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).

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

SIBE CHIFFY leads a runaround !


Another very mild day with temperatures reaching 12 degrees C. Dry too, with some bright periods. Negligable wind.

Steve Blain's chiffchaff find was my main target bird of the day and Water Pipit......


No sign of the resident Ring-necked Parakeet but a lot of noisy fallen tree work going on. Six singing Robins, Goldcrest, Song Thrush and flyover SISKIN noted.


I checked out a small pond at the extreme northern limit of the town at SP 923 275 (in the hope of seeing Mandarin) but just 12 Mallards and a fishing Grey Heron in situ.


A repeat visit and a successful one - but only just! A single drake MANDARIN DUCK was present on the lake at SU 916 292 - along with Jay, 10 Great Tits, Coal Tit, 3 Goldcrest and 2 LESSER REDPOLLS in birches.


Another repeat visit but far more successful. A party of 12 COMMON CROSSBILLS (including 3 adult males) was visiting two or three puddles to drink by the spoil heap visible from by the burgundy sign scribed ''Marquess Course - To The 10th Tee'', literally just yards along from the ''Club House'' sign at the top of the climb as you walk up from the car parking place at the border.

Nearby, an estimated 450 Woodpigeons were feasting on crops by Job's Farm at SP 935 325


Another day, another dip. No sign whatsoever of the 4 wintering Bearded Tits - just Song Thrush, male Greenfinch, 8 Teal and a pair of Gadwall.


The SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was still present at the far end of Meadow Lane - in the hedgerow and scrub in the vicinity of the house. It was extremely mobile but at around 1400 hours, spent a 4-minute period calling repeatedly and following an apparent well-rehearsed circuit. It moved from the bush by the house fence, across the road to the hedgerow on the other side and then back into the sewage farm compound 40 yards south of the house. The call was very distinctive and sensibly taped by Steve Blain - and very repetitive. A typically piping and mournful note, but surprisingly penetrating and more drawn-out than normal for tristis. Appearance-wise, it was classic Siberian, with brownish-beige upperparts, a buffish tinge to a whitish eye-stripe, some green in the upperwing and tail remiges and jet-black bill and legs. This was no abietinus-intergrade but the real McCoy - despite its variant of a call (transcribed as a 'peeep' call). As such, it represents Bedfordshire's only second-ever record of this species, following a long-staying bird at Priory Country Park Fingers Lake from 17 December 2003 until 19 January 2004**

Other species noted whilst searching for the 'chiff' included 2 Mute Swans, 2 Stock Doves, 2 Grey Wagtails, 11 Pied Wagtails, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Blue Tits and 2 Goldfinches

HATCH (BEDS) (TL 15 48)


After completely failing to find a single covey on my previous visit only a few days back, today I was tripping over them along the road north of Hatch. They were all in fields to the west of the road and totalled 28 birds and 2 Red-legged Partridges. Several Common Pheasants too.


No sign of the Common Shelduck again but a drake Shoveler bonus - my first and only one of the year in Beds; also 14 Mute Swans

Nearby, along the Old Warden road, another covey of GREY PARTRIDGES - this time 9 birds at TL 156 450.


Staked out The Wixams until dusk but no sign of the 4 Short-eared Owls nor the Common Stonechat - just 5 Common Kestrels and 45 Fieldfares

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