1 Jan 15

Chetwynd Pool
Location

2 Smew present (Via BirdGuides)


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On this day in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014
Priorslee Lake
Map
2014
2 1st winter female Scaup
(Gary Crowder)
--------------------
2013
Drake Scaup still showing well off dam
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull
21 Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood and Rob Stokes)
--------------------

2011
Tawny Owl heard - 2nd ever record 
(Ed Wilson)
--------------------
2010
About 30% ice.
Best bird remains the Black-necked Grebe.
Big gull roost:
c.3000 Black-headed Gulls
c.1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull
1 3rd winter Great Black-backed Gull
(Ed Wilson and John Isherwood)

31 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake
Map

2 Caspian Gulls present at midday. An adult and 1st-winter.

(Via BirdGuides)


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On this day in 2005, 2012 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
2013
Two 1st winter female Scaup present.
(Ian Grant)
--------------------
2012
Drake Scaup still present.
(Jim Almond and Paul Spear)
--------------------
2005
700 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
900 Black-headed Gulls
1 Yellow-legged Gull
 6 Great Black-backed Gull
(Ed Wilson)

30 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake:
Map

Afternoon Update: 1:00pm

1 adult Yellow legged Gull
10 Great Black-backed Gulls
1 Snipe
6 Gadwall
10 Pochard

Also
Grey Wagtail
Kingfisher
14 Lapwing

(John Isherwood)

Morning Highlights: 10:55am

Caspian Gull 2nd winter
4 Yellow-legged Gulls adults

Image Here

(Tom Lowe)

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Little Wenlock, Candles Landfill Site: 12:50pm
Map

Caspian Gull 1st winter present

(Via BirdGuides)


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On this day in 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
2013
2 Scaup - both 1st winter females
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull
3 Great Black-backed Gulls (2 Adult, 1st winter)
(John Isherwood and Dawn Balmer)
--------------------
2012
4 Yellow-legged Gulls (three adult and one 3rd winter)
(Jim Almond / Chris Ballance)
Lesser Black-backed Gull - Yellow-legged Gull - Herring Gull courtesy Chris Ballance.
Yellow-legged Gull courtesy Chris Ballance
--------------------
2011
1 adult Yellow legged Gull
9 Great Black-backed Gulls (4 adults, 4 1st winter and 2nd winter)
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2009
Caspian Gull
(Jason)
--------------------
2005
c.700 Lesser Black-backed Gulls 
1 Yellow-legged Gull 
(Ed Wilson)

29 Dec 14

No sightings in today.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012
Priorslee Lake
2012
Drake Scaup
2 Yellow-legged Gulls
3 Great Black-backed Gull
(Martin Grant)
--------------------
2011
4 Yellow legged Gull
22 Great Black-backed Gulls
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2009
2 Caspian Gull
1 Yellow-legged Gull
1 Ring-billed Gull
1 Black-necked Grebe
(Richard Vernon, Dawn Balmer, Peter Wilson, John Isherwood and et al)
--------------------
2007
3 Yellow-legged Gulls
4000+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls
65 Herring Gulls
1000+ Black-headed Gulls
(Martin Adlam)
--------------------
2005
C.3200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
C.1700 Black-headed Gulls
C.100 Herring Gulls
8 Great Black-backed Gulls
4 Yellow-legged Gull
(Martin Adlam, Ed Wilson & John Isherwood)

28 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:01am - 10:03am
Map

-1.5°C > 0.0°C:  Fine and clear.  Light NW wind. Moderate visibility

(158th visit of the year)

Some thin ice around the N edges.

