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).

Friday, 30 December 2011

Out in the drizzle

5.5 hours out in the field from just before10.15 this morning - well much from the car actually in the afternoon drizzle - lots of gaps but 66 species seen was a reasonable haul.

Leaving Kempston and heading down the A6, a Red Kite by Maulden Wood was my third raptor on my way to Wrest Park where alas I could not come up trumps with a Hawfinch at this old site for the species, a male Bullfinch and a Mistle Thrush were best here. 3 Corn Buntings were on the edge of Silsoe and the regular female Pintail was at Flitwick STW. Flitwick Moor was quiet but a small party of Siskin were found accompanied by a single Lesser Redpoll.

Lots of finches in suitable locations along my route but only a single Linnet, a few Yellowhammers and Greenfinches were surprisingly commonplace. Boughton End had 58+ Stock Doves in one flock.

The female Scaup was at Brogboro' Lake still along with 25 Goldeneye, 327 Pochard and 358 Tufted Ducks. Marston MVP had 3 Shoveler - my tenth duck sp of the day, and plenty of L T tits but no Cetti's Warbler gave itself up. I couldn't even find a Reed Bunting.

The Gt Northern Diver was still at Stewartby Lake mid afternoon and a Peregrine was sat on its box at Stewartby Brickworks. Quest was fairly devoid of birds tho' my only P Wagtail of the day was found here. A Short-eared Owl was at a regular site but there was nought much showing at either Chimney Corner South or North CLP's and no Mandarin at Kempston Mill (M J Palmer)

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Tuesday 27 December

With the Christmas Bird Hunt in full swing, a total of 99 species have now been recorded in the county since Christmas Eve. Highlights today included 2 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in the usual berry-bearing shrubs in Leighton Street, Woburn (per Barry Nightingale), a GREATER SCAUP at Brogborough Lake (per Neil Wright), 22 TREE SPARROWS in Southill village (Paul Donald) and 2 JACK SNIPES at Derek White's Pit (Steve Blain); also 7 GOOSANDERS on Eversholt Lake, 2 SHORT-EARED OWLS at The Wixams and several MERLINS scattered about.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Day at Stewartby Lake

Neil Wright has had:

Juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper (on sailing club jetty) at Stewartby Lake this morning and single Little Egret at Brogborough.

So far I have seen the following in my parent's garden: Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Chaffinch, GS Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Greenfinch (Martin Green)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friday, 23 December 2011

The demise of the Stewartby gull roost

Well someone's got to be mad enough....... Keith Owen and I did Stew Lake roost this evening!

The juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was still present in the middle of the lake 3.45 pm but mobile, a Kingfisher flew in to land close to the gull watchpoint, 9 Dabchicks and c dozen G C Grebes bobbed about the waves as did several Coots and 8 Wigeon. A male Bullfinch showed well but briefly.

Gulls were huddled toward the west (Marston) corner though numbers were poor with perhaps 400 B H Gulls but more flying through, 59 Common Gulls, 1 Great Black-back, 2 L B Backs and 5 Herring Gulls - with the tip finished, Stew Lake roost like Brog Lake a few years back will quickly cease to bring in any good numbers and any scarcities except perhaps in passage periods. What'll I do now? - I know, count ducks!

Happy Christmas, Martin J Palmer

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Keith Owen and I did the roost at Stewartby this evening with an eclectic variety of species.....

Gull numbers were distinctly poor and with a lack of local tipping, decent numbers may not occur very often nowadays....By our 4.25 departure there were only 10 G B Backs, 4 Herring Gulls and 7 L B Backs, under 100 Common Gulls and just a few B H Gulls. The big 3 species had "peaked" at a combined 47 - pathetically low but interestingly those departing were heading off in a north-westerly direction, 90 degrees at varience to e.g Brogborough Lake whereras the smaller species had been streaming out in a northerly direction - perhaps to roost on the big warehouses at Marsh Leys rather than going all the way to Grafham. When I arrived at 3.30 there were already stream of gulls departing though a good few hundred Common Gulls were present amongst a few thousand BHG's.

Other species included a Water Rail squeaking then dashing across the "beach" in front of the gull watchpoint, the regular Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in calling and there were a good few each of Wigeon and Gadwall but fewer Mallards. Coots tallied 35 and G C Grebes just 19, with just over 30 Mute Swans also present. No diving duck were noted but a few Cormorants were scattered over the lake.

The GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was still present and showing well in the middle of the lake albeit in the declining evening light so it continues to look quite a dark bird (tho' LGRE emailed yesterday evening to say that, from Martin Green's photos, he believes it isn't an adult bird as I had initially asssumed).

A huge swirl of thousands of Starlings were putting on an excellent show between the far side of Stewartby Lake toward Rookery North ClP and a Sparrowhawk was gliding around beneath them seeking out a late supper! No Peregrines were at the brickworks chimneys this evening though.

Perhaps the most intriguing bird was the "Common" Sandpiper I saw fly low across the middle of the lake toward the Millennium Park (south-west) shoreline on typically bowed wings with quivering beats at 4.15. The wing-bar wasn't particularly obvious but the light was beginning to decline and it was 400m+ away....... still it could be worth checking out in the next few days - bearing in mind a trio of recent Spotted Sandpipers at Lyme Regis, Chew Valley Lake and Plymouth!! However, this is Bedfordshire so it is likely a Common Sandpiper after all!!

