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, 31 August 2011

Stewartby/Rookery Pit today

5.05 to 5.40pm at Stewartby Lake - 2 Black Terns, 31 Yellow-legged Gulls, 969 Lesser Black-backs clicker counted, 9 Herring Gulls, 9 Great Black-backs, 2 Peregrines on the old brickworks chimneys, 54 Mute Swans, 6 Common Terns.

Earlier, 3.45 to 4.55, I was at Rookery South ClP where 1 Hobby, 3 Buzzards, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, 1 Ruff, 1 Reeve, 1 Dunlin, 26 Teal, 1 Little Egret, 3 Red Crested Pochards


COMMON REDSTART still at Streatley

1 juvenile associating with 2 Lesser Whitethroats and several robins in 2nd sheep field on opposite side of fence facing the sun; also 4 Yellow Wagtails in sheep field and paddocks. Monday just had 1 spot fly here (per Darin Stanley)

At Stewartby Lake, 1 juvenile BLACK TERN remains

WHINCHATS at Potsgrove

A bit more detail about where the Potsgrove Whinchats are:

They are along the footpath leading from Hill Farm. Go down the hill and they are in the 'field beans' on the right-hand side. The grid ref for Hill Farm is SP948304. Per JT, 11:00 (per Steve Blain)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Another LITTLE STINT in Rookery - again found by Keith Owen

A juvenile LITTLE STINT still present in Rookery South ClP mid-afternoon, also 4 Ruff, and a Dunlin. Also two Black Terns on Stewartby Lake. All per Jim Gurney, 16:30

One Whinchat still on Biggleswade Common this lunchtime, and the juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER still on Peacocks Lake, Broom (per Steve Blain)

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Dave Odell reports 5 WHINCHATS near his home at Ridgeway Wood near Wootton this evening.

BLACK TERN at Priory and more WHINCHATS

I was helping Steph Morren with an RSPB event at Priory Country Park today and she found at least one COMMON SWIFT (there was one around all day but no way of telling whether it was one or more birds) and we also found a BLACK TERN. In all we had 19 species from a spot immediately in front of the Visitor Centre, which we thought was quite good in view of the time of year and the weather. We even had a House Sparrow in the vegetation at the edge of the lake (Jean Abbott).

Steve Blain meanwhile located 2 WHINCHATS on Biggleswade Common.

Sunday Roundup

A walk around Streatleybury (south of Streatley village) yielded one COMMON REDSTART and two SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS. Also, the bramble bushes were teeming with Lesser Whitethroats, Common Whitethroats, Garden Warblers and Chiffchaffs.A Grey Partridge was flushed from the meadow (ps: Allan Cutts found a Common Redstart here last Sunday) (per Darren Thomas)

Meanwhile, Darin Stanley located a juvenile COMMON REDSTART at Galley Hill, just NE of Luton, and Pip Housden a total of 6 WHINCHATS at the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve, Clophill. At Deacon Hill, Pegsdon, 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS were seen, whilst at least 1 WHINCHAT remains by Luton Airport.

The 8 Egyptian Geese remain at East Hyde, whilst SPOTTED FLYCATCHER there was a real rarity (per Mike Russell)

Friday, 26 August 2011



From early on this morning, the entire Chilterns region was embraced by heavy cloud, bringing rain (often heavy) throughout the day until mid afternoon. The wind was very light and variable, although underlying was a south-eastern element to it. I was expecting quite a lot to turn up today but in the end, it was mainly RUFF and scarcer terns that were located. My best find of the day was a SANDERLING.....

I then decided to check the hills for migrants but was very disappointed with my results - virtually nothing. I failed to find any Whinchats, even at Blows Downs or Luton Airport. BLOWS DOWNS PADDOCKS supported just single NORTHERN WHEATEAR, LESSER WHITETHROAT, juvenile Willow Warbler and male Blackcap as migrants and a roving party of 18 Blue Tits.


By 1430 hours, the rain was still falling, with Stewartby Lake yielding 48 Mute Swans and an arrival of 6 BLACK TERNS (a moulting adult and 5 juveniles).