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 8 Cormorants (see notes)
- 2 Canada Geese
- 1 drake Shoveler
- 6 Tufted Duck (see notes)
- c.175 large gulls
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 2 Fieldfare
- 6 Redwings
- 541 Jackdaws
- 4 Rooks
- 22 Corvid sp. (see notes)

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
71 Magpies
Redwings not counted
7 Starlings
3 Reed Buntings

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
10 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
8 (4) Mallard
11 (10) Pochard
47 (27) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail (heard only)
17 Moorhens
170 Coots
43 Black-headed Gulls
c.260 large gulls early
58 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
16 Herring Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull

Other notes
Now 10 Great Crested Grebes – some movement in from smaller pools beginning to ice?
8 Cormorants over in two groups: later a lone bird circled for ages before landing and staying less than a minute.
6 Tufted Duck flying over were very high and seemed to be nothing to do with the lake.
Low Coot count: not sure why (too cold on top of dam to try again!).
1 Woodcock again – going to roost in a different area today: just perhaps a 2nd bird.
Very few Black-headed Gulls today.
Large number of large gulls spiralled in at 7:30am, but soon left. Some of these were passing birds that doubled back: so numbers of real fly-overs hard to separate.
>100 Wood Pigeons in fields to E.
1 Song Thrush only: no song this cold morning.
Jackdaws again used unusual flight-lines and were very high today.
22 larger corvids flew N to the far E against the roost dispersal: Rooks? Crows? Ravens? – too distant.

A cold clear start this morning: you can just make out some thin ice in the foreground.

If you cannot, like yesterday, use bramble leaves to provide colour you can use them to show frost patterns.

A group of three Cormorants: two show white on the belly indicating immatures; the highest bird is showing the white thigh patch of a breeding condition adult.

Rather strange angle as this Cormorant touches down for a few moments. No white on the belly or any white thigh-patch confirms this in not from the previous group of three. The white-looking underwing is an effect of the low sun.

Some oaks keep some or all of their leaves all winter: here the morning sun makes them glow orange. These are called marcescent leaves and may be present on all or just part of a tree. They are usually the newer parts of a large tree; or anywhere on younger tree.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012
Priorslee Lake
2012
1 drake Scaup.
1 large female Peregrine
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2011
Near-adult Caspian Gull
3rd cal year Caspian Gull
9 Yellow-legged Gulls
(Dawn Balmer, Peter Wilson and David Fairhurst)
--------------------
2009
Black-necked Grebe
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2008
1 Peregrine
--------------------
2006
c.100 Black-headed Gulls
c.1100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
2 Yellow-legged Gulls
1 Great Black-backed Gull
(Martin Adlam)
--------------------
2005
Lesser black-backed Gulls C.5000
Black-headed Gulls C.4000
Herring Gulls 83
Great Black-backed Gulls 3
Yellow-legged Gull 2
1st winter Common Gull
(Martin Adlam)

27 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:59am - 10:17am

0.5°C > 1.0°C:  Showers spreading in after clear start: rain, sleet and snow. Moderate NNWW wind. Very good visibility.

Some lying snow, probably not enough to significantly affect birds. No ice.

(157th visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 84 large gulls
- 11 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 1 Sky Lark
- 2 Redwings
- 269 Jackdaws
- 3 Rooks
- 1 Raven
- 1 Redpoll

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
Magpies not counted.
134 Redwings.

The counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
6 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
7 (4) Mallard
6 (5) Pochard
69 (41) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail (heard only)
10 Moorhens
192 Coots
117 Black-headed Gulls
46 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
22 Herring Gulls
8 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
Rather few gulls both at and over the lake: because the tips closed over Christmas?
>200 Wood Pigeons in fields to E.
1 Sky Lark over was rather unseasonal: no doubt moved by the snow.
1 Song Thrush singing despite the weather.
With northerly component to the wind many of the Redwings left unseen to the north and count more than usually reliant on ‘heards’.
Jackdaw numbers low: left very early and used unusual flight-lines to both far E and W, so may have missed some / many.

A watery sunrise over the lake.

The sparse snow this morning.

The houses to the E of the lake are slightly higher and seem to have caught more snow.

Moss, lichen and fungus: what more could you want on one bough?

