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).

Monday, 30 April 2012

Today's Highlights

A WHINCHAT was seen at Blows Downs briefly (Rob Dazley) whilst BAR-TAILED GODWITS flew through Broom and Thurleigh Airfield this evening (1 & 4 respectively) and BLACK TERNS included 3 at Broom and singles at Priory and Stewartby. A COMMON REDSTART was at The Lodge.


Can you believe it - not a single drop of rain today. It was pleasantly warm, the sun shone brightly and the skies were clear intermittently. The wind, initially blowing from the south, veered SE and then due east..........
New arrivals in TOP SCRUB were two singing male GARDEN WARBLERS - my first of the year. Also, at least 6 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS in that area, and a further 3 on Steps Hill.
Another new arrival was a singing male COMMON WHITETHROAT in scrub below the Beacon knoll, whilst most impressive, was the sheer array of WHEATEARS, 5 of which were GREENLANDERS. There were 23 individuals in total, matching Mike Wallen's total of early morning, with a party of 12 birds along the fenceline beyond the gate at the bottom of the slope, 5 on the SE slopes, 3 on Gallows Hill and 3 more in the fenced-off sheepfield enclosure. Two singing male CORN BUNTINGS were also observed in the latter, whilst 3 migrant Barn Swallows went through.
(1145 hours visit)
Highlight for me was a single HOBBY chasing Common Swifts in the sky above the Black Poplars in the SE corner, another first for the year.
Otherwise, disaster had struck, with 9 Grey Herons just standing around forlorn, after presumably falling foul of the weekend weather, most likely killing the young.
18 Great Crested Grebes still, 14 Mute Swans (reedbed nest washed out), female Mallard with 3 surviving ducklings, 8 Gadwall, 1 drake Common Teal, 38 Tufted Duck, just 3 Northern Pochard, 83 Common Terns and 40 Common Swifts.
At MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, the male COMMON CUCKOO was still calling, with 8 Common Terns and 5 Blackcaps noted. A tree had been blown down and had fallen across the causeway footpath.
Thankfully, the raft-nesting Mute Swans had survived the floods and wind on STARTOP'S and a pair of Greylag Geese was accompanying 4 yellow goslings.
Next off, I had to undertake two comprehensive wildlife surveys to areas affected by HS2 - both areas completely new to me. The sites were just west of Aylesbury and part of the Thame floodplain, south of the A41. The starting point of the survey was at Putlowes Farm at SP 783 150 before fully surveying the Thame flood meadows in grid square 78 14. The plain was completely flooded due to the recent rains, with many grass fields completely sodden or underwater. This is the area where the HS2 viaduct will be built.
A total of 30 species was recorded in Part 1 of the survey -:
Grey Heron - 4 individuals noted, 3 adults and a first-year
Greylag Goose - 1 pair
Atlantic Canada Geese - 18
Mallard - two pairs on the floods with an additional female with 12 small ducklings
Red Kite - 1 flying overhead
Common Buzzard - single very vocal adult
Common Kestrel - 1 male
Common Pheasant - 15
Argenteus Herring Gull - 3 first-years on the floods
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 8 adults on the floods
Stock Dove - 2 pairs around the farm buildings
Woodpigeon - 15
Collared Dove - pair around the houses by the access road
Eurasian Skylark - just 2 singing males in the cereal crops
Barn Swallow - 2 pairs around the farm buildings
*YELLOW WAGTAIL - single male in the cereal fields and water meadows. According to 83 year-old farmer Geoffrey Jarvis, this species has bred in this area for at least 35 years.
Dunnock - 1 pair in hedgerow
Robin - just 1 pair
Common Blackbird - single pair
*COMMON WHITETHROAT - 2 singing males in hedgerows bordering cereal crops
Blue Tit - 1 pair
Long-tailed Tit - single nesting pair
Common Magpie - single pair
Jackdaw - 90+ of floodplain
Carrion Crow - 5 nesting pairs
House Sparrow - 6 pairs in the vicinity of the barns at the farm
Chaffinch - two separate singing males
LINNET - 3 nesting pairs in hedgerows
Goldfinch - 2 pairs in vicinity of farm buildings
YELLOWHAMMER - pair in hedgerow
The second part of the survey was of the golf course primed as a target for the HS2 route. This and Lower Hartwell Farm were particularly rich in bird diversity. Most unexpected was a migrant male WOOD WARBLER - moving through and singing along the Thame Valley Walk, about 200 yards north of the Newt Pond at the extreme NW end of the golf course.
Mute Swan - pair on Hartwell House Lake
Atlantic Canada Goose - 8 in the grounds of Hartwell House
Common Buzzard - single flew high over Lower Hartwell Farm
Common Pheasant - 12
Coot - pair on Hartwell House Lake
Woodpigeon - 35
Stock Dove - pair nesting in tree hole on golf course
Green Woodpecker - 1 yaffling
Great Spotted Woodpecker - pair feeding young
Wren - 6 territories
Dunnock - pair breeding in vicinity of Hartwell Farm
Robin - two nesting pairs, with singles at Hartwell Farm and on the golf course
SONG THRUSH - 4 birds on the golf course with nesting suspected
Common Blackbird - 5 nesting pairs
Blackcap - 4 singing males
COMMON WHITETHROAT - singing male by Newt Pond
*LESSER WHITETHROAT - rattling male by Newt Pond
Common Chiffchaff - 2 singing males on Golf Course
Great Tit - 4 birds
Blue Tit - 2 nesting pairs
Long-tailed Tit - 3 nesting pairs
Common Magpie - 4
Jay - single pair
Jackdaw - 50+
*ROOK - colony in trees on west flank of golf course with 72 active nests in main cluster and an additional 9 in a neighbouring colony
Carrion Crow - 3 nests
House Sparrow - breeding pair in barns at Whaddon Hill Farm
LINNET - pair
Goldfinch - 2 pairs
Greenfinch - singing male on golf course
YELLOWHAMMER - pair in cereal fields and hedgerow
A single Grey Squirrel was noted, whilst butterflies included 2 Peacocks, a Large White, 4 Brimstones and a Speckled Wood. The ponds hold Great Crested Newts
Both the adult drake COMMON SCOTER and the still-transitional-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE were still present, with a singing male GARDEN WARBLER and several Willow Warblers present close to the Scrapyard Corner of the lake. With MJP, watched 4 ARCTIC TERNS fly straight through to the east at 1635 hours but failed to locate the Common Nightingale noted earlier.
At PRIORY COUNTRY PARK (BEDS) at 1709, the single BLACK TERN was present, whilst at PEACOCKS LAKE, BROOM (BEDS), all 3 BLACK TERNS could be seen at 1739. A pair of GREY PARTRIDGES was showing in a cereal crop opposite. Nothing else of significance though, although Richard Bashford and SCB saw Bar-tailed Godwits later in the evening in the area.
Returning back to Wilstone at 1930 hours, I was very pleased to see the adult drake GARGANEY found by Stuart Wilson just prior to my arrival. It was showing very well swimming back and forth along the Drayton Bank and at times was only 75 yards from the hide. Barry Reed had found a different drake at Amwell early morning and that bird was also still present this evening.
Whilst watching the Garganey, an adult summer LITTLE GULL dropped in whilst COMMON SWIFT numbers reached 90. The pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS were still present as well as 4 Teal.
The first local WESTERN REED WARBLER of the year arrived today in the larger lake reedbed on the west shore, with both Great Crested Grebes and 28 Tufted Ducks also present
The end of another exhausting day

