Total Number of Species Recorded in 2011

2010 saw a total of 196 species recorded in Bedfordshire. Of this total, LGRE recorded 183, closely followed by Jim Gurney and Steve Blain on 181, Lol Carman on 180, Martin Palmer on 179 and Bob Chalkley on 177.

In 2011, a total of 452 species was recorded in Britain and Ireland of which I recorded just 69% (312); Bedfordshire recorded 204 species (of which I saw 94% at 191), Hertfordshire 192 (of which I saw 88.5% at 170) and Buckinghamshire 192 (of which I recorded just 86% at 165)

In 2012, I came fourth (on 168), following Steve Blain (177), Jim Gurney (174) and Martin Plamer (171).

Thursday, 31 March 2011


I was able to watch the pair of Little Gulls found by Keith Owen from 5.50 until 6.40 pm by when Jim Gurney and Darren Thomas had also arrived. Both adults (the gulls as well as J+D), one had an almost full hood but the other still had a "winter" head plumage tho' that bird had a slight pinkish bloom to the underparts. Flying to and fro over open water both birds were easily picked out by the lack of black in their wing tips, smaller size than the numerous B H Gulls present, and, of course, their black underwings.

As the pit rapidly drains, waders were not so numerous this evening with 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, just a few Lapwings and at least 10 Redshanks. I didn't see any Ringed or Little Ringed Plovers this evening. No R C Pochards, Pintail or Marsh Harrier present this evening either.

Round at Stewartby Lake briefly soon after, the Oyk was still on the sailing club green but little else of note was viewable from here.



Two adult LITTLE GULLS in Rookery South clp 17.30 per Keith Owen

EGYPTIAN GOOSE at Willington

An Egyptian Goose on the riverbank west of the amenities at Willington - didn't realise until I checked but a site tick for me as I know it's not from the local collection.

Other birds of note - Dunlin & 3 Ringed Plover on the main lake

Pair of full-winged Mandarin on Elstow Brook,

Little Owl x2

Robin Edwards

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Migrants at Broom GP this morning

1st summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL briefly at 08:20 before flying off south 2 singing Blackcaps 1 Brambling 7 Song Thrushes (migrants) 40 Sand Martins Steve Blain

WAXWINGS in Bidwell

Five Waxwings in my Bidwell garden now, first ever! - Don Green

Monday, 28 March 2011

AVOCET clawed back - LGRE

MONDAY 28 MARCH The gorgeous spring weather continued today with very light winds accompanied by clear skies and long sunny periods. Although a tad down on the weekend, temperatures still held up well at around 15 degrees C. It was another day spent birding locally with the continuing conditions ensuring a lively passage of incoming migrants. Highlight was a pair of PIED AVOCETS in Rookery.......... HODGEMOOR WOODS AND ENVIRONS, CHALFONT ST GILES (BUCKS) A belated report of the first migrant Northern Wheatear in my Amersham Recording Area on Friday sent me in the direction of Chalfont St Giles first thing but alas it had moved on. A singing male Common Chiffchaff was new in (in trees on the eastern fringe of the wood) whilst 1 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stock Doves, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, 4 Carrion Crows, 2 Common Magpies, 6 Blue Tits, Great Tit, 2 Nuthatches, Common Treecreeper, 2 singing male Dunnocks, a male Chaffinch and 2 Linnets were also noted in the paddocks and woodland. PITSTONE QUARRY (HERTS/BUCKS BORDER) The reservoirs drew a blank this morning with no sign of last night's Osprey (although what very well may have been it flew north over Cheddington mid-morning) but Pitstone Quarry with its extensive mud hosted a Common Redshank and 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS. The trees on the fringe also held 3 singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS. STEWARTBY LAKE AND THE MILLENIUM LAKES (BEDFORDSHIRE) (1400-1530 hours) A concerted effort certainly reaped rewards with CETTI'S WARBLERS in the sunshine with 4 of the estimated 7 birds in the area located. The easiest to see was that individual previously mentioned and holding a territory in the reed-fringed northern edge just under 100 yards north of the gull watchpoint on Stewartby Lake. It repeatedly showed in an area of scrub not far from the green water barrel on the shoreline and sang frequently. Another more elusive bird was present in the dense scrub surrounding the ditch inland of the bench just yards beyond the inlet channel in the Marston corner with two more on the Wetlands Reserve proper. A singing male BLACKCAP was my first in Beds this year (also in the Marston Corner) whilst COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS numbered at least 14 and could be heard all the way along the northern shore. WILLINGTON GP (BEDS) Despite Tony P connecting, both MJP and I failed in our quest to find Dave Ball's Yellow Wagtails of yesterday evening. The fields did hold 281 Barnacle Geese, perhaps about half harbouring red rings, whilst the pit complex produced 2 Great Crested Grebes, a pair of Common Shelduck, 9 Teal, 11 Shoveler, 21 Tufted Duck, 27 Lapwing and 4 Oystercatchers, as well as Green Woodpecker, 4 Goldfinches and yet another singing Common Chiffchaff. PRIORY COUNTRY PARK (BEDS) Checked the main lake and the Finger Lakes for migrants but little activity apart from that from 7 Common Chiffchaffs, 2 singing male BLACKCAPS, a pair of BULLFINCH and a Common Treecreeper; there was no sign of the weekend's male Willow Warbler. ROOKERY PIT SOUTH (BEDS) In just over a week, the water level at Rookery has dropped dramatically, making it ever more attractive to migrant waders and wildfowl. Consequently, it came as no surprise to find two PIED AVOCETS on view and taking advantage of the conditions - a species I had missed at Willington earlier in the month. I first noted the two birds at 1714 hours but Keith Owen who was independently several hundred yards away had first seen them at 1702, but in any event, they both flew high to the east at 1720 hours, after being flushed by a MARSH HARRIER...... The MARSH HARRIER, an adult female, made frequent sorties around the pit following its first appearance, repeatedly scattering many of the birds present. At one stage, it chased a Common Teal and repeatedly dropped down into the reedbed in the same general area. It remained throughout the rest of the evening and was still present when MJP arrived about 45 minutes after I first found it. Waders were well represented this evening with the full roll-call including the 3 RUFF, up to 24 Common Snipe, 7 ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, 8 Common Redshank, 3 Ringed Plovers, 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS and an impressive 12 DUNLIN - an excellent selection and 9 species in all including the several Lapwing present. Wildfowl included 4 remaining Wigeon, 25 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 5 Northern Pochard, 8 Tufted Duck, the pair of NORTHERN PINTAIL and 5 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS (1 female). The most surprising sight was that of 27 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS that flew west past Keith and I at 1808 hours - the first I have ever seen at Rookery. Two Chinese Water Deer were feeding in an open area of the reedbed Lee G R Evans

