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).

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)

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