421 Photos - Jan 17, 2014
Photo: 11 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Scaup
(Dave Tromans)Photo: 11 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Scaup
(Dave Tromans)Photo: 15 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Gary Crowder)Photo: 15 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Gary Crowder)Photo: 15 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Gary Crowder)Photo: 15 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Gary Crowder)Photo: 15 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Gary Crowder)Photo: 16 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
1st winter drake (Greater) Scaup showing the appearance of a few adult vermiculated feathers on the back.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 16 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
How do they do that? despite the bill being hard it seems the tip can be opened separately!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 16 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Sifting water through the bill..
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 16 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
 “are you pointing that thing at me?”: an (almost) Sleeping Beauty.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 16 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Fine study of duck Pochard.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 17 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A reasonable sunrise today.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 17 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Some of the many large gulls passing to the SE of the lake against the sunrise.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 17 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The Hazel catkins are now in full ‘bloom’: need sun to get the ‘golden rain’ effect.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 17 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Amazing how agile Moorhens are in climbing about vegetation. Coots, with those strange lobed feet, never do this.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 17 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
An almost clear view of this fine male Bullfinches – enough twigs for him to feel safe as he sang quietly: note the puffed-out throat.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The first view I had of the juvenile Velvet Scoter.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Showing the white wing patches.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Showing the head and bill shape in profile.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
 3 for the price of one – with 2 drake Tufted Duck and 1st winter Great Crested Grebe.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Shows rather more bulk than the Tufted Duck but not obviously larger as I had expected.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Asleep hard to spot – just the hint of the white in the wing, but Tufted Duck can show this if the wings are not completely folded.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Asleep behind the duck Greater Scaup. This juvenile Scoter is less ‘black’ than I expected.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The clearest, closest shot.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Sharpest but rather more distant.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
 Is it really larger than Tufted Duck?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A between-the-reeds shot (well Greater Reed-mace actually).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Cormorant leaving the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Drake and duck Pochard with both duck Greater Scaup.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 18 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
17 Tufted Duck go for a fly.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
“oh look: a nice buoy to eat!”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Here you can see the hint of a pale cheek indicating that this bird, whether or not it is an adult, is a duck.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A shot of the wing-flap: apart from the diagnostic white in the wing this is quite unlike the wing flap of Common Scoter in which the head and neck are bent forward.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Odd effect of reflection from the water giving a pale band across the neck.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Not the best picture but illustrates an important identification feature – the wings partially open when it dives. Pochard, Tufted Duck and Scaup all dive with wings closed: Common Scoter with wings almost fully open.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Sunrise as the overnight rain clears away.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
My first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the year – a male with the red nape.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A Redshoulder? no: just a trick of the light shining through twigs on to this Redwing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
As promised: ‘golden rain’ of Hazel catkins when the sun shines!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
or, here, more of a ‘golden stream’
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
This adult Mute Swan is powering away from trouble.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
and here is ‘trouble’ giving chase!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
This female Tufted Duck shows extensive white at the base of the bill inviting confusion with Greater Scaup but there is too much black on the ‘nail’ of 
the bill.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
And there is just a hint of a ‘tuft’ in profile and the head-shape is wrong with Greater Scaup showing the peak of the crown above the eye.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Undercarriage down two Greylag Geese prepare to ‘land’ (‘water’ sounds wrong!) 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
In the harsh light (you can never please a photographer) difficult to get both bird and background exposed correctly. This Goldfinch on Alder cones is not bad.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 19 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter and Scaup
(Dave Tromans)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Frosty / misty start. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Adult Black-headed Gull starting to acquire the chocolate hood of breeding plumage. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Wintry scene: Greater Reedmace [Typha latifolia] (aka bulrushes and, in the US, cattails) against the misty sun.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Careful how you try this: the mist allows the sun-spots to be seen – two at ‘8 o’clock’ most prominent but 4 other faint marks – more than usual I would have thought.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Moorhen walking the plank.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Is it a trick of the light or is the pale cheek-patch on the duck Velvet Scoter becoming more extensive? 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
“my: how you have grown” the cygnets at the lake now very ‘white’ and will surely be driven off quite soon as the parents think about nesting again.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Trench Lock Pool
aaah! Is it that time of the year again? 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Trench Lock Pool
yep – sure is!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Trench Lock Pool
They really are quite handsome in breeding plumage: the white thigh-patch and the white neck feathers of course, but the small black crest and the red bare skin under the blue eye all make males quite special at this time of year. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Trench Lock Pool
Immature Herring Gull closes in on duck Goosander ... 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 20 Jan 14
Trench Lock Pool
... which safely dives! 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 22 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Well what is this? A (very, very) Long-tailed Skua? A Blue-tailed Tropicbird? A Blue Bunting (groan!)? Nope: an immature Herring Gull banner-towing, poor thing!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 22 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Caught in a web is this winter gnat – probably Trichosera relegationis, but there are a number of very similar species.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 22 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Not usual for them to sit still long-enough to be photographed: here is a fine Blue Tit.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 23 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Here is the newly arrived and presumed feral white-morph Snow Goose-type at The Flash.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 23 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
