8 Mar 17

Priorslee Lake: 05:42 – 08:40

9.5°C > 10.0°C: Cloudy with some rain to start; clearing but staying mainly cloudy. Moderate W wind, dropped light. Very good visibility.

Sunrise: 06:41 GMT

(24th visit of the year)

A drake Shelduck present for c.20 minutes was my 70th confirmed species at the lake this year

Other notes from today:
- the 2 Mute Swans had 2 Canada Geese to see off as well as the feral goose to terrorise again. Strangely they either did not see or care about the Shelduck
- yesterday’s extra drake Gadwall gone again
- one Grey Heron left to the E at 06:30 as another arrived from the W; that too left later and yet another came in from the N. Only a single bird at any one time
- one of the Great Crested Grebes later seen flying off low W towards The Flash
- I stayed in the area from where the most accurate count of Magpies leaving their roost can be made: at 58 rather more than I had though present recently, but still many fewer than 2 months ago
- just one big group of Jackdaws seen today
- early unseen party/ies of Rooks overhead at 05:55 again. Later many more than yesterday
- the two Mistle Thrushes did seem to fly right across the lake and away to the SW
- Dunnocks now very noisy: at least 10 singing around the lake and 4 more seen
- 1 March Moth found on a different lamp this morning

Birds noted flying over the lake
- 6 Canada Geese (3 pairs)
- 2 (0♂) Goosanders
- 3 Cormorants
- 5 Black-headed Gulls
- 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 2 Herring Gulls
- 2 Feral Pigeons
- 13 Wood Pigeons
- 140 Jackdaws (19 groups) (see notes)
- >50 Rooks (21 singles / groups) (see notes)
- 2 Mistle Thrushes
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 2 Goldfinches
- 22 Siskins (3 groups)

Roost / departure counts
- 58 Magpies
- 1 Redwing

The counts from the lake area
- 2 Mute Swans
- 2 Canada Geese
- 1 all-white feral goose remains
- 1 (1♂) Shelduck
- 2 (1♂) Gadwall
- 7 (5♂) Mallard
- 27 (19♂) Tufted Ducks
- 2 Cormorants
- 3 Grey Herons
- 11 Great Crested Grebes
- 8 Moorhens
- 33 Coots
- 41 Black-headed Gulls

This will have to do as a record shot of the drake Shelduck this morning. I neither saw this bird arrive nor depart and it was always ‘at the other end’. These handsome ducks nest in the area and usually drop in some time during Spring as they look for nest sites – they often use old Rabbit burrows.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes looked as if they might display for me so I kept watch, camera at the ready.

Acting rather coy?

A slight shake of the head: interested?

Apparently not.

But then again ...

Perhaps if I raise my crest that might do the trick?

Seems more interested.

But no: both swam off. Of course Murphy’s Law applied and as soon as I walked away ...

... they started the full works when I could only shoot against the light. But their silhouettes have their own charm.

As shown here.

They even managed to dance and he offered her some weed.

All over ... for now.

So why could they not have done their dance when lit like this? or why did this different pair not get inspired to display as well? I will have to wait for another day.

A few Siskins were finding enough in the Alder cones to be worth attacking.

A female tucks in.

Her bill seems rather oddly shaped with the upper mandible having an ‘overhang’.

But she seems to be managing OK.

Another view of that bill in use.

Siskins seem to very happy feeding upside down.

I think it is about time the insect-eating migrants arrived and started reducing the midge population. This morning’s warm temperature brought columns of these insects as we see here.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Lock Pool: 16:27 – 16:45 // 17:40 – 17:50

(8th visit of the year)

I decided to make a late afternoon visit to check any gull roost. There was not a single gull on the water here either before or after I walked to Middle Pool!

The only birds noted flying over here were the many Black-headed Gull en route to Middle Pool with a very few large gulls passing over

Otherwise much the same as my previous visit apart from the Shoveler having moved on

The counts from the water
- 4 + 3 Mute Swans
- 24 Canada Geese
- [no Mallard seen]
- 2 (2♂) Pochard
- 39 (27♂) Tufted Ducks
- 8 (2♂) Goosander
- 1 Cormorant again
- 3 Great Crested Grebes
- 3 Moorhens yet again
- 51 Coots yet again
- no gulls at all!

The local cob Mute Swan ‘rests’ a leg. Swans seem well-able to swim sideways – so as to speak.

An interesting reflective backdrop to this Mute swan cygnet. With this amount of white the adults will almost certainly start chasing the three cygnets away. Last year the adults were rather late to breed so the youngsters may get a respite.

(Ed Wilson)


Trench Middle Pool: 16:50 – 17:35

(7th visit of the year)

Went here to follow up a walk past in January when I found 100s of Black-headed Gulls and a dog-walker had told me that a big roost was usual in winter. At Trench Lock Pool it was obvious many birds were headed this way. And so it proved. >1600 were present when I arrived and more arrived all the time peaking at c.2500 with birds still arriving

Every single one of these birds was a Black-headed Gull! Less than 15% of these I would judge were adults with full black hoods and most were certainly immatures. A few larger gulls arrived in the overhead with the Black-heads but these flew on W

Other notes
- one of the Cormorants flew off: the other 4 were in the trees on the island
- a Stock Dove flew in to the trees along the N side
- a Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) was new for me here this year

Birds noted flying over here
- 1 Buzzard
- c.20 large gulls

The counts from the water
- 2 Mute Swans
- 11 Greylag Geese
- 52 Canada Goose
- 17 (13♂) Mallard
- 21 (14♂) Tufted Ducks
- 1 (0♂) Goosander again
- 5 Cormorants
- 1 Great Crested Grebe
- 9 Moorhens
- 16 Coots
- >2500 Black-headed Gulls

As a postscript one of the dog-walkers reported that the drake Mandarin Duck reported from Trench Lock had also been seen here.

A tree-full of Cormorants.

This was (part of) the scene that greeted me as I arrived at Trench Middle Pool. Quite why the birds chose this location is a bit of a puzzle – I suppose it is sheltered even though there are dog-walkers around at all hours.

Even more puzzling is that why of the eventual >2500 birds present when I left there was not a single gull of any other species.

And they do get ‘spooked’. As far as I could tell there were no collisions.

But soon settled back, still with no collisions.

An adult in ‘full-cry’.

Well that is one way to check who is flying above you, but it makes my neck ache. Perhaps it is just the angle but this bird seems to have a distended stomach.

‘Fly me to the moon’!

‘Fly me to the moon’ again.

Another shot with an interesting background.

(Ed Wilson)

On this day in ...........
Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake

Today's Sightings Here

Priorslee Lake
1 Iceland Gull
2 Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood)

Holmer Lake
1 Goosander
(John Isherwood)

Priorslee Lake
13 Pochard
41 Tufted Ducks
1 Oystercatcher
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
9 Cormorant
15 Tufted Duck
1 Woodcock
311 Wood Pigeon
36 Robin
24 Blackbird
10 Redwing
53 Magpie
5 Reed Bunting
(Ed Wilson)

Priorslee Lake
1 Ruddy Duck
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Herons
1 Cormorant
6 Pochard
42 Tufted Ducks
2 Ruddy Ducks
103 Coots
1 Water Rail
1 Ring-billed Gull
141 Wood Pigeon
142 Jackdaws
23 Blackbirds
11 Song Thrushes
1 Redwing
14 Greenfinches
6 Reed Buntings.
(Ed Wilson and et al)