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).

Sunday, 5 February 2012

First significant snowfall of winter - BEWICK'S SWANS lost in freezing fog


Well the snow finally arrived. It started light at around 1700 hours on Saturday evening and then continued until 0300 hours on Sunday morning, the latter three hours producing the heaviest falls. No less than six inches fell in the Chilterns area and as a consequence, I was called in to work from 2100 hours. The M40 and M25 were complete no-go areas and by 2200 hours, both ground to a complete standstill as numerous lorries jacknifed. It took literally all night to clear the motorways, many Saturday night revellers being forced to spend eight hours in their vehicles. I personally helped over 250 vehicles to get on their way, generally automatic top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW's.

I managed to get home at 0800 hours, in time to top up the birdtables. I then got some sleep. After that, I returned to Bedfordshire.


Very busy in the garden with 34 House Sparrows, 5 Common Blackbirds, 6 Redwings, 12 Fieldfares, 8 Goldfinches, 3 Dunnocks, 4 Chaffinches and the resident Robin feeding.

In Chesham, Chris Pontin had a female BLACKCAP in his garden


A Ring-necked Parakeet in a tree opposite the Red Lion public house was the first in the Recording Area this year.


JT informed me of 8 Waxwings in the estate but on checking the area, all I could find were large numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings


A lot of snow at East Hyde but surprised to see the lane completely salted and clear. An excellent selection of birds on offer in the stream including 1 Little Grebe, 15 Common Teal, 8 Moorhens, 1 GREEN SANDPIPER, 5 COMMON SNIPES and 3 JACK SNIPES - the latter all in the first 50 yards of ditch from the road and showing extremely well. No less than 8 Meadow Pipits were also attracted in by the open water.


Returned to Stewartby Lake, mainly with the idea of seeing Pete Smith's Common Sandpiper from yesterday. In stark contrast to yesterday, met just 3 birders - Barry Squires and Tim Stowe and his son.

As I was 'scoping one of the resident PEREGRINES on the chimneys, I heard the familiar sound of BEWICK'S SWANS and out of the misty conditions from the east came a herd of no less than 13 birds. No doubt due to the fog they were very vocal and their echoing honks could be heard from quite some distance. They seemed excited at seeing the open water of Stewartby and with 2 adult Mute Swans at the helm, they made brief splashdown near the sailing club. The resident 22 or so Mute Swans already on the lake took an instant dislike to them and in no time at all they were back in the air and by 1445 hours were heading northeastwards away from the lake. The herd included at least 2 juvenile birds.

The sailing club slipway held 3 DUNLINS and a COMMON REDSHANK but trying as hard as I could, there was no sign of the overwintering Common Sandpiper. There were quite a few waterbirds on the lake including 32 Great Crested Grebes, 23 Little Grebes, 39 Gadwall, 82 Wigeon and 4 Shoveler whilst other species noted included Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Bullfinches and a female Grey Wagtail.

In the reedbed in the NW corner, both the BITTERN and the COMMON KINGFISHER were still present, the former today frequenting the reeds on the opposite side of the bank


There was a massive gull roost at Brogborough this evening with over 1,200 Common Gulls present. Add to that some 2,600 Black-headed Gulls and the single adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL again, with the large white-headed gulls represented by 138 Herrings, 52 Lesser Black-backed, a single near-adult YELLOW-LEGGED and 21 Great Black-backed.

A huge number of wildfowl were also present including 11 Great Crested Grebes, 18 Mute Swans, 288 Coot, 18 Wigeon, 5 Shoveler, 42 Teal, 552 Pochard, 447 Tufted Duck, 48 Common Goldeneye and the 4 GREATER SCAUPS (2 drakes).

Three SHORT-EARED OWLS remained in the area but yet again, no sign of any Barn Owls

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