This shows the leg and foot colouration.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 23 Jan 14
Trench Middle Pool
A Common Buzzard soaring over Trench Middle Pool.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 24 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Not the best of lighting but a good plan-view as a Grey Heron flies off.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 24 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A trio of Pochard more or less asleep. The duck at least is partially alert and you can see the nictitating membrane. If you look that term up on the web it explains that it is a “transparent inner eyelid” but that cannot be entirely correct as it is clearly not transparent.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 24 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
This 1st winter Black-headed Gull is at the extreme young end of the plumage range with all the median and lesser coverts still broadly-edged brown and the primaries without any white.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 24 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Frustratingly behind a twig but enough to confirm a female Reed Bunting.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Another dramatic moon-shot
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Mrs. Bullfinch doing what upsets fruit farmers – eating buds.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
First moth of the year: a very fresh-looking Spring Usher.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Much better views of the female Velvet Scoter today.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Much better views of the female Velvet Scoter today.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Fungus growing among the moss on a tree along the N side at the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
In close-up the fungus is as ‘furry’ as the moss! The tree seemed healthy-enough.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Dave Tromans)Photo: 25 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Velvet Scoter
(Dave Tromans)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The duck Scaup is now acquiring the vermiculated back of adult plumage which indicates it is a 1st winter bird.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The 1st winter drake Scaup is also acquiring vermiculations.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
A fine pair.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
The muddied area in the SW corner – Swans, Coot and Black-headed Gulls mainly responsible for trampling the grass.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
The injured Greylag Goose – seems to have a broken wing – on the island at The Flash.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 27 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Never quite sure how to classify this drake Mallard. The strange pale cheeks suggest that it might be a feral cross but with what? Other than the cheeks the only unusual feature is that it is rather smaller than most drakes, but not exceptionally so.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 28 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
This unusually-shaped spider, probably of genus Tetragnatha and possibly Tetragnatha extensa (Common Stretch Spider), was on one of the lamps this morning. My reservation is mainly that it is several months before this species is supposedly active.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 28 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Anyone have any ideas about this pile seen in the SE copse? My initial thoughts were wood ants but these inhabit well-drained conifer forests and the lake area is anything but. Also the components are much larger – they almost look like the product of a ‘chipper’ used to get dispose of trees prunings. But there are no signs of human activity in the copse even though many of the smaller trees have been attacked and branches broken apparently to be used in the pile. Would a Grey Squirrel have done this? I thought that drays were built in trees. What else would attack trees to make a den?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 29 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Duck Goosander at The Flash in the gloom and rain.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 30 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Duck Tufted Duck, 1 drake and 2 duck Greater Scaup and 1 duck Velvet Scoter all together at the lake. The white neck marks on the first-winter drake Greater Scaup are falling snow and not a plumage feature! 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 30 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
Another fine pose from one of the duck Greater Scaup.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 30 Jan 14
Priorslee Lake
This shows the very different bill-shape of the duck Velvet Scoter. Also shows the white mark on the cheek, now far more prominent than when the bird was first found.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 30 Jan 14
Priorslee Flash
Here is the Greylag Goose with the broken wing at The Flash: seemed quite happy today.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: 30 Jan 14
Park Pool, Chetwynd near Newport
This is a typical feeding-frenzy of Shoveler seen ‘over the wall’ at Park Pool, Chetwynd near Newport. As the birds are constantly spinning to stir up morsels to eat trying to count let-alone sex them can be hard. I think there are 20 drakes and 11 ducks visible in this shot of about one-third the flock. One of the drakes is a first-winter with rather indistinct flank marks, but shows a green head. But what about the extreme right-hand bird – is that the start of a green gloss on the nape and are the flanks tinged orange?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Not sure that a “red sky in the morning” is a good thing at the moment! Note the debris after the gales.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Two drake and a duck (Greater) Scaup.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The warm golden glow of the early low sun.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A fine study of a Dunnock / Hedge Sparrow / Hedge Accentor – take your pick of the name.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Moorhen in silhouette.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The almost pre-historic shape of an arriving Cormorant overhead.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Splashdown: 2 of the cygnets return from a local flight.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A male Siskin tucks in to some tasty Alder cones.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A male Great Spotted Woodpecker shows his red trousers. I am sure they are brighter / more extensive in Spring though this doesn't seem to be mentioned in bird guides.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Great Spotted Woodpecker is about the same size as a Mistle Thrush then.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This Black-headed Gull already sports the chocolate ‘hood’ of breeding plumage – just a hint of white on the chin betrays it not quite in full breeding condition.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Ostensibly asleep this drake (Greater) Scaup is keeping careful watch as to what I am doing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A very pleasant almost Spring-like morning.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
A  little tweak of the contrast to show this rather soggy wing-flapping duck Goosander to best effect.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And the pair: the contrast again needing a tweak.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
But this shot of the still-soggy duck is un-retouched.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And the drake paddles by at speed.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And a similar pose from the duck. To me her bill looks somewhat thinner – just an effect of the fluffed-up head feathers making the head appear larger?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And I could not resist this shot the duck.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Seen at extreme range in with a party of Redwing was this smaller bird: the thin bill, streaking and, in particular, the long hind-claw clinch this as a Meadow Pipit – something I could not see with certainty using binoculars.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
No apologies for yet another Robin picture when it poses like this.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A calling Mistle Thrush: separate from Song Thrush by larger size and small head, but well-evident here are the bold ‘blobby’ spots and, especially, the white fringes to the some of the primaries and all the secondaries and tertials .