Again, fairly lacklustre, with no new waders (the 3 RUFF and a single Common Greenshank) and the lingering juvenile MARSH HARRIER. A Chinese Water Deer was seen but more interesting was a Weasel encounter on the main track not far from Jackdaw Bridge. I had been looking at a Dunnock feeding beneath a bush when it was suddenly 'grabbed' by a Weasel around the neck. The Weasel quickly suffocated it and it fell silent and still. It was then dropped on to the ground before a very peculiar ritual took place. The Weasel repeatedly bounded backwards and forwards seemingly 'dancing' around the corpse before eventually, after about 5 minutes, picking it up and carrying it off into the undergrowth.


At around 1530 hours, I picked up a winter-plumaged SANDERLING feeding on the Washout Pit with a Green Sandpiper. which was still present when I departed the site at 1610 hours (and later when SCB and others arrived on site). Although gleaming white on the underparts and peppered dark grey/black above, it was surprisingly difficult to locate in its 'orange' surroundings and kept 'hiding/crouching' when other birds flew over the site.

Thanks to Jim Gurney and Steve Blain, I was eventually able to locate the juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER that was present for its third day in the vicinity viewing from the western track. The bird was feeding on flotsam along the NE shoreline, immediately north of Peacock's Island on the main Peacock's Lake. It had however been commuting between here and the Washout Pit today.

Other species of note included a Common Sandpiper and 16 Yellow Wagtails.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

WOOD SAND still present at Broom

The juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER still on floating weedbed on main lake, Broom. 12.25 (per Steve Blain)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Darin Stanley discovered 3 WHINCHATS and 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS at Luton Airport this evening whilst Neil Wright sighted an adult BLACK TERN and juvenile ARCTIC TERN at Stewartby this evening.........


Juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER on floating vegetation on the main lake at Broom GP, 12.40. Also drake RC Pochard, two Egyptian Geese, and 180+ Swallows (Steve Blain).

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stewartby Lake Saturday Morning

A very pleasant walk around the lake in the early morning sun. Migrants were in evidence with juvenile Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Common Whitethroats all present and Swallows and martins feeding over the lake.

The BLACK TERN and 3 Common Terns at the gull watch end. A smart adult Peregrine on the second chimney from the left about 1/3rd of the way up (Pete Smith)


Later Saturday morning, no sign of the Stint, but an aerial display of MARSH HARRIER, Peregrine, Buzzard & Hobby vying for supremacy at Rookery, not bad for Bedfordshire. Four Common Buzzards also together at one time (John Francis)

Saturday Morning: Drift Migrants on DUNSTABLE DOWNS

Single NORTHERN WHEATEAR and juvenile COMMON REDSTART on Dunstable Downs this morning (Mick Price)

Saturday Morning in ROOKERY PIT

Spotted at Rookery with Steve Northwood and Nick Cook this morning:

The moulting adult LITTLE STINT was still present, along with a Snipe, four Ruff, two Greenshank and assorted Common Green Sandpipers (per Tony P).

Friday, 19 August 2011

LITTLE STINT still present

The LITTLE STINT is still present in Rookery Pit this afternoon (per Roy Nye) and the BLACK TERN on Stewartby Lake (Per Martin Palmer)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Flash flooding and heavy rain downs first LITTLE STINT of year


Torrential rain causing flash floods crossed the region today as the wind veered to the east.......


This evening, Keith Owen discovered a LITTLE STINT in Rookery - the first in the county this year. It was consorting with the Ringed Plover flock, which have now been present for several days. Negotiating the floods and driving cross country to avoid the northbound M1 congestion, I eventually arrived at Rookery in time to see Pip, MJP and Steve Blain departing. Fortunately, Jim Gurney was still 'scoping from the second bridge and I was able to get on to the bird straight away. The rain had also stopped. Like most waders now, it was at great distance, and KO did very well in making his initial identification. From what I could make out at full magnification, the bird was an adult in transitional plumage (uniformly marked on the upperparts).