Bramble leaves often stay on the vine very late in the season, as here, and add a touch of colour on winter days.

(Ed Wilson)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Priorslee Flash: 10:23am - 10:49am
Map

(128th visit of the year)

Notes
Very quiet with gulls rather scarce here as well.

Counts of birds flying over The Flash (therefore in addition to those on / around water)
2 large gulls only!

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
4 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
37 (25) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
34 (19) Tufted Ducks
4 Moorhens
17 Coots
44 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
1 Herring Gull

And here is what it looked like at The Flash: it always seems to be slightly colder here than at the lake and hence there is slightly more snow.

(Ed Wilson)
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On this day in 2006, 2009 and 2010
Priorslee Lake
2010
2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull
(Observer unknown)
--------------------
2009
Black-necked Grebe
(Ed Wilson)
--------------------
2006
3 Bramblings
(Martin Adlam)

26 Dec 14

No sightings in today.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day in 2009, 2012 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
2013
Two 1st winter female Scaup
(Observer Unknown)
--------------------
2012
Drake Scaup
(Kriss Webb)
--------------------
2009
1 Black-necked Grebe
(Ed Wilson)

25 Dec 14

No Sightings today, but I would like to say on behalf of FoPL we wish all our readers and contributors a Very Merry Christmas. (Martin Adlam)


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On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
2009
Common Gull 
Black-necked Grebe
(Ed Wilson)

24 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 

Late Morning Update

2 Yellow-legged Gulls
Mediterranean Gull.

 More on my Blog Here.

(Malcolm Royal)


Early Morning Report: 7:09am - 9:49am

5.0°C > 6.0°C:  a few clouds only. Light SW wind. Very good visibility.

First day with large number of gulls on the lake: >3000 birds on the lake when I had to leave for a family Xmas. Significantly more of the large gulls were Herring Gulls. Possibly the result of recent strong winds.

(156th visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 18 Canada Geese
- c.150 large gulls
- 11 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 2 Fieldfares
- 1 Redwing
- 596 Jackdaws
- 7 Rooks
- 6 (8?) Ravens
- 6 Starlings

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
53 Magpies
103 Redwings
21 Starlings

The counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
4 (2) Mallard
1 (1) Shoveler
2 (2) Pochard
77 (43) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail (heard only)
18 Moorhens
182 Coots
>400 Black-headed Gulls
>1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
>1500 Herring Gulls
11 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
Drake Shoveler glimpsed flying very low – assumed leaving the lake.
2 Ravens early: 6 later as a 4 and a 2 – the two birds perhaps being the birds seen earlier.
Two separate small Starling roosts this morning: also 6 birds seen high to E chasing a Sparrowhawk.
Some colour to the dawn sky to start Christmas Eve.

Not a Wedge-tailed Gull, a new species to science, but an immature Herring Gull trailing rubbish, probably from the tip.

What a conk! Here you can see the feathering on the base of the upper mandible of this Raven. It is the dawn light that is colouring the well-spaced primaries.

Just part of the large number of gulls this morning. Note the Little Grebe lurking by the reeds in the distance.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2009
Priorslee Lake
2009
3 Yellow-legged Gulls (adult, 2nd-winter, 3rd-winter)
1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
60 Herring Gulls
Black-necked Grebe
(Dawn Balmer / Peter Wilson / Ed Wilson)

23 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake:
Map

Late Morning Update: 11:00am

1 adult Yellow Legged Gull
8 Great Black-backed Gulls
6 Gadwall

No sign of the Cetti's Warbler, but very windy.

(John Isherwood)


Early Morning Report: 7:13am - 10:05am

9.0°C > 9.5°C:  broken cloud; slightly less mild; some spots of rain / drizzle. Fresh SW wind. Very good visibility.

Slightly less strong wind this morning. The persistent wind seems to have brought in a good number of mainly passing gulls: nothing of great interest.

Cetti's Warbler not heard again this morning. Now three blank days and it seems likely it has gone.