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Momentary panic here: the very evident size difference between these two birds raised the very real possibility of the smaller being a Shag – rare inland but not impossible after the recent storms. But Shag has a very much thinner bill so these are both ‘just’ Cormorants. Shag would not show the yellow skin under the base of the bill and the breast and belly would be less blotchy.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another comparison shot.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
In the water the size difference is less apparent.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This is a 3rd bird: Cormorants rarely allow an approach as close as this.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Very sad all in the name of ‘progress’ and a new school: and just how do I get my car out?! 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Nothing like a good ‘honk’ to clear the landing site! A pair of Canada Geese comes in.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Not quite what it seems: mainly Greylag this hybrid shows some evidence of Canada Goose genes with the white cheeks and black tip to the bill. The shape of the white is not quite right when you compare it with its companion – perhaps some other genes somewhere?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Action shot of 1st winter Black-headed Gull.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Another detailed look at the wing- and tail-patterns at this age: will soon change as it moults to 1st summer plumage.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And all folded up.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The morning’s sunrise: you can see the 7 Canada Geese unmolested by the sleeping adult Swans and 2 only alert cygnets.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
“cygnets at dawn”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Grey Heron looking to stay undetected against the reeds: must have been a Bittern in a previous existence when it would have worked better.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
More destruction of the Hawthorn buds courtesy of this male Bullfinch.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another view of the feeding male Bullfinch.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Unusual at the moment: a Song Thrush with its mouth closed. But I suppose there must be some females to hear all those songsters.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Usually seen or heard flying over (but scarce at the moment): a male Pied Wagtail pays a visit to the lake. A rather scruffy bird perhaps acquiring breeding plumage.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
No excuse for another Siskin photo: this male allowed much closer approach this morning.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The duck Goosander was hauled out this morning – “my what pink feet you have”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Moving around in trees with long legs can be a challenge – as this Grey Heron tries to keep its balance.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
“another step and I’ll be there”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
“don’t know what all the fuss was about” 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Little Grebe
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Goosander
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Goosander
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Goosander
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Goosander
(Dave Tromans)Photo: The Wrekin
There seems to be 19 Fallow Deer in this group at the side of The Wrekin.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
These 6 were part of a different group of Fallow Deer.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another day: another sunrise over the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
2 of the cygnets set off on their long flight.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Persistence and a little luck finally nets a clear shot of a male Bullfinch.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Corvid lesson 1: a Rook with a pale conical bill.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Corvid lesson 2: a Carrion Crow with a darker and thicker bill with curved upper mandible.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Corvid lesson 3: a Raven with a massive head and heavy bill: also a diamond-shaped tail (rather closed-up in this shot) 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Almost a watercolour painting in this light.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The Canada Geese make lawn-mowers unnecessary in Derwent Drive – and seem to leave the Daffodils alone.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The trimmed reeds at the E end: done by the yacht club as agreed with Severn-Trent.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This 1st winter Black-headed Gull is starting to moult in to 1st summer plumage and will get a variable amount of black on the hood and lose most of the brown feathering in the wing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Speeding past in the early gloom, this at least shows the basic plumage and structure of this drake Pochard.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Long-tailed Tit – but what is that in the bill? food? or something to line the nest?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The Little Grebe at The Flash begins to show summer plumage characteristics with the gape spot beginning to acquire a yellow colour.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
“I have nothing to hide”. A Greylag Goose has a good flap.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
“like water off a duck’s back” – well the same Greylag Goose actually having a bathe.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
And another good flap.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The first blossom of Spring: on Blackthorn.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Yesterday it was a male: today managed to capture a female Bullfinch eating buds. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Here is a fine Redwing basking in the early sun.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
3 drake Mallard touching down. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Must be something interesting up there! 3 Cormorants loafing in the lake keep watch. Note once again the size discrepancy between the two birds on the left of the photo. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Black-headed Gulls and rainbow at The Flash. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Always think they look angry. A duck Tufted Duck with just a hint of white at the base of the bill. Most of the other white specks are water-droplets left from its last dive for food. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Must be the angle: this shot makes the same duck Tufted Duck look smug. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Whereas the drake Tufted Duck, now in full breeding splendour just looks surprised – so would I if I had a hair-cut like that. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The two cygnets off for a long flight at dawn.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This moth has a dotted border: that’s because it is a Dotted Border moth! Good name.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The yacht club have been doing some timely pruning of trees that could snag the masts of their boats as they get them in and out.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I said it was unusual to see a Song Thrush with a beak shut at the moment: here is a typical shot.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Pussy-willow about to break open.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Male Sparrowhawk displaying overhead: note the fluffed out under tail feathers.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Last year’s Reedmace about to burst open: the tits will soon have a field-day ripping them apart both for the seeds and the fluffy material for their nests.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Great Crested Grebe in smart breeding plumage.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
But that’s the problem with a comb-over: get a tail-wind and it all flies out of control!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This might be an immature Yellow-legged Gull, with the bill looking rather long and thin: this is as close as I got.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This shot shows it alongside an immature Herring Gull which makes it look structurally rather different, though the posture is very different. Here it looks as if it is perhaps a 2nd winter bird with more grey on the mantle and the wings than the other obvious 1st winter Herring Gull.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Here is the wing-pattern as it took off: this looks more 1st winter with very little grey and the ‘window’ of the inner primaries is rather less distinct than I would expect on Herring Gull.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The remains of the willow blossom greets the morning sun.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Willow Tit shouts its song from a perch: visual separation from Marsh Tit at this angle is not easy but that species would show a neater black throat ‘bib’, somewhat more horizontal separation of the black cap from the cheeks and look rather thinner-necked. Calls / songs are by far the easiest way to tell them apart. Willow Tit is becoming ever more scarce but in the Priorslee Lake area it remains a daily feature whereas I very rarely record Marsh Tit.
Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
 ... and in close-up. Tits will soon rip these apart both for seeds and for nest lining.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Last year’s Greater Reedmace (aka Bulrush) against the morning sun.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The main reed-bed has yet to sprout this year and so the low sun makes this look almost autumnal.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Blackthorn (Sloe) is also in flower apparently unaffected by the attention of the Bullfinches (they do seem to somewhat prefer Hawthorns) 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The sleeping pair of Common Teal at The Flash
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
A tight group of mainly drake Tufted Ducks. They were very restless, perhaps wanting to move off toward their breeding grounds, probably in Scandinavia. Bird #2 shows darker axillaries (the feathers in the ‘arm-pit’) indicating that it is the lone duck.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Primroses at the lake: not sure I have seen this species at the lake before but looks rather like a garden escape Primula hybrid. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Coot sees off the drake Gadwall while the duck looks worried. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Calm is restored! Note the long scapulars of the breeding plumage on the back of the drake. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The adult Kittiwake circling over the lake. Note the typically darker inner wings and mantle and the neat black tips to the wings. The unmarked head confirms this is an adult. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This underside view shows how ‘clean’ the bird looks. To me the upper breast looks rather swollen. As it is clearly flying overland I doubt it has fed recently and this is possibly a growth? 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Undercarriage down and flaps deployed an adult Cormorants prepares to land (water?). Still some signs of the white head plumes shown by breeding adults: the wings is mainly obscuring the white thigh-patch. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Actually quite hard to get a sharp photo of tits – especially in poor light. They are usually too active. But this will do nicely. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
This Song Thrush paused mid-song to look around and here shows the rufous / brown crown to good effect. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Me fat? Nonsense its cold and I’m fluffed up. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Another view of the same bird.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
The Willow Warbler at Middle Pool: rather little to enable separation from Chiffchaff on this view. I could point to the strength of the mark behind the eye; the just visible longish wings; and the rather pale bill, but ... It was helpfully singing when I took the photo. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
These are the usual gang of 7 feral ‘Mallard-type’ ducks at Middle Pool. I am not a bred-duck expert but some Indian Runner looks likely. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
A Grey Heron on the island at Middle Pool: a species that is hard to get close to, it obviously feels safer here (the mark on the bill is falling rain). 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Pool
A pair of Great Crested Grebes: she is looking rather coy as he puts on an impressive display. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Pool
 “oh! what a nice surprise: a twig”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Count the rings: seems this Poplar was c.30 years old when felled.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
And here is the whole row of c.25 all felled at the behest of Telford & Wrekin Council to make access to the new school to be built on part of the old Celestica site. When I used their website and tried to view the “Telford & Wrekin Council Environmental Policy” the link was broken. I wonder why? Your Council working for you?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Dunnock / Hedge Sparrow greets the sunrise.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A rather watery sunrise at that.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Monday they were frozen stiff: Tuesday they were beaten down by rain. But we must have some Daffodils for Mothering Sunday this weekend (it should NOT be called “Mother’s Day” – that is an entirely different US “marketing opportunity” on 11 May this year and nothing to do with the Christian origins of “mothering” – attending the ‘mother church’ of an area during Lent).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... and a more usual coloured Daffodils.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A female Reed Bunting. Subtle colours indeed.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Best foot forward: this male Pied Wagtail steps it out.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Somewhere in this misty melee is a duck Mallard, probably well underwater and she will be lucky to escape being drowned the battling testosterone-fuelled drakes. Its hard being a duck Mallard at The Flash where drakes outnumber ducks about 5:1
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A record shot of today’s Kittiwake. Hard to see here but the neck looks slightly ‘fat’ as I noted with the bird seen Tuesday and it may be the same bird. Perhaps it is not well and that is why this normally pelagic species is staying around.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another in the continuing series of poor photos of warblers: here a Chiffchaff atop of a 50’ tree in poor light sings its heart out.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A trio of immature Cormorants on one of the boat platforms. I was surprised that all these immatures – the right-most bird seems to be a 1st year bird – all show yellow at the base of the bill. Reference to the literature confirms this is normal: you live and learn.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This gull confuses me: at first sight the bird looked like a 1st year Herring Gull in overall tone, but ...
On take-off the solid black tail and dark marks on the upper-tail look more like a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The feet are obviously pink but that is normal for all 1st year large gulls
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A slight ‘window’ between the primaries and secondaries is apparent from the underside.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Here the mantle seems to show the paler grey tone of a Herring-type Gull but the upper wings show almost no pale window and the primary and secondary coverts are dark with white fringes which also points to a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
A Caspian Gull would be expected to show a much paler head.