One YELLOW WAGTAIL still present at Willington

A male Yellow Wagtail was on the south shore of the Dovecote Lake at Willington mid-afternoon (Tony P)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday 27 March - MJP Diary Notes

went out and about in Beds this afternoon..... highlights as follows, 64 species seen or heard: Cardington Business Park: Mistle Thrush Priory C Pk: lots of dogs, children and their owners but little of note birdywise ~ no hirundines and no Willow Warbler Octogan Farm: no Pipits, no waders other than Lapwing, 1 Sand Martin north-east, pair Teal, Chiffchaff singing, 1 Buzzard, 2 Red-legged Partridges Meadow Lane: pair Oyks, several Wigeon, a few Lapwings, A603 Cardington to Cople: 1 Kestrel Cardington: 1 Peregrine Raptor Triangle: no Little Owls, no Red Kites, 5 Buzzards Quest ClP: 236 Lesser Black-backs, c25 Herring Gulls, 13 Gt Black-backs, 3 Common Gulls, only 2 B H Gulls, 11+ Dabchicks,1 Redshank, 40 Lapwings, 2 pair Teal Rookery South ClP: 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Ruff, 5 Dunlin, 2 pair Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 9 Snipe, 13 Redshanks, a few Lapwings, pair of Shoveler, pair of Pintail, several Teal, 12 Mute Swans, 2m 1f Wigeon, 4 drake and 2 female Red Crested Pochards Marston Vale M Pk (entrance track only): 7 Wigeon amongst usual wildfowl Marston STW: 2 Pied Wagtails, no hirundines MJP

YELLOW WAGTAILS at Willington - first of year

Two YELLOW WAGTAILS with at least 31 Pieds on field east of new footpath across to Dovecote Lake. Two pairs of Oycs, one on Dovecote and one on island in main lake. Also pair of Shelducks on main lake and probably different pair on Castle Mill. Max three Little Egrets together, south of cycle way towards Octagon Farm (Dave Ball)


Two male NORTHERN WHEATEARS this morning on the flat area above the paddocks slope -these moved onto the adjacent ploughed field as the disturbance increased. A single RING OUZEL seen by Lol Carman flew off north - also Merlin hunting theTesco slope (per Rob Dazley)


A female BLACK REDSTART was present on Warden Hill today showing well in scattered bushes by the trig point (per Darin Stanley)

First HOUSE MARTIN of year

A single House Martin was with c.150 Sand Martins over the main lake at Priory Country Park this morning. Also, DK had a Swallow and the Willow Warbler (per Tony P)

Saturday afternoon: RING OUZEL at Marston Vale

A successful day at the MVCP today. Started with a single BARN SWALLOW over the sewage works at 8.05 - 8.15am. Then a little egret flew over the visitors centre towards the pillinge at 8.30am. A woodcock flew over the Long Meadow and towards the Pillinge at 10.30am. (MVCP tick for me, at long last!) Several Sand Martins were seen near the visitors centre around 11.00 - 12.00. A Red kite was found by Neil Wright near the sewage works at around 12.30pm which flew off towards Stewartby Lake. Best of all, a male RING OUZEL appeared on the field infront of the visitors centre about 1.40pm. It was there for about one minute before being flushed by some kids... Martin Green

Saturday morning - WILLOW WARBLER still at Priory

A/the WILLOW WARBLER was singing and showing well at Priory this morning, in the 'Sheep Pen' just west of the long hedge (Tony P).

Blows Downs finally attracts a migrant - BLACK REDSTART

Saturday morning: Lol Carman discovered a female-type BLACK REDSTART in the Paddocks area of Blows Downs and the bird remained all weekend (many observers). It was still present early evening on Sunday (LGRE)

Saturday morning: BARN SWALLOW at Marston Vale

A single EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW feeding over the sewage works at Marson Vale 8.05 - 8.15am (Martin Green)

And first TREE PIPIT

Saturday morning: Stephen Thompson watched a TREE PIPIT fly over John O'Gaunts Golf Club - a very early migrant

Broom early Saturday morning - first LITTLE GULL of year

A first-winter LITTLE GULL briefly at Broom GP at 0725 hours (Steve Blian/Mark Thomas) Li

Friday, 25 March 2011

Stewartby roost this evening

Another poor gull roost for Neil Wright, Bob Hook and me with a good number of gulls giving the roost a miss altogether and heading over eastward.160+ L B Backs, 3 fw G B Backs, 25+ Herring Gulls, 53 B H Gulls and only a dozen Common Gulls were the peak counts.

A Kingfisher flew low across the centre of the lake and Neil spied a Sand Martin flying west along the treeline above us.

"Bird of the evening" must definitely go to the excellent (presumed) Daubenton's Bat flying less than a metre above the lake surface and dipping occasionally, and keeping about 25m off shore. Perhaps a tiddly bit bigger than a Pipistrelle, it's presence low over the water would inidicate this species I believe. Much smaller than the large presumed Noctule Bat seen from the gull watchpoint earlier this week - MJP

Another singing CETTI'S

Great after work walk at Warren Villas with a group of six Waxwings over, then a singing CETTI'S WARBLER then four territorial Oystercatchers over the nature reserve. Walking back I could hear Waxwings again and eventually had eight flying over the first pit and then perched in a treetop against the sunset - Richard Bashford

Second wave of WHEATEARS

After nine days looking for Wheatears etc at Blows Downs and failing, I finally found two today, midway between Sharpenhoe Clappers and Sundon Hills CP, just off the main path (Icknield Way]. Also a lovely fresh Red Admiral flying with a Painted lady,just off the main path, in a sunny corner not far from the car park at Sharpenhoe, all firsts for me this year as was a Bee Fly also (Clive Harrington)

Both CETTI'S singing at Stewartby and Rookery waders

I arrived at Stewartby Lake at 8.35 to concentrate on getting good views of a Cetti's Warbler for the year - I'd only had glimpses earlier this week. The bird 200m north-east of the gull watchpoint was singing occasionally and gradually moved another 100m further along the shoreline bushes without giving even a glimpse.

