Where to go, what you might see....
This area comes into it's own during the Winter months and during the period December to February I regularly keep an eye on the lake! What's the attraction? Well, for me it's Gulls - the proximity of the local landfill site means that this stretch of water (and others nearby) is used by Gulls to have a wash and preen after a session foraging and fighting on the landfill!
For Winter Gull watching, a generous length of lay-by off the busy main road means that you can bird from the comfort of your car if you wish (plus even a sausage and bacon butty from the roadside cafe). Better to scope from the path and depending upon the wind direction the Gulls are generally on the nearest half of the lake and never that far away! The Gulls tend to assemble mid morning onwards, constantly coming and going so an extended session can reap rewards. By late afternoon, the normal trend is for the majority of the Gulls to fly East to Belvide to roost, although some may stay. A check of Steve Nuttall's excellent Belvide blog may give a pointer as to what may be coming our way - or going his!!
Black-headed Gulls, Lesser black-backed Gulls and to a lesser extent Herring Gulls comprise the main species here. Great black-backed Gulls are often present and Common Gulls are anything but common here! In recent years it has become an excellent venue for Yellow-legged Gulls (adult above right), their pristine white heads easy to pick out before January, Caspian Gulls are also possible - a very careful assessment of features is essential though! Mediterranean Gulls are possible but very rare, the star of the show however is the chance of white-winged Gull and the past six years have produced both likely candidates - at least one Glaucous (1st Winter bird pictured left) and Iceland Gull.
It's easy to become too preoccupied with the Gulls and the open water should not be overlooked. The plentiful wildfowl population in Winter includes Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Wigeon and Gadwall with a good chance of Pintail.
A Black-necked Grebe was very obliging over in the North West corner for most of December 2009 and into the New year. The cold snap of January 2010 heralded the arrival of a Bittern which showed well at limes, sometimes out on the open ice (but not for me!) The North West corner can be accessed from Teece Drive but there is limited parking. A Winter walk around this area might yield Redpoll and Siskin in the alders, Willow Tit are possible, Water Rail, Common Snipe in the reedbed or brook. In Summer, the reedbed is a haven for Reed Warbler, singing and giving close views. Check out the latest news for this site at Friends of Priorslee by following the latest bird news link. Ed Wilson tirelessly keeps information and counts coming on the Shropshire Birds Yahoo newsgroup.
Priorslee lake is easy to find, park in the lay-by on Castle Farm Way near the M54 junction 4. For The Teece Drive access, see map below......