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).

Saturday, 7 January 2012

An attempted Bedfordshire January blitz but falling well short - 67 species noted (LGRE Diary Notes)


A very pleasant day weatherwise with predominantly clear blue skies, light westerly winds and temperatures of 10-11 degrees C

I devoted today to my first bash at Bedfordshire birding this year and by 1700 hours had acquired 67 species, highlights being both PINK-FOOTED & WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, GREATER SCAUP and GREAT NORTHERN DIVER......


My first Bedfordshire bird of the year was a lamp-post roosting Common Buzzard on the southern Luton bypass adjacent to Lower Kidney Wood. Looking east from Mortgrove Farm though, north of Lilley, there was no sign of the pylon-roosting adult Peregrine.


Met up with Darrel Bryant in Pegsdon, and later Martin & Di Palmer and their Christchurch friends Ian & Jean, and spent a good couple of hours birding The Meg and its associated valleys.

Pegsdon village yielded 25 House Sparrows, Collared Doves, Common Magpie, Common Blackbird and 18 Goldfinches whilst the general hilly terrain produced 2 Red Kites, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted & Green Woodpecker, 37 Fieldfares and good numbers of Rook, Western Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. The rarest birds noted were up to 9 BULLFINCHES and a single LITTLE OWL, but no Grey Partridge nor Marsh Tits.


No less than 16 Rook nests being repaired at the Apsley End of the village, with a total of 32 House Sparrows and Blue Tit and Common Starling noted


Driving into Southill both Common Pheasant and Jay were encountered, whilst in the village common species seen included Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and 30 Redwings. Checking the usual site opposite the village stores, I drew a blank on my target birds but did count 15 House Sparrows in the vicinity of the last garden. The male Blackcap was nowhere to be found.

After some effort, I eventually tracked down the village TREE SPARROWS - at least 22 of them feeding in the back gardens of Stanford Road. This road produced a further 30 House Sparrows as well as both Red-legged Partridge and 5 Greenfinches.


A whistle-stop tour of Peacock's Lake added 12 Mute Swans, 18 Cormorants, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Wigeon, numerous Coots and 50+ Black-headed Gulls. Although SCB had seen the Common Shelduck less than an hour before, I dipped it.


Nothing much to see here other than 4 Mute Swans, 12 Atlantic Canada Geese, 4 Mallard and 49 Lapwings.


A single Eurasian Sparrowhawk ripped through the hamlet lane but despite searching perhaps ten fields in the area, I failed to locate any Grey Partridges (MJP & co later saw two different coveys here).


Viewing east from the village hall at TL 151 497, it took no time at all to see 34 wintering CORN BUNTINGS and 6 Yellowhammers as they flew up from the weedy field and perched on the overhead wires.


Not far from the Cambridgeshire border in the north-east of the county, the B 1043 south of Little Barford produced a Grey Heron, 45 Fieldfares and a Grey Heron. To the west of the road and north of the Lower Farm House were the Wyboston pair of EGYPTIAN GEESE, whilst about a mile to the south, the sloping field opposite 'The Barns' houses were the 187 Greylag Geese and the single EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.


Both Great Tit and Goldcrest were by the river whilst the grazing geese flock included 268 Barnacle, the Barnacle/Snow/Ross's Snow hybrid and a single Atlantic Canada Goose


The gravel pits yielded 1 Little Grebe, 6 Mute Swans (4 first-years), 6 Gadwall, 9 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 11 Tufted Duck, a Little Grebe and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, with the geese flock comprising of 178 Greylag, 96 Atlantic Canada and the single adult and unringed PINK-FOOTED GOOSE. Passerines included single Skylark and Song Thrush.


A flock of at least 100 Lapwing was noted and an adult PEREGRINE


The two juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS were visible from the gull watchpoint early afternoon, staying mainly to the east end of the lake. Little else to see on there other than 8 Mute Swans, just 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Gadwall and 3 Little Grebes. The gull roost was very poor - just Black-headed and Common Gulls - no large white-headed gulls.


Did a lot of searching and listening but failed to locate the 4 Bearded Tits in the reedbed - excellent views of CETTI'S WARBLER though and Reed Bunting; Moorhen and 8 Common Teal were additions too. A WATER RAIL was also noted but the Pillinge Pit was very quiet with just 52 Tufted Ducks and 68 Lapwings of note.


The Aythya flock was out in the middle and substantive - hosting 354 Tufted Duck, 329 Northern Pochards and three ''Scaup-types''. I say three Scaup-types as two were clearly GREATER SCAUPS - a 2nd-year drake and a juvenile female - but the third was quite concerning being similar in size to Tufted Duck, with a rounded head profile, quite warm brown body colouration and quite extensive white on the blaze. It was too far away to see detail on the upperwing, even when it wing-stretched - and bill pattern was out of the question too - but Lesser Scaup was certainly a possibility. Note that there were two Tufted Ducks with white blazes also.

The COMMON GOLDENEYE flock numbered at least 27, whilst 4 first-winter Mute Swans were roaming around together and my only Great Black-backed Gull of the day - an adult - was seen.

As dusk approached, I made a vain attempt to see Goosander - both at Eversholt and Woburn Park - but failed - but did see a large Bat species hunting at last light and no less than 17 Chinese Water Deers in fields north of Beckerings Park NE of Ridgemont

It got dark at 1647 hours

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