I walked down to the west (Marston) corner and heard the other bird straightaway but it wasn't until shortly before 10.00 that it eventually decided to show, giving excellent views for a minute or two sub-song singing and full song too from the depth of a thorn bush.

Barry and Wendy Nightingale arrived shortly thereafter as did Bob Hook and Judith Knight. The bird had already moved 70m along the shore line bushes and had moved another 30m or so when we heard it again and Barry and I had further (brief) views of it in a bush before flying back in the direction whence it came. These two really are elusive little so and so's! (The Cetti's, not Barry and Wendy!).

Nothing much at all had been seen on the lake by any of us (tho' I'd had close views of a Kingfisher by the Marston stream inlet earlier) so I headed around to Rookery South ClP for 3/4 hour. Barry and Wendy arrived too and we three enjoyed good if distant views of the goodies there.....5 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS remained, inc a pair indulging in some springtime action,13 Redshanks, 3 RUFF, a pair of Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and a few Lapwings completed the wader list

5 Shoveler (4 drakes), a single drake Red Crested Pochard and the pair of Pintail were all still present.

Martin J Palmer

Spring passage underway at Broom......remarkable flock of RAVENS

A cracking start to the Broom spring campaign! It was a lovely mix of winter migrants, summer migrants, and residents.

The summer plumaged WATER PIPIT was showing well creeping along the edge of the flood to the west of Gypsy Lane, and can be viewed from the footpath at grid ref TL178441. Also here were two Ringed Plovers, and a single LRP.

After Matt Burgess turned up we stood at the watch point overlooking Peacock's Lake for a while. A Brambling flew over calling (and Matt later found three in Moat House Copse) along with a couple of Siskins. The other highlight was a group of 8 COMMON RAVENS all slowly drifting north together.

Other stuff included the regular Pink-footed Goose, two Sand Martins, singing Chiffchaff, and five Shovelers (Steve Blain)

First WILLOW WARBLER of year

A male WILLOW WARBLER was singing just east of the main car park at Priory CP this morning, until 08.30 at least (Tony P)

WATER PIPIT at Broom early morning

Breeding-plumaged WATER PIPIT at Broom, on Gypsy Lane West flood. 08.00 (Steve Blain)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A full day's birding - Martin J Palmer

Around 60 species today in a tour of the claypits.....

Very little at Chimney Corner North ClP c10.30am - 6 Grey lags and a Cormorant were the best plus a very distant Common Buzzard over Marsh Leys

Onto Quest ClP next where there were 6 Red Crested Pochards - 2 pairs and two extra drakes - 2 pairs Redshanks and at least 10 Dabchicks

Rookery South late morning still had 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Ruff and 13 Redshanks - [Wednesday evening I had seen 10 Black-wits, 3 Ruff, 15 Redshanks, 1 Snipe, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin]

Also in Rookery South were the pair of Pintail - I had seen them displaying to each other yesterday evening - but Shoveler numbers had dropped.

From noon until c1.15 I visited Stewartby Lake and again from c5.35 until 6.20pm - star birds were 2 CETTI'S WARBLERS singing, one 200m north-east of the gull watchpoint and the other near the west (Marston) corner. Only a couple of second-winter Yellow-legged Gulls were of note in a small gull roost this evening. A Sand Martin this evening was my first of the year and my 132nd species in Beds so far in 2011.

Butterflies were out and about with a Brimstone in Stewartby village, another at Stewartby Lake plus a Peacock and a couple of Commas.

Di and I had gone for an afternoon stroll along the Ouse to and from Kempston Mill - 3 Green Woodpeckers were calling and a Sparrowhawk sped through but again there were no Mandarin at the Mill bridge itself. 2 Peacocks, a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell were seen. A Brimstone was seen outside our garden earlier.What a lovely warm day.

Martin J Palmer

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rookery Pit continues to draw in the passage waders


Another glorious day with wall-to-wall sunshine, light winds and temperatures reaching 16 degrees C - the warmest day of the year thus far.

As a consequence, migrants are starting to arrive in good numbers, with several Hoopoes, numerous Garganey, many more Wheatears, Black Redstarts and White Wagtails and the first Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and Ospreys.

Frustrated at dipping last night's Ruff at College after being called away on emergency when an 88-year old driver collided with a parked Mini close to Tring Station and blocked the entire road for over two hours during the rush-hour, I returned there first after being updated early morning by DB.........


Driving north through Ampthill on my way to Stewartby, I noted an active ROOKERY by the school at the south end of town (TL 033 369) containing 22 nests.


Rookery Pit South is being drained at the moment, as 6 appointed ecologists attempt to catch and move the several hundred Great Crested Newts believed to be resident at the site. As a consequence, it is looking superb and this last week has proved just how attractive the site is for migrant waders.The owners of the land are convinced they have permission to build an incinerator on site and over the next 18 months are preparing the site for future contractors to move in. By law, they are required to protect the newts and are bizarrely catching them in white buckets and releasing them in the adjacent North Pit. The water level will be maintained at the current level and promises to be brilliant for this spring - it is expected that Little Ringed Plover will once again nest and perhaps Garganey again - both species on Schedule One

Late morning saw 25 waders present of just three species including an outstanding (and possibly a personal local record) 15 COMMON REDSHANKS and the 3 RUFF discovered yesterday (my 127th species of the year in Beds). The adult CONTINENTAL BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (limosa) was still present and wading with it in the shallows were an additional 9 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, virtually all breeding-plumaged ICELANDIC birds (islandica). The limosa was larger, longer-billed, orange-billed rather than bright pink-billed, orange rather than red on the underparts and far less barred on the underparts and far more contrasting.

The female NORTHERN PINTAIL remained, as did 5 Eurasian Wigeon, 10 Tufted Duck and 10 Northern Pochards.

At nearby Manor Farm (TL 029 405), 4 House Sparrows and a pair of Greenfinches was noted.