I am left thinking it might just be a rather pale 1st year Lesser Black-backed Gull
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Rather obscured by twigs this Buzzard peers out at me.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
What a lot of noise. A Wren at full throttle spreads the wings and tail and partly closes its eyes with the effort!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
You cannot have a stiff neck if you are a male Siskin and want that last seed from the Alder cone. You also have to avoid jabbing your foot.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
And you have to be able to avoid a rush of blood to the head.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The pair of Common Teal again at The Flash.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Getting better: a recognisable warbler photo. This non-singing (and presumable female) bird was helpfully tail-dipping to confirm its identity as a Chiffchaff. The rather weak supercilium, the obvious white crescent under the eye and the way the buffy-brown marks on the breast extend along the flanks all help separate from Willow Warbler.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The pair of Shoveler that visited this morning. The drake in fine breeding plumage. The duck looks especially ill-proportioned and one assumes that the bill is not so heavy as it appears otherwise it would need strong neck muscles.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
One shot of a rather restless group of Tufted Duck: the lower left bird – a duck – shows a rather ragged left wing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... which is equally apparent here.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Today’s mystery bird: perfectly sharp and exposed, even against the light. Shame the Long-tailed Tit was looking the other way.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: RAF Shawbury
Linnet photographed outside RAF Shawbury (in the rain). I thought the odd shape of the bill was due to some mud but looking closely the feet are rather ‘crusty’ and I wonder whether there is a common cause. The web has not been much help in that the mites that seem most likely to be responsible for the foot condition don’t seem to affect the bill.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: RAF Shawbury
A rather alarming close-up of this bird: it does seem to be a growth of some sort on the bill. On this species it is unlikely to have picked up any infection at any feeding station.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This Hebrew Character moth was resting on the roof of the tunnel under Priorslee Avenue (I learned today that the tunnel is likely to be filled in to make room for the junction realignment needed to get the school coaches in and out of Teece Drive when the new school is opened in 2015. I expect that it why the Council have, after 3 years, cleaned out all the fittings and made all the strip-lights work again)
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Jays are wary birds and rarely present photo opportunities so when I chanced upon one on the ground around the Priorslee estate I grabbed the chance 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
one of the Little Grebes at the lake. Now in dark chestnut breeding plumage with the distinctive pale base to the lower mandible 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
an amorous encounter between the Swans. We’d better gloss over the fact this is father and daughter ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The delicate flank feathering on the drake Common Teal is well-shown here 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Pool
this appears to be a 1st year Herring Gull that has started to moult into first summer plumage 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Pool
another shot: seemed to be having trouble with one wing though it flew strongly-enough. The one-legged act was a bit strange too. But the eye looks clear-enough 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Pool
 in this out of focus shot you can see the left wing is damaged, though hard to see whether it is more than missing feathers that should regrow 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Happy Mothering Sunday for tomorrow  
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
delicious! Breakfast for the Great Crested Grebe. Its mate was sitting on the nest and would have to wait 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Tthe wild cherry [Prunus sp.] joins the Blackthorn with some Spring blossom.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A hazy start at the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Not by best ever shot of a Blackcap.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
See even Magpies can be romantic. And the blue gloss is quite attractive. Pity about the ragged tail.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
An Engrailed moth on a lamp at The Flash.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The March Moth on a lamp at The Flash. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
This appears to be some type of lacewing sp. The photo flash has rather ‘blown out’ the obvious brown-mark on the outer edge of the wing (as well as highlighted the eyes). None of the lacewings shown in Chinnery: Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe show this feature. The date is rather early for any lacewing. But the long antennae seem to rule out any species of midge etc.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Close to Priorslee Lake
A domestic cat with today’s catch – looks to me like a Bank Vole, mainly based on the length of the tail (the inconveniently placed twig makes the head-shape hard to determine). The ears look too small for a mouse. The domestic cat is an introduced and unnatural predator. There are c.9 million cats in the UK and research suggests they kill at least 30 million birds and twice that number of mammals, as well as frogs and toads etc. At a time when much wildlife is in serious decline I, personally, think the only good cat is a flat cat. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
14 (of the 15) Tufted Duck (with a pair of Mallard and 2 Coots looking on). 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
I presumed that the pipits at the top of The Wrekin were probably Meadow Pipits it being rather too early for the Tree Pipits to have arrived. ID of non-singing birds is always a challenge but this shot confirms this as a Meadow Pipit, the long hind claw of that species being very obvious as it launches in to the strong wind. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee
It is not just cats that are introduced predators: vehicles kill millions of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects. Here are the remains of a Common Frog. At least this might become food for a Crow or Buzzard.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Daffodil still with dew on it.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Mist clearing for a while.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Even a wobbly sunrise.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Wood Pigeon takes the morning sun: note one of the tail-feathers is being re-grown.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
 I know Forsythia is a garden escape but quite attractive for all that.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
So that was Spring and Summer then: and now here is a spider-web just like Autumn!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The Severn-Trent contractors do a good job of leaving the Daffodils when they mow the grass alongside the dam: an excellent display this year as usual.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
One of my friends reckons you can only count seeing a bird if you know the colour of eye and the gape. So we can all tick Blackcap as this male shouts its song.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The cob Swan almost perfectly reflected as it prepares to do battle.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Woodhouse Lane
These Wood Anemones [Anemone nemorosa] are, unusually, growing on the verge of Woodhouse Lane. They are usually associated, as their name implies, woods: the early flowering allows them to exploit the sunlight before the new leaves shade the ground
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Woodhouse Lane
The paired petals identify this as Greater Stitchwort [Stellaria holostea].
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Near Newport
“Frog went a courtin'” but unwise on tarmac. Luckily it was a quiet country road near Newport and I was able to take a few photos of the amorous couple and then lift them to the safety of the verge. I assume the male is the smaller?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another one ‘down the hatch’ for this Great Crested Grebe.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The Grey Heron leaving: huge wings.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Blackthorn flowers are now just about at their peak.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Blackcap leans on tippy-toes to drink nectar from the Blackthorn flowers.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Chiffchaff: note in particular the indistinct supercilium, the dark legs and the contrasting black alula (the feather at the bend of the folded wing).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Dead Common Frog. There was no obvious reason for the death and one of the dog-walkers told me there were c.12 dead frogs on the slipway yesterday.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Rather a thinner than usual perch for Great Spotted Woodpecker – a male: see the red on the nape. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
This view of the Little Gull shows the contrast between the more or less uniformly pale upper wing and the almost all-dark underwing, relieved only by white wing-tips and trailing edges.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
and again
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
Even head-on Little Gull is a very distinctive bird.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
On this view you can see the slight pink flush to the underparts that Little Gull acquires during breeding season. But note that the head pattern is still very much ‘winter’ with some dark on the crown and an ‘ear patch’. It should soon show a head that is completely jet-black (rather than just the hood shown by Black-headed Gull).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock
Little Gull present between 10:30am and still there when I left at 11:15am.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Long-tailed Tit with lichen that it will use to line its nest. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Long-tailed Tit with lichen that it will use to line its nest. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Middle Pool
Long-tailed Tit with lichen that it will use to line its nest. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Mottled Pug moth on one of the street lights .