Other waders present this evening included the 4 juvenile RUFFS (two of which are small females), 5 COMMON GREENSHANK, 4 Common Sandpipers and 4 Green Sandpipers, the 8 accompanying Ringed Plovers and 177 Lapwings that flew in at dusk presumably to roost.

Jim had seen a Northern Wheatear on the mud before I arrived but whilst scanning for it, no less than 38 YELLOW WAGTAILS (predominantly juvenile) flew to roost in the reeds.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

First BLACK TERNS of the autumn

2 Black Terns, 10 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 juv Cetti's Warblers Strwartby Lake. 20.20 (Steve Blain)

Monday, 15 August 2011



Still warm (70 degrees F) in the sunshine but an increasing westerly wind bringing rain in the evening...


When I was on site today, the juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN was favouring the orange part of the long pontoon in front of the Harbour View Restaurant, immediately east of the Mander Car Park, roosting with up to 25 Common Terns. When not there, I watched it fishing in front of the settlement lagoons, up to 400 yards to the east. The views afforded were excellent.

At the Settlement Lagoons, a single GARGANEY was with the 18 Common Teal present, along with several Little Egrets, 12 Common Terns and 6 Green Sandpipers.

The BLACK-NECKED GREBE was in amongst the large flotilla of birds in the bay in front of Plummer Car Park.

Most impressive was the gathering of 330 House Martins, over 100 of which were sat on top of the Sailing Club building. Little else of note other than a juvenile YELLOW WAGTAIL


Thanks to Pip Housden and directions from Jim Gurney, I was able to add my 176th species in the county this afternoon - WHINCHAT. An adult male and two juveniles were in keeping with a family party of Common Whitethroats along the fence line bordering the well vegetated footpath that leads east from the Speedsdairy Farm, up to 150 yards beyond the third isolated tall Oak at approximately TL 114 390. The male was still in good plumage. The site also yielded the regular LITTLE OWLS.


At 1822 hours, there was little change from recent days: the 4 juvenile RUFFS were still present, 2 COMMON GREENSHANKS, a Common Sandpiper and 9 Ringed Plovers.


No sign of either of the two juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULLS present earlier in the afternoon but the 2 Green Sandpipers were still present on the sandy spit

Sunday highlights - 14 August

Male Redstart in bushes around the trig point on Deacon Hill, Pegsdon this morning. Also a flock of c.150 Goldfinches, and a trickle of Yellow Wags, House Martins, and Swallows moving south. Only one Meadow Pipit seen moving south, and none on-site.

Mid-morning at Rookery 4 Ruff, 4 Dunlin, 4 Common Sands, 3 Green Sands, 3 Greenshank, 11 Ringed Plovers (inc 2 Tundra Ringo's), 1 Red-crested Pochard, 1 Little Egret, 1 Hobby. Water fast disappearing, but looks great (Steve Blain/Nick Cook)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Eversholt Lake OSPREY still present

The adult OSPREY is still at Eversholt Lake this morning, per Roy Nye 11:00. When Roy called it was fishing in the lake (per Steve Blain)
The Broom GP gull roost is building nicely at the moment. On Monday night there was a juvenile Med Gull, 11 Yellow-legged Gulls, c.1200 LBB's, c.400 BhG's, 2 Herring Gulls, and a Common Gull, all on the washout pit:

Steve Blain

Monday, 8 August 2011

Saturday - juvenile RUFF still present in Rookery (4th day)

Visited Rookery South from 3.25 until 4.45pm this afternoon - no sign of the reported Pec Sand BUT the juvenile Ruff of the last few days was still showing continually. No raptors were seen but the following species were amongst those present:

5 Greenshanks, 1 Redshank, the Ruff, 6 Ringed Plovers, 5 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, numerous Lapwings, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 11 Dabchicks, a few G C Grebes, 9a 9j Mute Swans, 4 Canada Geese, no R C Pochard today, 3 Common Pochard, a few Tuftys, 41 Mallards, 2 pair Shoveler, 6 Moorhens, 22+ Coots, numerous B H Gulls, 2 L B Backs, 5 Common Terns, 8 Carrion Crows, 6 House Martins, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Starlings, 5 Linnets, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 juv Common Whitethroats, also 2 Greenfinches along access lane. - MJP


A party of 6 COMMON CROSSBILLS over the golf course at Great Denham this morning.