Walked the NW footpath bordering the lake, where a total of 65 active Rook nests were occupied west of the main gate. This section held 4 singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS but there was no sight nor sound of the recent Cetti's Warbler. A male Greenfinch and 3 Goldfinches were also seen and butterflies benefiting from the warmth and sunshine included a Brimstone and my first two Small Tortoiseshells of the year.


I did an extensive search of the reedbeds and scrub at the western end of the lake but again no Cetti's Warblers - a species really eluding me in Bedfordshire this year. In fact, Brogborough was virtually birdless, with just two singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS of note.


Next off, I went on a long jaunt checking out the woodlands on the Greensand Ridge and a regular accipiter stake-out. Despite perfect conditions, a long watch yielded just two displaying pairs of Eurasian Sparrowhawk and at least 14 Common Buzzards (many displaying). A MARSH TIT was a welcome sight, with SISKIN, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch also seen. Six CHINESE WATER DEER were seen nearby, including 5 feeding together in a field near Beckerings Park Farm (SP 988 370).


Although I did not visit this site today, both LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were again present and showing near the car park and OTTERS have been seen on several occasions in recent days (Francis Buckle et al).


Stopping off at McDonalds for lunch (SP 980 262), I was serenaded by a repetitive male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF singing from the hedgerow and trees at the back of the car park.

A very productive day

Lee Evans

(Three further RUFF were discovered late afternoon at Broom Peacock's Lake)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Now 3 RUFF in Rookery - and Limosa GODWIT still

Adult limosa BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, 3 RUFF, 2 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover in Rookery South today (per Lol Carman, Andy Plumb)

Monday night Stewartby Lake gull roost

Stewartby Lake roost was back toward good times again Monday eveningfollowing Sunday's very poor show.Keith Owen, Steve Blain and I located 2 first-winter CASPIAN GULLS, 1adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL and up to 3 second-winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULLSin the roost.

A CETTI'S WARBLER was shrilly calling some way to the left (north-east)of the gull watchpoint (Martin Palmer)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Great weather and some great birds - LGRE Diary Notes Monday 21 March


The beautiful spring weather associated with a high pressure system which centred over most of Britain on Saturday continued today. Temperatures remained stable at around 13 degrees C, with long sunny periods and light winds.

I concentrated my efforts on Bedfordshire today - adding five new species to my county year list. Undoubted highlight was a pair of displaying LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS....


What was presumably the Pow Wow Lake COMMON CHIFFCHAFF of Saturday was singing strongly from the scrub behind McMinn's this morning

The Pow Wow Lake held an adult Mute Swan and 8 Tufted Ducks, whilst 2 male Great Tits were in song, 4 Wrens and a Song Thrush was seen.


After my early morning check of the Chess Valley, I decided to head north and quickly get in position at Flitwick Moor. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS had been seen almost daily over the past 7 days and I was keen to connect myself. My arrival at 1000 hours coincided with that of Luton birder Andy Grimsey and over the next two hours, we both searched high and low. A concerted effort was made in the favoured area by the boardwalk and bridge, where most reports have emanated, but just Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were seen. I repeatedly walked between the two bridges, checking the trees either side of the stream, but with no luck - Common Treecreepers, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits were seen.

A male Common Chiffchaff was singing from birches just beyond the boardwalk and another was elsewhere in the wood.

A total of 4 different Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen but chasing up a 'quieter' drumming coming from trees adjacent to the entrance track, Andy stumbled on the male LESSER SPOT. As he was watching one, a second came into view and it was the pair - both favouring the trees in the clay pigeon shooting area. I dashed over to join Andy and for the next 25 minutes or more, we were both treated to a wonderful display as the male danced and showed off to the female at the tops of the trees. There was much quivering of wings, often comparable to the display of Blue Tits, and extending of the bright red crest. The views were exceptional and highly entertaining - a true delight and a rare sight these days, particularly in the woodlands of Bedfordshire.

The location of our display was the trees just north of the track that leads to the car park from Folly Farm - at TL 046 354. The birds were still showing until at least 1240 hours.

(1315-1400 hours)

I then moved on to Rookery Pit where the ongoing drainage work was making the site very suitable for waders and suchlike.

Feeding alongside 11 Common Redshanks in a shallow bay bordering a 'new' island was a single godwit in breeding plumage. I was immediately struck by its orange rather than deep rufous underparts and its long, orange-based bill. Furthermore, the middle to rear half of the body was white and relatively weakly barred - all features suggesting that this was a limosa BLACK-TAILED GODWIT - and presumably a bird on route to breeding grounds in East Anglia or in the Netherlands. This was the first limosa I had ever recorded in the county and follows a number of birds I have recorded in Buckinghamshire in recent years.

Other waders present included a single LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and two RINGED PLOVERS, along with 6 Lapwings, whilst wildfowl were represented by two pairs of Eurasian Wigeon , 6 Gadwall, 14 Common Teal, 4 Shoveler and a female NORTHERN PINTAIL; 8 Great Crested and 7 Little Grebes were also seen, along with 10 Mute Swans and 74 Coot, with a pair of RED-CRESTED POCHARD acting very suspiciously in one of the smaller reedbeds.

Some 58 Black-headed Gulls were back at their breeding colony, along with a pair of graellsii Lesser Black-backs, whilst an adult summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL was on the main lagoon.

Meadow Pipit passage was very much in earnest with 12 Yellowhammers attracted to the manure pile at the entrance to the field. A single migrant SAND MARTIN flew back and forth over the reedbed.


Nothing particularly new here but 3 drake and a female RED-CRESTED POCHARD were noteworthy, along with two pairs of Common Redshank, 1 pair of Ringed Plover, several Lapwings and the mixed pairing of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL. Large numbers of gulls were roosting in the pit, primarily Lesser Black-backs. A single Linnet flew over.


Very little on the lake other than 3 first-winter Great Black-backed Gulls in amongst the Lesser Black-backs, but the male PEREGRINE was on the chimneys and a fine male Sparrowhawk perched along Green Lane.


I now turned my attentions to counting the active ROOK nests, with 129 in the Stewartby Landfill area (73 and 27 nests by the old A421 in two colonies - at cTL 014 440 - and a further 29 nests by Randalls Farm Environmental Education Centre at TL 020 437).

A further 73 active nests were counted in Meadow Lane and its environs and 28 more in the Biggleswade area (with 16 on or around the trees at the A1 roundabout and 12 more in trees at the north end of Gypsy Lane).