(155th visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake).
- 21 Canada Geese
- 11 Black-headed Gulls
- c.280 large gulls
- 36 Herring Gulls identified in addition
- 1 Great Black-backed Gull
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 15 Redwings
- c.720 Jackdaws
- 4 Rooks
- 1 Raven

Counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake
Magpies not counted
116 Redwings
1 Starling
1 Reed Bunting

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
5 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
9 (4) Mallard
53 (30) Tufted Duck
2 Water Rails (heard only)
10 Moorhens
186 Coots
c.350 Black-headed Gulls
97 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
108 Herring Gulls
9 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
3 Song Thrushes singing this morning, albeit one was rather tentative.

(Ed Wilson)

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Priorslee Flash: 10:11am - 10:56am
Map

(127th visit of the year)

Notes
At least 4 Great Crested Grebes: one is either a fast swimmer or there were 5.
The Goosanders very flighty this morning: exact numbers hard to discern and when passing Sparrowhawk put up the gulls they all left.
Unlikely to be any Water Rails lurking in the reeds alongside Derwent Drive: an errant cat was seen exploring the area this morning.
Gull numbers overhead hard to even estimate here as large groups were ‘hanging’ in the wind and circling around.

Counts of birds flying over The Flash (therefore in addition to those on / around water)
>800 large gulls
1 Feral Pigeon

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4/5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 Greylag Goose
61 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
44 (30) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
4 (3) Pochard
46 (26) Tufted Ducks
6 (2) Goosanders
4 Moorhens
18 Coots
c.320 Black-headed Gulls
69 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
30 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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Holmer Lake
Location

34 Goosander

(John Isherwood)

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On this day in 2009 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
2013
1st winter female Great Scaup still present.
-----------------------------
2009
- 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (both adults)
- 600 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- Black-necked Grebe
(Dawn Balmer & Peter Wilson / Ed Wilson)

22 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake
Map

Evening Update: 4:15pm

1 Caspian Gull present via BirdGuides. (Observer Unknown)


Morning Report: 7:35am - 9:47am

11.5°C throughout:  cloudy and mild with occasional light drizzle. Fresh / strong SW wind. Good visibility.

The strong wind affected most things today. Small birds were mainly hiding away and even larger birds struggled.

(154th visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 34 Canada Geese
- 11 Black-headed Gulls
- 64 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
- 24 Herring Gulls
- 9 Feral Pigeons
- 2 Pied Wagtails
- 2 Redwings
- c.520 Jackdaws
- 18 Rooks

In the windy conditions no sensible counts of birds leaving roosts around the lake could be made.

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebes
2 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
1 Greylag Goose
6 (3) Gadwall
9 (6) Mallard
71 (42) Tufted Duck
12 Moorhens
187 Coots
116 Black-headed Gulls
6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
24 Herring Gulls
3 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
Greylag Goose left at 7:50am before the Swans awoke to chase it off.
With many fewer large gulls and these all twisting and turning against the wind it was possible to specifically identify them all.
Even the Kingfisher – normally a speeding arrow – was seen tacking across and struggling with the wind.
Cetti's Warbler not heard again this morning.
and
Another Mottled Umber moth.

(Ed Wilson)

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Priorslee Flash: 9:50am - 10:26am
Map

(126th visit of the year)

Notes
Tufted Duck numbers return to a more ‘normal’ figure – decamped back to the lake apparently.
Still 11 drake Goosanders: always a fine sight.
At least 22 Goldfinches in Alders on the island.

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
9 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
30 (21) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
6 (5) Pochard
43 (22) Tufted Ducks
24 (11) Goosanders
7 Moorhens
19 Coots
73 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
2 Herring Gulls


Another in my close-up-and-personal series: Moorhen of course.

(Ed Wilson)

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Trench Lock Pool: 10:34am - 10:49am // 11:29am - 12:00pm
Map

(59th visit of the year)

Notes
One of the drake Shoveler was a 1st year bird yet to acquire full breeding plumage.

