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).

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.

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