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Some drought this is

White Storks (Roger Wyatt)

It rained virtually from dawn until dusk - perhaps for 13 hours in all. It was also very cold, with strong winds blowing in from the Northeast. I managed to stay in the field all day despite the soaking and was highly rewarded for my efforts, culminating in my largest-ever flock of WHITE STORKS in Britain
Despite being on site by 0715 hours, I still managed to dip out on the two Common Shelduck (College pair) that Ian Williams had seen close to the hide. There was also no sign of last night's Northern Wheatear in Cemetery Corner and most frustrating of all, missed yet another Osprey by a few minutes (Dave Bilcock watched one fly along the Dry Canal just as I left the car park)
Anyway, browsing across the windswept pallet, noteworthy were just 7 Mute Swans, 40 House Martins, 120 Barn Swallows and 45 Common Terns
A CETTI'S WARBLER was singing loudly from the far reedbed whilst a COMMON CUCKOO in the Black Poplars was my first of the year
Returning once more at 0800 hours, primarily to search again for the Osprey, a first-summer LITTLE GULL had dropped in and a female YELLOW WAGTAIL was with 2 Pied Wagtails by the steps. As I stood talking to Ian, Steve Blake 'phoned to inform me of 2 PIED AVOCETS at Tyttenhanger.........I left Ian to grip me off
Just as I arrived at a wet and soggy Tyttenhanger, Steve Blake 'phoned me to say that the Avocets had only that minute just flown off. Great I thought. Anyway, there was a possibility that they had flown on to the Fishing Pit, so I got back into the car and drove around to the north side. Thankfully, just as I was parking, SB phoned again to say that they had both returned and so with a little hastiness, I ran to the watchpoint and clocked on to them, just in case they got airborne again.
Both PIED AVOCETS, an apparent adult pair, were showing very well on the main sandy spit of the east shore and were both wading and swimming just offshore. Although annual these days, still a great bird to see in the county and rarely any more than a one-dayer. Perhaps due to the inclement conditions, they remained all day.
Also noted were 2 Common Redshanks, 10 Common Terns, a COMMON CUCKOO and single singing SEDGE WARBLER and COMMON WHITETHROAT by the conveyor belt.
After speaking to Lol, Keith Owen and others, it was clear that driving up to Broom to search for Mark Thomas' Rough-legged Buzzard was going to be a waste of time - it had not been seen since MT had watched it fly north not long after 0600 hours !
Instead, I chose to twitch Martin Green's Pillinge Pit Grey Plover, still present in front of the hide at 0730. The rain got gradually worse as I drove north and was now constant. I joined both Lol and Bob in the Pillinge hide but no joy - the plover had long gone. The only waders present were 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS and the OYSTERCATCHER pair.
A COMMON CUCKOO flew past the hide and landed in Poplars to call, whilst a COMMON SWIFT was over the lake - both new species to my 2012 Beds list. Over 50 House Martins were also over the lake, whilst 2 different CETTI'S WARBLERS were singing.
More frustration was to follow. Scanning back and forth over the lake revealed the presence of 175 Barn Swallows, 110 House Martins and 70+ Sand Martins, with the male COMMON WHITETHROAT still singing opposite the car park. There was no Turtle Dove to be found along the Green Lane wires and at that time, the first-summer Kittiwake that Martin and Dave Ball both saw for 10 minutes later (1239-1249) had not arrived.
After consulting with Simon Nichols and Graham Smith, next stop was Manor Farm but typically the waders had gone (particularly the 2 Dunlin I was after). However, opposite where I parked the car, a female RING OUZEL was showing very well in the sheep field adjacent to the access track.
Much of the complex was flooded and waterlogged, with 1 Oystercatcher and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers on view.