A pair of GREY PARTRIDGES in fields south of the A603 just west of Moggerhanger and a further pair and a pair of Red-legged Partridges just east of the village in the newly sown fields north of the road.


Five species of wader present - GREEN SANDPIPER, the pair of Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Redshank, the pair of OYSTERCATCHERS and 26 Lapwings - along with 8 Common Teal and the noisy Black-headed Gull colony.


A single DUNLIN remained, with 4 BEARDED TITS and numerous Reed Buntings nearby


Sadly, a dead Badger besides the former A6 - north of Wrest Park at TL 084 360


A most surprising find here was a spectacular male MERLIN - hunting over fields north of the Electricity Sub-station - and a total of 28 Argenteus Herring Gulls feeding on the pans.

Other species encountered included 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Coot, 6 Common Magpies, 8 Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a singing male Reed Bunting, whilst the tree belt held a Rookery totalling 48 active nests.


An OSPREY flew north over The Lodge RSPB, 11:25 per Andy Schofield.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


A male Northern Wheatear on the 'Lapwing field' at Pegsdon this evening. Also a Little Owl by the 'Shorelark field'at Warden Hill a little later, plus three calling Grey Partridge (Paul Anness)

No further sign of Marsh Harrier

No sight of Steve Northwood's Marsh Harrier at Rookery South ClP between 12.00 noon and 1.10pm today but...

1 female Pintail, 48 Teal, pair Shelduck, 20 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon, 10 Common Redshanks, 1 Common Snipe, 2 Dunlin, 1 pair Ringed Ploversc15 Stock Doves and a few Yellowhammers along entrance track; 2 Gt Black Backs, 28 L B Backs, 4 Herring Gulls

No Cetti's Warblers at MVMP (yet again) but a pair of displaying Buzzards over

1 Chiffchaff calling at Millbrook Pillinge

a female Brambling in my Kempston garden this morning was a garden year tick for us


WHEATEAR at last - and first MARSH HARRIER

A NORTHERN WHEATEAR at Whipsnade Zoo (Cliff Tack) this morning is the first one reported to me so far this year.

Earlier this morning, there were 6 Waxwings in the middle of Upper Caldecote on my way to dipping both the Sheerhatch Lesser Spot, and the Wyboston Black Redstart (Steve Blain)

Meanwhilew. Steve Northwood recorded MARSH HARRIER, the female PINTAIL and 2 DUNLIN in Rookery Pit.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Another productive Stewartby gull roost

Stewartby roost came up trumps again for Steve Blain, Neil Wright, Andy Plumb and me between 5.00pm to 6.30pm this evening with a tally of 9.5 species!

A large first-winter CASPIAN GULL was picked out by Steve shortly after he'd alerted Neil and I to a juvenile ICELAND GULL he'd picked out in flight coming into the roost. [My 128th species in Bedfordshire this year so far]. I had earlier found the adult GLAUCOUS x HERRING GULL hybrid and a first winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, I later picked out a second-winter YLG too and Steve saw an adult YLG as well. Whilst watching the Iceland Gull I found an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL passing it and both birds were in the same scope view as the Glauc hybrid on one occasion. Still hordes of L B Backs, good numbers of Common Gulls and Herring Gull numbers holding up. Still less than a score of Gt Black Backs and B H Gulls were at a good few hundred rather than the few thousand of late.

Other species present at Stewartby Lake and environs this evening were a PEREGRINE on one of the old brickworks chimneys, a Kingfisher flying low across the centre of the lake, a Chiffchaff heard singing, a male Sparrowhawk low across in front of us, a couple of Grey Herons, 3 Gadwall flying off and all the usual species inc good numbers of Rooks and both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Nothing heard from the Cetti's Warbler reported near the gull watchpoint this morning by Pete Smith unfortunately.An excellent evening......

Earlier today I had visited Octagon Farm and Meadow Lane pits between c10.40am until just before noon then visiting Quest ClP and Rookery South ClP before spending a short while at Brogboro' Lake until 2.00pm

Highlights were.....

16 Dabchicks at Quest and 9 at Rookery South
10 Shoveler at Rookery South but no R C Pocards here today nor at Quest
72 Wigeon at Meadow Lane GP's
54 GOLDENEYE were counted at Brogborough Lake
2 Ringed Plovers were found at Quest ClP and 2 Oyks at Meadow Lane
5 Redshank were at Meadow Lane, a few at Quest and 4+ at Rookery South
a first-winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL at Quest showed a long red ring on its left leg and a metal ring low on its right leg (just as the second-winter YLG had shown that I found here on 17th March) - the mixed graellsii L B Back and adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL were also present again at Quest
singing Chiffchaffs were noted at OFm, Meadow Lane and Quest


BLACK RED still at Wyboston

BLACK REDSTART still at entrance to Wyboston Lakes 16.35, per Nick Cook


Two Dunlin and one Ringed Plover on the pit at 11.30 am viewed from the common, also 43 Golden Plover and two Ringed Plover in a cultivated field south of Peacocks, viewed from the road (Carolyn Hawkes)


A good walk around Stewartby Lake this morning in the early spring sunshine. Highlights included a CETTI'S WARBLER singing 100 yards north of the gull watching spot, 4 Common Chiffchaffs singing away, 2 Common Redshank, 1 Oystercatcher and a glorious Common Kingfisher. I also had a count of 7 Song Thrushes singing (Peter Smith)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Three first-winter CASPIAN GULLS in Stewartby roost this evening

There were three first-winter CASPIAN GULLS in the Stewartby Lake roost this evening - one absolute brute of a bird, a second slightly smaller bird, and a third more petite individual. Other than size, they are all in very similar plumage. All are new in this week.

Also present was an adult Mediterranean Gull, also probably a new passage bird.

Steve Blain/Nick Cook/Keith Owen

LESSER SPOT nailed on fourth attempt

Late morning Di and I arrived in the car park at Flitwick Moor to have my fourth crack in a week of trying to see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Our first sighting tho' was John Temple who gave Di and me the excellent news that he'd seen a Lesser Spot left of the boardwalk.

Di and I enjoyed an hour's stroll with a good variety of species but no LSW - again. One last look from the bridge by the boardwalk and bingo! Excellent views of a delightful male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker quite high up the trunks of the trees and sturdier outer branches. We watched it as it moved from tree to tree for a few minutes before flying off at tree top height along the stream northward. It hadn't really been associating with anything though several Siskins and some Blue and Great Tits were in the vicinity.