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
At first glance two drake and a duck Mallard, but ... 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Look more closely at what appears to be a duck. Clearly some drake features including a vestigial curly tail feather. Rather strange as there is no first-year plumage for this species – they go from duckling, to the equivalent of eclipse plumage and then adult drake. So? Very odd 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
The 1st year Lesser Black-backed Gull with the damaged wing puts out its only operational leg as it lands.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A record shot of the adult Kittiwake alongside an immature Black-headed gull. For technical anoraks ever setting the ISO rating to 6400 I was still forced to shoot at 1/30th of a second at 06:35 on a dull morning.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another record shot: 5 Common Teal arrive at 07:05. On the top-left bird you can make out the white bar above the green speculum: and the distinctive underwing pattern is shown by the two middle bird. But ...!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The unique look of the March Tubic moth.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
The Early Thorn moth. This species is unique among moths in resting with wings held closed above the back: other species of thorn moth rest with wings half-open. Almost all other moths rest with wings folded flat.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Another record shot: the drake Shoveler. If you look at the position of the legs you get the impression there might be another bird hidden. But there wasn’t – it was just standing with its legs apart.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Twin-spot Quaker moth (plus unidentified small dead gnat).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Well it was a bright start: didn't last.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Always cute: a Robin watches for passing food.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
The resident cob sets off in pursuit of an interloping adult Swan: no ring is evident on its right leg.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
It makes a near miss, presumably a deliberate ‘warning’.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
The interloper takes flight: you can see the BTO metal ring on the left leg (the resident cob with wings held in threat can be seen in the distance).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
On the departing bird you can see (but there is not enough resolution to read) the blue Darvic ring on its right leg.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
A rather strange Black-headed Gull: the wings appear to be in complete adult plumage but the head shows no sign of coming in to summer plumage.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench
A piebald Jackdaw on the roof of my house.
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Trench
A piebald Jackdaw on the roof of my house.
(Dave Tromans)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A fine shot of a female Sparrowhawk. Can be distinguished on size and the smaller male would also show rufous tones on the less clearly striped breast) 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Rather less sharp than I would have liked but the marks of this Buzzard are well shown.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A singing Great Tit: even if it hadn't been singing the width of the ‘zip’ up its tummy identified this as a male.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Blue Tit tucks in to breakfast.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Rather smart: a male Chaffinch ... 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... but needs some work on its feathers ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... as dealing with that itch ‘just there’ ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... followed by a good ruffle to settle the feathers ... 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
... and now that’s done: let’s have a sing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Some Coots hide their nests in the reeds: this bird is using its preposterous feet to stamp down the material in its almost floating nest, built right alongside the dam. The eggs will likely become an easy meal for the ever-watching Magpies.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
From this angle one of the features that separates this Willow Tit from the very similar Marsh Tit is easy to see: the pale panel in the wing formed by the pale edges to the closed primary feathers. It also shows the ‘bull-neck’, needed as this is the only British tit species that usually excavates its own nest hole.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
This Canada Goose is rather late in getting its undercarriage down.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
But eventually a formation landing.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Wrekin
A Raven tries to drive off a Buzzard over The Wrekin – though you can never be sure with Ravens: it may just have been ‘playing’, though whether the Buzzard would know that ....
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another good sunrise at the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The real sunrise was later.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The cob Swan at sunrise: at this time of year the ‘bump’ at the base of the bill is very noticeable.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
 An Early Tooth-striped Moth which I found on a pale tree-trunk adjacent to one of the street lamps. Presumably the reflection was enough to attract the moth.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The rather worn Brindled Pug, one of two present this morning, was on the light cover.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This Blue Tit seems to have had a back massage!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The blossom on some of the cherry trees is now about at its peak.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
 Willow Warbler. Some clues to separate from Chiffchaff are the rather more pronounced / contrasting supercilium; and the yellowish wash on the throat (beware: some of the colour here is from an out-of-focus leaf in the foreground). The fact that the feet are brown is not always reliable as the feet (and very rarely) the legs of Chiffchaffs can be brown. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
and here is a Chiffchaff also from this morning to compare. From this angle seems to be auditioning for Santa Claus.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I know how he feels: this Great Tit seems to be going bald...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
but, unlike me, it is not so noticeable head-on.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Swallows are not easy to photo as they make constant changes of pace and direction. For what it is worth: a Swallow over the lake this morning. Must be Spring.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
and to prove it: 3 Mallard ducklings.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
  ... with Mum – who looks quite smug.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A female Great Spotted Woodpecker (I think: does not seem to have a red nape but it is always harder to be certain about the absence of a feature). Looks rather pot-bellied here – needs to go on a diet? 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Distinctive silhouette: the first Common Sandpiper on Spring passage greets the dawn.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
And here is the other bird seen this morning: rather grainy as it was still early and I had to use 50X magnification. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Both birds share the ‘pier’. The surface of this shows only too well the effect of loafing Cormorants – a nasty white sticky deposit. Smelly too I expect. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Today’s sunrise: just about the best of the sun. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Unintentional but it has some charm. The camera was mis-set to ‘High Definition’ when it takes three shots at different exposures and merges the results. Here we see a slightly blurred Blue Tit with its ‘shadow’. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another species I can count – the eye- and gape-colour of this Wren in full cry are well-seen.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee lake