(complete inventory for Simon and Rob)
With Linford scoring heavily early morning (Whimbrel, Little Tern, etc), I decided it was worth a visit, especially as MJG had informed me that the Stewartby Kittiwake had departed. As such, I had a good look around and conducted a full survey of the reserve's birds (the majority of which had been washed out by the floods) -
Great Crested Grebe (6)
Little Grebe (2)
Sinensis Cormorant (9 roosting on the bund)
Grey Heron (12 nesting pairs)
Little Egret (5 nesting pairs)
Mute Swan (single pair)
Greylag Geese (12)
Mallard (15; just 1 female with ducklings)
Gadwall (2)
*GARGANEY (pair on the bund, seemingly washed out by rising water levels)
Shoveler (2 drakes)
Tufted Duck (32)
Northern Pochard (2)
Common Tern (4)
Sand Martin (75)
House Martin (55)
Barn Swallow (80)
YELLOW WAGTAIL (2 males on the bund)
Wren (6 territories)
Dunnock (1 pair)
Robin (2 pairs feeding young)
GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (1 reeling from Swans Way Meadow)
Blackcap (14 noted, including 9 singing males)
Common Chiffchaff (5 singing males)
WILLOW WARBLER (8 singing males)
Blue Tit (5)
Long-tailed Tit (3 nesting pairs)
Common Treecreeper (2 singing males)
Jackdaw (46)
Carrion Crow (7 nesting pairs)
Common Magpie (4)
No Common Cuckoo or Garden Warbler noted
Alan Nelson had relocated Steve Rodwell's Wilstone Whimbrel on the main marsh but it had only stayed a short time. As such, it had gone when I arrived mid afternoon. Click-counting the main lake revealed the presence of 196 Barn Swallows - clearly a major arrival of this hirundine.
Both RED-CRESTED POCHARDS were seen (male and female) with nesting Greylag still, OYSTERCATCHER, 12 Lapwing, 9 Common Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and Gadwall. The Mute Swan pair seem to have abandoned (or been washed out).
My third visit of the day at 1545 hours heralded little change, except for an impressive arrival of hirundines and numerous COMMON SWIFTS. With the click-counter to hand, no less than 753 BARN SWALLOWS was logged, along with 116 House Martins and about 70 Sand Martins.
The first-summer LITTLE GULL was still present, whilst Common Terns were back up to 88
Decided to dip yet another Grey Plover, this time the winter-plumaged bird that Jim Rose had discovered by the 750m mark late morning, but just as I was walking back, news came in of a White Stork in Oxfordshire so I was off..........
In still constant rain, I entered Oxfordshire, and after gleaning the knowledge of local guys Adam Hartley and Roger Wyatt, arrived in Standlake village shortly after 1815 hours. After a nervy 500 yard march, there they were, a flock of 6 WHITE STORKS in the grass meadow - resting and preening. After being first seen in Worcestershire (initially in a flock of 9) and then splitting up and moving to North Wales, these 6 had hit Oxfordshire on Thursday, where they had last been sighted flying SW over Didcot and Drayton late afternoon. This was the largest single flock of White Storks to have been seen in Britain for at least 50 years so I was mighty desperate to see them. And there they were - showing exceptionally well just 110 yards away. Both Roger Wyatt and Ewan Urquhart obtained some fabulous shots of them (see above) and despite me phoning RBA within seconds of me seeing them, just 10 observers arrived in the next hour. The birds rested for a bit, sheltering from the increasing NE wind, before lifting up one by one and flying half a mile south to land out of view just north of the River Thames at 1840. All of the birds were identical in plumage barring two birds with much brighter pinkish-red leg colour. All were lightly soiled on the upperparts. Rather surprisingly, none were ringed. It had certainly been an eventful day and this had capped it off well.
Just before I left to drive home, I stopped off at Farmoor, where 5 full breeding-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBES were showing at 25 yards range just 100 yards along from the main car park.