Lastly, a pipistrelle sp. was a surprise flying rapidly about just right of the watchpoint and never far from the shore - to me a surprisinglt late date for a bat to be about (MJP)

DIVER still present

The GREAT NORTHERN DIVER (pictured by Martin Green above) was still present on Stewartby Lake at 2pm. Very mobile, usually nearer the centre of the lake than the edge and diving a lot, but readily viewable (Pete Cook)

WATER PIPITS near Priory

Two WATER PIPITS on Fenlake this morning plus 4 Common Snipe (Dave Kramer)

Eversholt Lake

Main interest this morning at Eversholt were two flocks of SISKINS, totalling about 250. Otherwise just 3 GOOSANDERS (2 drakes), a drake Mandarin, 18 Mallards and a Tufted Duck. Red Kite over Woburn village yesterday. (Barry Nightingale)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Martin J Palmer retires from work and GND still at Stewartby

in bleak conditions on my first day of retirement I was at Brogborough Lake from 2.00 - 2.30 and Stewartby Lake from 2.45 until 4.00 by when the cold and damp had well set in. No luck with any Gannets however.

25 Goldeneye (13 drakes) at Broggie

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER still present in middle of lake and showing particularly well on it's 11th day present; other species counts were 11 Gadwall, 13 Wigeon, 1f Goldeneye at Stew Lake and a poor tally of large gulls with just over 20 Herring Gulls, 17 G Backs and 14 L B Backs, 1m Bullfinch (Martin J Palmer)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

CURLEW over Southill

Just got back from my usual bird walk around the village. Highlight was a single very vocal EURASIAN CURLEW, coming from the direction of Broom and looked to be coming down towards Southill Lake.

Three Red Kites together over Southill Park (one of them missing a lot of primaries on the right wing) was a great sight. Also around 600 Golden Plovers in fields north of the village. Still lots of Meadow Pipits in the winter rape fields around here and quite a few Skylarks. At least 6 Bullfinches in Southill Millennium Woods (Paul Donald)

No sign of diver

The highlight this morning was seeing my first Goldeneye of the winter 3 splendid males, other wildfowl included 32 Wigeon, 15 Gadwall, 60 Coot, 9 Little Grebe, 32 Great-crested Grebe and 40 Mallard. Redwings were plentiful and 70 Fieldfare flew over Marston Corner. No sign of the GND (Pete Smith).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011


A GREAT NORTHERN DIVER is present for a fourth day at Stewartby Lake (MJP et al) and is a different bird to the juvenile that I found at Brogborough Lake last month and relocated later to Cakdecotte Lakes in North Bucks.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Bob Hook and Judith Knight had a BRENT GOOSE on Stewartby Lake briefly late morning before it flew off east

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Staurday Ramblings - MJP

Went out and about from mid morning yesterday..... starting off at Octagon Farm which I haven't visited for some months. The debris left by the travellers is a disgrace - an insult to the fellow human beings, dangerous for wildlife and an appalling state that having allowed this triangular wildlife haven to be used by traveller's, the Council can't be bothered to clear it up. Shocking!

Nonetheless, the birding beyond the bund was good - 56 Greylags were accompanied by a single Pinkfoot - unfortunately all flew off before I could get a record photo. Mute Swans totalled 33, Grey Herons 8 and Stock Doves 10+. A Green Sandpiper showed twice and, as I walked back to the car, a Common Snipe flushed up then a Grey Wagtail flew over Canvins abbatoir.

A covey of 8 Grey Partridges were south of Cardington and near Old Warden I found several Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tit, 2 Goldcrests and 1+ Nuthatch. 2 Common Buzzards flew out of the woodland squarking.

From the roadside at Southill Lake, I counted 205 Greylags but I suspect more were out of my view. From the track leading east from the bend between the lake and the village, I found just 10 Golden Plovers amongst well over 100 Lapwings - the hordes nearer Broom weren't about for me today. Also present were about 8 Stock Doves. Not much up the track opposite Southill Post Office but plenty of House Sparrow activity.

362 Greylags were counted on fields by Broom Lake accompanied by 2 or 3 Barnacles, a single Canada Goose and a "Granada" goose hybrid. Wildfowl on Broom Lake were poor though a drake Shoveler was my only one of the day. A G M Growers burger sufficed for lunch and was more interesting than the paucity of birds along Gypsy Lane - another party of Long-tailed Tits were my fourth such of the day.

Plenty of Lapwings were settled at Derek White's Eggs pit and 10 Gadwall and 4 Stock Doves were present. Between Beeston and the turn off to Hatch, I found a huge covey of 27 Grey Partridges. From Moggerhanger village hall car park, I 'scoped 22+ Corn Buntings distantly on a bush.

South of Bedford mid afternoon, another Buzzard - I had half a dozen during the day, 4 Kestrels and a Short-eared Owl showed and as dusk fell I picked out a Peregrine on one of the Stewartby brickworks chimneys and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull in a poor Stewartby Lake gull roost. A possible adult Caspian Gull was also present - wing-tip pattern looked ok, as was head pattern and mantle colour, but there was not enough clarity of light and the distance too great to "nail it". All in all almost 70 species in an enjoyable half day out (Martin J Palmer)