The counts from the water
4 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Cormorants
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
1 Canada Goose
32 (19) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
6 (4) Shoveler
2 (2) Pochard
46 (22) Tufted Ducks
1 (0) Goosander
5 Moorhens
164 Coots
c.320 Black-headed Gulls
27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
17 Herring Gulls

Two of the drake Shoveler at Trench – no mistaking that snout! The nearer bird is likely a 1st winter bird – whatever it is still to complete the moult in to breeding plumage.

Here are two drakes and two duck in flight: note the 1st winter drake shows some white on the chest.

A ‘brownhead’ Goosander of course: the mottling on the flanks and the paleness of the flight feathers suggests to me that this is a 1st winter drake beginning to acquire adult plumage. The literature does not illustrate birds in transition.

... however the stretched wing here is less supportive of the 1st drake theory.

... but then again the faint pink flush on the very white belly is a drake characteristic.

Time for a preen: a Great Crested Grebe gets in the picture as well.

A 1st winter Black-headed Gull trying out its submarine tactic.

(Ed Wilson)

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Trench Middle Pool: 10:54am - 11:25am
Map

(27th visit of the year)

Notes
So where have the Tufted Duck gone – checking my records I note there were only singles in January whereas the rest of the year there have been as many as 16! Counter intuitive.
A Redwing heard here: my first of the year at this site.
At least 18 Goldfinches in Alders here.

The counts
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey Heron
3 Swans
19 Canada Geese
24 (14) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
1 (0) Tufted Ducks
3 (0) Goosander
12 Moorhen
12 Coots
182 Black-headed Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2009, 2011 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
Adult Caspian Gull
Greater Scaup
(Ed Wilson)
------------------------------
2011
5000+ Gulls 
5 possibly 6 adult Yellow-legged Gulls plus a 1st winter
5 or 6 Great Black-backed Gulls.
 (Martin Adlam and Ian Grant)
------------------------------
2009
Black-necked Grebe by Pontoon just off South bank.
40+ Mute Swans on the Ice
30 Lapwing overhead
c.2000 Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Great Black-backed Gull
(Ed Wilson)
A lot of Ice (Martin Adlam)

21 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:02am - 10:19am
Map

6.5°C > 8.0°C  Variable cloud with some clear periods. Fresh W wind. Very good visibility.

(153rd visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 107 Canada Geese
- 3 (2) Goosanders
- 21 Black-headed Gulls
- c.600 large gulls
- 7 Feral Pigeons
- 4 Pied Wagtails
- 5 Redwings
- c.630 Jackdaws
- 8 Rooks
- 1 Raven

Birds leaving roosts around the lake
33 Magpies (incomplete count)
Redwings not counted
1 Starling only

The counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Grey Herons
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
10 (5) Mallard
1 (1) Pochard
49 (27) Tufted Duck
11 Moorhens
179 Coots
>200 Black-headed Gulls
59 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
21 Herring Gulls
7 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
A manic period when scattered parties of several hundred Jackdaws were on the same flight line as c.100 large gulls flying over and then met up with c.100 Black-headed Gulls spiralling down to the lake. Counts were ‘best effort’!
The Lesser Black-backed Gulls included the leucistic bird last seen at Trench Lock on 2nd December.
Male Pheasant heard calling from the old Celestica grounds. First record since early April. For the previous few years this species has been regularly heard here and even bred in the Ricoh copse: scarce this year with the building work for the new school.
2 Song Thrushes singing this morning.
Cetti's Warbler not heard this morning despite two visits to all likely areas.
Yellowhammer calling from hedge on E side of Castle Farm Way.
and
Two more Mottled Umber moths.

“what’s this then? Barn Owl? Nope – the leucistic, presumed Lesser Black-backed Gull put an appearance at the lake this morning.

Perhaps just an effect of the light but is there some dark on the underside of the outer primaries?