We had lunch parked up at the Sandi Smith reserve where a Red Kite glided gracefully over but the local Little Owl wasn't performing. Then we joined Jim Gurney, Lee Evans, Lol + Bob at Gypsy Lane south GP and had great views of the Rock Pipit found by SCB earlier. Old Temps arrived too - a double helping!

We were on our way to The Lodge but I detoured for a quick look at Derek White Egg's pit and had good 'scope views from the public footpath along the A1 of the pair of Ringed Plovers present, also a Dunlin.

No Waxwings along New Road, Sandy so on to The Lodge for a walk around the New Heath. Couldn't find the Tawny Owl tree near the hide but 9 Lesser Redpolls were showing from the hide. No moths in the Osprey building porch but an SCB not looking out of the window in his office! After circling the heath, a probable Common Crossbill flew over as we walked back along path parallel to the main road and some Siskins near the gatehouse..


I had just arrived at Stewartby Lake at c5.30 this evening when Jim Gurney rang me to say he and Pip Housden had just been watching the BLACK REDSTART on the roof of the first building on the right as you enter the Wyboston Lakes site from the aforementioned traffic lights.

I decided on a sprint over and the first several miles took but a few minutes but the last 2+ miles was a solid queue so it wasn't until 5.55pm that I got to the site with little hope now of seeing the bird. A friendly security guard came out and pointed to where he'd seen the bird a little earlier himself and said I was welcome to look around. A few minutes later I found it sitting beneath the light above the entrance to this L-shaped motel type block. It then flew up on the guttering and then up to the ridge where it sat for some minutes as I 'scoped it. It was clearly soaking up the last warm rays of sun and after some minutes dropped out of few at 6.10pm, presumably to roost. A fairly drab bird, clearly a female, with Dunnock grey base plumage, orangy brown tail and a Robin-like but a bit slimmer shape. I even managed a couple of my "soft focus" photos.


No Ruff or Avocet but ROCK PIPIT compensates


Following a few days of SE winds and rather cold conditions, today followed in the a similar vein but with rain. In fact the rain eventually fizzled out late morning and was replaced by clear, bright conditions as the day came to a close.

I spent the day locally, connecting with yesterday's PIED AVOCET in North Bucks as well as a newly arrived GREY PLOVER and found one migrant SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT and then later saw another. Spring really is well and truly under way now..........

Sadly, a male Grey Partridge was dead beside the A603 at Long Acres, about 400 yards before the junction with the Sandy road.


No sign of the earlier Dunlin but the pair of Ringed Plovers, a Common Redshank and several Gadwall.


The WAXWING flock in the G & M Growers car park had risen to 94 birds at 1305 hours but shortly later, they all flew off and had not returned by the time I departed the area two hours later.


As expected, the newly landscaped gravel working at the SE end of Gypsy Lane has started attracting good birds. SCB had just earlier during his lunch-break discovered a SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT here and less than 15 minutes later, I was watching it too. It was consorting with a single Meadow Pipit and was loosely associated with a migrant flock of some 18 Pied Wagtails and a pair of Linnet. I enjoyed some excellent views of it as it fed along the shoreline, the bird being more advanced than my earlier Wilstone bird, with a much paler grey head and a surprisingly bold white flaring supercilium. It was smudgily streaked as expected on the 'sullied' underparts and quite dingy overall, mainly brown in the upperwings and mantle and again, dark-legged. I heard it call several times it was in flight - a rather explosive but abrupt, high-pitched ''visssttt''. At one stage, it flew with all of the wagtails to the mounds in the pit adjacent and was still here when Jim Gurney joined me. I then later relocated it back on the main pit, where MJP, Lol Carman and Bob Chalkley then caught up with it, and watched it for a further 20 minutes or more at close range - an excellent addition to the Bedfordshire Year List.

Apart from these migrants, the pit held just a pair of Common Shelduck and a pair of Tufted Ducks.

I then spent over an hour and a half searching for Bearded Tits but to no avail - 95 Fieldfares, 15 Reed Buntings and a Common Chiffchaff being the only birds of note.

Lee G R Evans

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Broom RUFF

The RUFF had moved to the adjacent main Broom washout pitby the time JG and I got there, accompanying several Lapwings, 2 Dunlin and 10 Redshanks. A male, it flew off with some of the Lapwings at 6.00pm, possibly back to the G M Growers pit 2, after about five minutes of our watching it. The remaining waders were still present as we walked back to the access track. 30+ Pied Wagtails came into roost on this wash out pit. Nearby, the pair of Shelduck were still on the south-east Gypsy Lane pit but, as last evening, no sign of the recent Ringed Plover pair (MJP).

RUFF at Broom this evening

RUFF at Broom, on G&M pits 17.25 (Steve Blain).

Derek White's A1 Pit - still pulling in those waders despite new ownership

With a flock of nine Dunlin there, alongside Ringed Plover and Redshank, it shows that Derek's could maintain it position as a top wader site for a while longer. Despite the almost constant presence of a man doing management like planting trees etc and the change in access, and the winter shooting, it is still pulling in the waders.

As for viewing, the side of the A1 is OK - but pretty horrible. I went in from Biggleswade Common. Driving into Biggleswade and to the end of Fairfield Road where there is a car park. From here it is about an 8-10min walk north along the footpath onto the common and then left towards the river to view the pit. This currently provides an excellent view of the main lake.

Also Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher here.

Richard Bashford

Derek White's today - more DUNLIN

Eight Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Redshank and a pair of Shoveler (Richard Bashford)

Broom GP - the first shift

Murky conditions but good to get out. Highlights-

Red Kite- circling over the centre of Broom Village
Common Chiffchaff- Broom Village
2 Shelduck- Gypsy Lane East
3 Dunlin- on Peacock's Lake
2 Ringed Plover

..and 30+ Waxwings on the way home at G&M Growers car park still (Matt Burgess)

Warden Warren early doors

Crossbill, Raven, singing Chiffchaff, and c.15 Redpolls in a pre-work wander around Warden Warren, Old Warden this morning. Only two Goldcrests heard singing through (Steve Blain)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

PIED AVOCET at Willington GP

A PIED AVOCET was present today on the main pit at Willington (Jim Gurney et al), whilst a FIRECREST was in a Shefford garden

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

WAXWING flock still at G & M Growers

84 Waxwings were at G&M Growers, Upper Caldecote at 12:45 today. Also a Chiffchaff singing from the pits nearby (Steve Blain)

Monday, 14 March 2011

WAXWINGS hang on with two CASPIAN GULLS in Stewartby Area


The day started fairly bright and mild but as the morning wore on, a brisk SE wind blew in and dramatically decreased temperatures. The bright conditions prevailed throughout the rest of the day but it felt mightily cold.

