool.

Much improved over my last effort: a Goldfinch at the Alder cones.

Checking me out between mouthfuls.

“I wonder if I can reach that one?”

We can see here how the pointed bill allows the bird to get in between the layers of the cones.

The other side.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:30 – 09:45 // 10:20 – 10:48

(12th visit of the year)

Notes from here
- the remaining cygnet being ignored today
- a duck Goosander back
- 1 singing Chiffchaff again

Birds noted flying over here

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 2 + 1 Mute Swans
- 17 Canada Geese
- 2 (2♂) Mallard
- 33 (22♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant: the same again?
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 Moorhens
- 37 Coots
- 1 Herring Gull

Also of some interest was a flattened Toad sp., likely a Common Toad (Bufo bufo). on the road outside the Blue Pig. This was probably driven over by someone leaving the car park in the late evening. I had a recent report of at least 5 being flattened at Priorslee Lake last week, probably when the occupants of the caravans made a late-night sortie for a take-away. At this time of year toads emerge late in the evening to mate.

Always look fierce – a near-adult Herring Gull. At the time I thought an adult but there is some black on the bill and a few brown flecks in the folded wing – a 3rd or 4th year bird. The eye-ring is not quite so prominent either.
Side-on the black on the bill is more obvious; the brown in the wing less so.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool 09:50 – 10:15

(10th visit of the year)

- the adult Herring Gull a surprise when it dropped in
- one singing Chiffchaffs today
- the over flying Meadow Pipit might just have been my first-ever Spring passage bird here – I have recorded them the previous three Autumns

Birds noted flying over here
- 2 Buzzards
- 1 Meadow Pipit

Warblers counts: number in brackets = singing birds
- 1 (1) Chiffchaffs

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 18 Greylag Geese
- 54 Canada Goose
- 14 (11♂) Mallard
- 8 (4♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant again
- 2 Great Crested Grebes
- 7 Moorhens
- 13 Coots
- 1 Herring Gull

Also of note I was told of several recent sightings of an apparent parakeet sp. from here in the last few days. The description I was given – green with a yellow breast – suggests an aviary escape rather than one of the naturalised Ring-necked Parakeets. These birds have been seen recently in the Walsall area

(Ed Wilson)


Nedge Hill: 07:15

2 Wheatear on the airfield

(John Isherwood)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
1 Brambling
1 Mediterranean Gull
7 Wigeon 
2 Gadwall 
29 Tufted Ducks
1 Little Ringed Plover
c.750 gulls
1 Mediterranean Gull
1 Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
Stock Dove
6 Redwings
7+  Fieldfares
279 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson, John Isherwood)

The Flash
2 Great Crested Grebe 
7 Swans 
1 Pochard 
1 Greater Scaup 
66 Tufted Duck 
(Ed Wilson)

Nedge Hill
1 Raven
Stock Dove
3+ Lapwing
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
5 Chiffchaff singing
(Martin Grant)

The Flash 
48 Tufted Duck 
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
3 Jays
2 Reed Buntings
2 Siskins
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Fieldfare
1 Little Grebe 
4 Great Crested Grebe 
6 Gadwall
36 Tufted Duck
149 Jackdaws
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
2 Willow Tit
4 Chiffchaff
(John Isherwood)

Nedge Hill
1 Blackcap
5 Lapwing
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
3 Great Crested Grebe
8 Cormorant
28 Tufted Duck
1 Ruddy Duck
1 Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
3 Stock Dove
141 Wood Pigeon
8 Pied Wagtail
27 Wren
21 Robin
21 Blackbird
48 Fieldfare
2 Redwing
8 Chiffchaff
67 Magpie
410 Jackdaw
1 Willow Tit
7 Greenfinch
2 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson, Martin Adlam)

Priorslee Lake
Barn Owl
c.750 Black-headed Gulls
4 Little Grebes
7 Great Crested Grebes
2 Herons
7 Pochard
42 Tufted Ducks
1 Ruddy Duck
1 Water Rail.
289 Wood Pigeon
29 Pied Wagtails
25 Blackbirds
7 Redwings
16 Greenfinches
11 Siskins
1 Linnet
3 Reed Buntings
(Ed Wilson)