This shot appears to show that it was shadow – there is no dark evident here, though the low winter sun could ‘blow it out’

An aerobatic pair: an adult Herring Gull with our bird. The Herring Gull is actually quite interesting(!) It shows some dark on the primary coverts suggesting it is a 3rd winter bird, but there is no dark in the tail and the ‘mirrors’ (white-patches) on the outer two primaries are like a full adult. As usual the birds have not read the book and don’t know what they are supposed to look like.

An action shot of our bird with two adult Lesser Black-backs and a 1st and 2nd winter Herring Gull in the background. Note the size difference between the two adult Lesser Black-backs – likely male / female. A Great Black-back would show a mantle the same tone as the folded wing-tip and also a more massive bill. The two Herring Gulls are also very different sizes, the smaller 1st winter bird also appearing smaller than the smaller of the Lesser Black-backs. On average Herring Gull is slightly larger than Lesser Black-backed Gull, the key word being ‘average’.

And here the underside of the wing tip is most definitely dusky.

As is the tail?

(Ed Wilson)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Priorslee Flash: 10:23am - 11:07am
Map

(125th visit of the year)

Notes
No Little Grebe seen today.
Now 5 Great Crested Grebes (but one was ‘missing’ from the lake).
Big increase in Tufted Duck numbers: did not see any arrive but some may have come from the lake as the yacht club were about to take to the water as I was leaving there.
No counts of gulls flying over: these were all mixed up and impossible to separate from the birds being put up from the lake by errant banging of a stick on metal posts to flush off the Goosanders. This done by one of the fishermen who regrets that the Goosanders are better fishermen than he is.

The counts from the water
4 Great Crested Grebes
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
5 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
39 (28) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
3 (3) Pochard
80 (28) Tufted Ducks
36 (11) Goosanders
9 Moorhens
19 Coots
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
11 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On this day in 2005 and 2009
Priorslee Lake
2009
Black-necked Grebe present with Little Grebe
Huge mass of gulls with around 8000+
2 Yellow-legged Gulls present.
Woodcock
Snipe
(Martin Adlam / Jim Almond / Ed Wilson)
-----------------------------
2005
C.2000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
C.500 Black-headed Gulls
5 Great Black-backed Gulls
11 Herring Gull.
(Martin Adlam)

20 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 6:59am - 9:45am
Map

6.0°C > 7.0°C  Mainly fine and clear. Moderate / fresh NW wind. Very good visibility.

(152nd visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake)
- 23 Canada Geese
- >200 large gulls
- 3 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Pied Wagtail
- 2 Redwings
- c.620 Jackdaws
- 11 Rooks
- 7 Ravens
- 8 Starlings

Birds leaving roosts around the lake
40 Magpies (incomplete count)
39 Redwing (?incomplete count)
17 Starlings

The counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
4 + 1 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
20 (11) Mallard
2 (2) Pochard
69 (??) Tufted Duck
8 Moorhens
174 Coots
c.170 Black-headed Gulls
23 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
44 Herring Gulls
6 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
2 + 1 Swans flew in but were soon chased off.
18 Tufted Ducks flew off before dawn: of the 51 remaining 31 were drakes.
Gulls very tardy this morning: first 2 were Black-headed Gulls at 7:55am.
Now >200 Wood Pigeons in trees to SE of lake, alongside the M54.
At the Redwing roost some (many?) birds were sneaking out to the N – normally most leave to the S / SE when they are easy to count as silhouettes against the dawn sky. How many did I miss?
Cetti's Warbler still present.
7 Ravens in a noisy group over.
>30 Goldfinches in one group of Alders: earlier 17 were seen on another group of Alders but I suspect the larger group included those seen earlier.
and
Another Mottled Umber moth.

Another splendid sunrise today.

Both the local Swans on the warpath, chasing the interlopers.

And the cob closing in.

Well, that’s seen him off.

A winter sun view from the S end of the dam.