(mid-afternoon visit)

A flock of 55 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS was commuting between trees in the G & M Growers car park and the two berry-laden shrubs in front of the complex. Excellent views were obtained as they occasionally flew down to feed. They were particularly vocal.

At Gypsy Lane Pits South (the new working at TL 177 432), a pair of Ringed Plover (117) and 11 migrant Pied Wagtails was present, whilst nearby on the Washout Pits, a single winter-plumaged DUNLIN was seen (118), along with Common Redshank, the pair of Common Shelduck and 6 or more Reed Buntings. There was no sight nor sound of the Bearded Tits, Jim Gurney and I both extensively searching.


Just north of the village and west of Vinegar Hill Road, a pair of GREY PARTRIDGES was displaying.


Late afternoon saw 500 or so large gulls basking in the sunshine in fields east of Stewartby Landfill. Carefully 'scoping through them at about 220 yards range, I managed to locate two different first-winter CASPIAN GULLS (one an exceptionally small individual and another more typical individual), 4 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (a worn adult, two 2nd-winters and a first-winter) and a juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL x HERRING GULL hybrid amongst them. Both CASPIAN GULLS were distinctive birds, with long thin legs, long sloping foreheads affording a snout-like appearance, clean white heads and almost marbled-like patterning on the scapulars and upperwing-coverts. One bird was significantly larger than the other, with a gleaming white unmarked head and quite heavy streaking on the lower hindneck; this bird was also markedly more advanced in scapular pattern, being much greyer in this area.

From about 1700 hours, I moved over to Stewartby Lake, where I was later joined by Keith Owen and Steve Blain - it was absolutely freezing with the SE wind blowing in straight at us. At least 6,000 gulls roosted, predominantly Black-headed (2,300+), but also Common Gull (600), Herring Gull (250+, still including a number of Argentatus), Lesser Black-backed Gull (mainly intermedius - 2,000+) and Great Black-backed Gull (just 9 registered). The smaller of the two first-winter CASPIAN GULLS eventually flew in to roost but precious little else in the way of interest.

RAVENS at The Lodge

Remarkably, four Ravens passed low east over the top of the old heath at12:40 today. I think that could be a Lodge record...Darren Oakley-Martin

First FIRECREST of year

23 Waxwings in Tim Robsons Beeston garden this morning, also he reports another sitting on an overhead wire at Sandy Station at 08:45. Still 100+ at G&M Growers are I went past there at 8am.

Some late news for yesterday (13th):

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was seen again in Flitwick Moor, per Pip Housden.

A FIRECREST was seen by pools east of Toddington services, along the footpath that runs along the railway line (TL034288) by Chris Deary.

Steve Blain

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Today's Sightings - Martin Palmer

Keith Owen and I found two slightly differing first-winter CASPIAN GULLS at Stewartby Lake roost this evening. The roost was smaller than of late and was gathered tightly and distantly on the far (south-east) side of the lake. At least 1 adult and 1 second-winter Y L Gull were also seen. 11 Gt Black-backs were present - the highest number of the week.

Earlier today I saw the WATER PIPIT at Octagon Farm at 11.05am plus a pair of Common Redshanks and a Green Sandpiper. By the hardstanding were 15 Siskins and 28 Goldfinches plus a single redpoll sp flew over Meadow Lane calling.

Around 11.45, a Dunlin was on the wash-out pit at GMGrowers side of Broom GP's and at least 80 Waxwings were present at G M Growers itself - SCB had counted 110 just before Di and I arrived.

A drake Red Crested Pochard and a female Goosander were on the riverside pit at Roxton GP's and 1 possibly 2 pairs of Oyks were on the main lake.

Late afternoon there were 27 Goldeneye at Brogboro' Lake and a female Goosander still there too (MJP)

G & M Growers WAXWINGS

I counted 120 Waxwings at G&M around midday, plus 2 Red Kiltes and 2 Redshank over. As Tim says, they seemed nervous and hungry so it was a shame to see one guy walking right up to them with a video camera and scaring them all off for a while - Paul Donald

The Lodge, Sandy RSPB 13/3

Two Tawny Owls showing well all afternoon, single Brambling (female), Siskin and at least one Mealy Redpoll along with several Lessers around the feeders at the hide, 30+ Waxwings in a tree on the new heath and around the car park from about 4.15 and a Stoat on the perimeter wall at the bottom of the old heath. A very pleasant afternoons walk (Tim Robson)


As well as Steve Blain's Common Stonechat at Broom, there was a male on the plateau at Blows Downs this morning - Rob Dazley


1w Caspian Gull on Stewartby tip 15.45 (Steve Blain)

BEARDED TITS and MERLIN still at Broom

A very good WeBS today- 26 species is a high count for Broom. Highlights today were refinding 4 BEARDED TITS in the reedbed area and adding Pink-footed goose to my WeBS tally, though I did miss Martin Stevens' Merlin by about 15 minutes. I also saw c70 Waxwings on the way back home at G&M Growers.

The count - Black-headed Gull 247, Canada Goose 10, Common Gull 8, Coot 114, Cormorant 20, Gadwall 19, Golden Plover 11, Great Crested Grebe 6, Greylag Goose 78, Lapwing 18, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Grebe 12, Mallard 16, Moorhen 9, Mute Swan 19, Oystercatcher 2, Pink-footed Goose 1 !New for WeBS!, Northern Pochard 6, Common Redshank 5, Ringed Plover 3, Common Shelduck 2, Shoveler 9, Snipe 10, Teal 39, Tufted Duck 57, Wigeon 32,

Total number of species: 26 Individuals: 754

Matt Burgess

Friday, 11 March 2011

WAXWINGS in Marston Moretaine

I counted 42 Waxwings in a tall tree in the very large rectory garden at The Green in Marston Moretaine this afternoon which flew off south at 4.15.