So now you know: an open space used by dog-walkers for 20 years closed off and 300 shrubs and trees cut down for Holy Trinity Academy. “we apologise for any inconvenience”. Humbug. The council don’t give a fig. Shepherd are only doing what they have been paid to do so don’t shoot the messenger. Wonder what the Almighty would say?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee  Lake
Not entirely sure what the Buzzard is doing – looks as if he thinking about diving in! No doubt the Crows are anxious to help their arch enemy. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Not often a Blackcap will sit in the open like this. Pity it was 50 feet up and the image is rather small.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Seemed to be some dispute between Greylag Geese this morning with much splashing and chasing. The characteristic pale forewing of this species is shown well here.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
A rare burst of low morning sun captures the pale greens of new Spring growth around The Flash.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
... highlighted by dark clouds behind. Reminds me somewhat of a Belgian canal scene.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I've probably done this before but cob Swan on patrol at dawn.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Too windy to get all the flowers sharp! These are the first lady's smock (or cuckoo flower) of the year – Cardamine pratensis – one of the plants on which the female Orange-tip butterfly lays her eggs.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another sunrise over the lake.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Well you can see the colour of its eyes! Note the white shafts to some of the feathers as well as some white fringes on others. The orange-tinged yellow bill and orbital ring suggest this is a breeding condition bird. So another myth shattered: a Blackbird is not all black!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Lots of Blackthorn blossom along the Ricoh hedge.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
Blown-up as much as I could and still kind-of-hard to be sure: at least 2 juvenile Great Crested Grebes with the parent – one in the water and the other on the back. There could be more tucked away [behind is a Greylag Goose].
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
A Grey Wagtail: the extent of the yellow wash on the belly suggests this is a male yet acquire the jet-black bib. Note that wagtails are named after the colour of the back – thus this is a Grey Wagtail: most Yellow Wagtails are much duller (and are more olive than yellow!).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
A Buzzard of course, and looking at me apparently. Note that the lack of a dark sub-terminal band suggests that this is an immature bird, though many of the other markings seem more like adult plumage. You can just make out some pale yellow on the cere at the base of the bill. May take up to 3 years to reach sexual maturity and possibly longer to acquire full adult plumage. Also note how the alula feather stands proud at the bend of the wing on the soaring bird.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
Another view of the same bird now with the wings held for flight and the alula tucked back in.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Rather startling sunrise: very quickly faded and we did not get the rain or the wind that ‘red sky in the morning’ is supposed to predict.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This attractive moth is called a Streamer.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I always struggle with pug moth identification: this appears to be a Brindled Pug. The underwing is rather white for the species but I think this is the effect of the flash I used to make sure the image was as sharp as possible.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This is a Crane fly, probably Limonia nubeculosa. Most large crane flies hold the wings extended but this is an exception in folding them flat over its back at rest. It is also one of the group that can be found all year – we think of crane flies / daddy-long-legs as indicating Autumn but thankfully we have not (yet) missed Summer.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another day: another sunrise.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another of the “you can see the eye- and gape-colour shots: a Dunnock / Hedge Sparrow / Hedge Accentor (as you please) in full cry.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Closely followed by a Wren singing this way ... 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
And that: but “oh the sun is shining in my eyes”
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
White Dead-nettle (Lamium album): though it looks like a stinging nettle this species has no hairs on the leaves and contact does not lead to a rash – hence its name. True nettles are in the genus Urtica – hence Urticaria (also Hives) as the name for any rash that looks like the effect of these nettles. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Kingcup or Marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris) is a member of the buttercup family with large bright flowers and shiny leaves. It grows in wet / marshy areas. Beware: the leaves can irritate the skin of some people. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Kingcup or Marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris) is a member of the buttercup family with large bright flowers and shiny leaves. It grows in wet / marshy areas. Beware: the leaves can irritate the skin of some people. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Looks rather fierce here: a Nuthatch finishes arranging its feathers.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I know its corny: but it is great light and this Robin is posing so well!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The first butterfly for me at the lake this year – a Green-veined White (Pieris napi) on Blackthorn blossom. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
And here at rest. You can just about make out the green marks along the veins on the underside of the hind-wing. A male Small White would tend to show a more prominent dark spot in a plain upper-forewing but that depends somewhat on wear. Any butterfly at the moment is likely to be a fresh specimen.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Blue Tit tucks in.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Talking of Butterflies being fresh specimens at the moment: how about this Peacock (Inachis io)? Its actually rather ragged but probably hibernated in the UK as do many other butterflies in the Vanessid family that we see early in the year. It could also be an early migrant and have flown from as far as the Mediterranean. The caterpillars feed primarily on stinging nettles which are only just emerging so there is no chance that it is UK-bred this year. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
I think I’ll pass on trying for the gape colour of this species: this of course is a female but have you ever heard a Bullfinch sing? The quiet song is usually given with the mouth almost (or completely) closed. The photo shows the white rump which is usually what you notice as these rather shy birds fly away.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The Blackthorn has been a sight this year: I cannot remember a better display. The first of the petals were blowing off this morning, so this is the peak. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
This is probably a worker Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) – males would show a yellow collar. Identification of bees is hard! Whatever: it is spoilt for choice with all the Blackthorn blossom. Hope it has managed to pollinate many of the flowers before they drop.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Today’s Chiffchaff to compare with the Willow Warbler. A relatively ‘bland’ expression and indistinct supercilium.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A different bird included because, for once, the legs are included and show as ‘dark’ (not really ‘black’ as many books suggest).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee  Flash
“a penny for your thoughts”: a Willow Warbler surveys its surroundings. The reddish-coloured legs are shown here.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