3rd and 4th winter Great Black-backed Gulls dwarfing the four Herring Gulls (two 1st winters; one 2nd winter; and a 3rd winters). One of the 1st winters seems to be trying to eat the buoy.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2009 and 2010
Priorslee Lake
2010
A later than usual visit after it had warmed up to -10°C!
Both the lake and The Flash were mainly frozen with just small areas of open water.
Priorslee Lake (Martin Adlam)
Adult Common Gull.
c.200 Black-headed Gulls
1 Common Gull
110 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
6 Herring Gulls 
(Ed Wilson)
--------------------
2009
Black-necked Grebe
 >3000 Black-headed Gulls
c.50 large gulls
(Ed Wilson)

19 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:03am - 10:03am
Map

5.5°C > 6.5°C  Clearing after overnight rain; a few light showers. Fresh NW wind. Excellent visibility. Very ‘fresh’ feeling.

(151st visit of the year)

Counts of birds flying over the lake (therefore in addition to those on / around lake).
- 3 Mallard
- 1 Tufted Duck
- 184 large gulls
- 5 Feral Pigeons
- 1 Stock Dove
- 4 Pied Wagtails
- 19 Fieldfare
- 16 Redwings
- >850 Jackdaws
- 12 Rooks
- 1 Linnet

Birds leaving roosts around the lake
53 Magpies
4 Redwing (incomplete count)
4 Starlings

The counts from the water
2 Little Grebes
5 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant, briefly
(1 Grey Heron when I drove past much later)
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
7 (3) Mallard
54 (??) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail heard only
9 Moorhens
?? Coots
c.180 Black-headed Gulls
54 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
124 Herring Gulls
9 Great Black-backed Gulls

Other notes
No Pochard today.
6 of the Tufted Ducks flew off before dawn: of the 48 remaining 29 were drakes.
Coots not counted: icy blast over dam this morning!
>130 Wood Pigeons in trees to SE of lake, alongside the M54.
Cetti's Warbler still present.
Larger than usual Jackdaw passage this morning: may have been some more Rooks hiding in the parties.
Very small Starling roost last night.
and
3 different Mottled Umber moths on three different lamps.

Mottled Umber moth is a very variable species: it can look like this ...

... or like this.

The sunrise this morning: behind the Coot – the dark object in the centre foreground – we see the unmistakeable distant silhouette of a Great Crested Grebe.

Up close and personal with a 2nd winter Herring Gull.

Another instructive Herring Gull photo. The white trailing edge along the secondaries looks surprisingly wide here. Also unusual is the very restricted amount of black in the wing tips. I think this is mainly because the wings look more ‘rounded’ than normal and it seems the outer primaries are still being regrown after the moult. This means the white trailing edge is much small than on the secondaries which may be why that looks wider than usual. The lack of black on the wing-tips may also be because this looks like a 3rd or 4th winter bird showing a hint of brown along the leading edge of the wing and dark on the bill – though the latter are rather subjective at this range and angle.

Amazing what you learn when you look properly, as you can with photos. I never realised that the gape of Black-headed Gulls could look as prominent is shown here. But there are other photos on the web that show the same.

A strange one this: clear blue sky and a rainbow – indeed it was raining.

Dismayed that in the latest taxonomic revisions that the BOU (British Ornithologists’ Union) places Cormorant after Swans, Geese and Ducks. To me they look quite prehistoric – as I think this picture shows – and thus would warrant being at the start of the order.

(Ed Wilson)

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Priorslee Flash: 10:07am - 10:44am
Map

(124th visit of the year)

Notes
Very little change from yesterday afternoon – a few more Tufted Ducks and Goosanders.
Male Chaffinch seen apparently feeding on / from Alder cones: cannot recall seeing this behaviour before.

