7 Mar 17

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

3.5°C > 7.0°C: Cloudy start, clearing to mainly high overcast after 06:45. Light W wind dropped away at times. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:41 GMT

Priorslee Lake : 05:27 – 07:20 // 08:15 – 09:29

(24th visit of the year)

At last: a flyover Sparrowhawk was my 69th confirmed species at the lake this year

Other notes from today:
- the 2 Mute Swans are still terrorising the feral goose and preventing it leaving the dam-face
- an extra drake Gadwall had turned up again
- a Water Rail scampered under the Wesley Brook bridge and stayed put!
- low count of Coots: I think because a few minutes before they had been flushed off the SW grass by a dog-walker and had gone for cover
- the 44 Black-headed Gulls dropped in from very high over rather than from the W end as normal
- a party of 35 Wood Pigeons was seen heading S: I see large parties totalling thousands migrating in the Autumn but never see any significant numbers on Spring migration
- big groups of Jackdaws both to E and to W as well as overhead this morning
- may have solved the absence of significant numbers of Rooks: my earlier arrival enabled me to hear two parties overhead at 05:50. Scanning the usual flight-lines produced nothing – too dark for me to see. Just 17 later
- Sky Lark was indeed ‘up with the lark’ this morning singing over the fields to the E by 06:00
- 1 March Moth found on one of the lamps this morning

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 4 Greylag Geese (1 group)
- 24 Canada Geese (4 groups)
- 1 Sparrowhawk
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 48 Wood Pigeons (see notes)
- c.590 Jackdaws (19 groups) (see notes)
- >17 Rooks (9 singles / groups) (see notes)
- 2 Ravens
- 3 Greenfinches
- 1 Goldfinch
- 8 Siskins (3 groups)

Roost / departure counts
- >25 Magpies
- 4 Redwings
- 1 Reed Bunting

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 1 all-white feral goose remains
- 3 (2♂) Gadwall
- 10 (7♂) Mallard
- 25 (17♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Grey Heron again
- 10 Great Crested Grebes
- 1 Water Rail
- 12 Moorhens
- 24 Coots only (see notes)
- 44 Black-headed Gulls

Today’s sky-scape some while after dawn.

Here is something you don’t see too often – indeed I am not sure I have ever seen it before. This Great Crested Grebe was hauled out on the grass and preening. This species has the legs set so far back for powerful swimming that it usually just about staggers on to its nest to brood the eggs, otherwise it always in the water.

A really weird shape!

Jays are always hard to approach but I managed to sneak up on this one.

Bullfinches more visible at this time of year with no leaves to hide them as they feast on Hawthorn buds. Here a male of course.

The Siskins are not being very helpful at the moment. They seem to have eaten all the seeds in the Alder cones and when present they are sitting at the very tops of the trees singing and twittering. Here is a male.

And in profile.

(Ed Wilson)


The Flash: 07:30 – 08:05

(19th visit of the year)

The Pied Wagtail over-flying here was my first of the year at this site

- one of the Mute Swans spent some while at the nest site on the island
- 1 Cormorant flew off – a mature bird; and another – an immature – flew in
- 1 Great Crested Grebe only
- at least 3 Nuthatches seen

Birds noted flying over here
- 2 Black-headed Gulls
- 2 Jackdaws
- 1 Pied Wagtail

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans (see notes)
- 22 Canada Geese
- 1 all white feral goose
- 12 (9♂) Mallard
- 18 (10♂) Tufted Duck
- 2 Cormorants
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 5 Moorhens still
- 16 Coots
- 4 Black-headed Gulls

And one of the regulars who feeds the birds and anything else that he finds reported recent sightings of a Water Rat (“ratty” from Wind in the Willows) from here (as well as a ‘real’ Brown Rat); he also reported being able to tempt a Field Mouse from its hiding place

In addition to the Moorhens here and at the lake single birds were seen at both small pools alongside the path between the lake and The Flash

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 09:41 – 10:00 // 10:40 – 10:46

(7th visit of the year)

Somewhat surprisingly and over flying Goldfinch was a new species for my 2017 Trench Lock Pool list

And another two confusing gulls that examination of photos I took gives me Yellow-legged Gull as another additional species for my 2017 lists for the UK, Shropshire and Trench Lock Pool (I ‘pended’ a strange gull at Middle Pool on 12 January that could have been this species)

Other notes from here
- a few Shoveler back again!
- first visit saw 3 immature Herring Gulls present and 3 very noisy adults flew over; second visit saw 2 adults and a sub-adult on the water
- the Pied Wagtail was new for me at this site this year: typically there was another on the roof of the Blue Pig later