Not too much of excitement in the gull roost at Stewartby between 4.40 and 6.20pm but at least 5 Yellow-legged Gulls and the huge presumed adult Glaucous hybrid again - MJP

No sign of redpoll at Meadow Lane

No show by the Scandinavian Arctic Redpoll at Meadow Lane east of Bedford by 11.15 this morning but from 9.15 until 11.15 there were 3 Mealy Redpolls permanently on show in the silver birches on the west side of the road at the rear of Bedford Eagles FC and from c10.55 a lone Lesser Redpoll was also present until it flew off over the by-pass with the Mealys - MJP

Woburn Park

As expected, most wildfowl numbers were down compared to last month's peak. Best were 105 Wigeons, 71 Tufted Ducks, 12 Gadwalls, 8 Goosanders (2 cracking males), 2 pairs Mandarins (Upper Drakelow), 2 Oystercatchers (the returning birds), 4 Shovelers, 40 Mallards, and 14 Pochards. Of the 7 Heron nests, 5 were occupied. Also a Black Squirrel and 50 Fieldfares. 6 Common Buzzards today, which means that I've had 18 sightings this week in the Woburn area, but not a single Sparrowhawk. Raven over the village yesterday (Barry Nightingale)

MERLIN and MEALY REDPOLL at Broom Gravel Pits - 10/3

Had at least one Mealy Redpoll amongst c.15 redpolls in birches by the entrance track this lunchtime. And this evening, a female type Merlin in fields along Gypsy Lane (Steve Blain)


One Sand Martin, along with Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher at Broom GP this morning, per Tony Squire. Another Sand Martin at Stewartby Lake at lunchtime, per Chris Deary.

ARCTIC REDPOLL still present

09:27 09/03/11 Coues' Arctic Redpoll Beds Bedford still along Meadow Lane by bridge over A421 just north of football ground by sewage works this morning, showing well; also 2 Mealy Redpolls. Park sensibly and do not block access TL086491

08:41 09/03/11 Waxwing Beds Linslade 08:00 50+ on Derwent Road by Greenleas Primary School

Per Steve Blain

Thursday, 10 March 2011

07 March - excellent gull roost at Stewartby

At last we can relax....... with the Slaty B now seemingly well gone and little chance, despite the south-easterly winds, of it finding its way to Bedfordshire...... the very good-sized roost at Stewartby Lake came up trumps for Keith Owen, Steve Blain and me this evening with 9 species of gull identified - besides the usual five common species there were:

1 first-summer Caspian Gull - last nights bird relocated by SCB

4 Yellow-legged Gulls - an adult, a fourth winter and two first-winters

1 Glaucous Gull - the presumed second-winter bird (tho' too late and too distant to check the bill tip) showing some greyish to the mantle coming through but still strongly bi-coloured bill

2 adult full summer plumaged Med Gulls. but alas no Iceland Gull to complete a "full set"

I recommend going to have a look for the Coue's Arctic Redpoll I found yesterday at Meadow Lane off the A603 east of Bedford. There are a dozen or more mixed redpolls feeding in the birches etc at the rear of Bedford Eagles FC viewable from just before the bridge passes over the A421 Bedford by-pass. Park with care as heavy lorries frequently come and go along the road toward the sewage treatment works north of the by-pass. The birds can be 'scoped at more or less eye level allowing the full suite of characters to be looked for. As well as the Coue's, there were at least 5 or more grey type Mealy Redpolls and the remainder were Lessers when Martin Stevens and I watched them from just before 3.00 to 3.15pm this afternoon. We had almost ten minutes of 'scoping the Coue's continually in good light conditions although for other periods the views were more silhouetted as the party were in trees closer to the by-pass and thus looking more toward the sun. A couple of Siskins were about as well (MJP)

07 March - EURASIAN CURLEW over The Lodge

I heard a Curlew calling a couple of times from just south of the reserve boundary at about 1315 hours this afternoon - Katie Fuller

07 March - first local SAND MARTIN of 2011

Andy Schofield had a SAND MARTIN go north over the new heath at The Lodge around 13:00. Also 20 Waxwings catching insects from the birches in the same area (per Steve Blain)

07 March - ARCTIC REDPOLL still present

Mark Ward and I had excellent views of the SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL along Meadow Lane this lunchtime (12:20-12:35). It was frequenting the birches by the bridge over the A421 just to the north of the football ground with c.10 Lesser Redpolls and several pale Mealy Redpolls (but beware the Mealies are very white too!) The grid ref is TL 086 491.

Please park sensibly and do not block the road here as the sewage works lorries use this route frequently.

An excellent find by Martin Palmer!

Steve Blain

Stewartby gull roost - 06 March

2 adult MEDITERRANEAN GULLS and a 2cy CASPIAN GULL were the highlights from this evenings Stewartby roost. Earlier in the afternoon, Mark Gurney had 120 Waxwings along St Andrews Street in Biggleswade (Steve Blain)

SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL at Meadow Lane, east of Bedford - 06 March

At the Meadow lane bridge this morning just by Bedford Eagles football club Di and I saw at least 7 redpolls - all were grey and white Mealy Redpolls but one of them was only vaguely streaked along the flanks and generally "whiter". Unfortunately I only had bins with me and was looking upward, though with the light behing me. On the views obtained, the bird looked remarkedly like the SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL at Coronation ClP in January. Plenty of birches about the area so worth checking out (Martin Palmer).

Male MERLIN - 2 March

Hi all now back in car so able to use phone without frostbite. The male MERLIN showed again perched on wires along the footpath to West Sunderland Farm at c. TL208454. Park at the corner on Hitchmead Rd by Ivel Valley School. Excellent views of a perched grey male Merlin with rufous breast streaking scoped for 2-3 minutes at c. 200m before being chased off by a crow. Also seen on the wires, but much nearer the back of the school, on a previous occasion at a similar time, c. 15-30 minutes before sunset, so that seems the time and place to look. Also Barn Owl hunting again as I left. 'Bunting fields' because this is where Richard Bashford had his Rustic Bunting and there are still several hundred Corn Bunts, a smaller number of Yellowhammers and a few Reeds (Dave Ball)