Counts of birds flying over the water (in addition to those on / around the water)
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
21 Herring Gulls

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
37 (27) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
5 (4) Pochard still
43 (21) Tufted Ducks
11 (3) Goosanders
3 Moorhens
13 Coots
117 Black-headed Gulls
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2009 and 2011
Priorslee Lake
2011
1 adult Yellow legged Gull
5 Great Black-backed Gull (3 Adults, 2 1st winters)
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2009
Black necked Grebe
1 Great Black-backed Gull (3rd Winter)
(John Isherwood / Ed Wilson)

18 Dec 14

Trench Lock Pool: 1:05pm - 1:47pm
Map

11.0°C > 11.5°C  Low overcast and drizzle / rain. Moderate / fresh W wind. Moderate poor visibility

A later set of visits abandoned due to the weather but also illustrating the advantage of birdwatching early in the day – hard work to find anything!

(58th visit of the year)

Notes
Very quiet with just a Kingfisher to brighten things up.

The counts from the water
3 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
3 Cormorants
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
21 Canada Geese
23 (15) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
1 (1) Pochard
37 (15) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhens
154 Coots
116 Black-headed Gulls
6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
37 Herring Gulls
3 Great Black-backed Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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Priorslee Flash: 1:56pm - 2:51pm
Map

(123rd visit of the year)

Notes
Another Kingfisher to brighten a dull day

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
4 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 Canada Geese
1 all-white feral goose
36 (25) Mallard
1 all-white feral duck
5 (4) Pochard again
34 (21) Tufted Ducks
4 (0) Goosanders
3 Moorhens
15 Coots
87 Black-headed Gulls
10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
3 Herring Gulls

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2006 and 2009
Priorslee Lake
2009
Black-necked Grebe
(Ed Wilson)
--------------------
2006
Black-headed Gulls c.400 logged.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls with c.2800
31 Herring Gulls
Yellow-legged Gull.
(Martin Adlam)

17 Dec 14

Priorslee Lake: 7:03am - 9:56am
Map

10.5°C > 11.5°C  Clearing somewhat after overnight rain. Moderate W wind, occasionally fresh at first. Very good visibility.

Another very quiet day notable for the high temperature.

(150th visit of the year)

Counts over the lake
- c.240 large gulls
- 3 Feral Pigeons
- c.650 Jackdaws
- 17 Rooks

Birds leaving roosts around the lake
44 Magpies (incomplete count)
16  Redwing (incomplete count)
17 Starlings

The counts from the water
1 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebes
2 Swans
6 (3) Gadwall
9 (5) Mallard
2 (2) Pochard
62 (35) Tufted Duck
1 Water Rail heard only
13 Moorhens
174 Coots
179 Black-headed Gulls
117 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
126 Herring Gulls
3 Great Black-backed Gull

Other notes
All the fly-over large gulls I checked were Lesser Black-backs whereas over half the birds that arrived at the lake c.9:30am were Herring Gulls: most odd.
Cetti's Warbler still present.
Small Starling roost last night.

The worst of the weather moving away at dawn.

(Ed Wilson)

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Trench Lock Pool: 10:06am - 10:56am
Map

(57th visit of the year)

Notes
Very little change since my last visit

The counts
4 Little Grebes
3 Great Crested Grebes
1 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
2 Swans
9 Canada Geese
11 (7) Mallard
3 feral Mallard-type ducks
26 (9) Tufted Ducks
7 Moorhens
165 Coots
95 Black-headed Gulls
13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
11 Herring Gulls

This is why it can be hard to count Little Grebes: here typically lurking in the reeds.

 It was very mild this morning, but buds already ...

“get back in line #6”. An almost neat line of Canada Geese.

(Ed Wilson)

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On this day in 2005, 2009 and 2013
Priorslee Lake
2013
40 Golden Plover 
4 Great Black-backed Gulls - 2 Adult, 3rd winter, 1st winter
(John Isherwood)
--------------------
2009
Black-necked Grebe
(Ed Wilson)
--------------------
2005
3 Water Rail 
Snipe
(Martin Adlam)