Birds noted flying over here
- 1 Black-headed Gull
- 3 Herring Gulls
- 1 Pied Wagtail

The counts from the water [for gulls ‘n/m’ = count on first visit / count on second visit]
- 4 + 3 Mute Swans
- 38 Canada Geese
- 2 (1♂) Mallard again
- 5 (4♂) Shoveler
- 3 (3♂) Pochard
- 41 (30♂) Tufted Ducks
- 6 (1♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant
- 1 Grey Heron
- 2 Great Crested Grebes again
- 3 Moorhens again
- 51 Coots again
- 10 / 31 Black-headed Gulls
- 3 / 0 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 1 / 3 Herring Gull (different 3 birds)

An adult Mute Swan and two of its cygnets perform synchronised drowning.

One comes up for air!

A detail of the head of this near-adult Cormorant: just a few flecks of the ‘head plumes’ on this bird. An evil-looking bill. I always like to see the blue or green eyes shown by almost all species of cormorant. I know of no reason why this should be.

And here is the whole bird showing the plumage is much more intricate than appears at first glance. The breeding-condition white thigh-patch is very obvious.

A very typical 2nd winter Herring Gull.

Here it is in flight from below.

And from above.

From all angles.

Showing the wing-pattern detail.

And again.

Compare and contrast with this much darker bird. It is a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull. Salient features to separate from Lesser Black-backed Gull are the paler inner primaries creating the so-called ‘window’; and the pale head. A Herring Gull would be much paler and the head would be streaked on the head.

Note the ‘window’ when seen from underneath.

And I did not see this at the time but seems most likely to be a 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull. Like the previous bird the overall dark colouration but clear ‘window’ are obvious. The strength of the dark on the secondary coverts, fading somewhat towards the body is more typical of a Caspian Gull but the size of and the pattern of the bill are all-wrong.

Another view of this bird. The amount of dark in the tail is rather more extensive than I would have expected.

And here in company with an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A very different gull in very different light. This is a first-winter Herring Gull.

And the upper-side view: a classic first-winter Herring Gull the pale base to the bill indicating it is moving in to first-summer plumage.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 10:05 – 10:35

(6th visit of the year)

- 3 Great Crested Grebes today: historically there have sometimes been two pairs breeding – at each end of the island. This usually results in the birds fighting and killing each other’s off-spring
- when someone arrived with food the frenzy was loud-enough to bring gulls from across the road at Trench Lock Pool: apart from a single Lesser Black-backed Gull already present the large gulls were reluctant to settle and eventually flew off

Birds noted flying over here
- 2 Buzzards
- 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 4 Herring Gulls

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 22 Greylag Geese
- 36 Canada Goose
- 11 (9♂) Mallard
- [no feral-type Mallards noted]
- 20 (11♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 10 Moorhens
- 19 Coots
- 24 Black-headed Gulls
- 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

A full adult Black-headed Gull in spanking new breeding plumage. Birds can only be seen for a very short while like this our area – most will start to move out before acquiring full plumage. Most adults seem to have left and 1st year birds predominate. The gulls seemed to pecking something from the surface from which I take it there was a small ‘hatch’ of flies – something to keep the Sand Martin going when these early migrants arrive any day now.

A Buzzard low overhead. Very intricate patterning.

Rather better lighting here but somehow the pattern seems less arresting.

(Ed Wilson)

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

Priorslee Lake
Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

1 Yellow-legged gull
(Gary Crowder)

Horsehay Pool
1 Iceland Gull
(Ian Grant)

Priorslee Lake

4 Wigeon
2 Gadwall
5 Teal
8 Goosander
15 Pochard
40 Tufted Ducks
7 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

8 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
6 Gadwall
26 Pochard
5 Goosanders
62 Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail
76 Coots
62 Magpies
2 Yellowhammers
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

3 Cormorant
2 Grey Heron
16 Tufted Duck
1 Ruddy Duck
1 Woodcock
425 Wood Pigeon
2 Grey Wagtail
37 Robin
26 Blackbird
7 Song Thrush
6 Redwing
47 Magpie
146 Jackdaw
10 Greenfinch
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake

2 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebes
2 Herons
4 Pochard
52 Tufted Ducks
1 Ruddy Duck
106 Coots
1 Water Rail
1 Curlew
23 Blackbirds
11 Greenfinches
2 Siskins
3 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)