Also a couple of Kingfishers at Kempston Weir. A single Common Tern was also on the river in the area but none were seen at Box End Park (Dave Barnes)

First WHINCHAT of the autumn

On 5 August, Dave Odell had a WHINCHAT at Ridgeway Wood, Kempston - the first of the autumn in the county

Friday, 5 August 2011

OSPREY puts on a great performance


After yesterday's heavy rain, conditions returned to normal today with dry, calm conditions and pleasantly warm temperatures.

My birding today was restricted to Bedfordshire where both Francis Buckle and Roy Nye discovered an Osprey mid-morning whilst on a jaunt to look for local fungi..........


By the time I had negotiated the northbound M1 roadworks, the OSPREY that had been sitting in a dead tree north of Palmer's Shrubs Plantation had flown west and in to Woburn Park. Both Roy and Francis had set off in hot pursuit of it but had failed to relocate it. I arrived and followed the Greensand Ridge Trail into the park and checked out all of the localities it was likely to have headed for - the chain of lakes to the west of the Abbey and the larger lake closer to Woburn town. Despite having a clear view over much of the area, I too could not relocate it - the main lake supporting a family of Mute Swans (two cygnets), hordes of Greylag Geese, 23 Tufted Duck and 117 Coot and the Park woodlands 2 Red Kites, at least 14 Common Buzzards (including several begging juveniles), 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, Coal Tit and 7 Nuthatches.

I walked back to Eversholt Lake where I joined up with Francis and Roy, as well as MJP, Pip, Jim Gurney, Bob Chalkley and later Cliff Tack and his partner. We stood around chatting for a while and looking at PURPLE HAIRSTREAKS flitting about the Oaks of the orchard when suddenly I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and espied the OSPREY flying out from the lake and carrying a large fish in its talons. I immediately got everybody on to it and as expected, it flew back to the southernmost of the two tall dead trees on the slope at SP 984 318 - opposite the refurbished cottage at Potter's End.

The bird had a few primaries missing in flight and was an adult, with an obvious dark trailing band on the tail, marked blackish underwing covert bar and uniform dark brown upperparts. It was unringed.

It flew into the dead tree at 1215 hours, where it was quickly joined by an adult and two juvenile Carrion Crows. They watched intently as the Osprey pecked off the head of the fish and then proceeded to eat the rest of it, holding it tight beneath its talons. Excellent views were obtained through the 'scope and FB, MJP and JG all attempted to get some record shots of it. At 1227 hours, for no apparent reason, it suddenly left its perch and flew with the remaining fish carcass south towards Palmer's Shrubs and disappeared. From the amount of droppings on and around its perch, it is possible that this bird has been present in the area for some time. However, it did not reappear in the next hour. It represented my 174th species in the county this year and MJP's 178th.....

Shortly later, I was called away to the M25, where a heavy goods vehicle had turned over at Junction 21A causing traffic chaos. It took eight hours to get the surrounding routes clear......Hey-ho

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

WHIMBREL in Rookery

A WHIMBREL has been present for most of the day in Rookery Pit, whilst a COMMON REDSTART was seen along the Perimeter Trail this morning (per Roy Nye)

Monday, 1 August 2011


As I drove along the Leighton Buzzard by-pass this morning I noticed the corpse of a medium sized black bird close to the McDonalds roundabout. As I drove past I noticed it appeared to have a yellow patch around the bill area. I pulled over and ran back and was amazed to find an adult drake COMMON SCOTER. The Scoter had only very recently died and fresh blood was still running from its bill. The Scoter had injured both legs and had a badly broken bill. Over night there had been a heavy mist in the area and it looked to me from the injuries as though the Scoter had mistaken the road for water and had tried to land. Where I found the bird is only a stones throw from Grovebury Sand Pit lake (Johnny Lynch)