It is moving off here but two important features to distinguish it from a Chiffchaff are shown: the yellow tones on the edge of the alula and the much longer primaries. It needs long wings because it has to cross the Sahara to Africa for the winter. The species is unique amongst warblers in moulting its primaries twice a year so that both migrations are done on a fresh pair of wings (Chiffchaffs mostly spend the winter around the Mediterranean). 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
You don’t want to mess with this bird – just look at that evil eye! Glad I am not an ant. A Green Woodpecker of course. A female – a male would show a red centre to the black moustache.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Here you can see the red crown to good effect.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A different bird included because, for once, the legs are included and show as ‘dark’ (not really ‘black’ as many books suggest). Add this to the eye- and gape-colour list: a front-on view of Willow Tit for a change. The bib on a Marsh Tit would tend to be smaller and neater, but when the throat is extended in song that might not be so obvious. The songs are very different (as are the calls) and voice is by far the easiest way to separate these two species.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
‘don’t you stick your tongue out at me’! A Chiffchaff seems to be transferring a small insect from its bill to its tongue. Not 100% sharp but included for interest.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
High magnification gives an oil-painting effect to this calling Common Sandpiper.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
A female Pied Flycatcher – rather brown.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
And a male Pied Flycatcher. This bird shows no white patch on the forehead which suggests it is probably a first-summer bird. 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
The other way around: note the ring on the left leg. Most of the birds on The Wrekin nest in the boxes provided and are  ringed in the nest to study their migration and breeding habits as well as the longevity. This seemed to be a different male: on 
this view there is an indistinct white patch on the forehead but I think it is effect of the light as I was not conscious of two male birds in the area.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
A typical pose, flicking one wing and the cocking the tail. The same bird looks somewhat browner here.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
As close as I dare get.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
Well almost ...! Actually it came closer to where I was sitting quietly.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
Another nervous flick of the wing: I wonder if birds are left- and right-winged?
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
The female is ringed on the right leg.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
Come in #17! note the extent of the white on the forehead of this bird even though it is not really black and white as full adult males should be.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
Yes its that time already: the first bluebells are out. Just those along the side of the footpath where they are in full sun. Another week / 10 days I would judge. Note a small black beetle is already exploiting the flower – presumably for the nectar.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
And here is what I think is a Marsh Violet (Viola palustris): the petals seem rather more pointed than illustrations suggest but the habit and date are perfect for this species.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
And my first hoverfly of the year ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: The Wrekin
 ... takes off to better show the marks. This is probably the very common species Syrphus vitripennis but you need to see the colour of the upper femur on a female to sure – exactly!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The pre-dawn sky streaked with the contrails of early arrivals in to Europe from America. Two of these are leaving fresh trails. These aircraft are probably approaching the Lincolnshire coast, amazing as it may seen.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The sun about to pop up.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The Little Ringed Plover: separate from Ringed Plover by size of course but not easy to tell on a lone bird. The pinkish legs and the yellow orbital-ring are diagnostic (and in flight there is, almost uniquely among small waders, no white wing bar). The brown tones in the ear coverts and the breast band suggest this is a female – more extensively black on males.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A few wisps of mist (with 2 Coots just about visible).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
An upgrade to the Nuthatch picture: yet to get the gape as well!.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Not exactly a rare bird but an usual sighting: this Racing Pigeon flew in and landed on the dam-face and did not seem too concerned about my presence. You can see the ring on the right leg – ends ‘..8434’ and starts ‘GB14’ and ‘Z...’. Anyone know how to trace where it should be – and may well now be of course.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
My first hoverfly of the year at the lake: I think the rather variable species Eristalis arbustorum.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Lock Pool
The best I could do with the Small Tortoiseshell at Trench – to try and get the other side of it always resulted in it flying on.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
Two juveniles on the back and one in the water: Great Crested Grebes at Middle Pool .
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
One looks as if it wants to get off ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
... and now they've all got off ...
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
... and now the family is complete with both Dad and Mum: while the Greylag Geese look on.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Trench Middle Pool
Always looking to upgrade images: a better singing male Blackcap.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another sunrise with the sky streaked with trails.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
and again.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Not exactly a mirror-image as you can see through the Coot’s nostrils in the reflection.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Chiffchaff gets the eye- and gape-colour shot.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
.. in extremis!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A Crow in pursuit of a Buzzard.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Really great light on this Buzzard – an adult: just the one dark band near the tip of the tail.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A light on water effect special: a Great Crested Grebe surfaces.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Always with a warning: the thin low cloud allowed this photo of the sun to be taken to reveal at least nine sun-spots. If you do try this BE CAREFUL! 
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
A prehistoric shot of a pterodactyl – or at least a Grey Heron trying to be one.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
The Common Sandpipers were less flighty today allowing a better shot. Note the fine barring on the coverts.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
cross-legged even!
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
gulp: Mum Mallard with 11 – count them – ducklings. Note how the bill stands proud of the face, presumably a moult-effect, inviting confusion with Shoveler.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Lake
Another upgrade shot - lady's smock / cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
What a poser!? Blue Tit of course.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Nedge Hill
Somewhat blown up and cropped: a record-shot of the Curlew over Nedge.
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Nedge Hill
Another butterfly showing signs of wear suggesting it too hibernated locally: a Small Tortoiseshell, most easily confirmed by the blue dots along the wing-edges (though there are no real confusion species).
(Ed Wilson)Photo: Priorslee Flash
Terrapin
(Dan Scates)