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, 8 June 2011

Another blank with Crossbill but CORN BUNTING numbers hold up in isolated areas


A breezy day with the wind coming from the Southwest, with some heavy rain showers in between some long spells of warm sunshine.

Common Quail was the target of the day, along with Common Crossbill, whilst I took the opportunity to do some Corn Bunting surveying whilst over that way.........


After Chris Beach and his wife scored with COMMON QUAIL yesterday evening, I started at that site first today. I was not disappointed as one male was repeatedly calling from a barley field SW of the Icknield Way Path at TL 171 314......

This area was also very good for CORN BUNTINGS, with 8 individuals being noted in the greener less advanced crop fields (two nesting pairs and 4 additional jangling males) (see locations on Google Earth maps above), whilst Pound Farm outbuildings themselves had both nesting Common Kestrel and Jackdaw and the fields either side of the path held at least 7 pairs of Eurasian Skylark.

The farmland transect also yielded Stock Dove and numerous Barn Swallows whilst the gardens opposite adjoining the A600 held Dunnock, Wren and House Sparrow.


Jim Gurney and I spent several hours wandering the new heath and reserve but failed in our quest to locate any Common Crossbills. The main highlight were the nesting SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS by the Gatehouse. The RSPB have established a watchpoint from where the pair can be watched, a few yards from the toilet block behind the shop. The sitting birds can be easily seen.


Pleased with my success at Pound Farm, I decided to check the farmland between the A600 and Shillington for Corn Bunting and carefully surveyed the countryside.

Holwell village was a new site for me and I was very pleased with the number of House Sparrows present - 6 at Holwell House along Holwell Road and another colony of identical number in Colindale garden on Pirton Road. A free-roaming Common Peafowl was at Burnden House, whilst Common Blackbird (9 pairs), Chaffinch (singing male) and Goldfinch (pair) were noted.

Just west of the village at New Wrights Farm Kennels (TL 155 327), two pairs of Barn Swallow were nesting and a male CORN BUNTING was singing. A family party of 5 Linnets was also noteworthy.


Next off was Pirton, where again breeding House Sparrows were significant - 1 pair at Rose Cottage, 3 pairs in Little Lane and a further 7 pairs along the High Street. Further proven breeding species included Collared Dove, Common Starling, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush and Goldfinch.

Between Pirton and Apsley End, the roadside hedgerow produced 3 singing male Common Whitethroats, whilst the horse paddocks at Rectory Farm held 35 post-breeding Rooks.


So, despite having high hopes, all I found was 1 additional singing male CORN BUNTING on my slow drive through perfect countryside. Streatley of course is another stronghold for this rapidly declining species and at the far west end of the road (see map above), a cluster of 5 or so birds was located within a small area. At least 8 Common Whitethroats were in the same area and a male Yellowhammer was in song to the east of Barton Hill Farm. On the road, I had a brief incursion with a family of Weasels.


In Sharpenhoe (at TL 064 305), a pair of House Sparrows was nesting in the roof of the Lynmore Country Pub, whilst in Barton-le-Clay, a very healthy population of 30 or more pairs of House Sparrow was recorded. In St Nicholas' Churchyard, two GOLDCRESTS were in song from the Junipers and Coal Tits had successfully bred but there was no sign of the nesting pair of Spotted Flycatchers.


Totternhoe is another traditional area for CORN BUNTINGS and I was very pleased to locate 5 different males in the Wellhead Road area (at least two males being paired up and breeding)

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