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Female COMMON REDSTART at traffic master building on Cranfield Aerodrome in
hedgerow next to large grass area, per Paul Nye.

Spectacular evening 27/4

Arrived at Broom at 6 ish, SB present and not a lot happening, tried catching swallows as the highest number of the year present, no joy and heavy rain in patches.

SB left at 6.45hrs and I put up my scope for the first time in the evening. I scanned the edge of peacocks island with the bins and on the right hand edge was a striking white bird with a black cap partially concealed amongst the green weedy vegetation half way up the bank, the bird looked to be asleep but the striking black and white puzzled me, looking almost Avocet like.

I moved to the scope and at that moment the bird flew, it was a tern ! I then switched back to bins and saw it land on the T tern post. Going back to the scope I immediatly saw there were two terns sat side by side, a clear Common and a smaller strikingly gleeming white tern with a pink washed breast and an all black long and rather thin bill. I instantly thought Roseate Tern and looked at the legs as I remember the previous Broom bird had double rings on each legs - no rings but surprisingly long red legs, clearly longer than the Common next to it.

At this point I called SB and said get back here quick unbelievably I think I have a Roseate Tern. I then looked up and the both terns had just flown off the perch, I got straight on to the pale bird which going away looked to have very short wings but as it banked it clealy had very long 'sticking up' tail streamers. As the bird flew back in to the island I noticed dark edges to the the outer primaries of the upper wings which clearly formed a dark panel to the outer wing. The bird came back in and landed quite bizzarely low down on the wooden log on the front of the island, side on the tail was very long and the birds upperparts were all snowy white with little contrast between the back and body. At this point with the bird fixed in the scope on 50x zoom I spent the next 30 seconds looking for a camera in the car. On going back to my scope the bird had gone and there were no terns flying around on the entire lake. I am 100% certain the bird was a Roseate Tern.

As if that wasnt enough at 1955hrs I was stood with Martin Stevens, Jim Gurney and Stuart Warren when Stuart called out a raptor over the wood in the SE corner. Stuart described the bird as it came closer but it took all parties few seconds to get on. It was clearly a big raptor, Stuart called harrier?, I got on it with bins and suggested it might even be a big accipiter, the most prominant structural feature was its long tail, it was bulky but not in the proportions of a Common Buzzard. On getting the bird in the scope it had dark carpal wing patches and as it started to go away it clearly had a pale uppertail, I began shouting its a Rough-leg Buzzard. The bird held its wings almost horizontal but slightly arched at the hand, its flight was regular and not heavy or light. It continued over the lake in direct flight straight towards Shuttleworth. The right wing had one or two missing primary feathers. The ID was not based on any plumage paleness such as confusion with pale Common Buzzards. This was a totally different bird in structure, shape and flight action.
Mark Thomas

Friday, 27 April 2012

Rarities abound.......

At Broom GP this evening, Mark Thomas located a ROSEATE TERN briefly before it flew off east, and watched a ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD fly over.

In the south of the county, Rob Dazley, Lol & Bob had a singing male WOOD WARBLER briefly in Dunstable and Andy White a male BLACK REDSTART at 57 Ravensbank in Stopsley (Luton).

Lots of WHEATEARS were grounded, including 15 on Blows Downs (RD) and 5 at Ridgeway Wood (DJO)

Blows Downs this morning

The male Redstart this morning (the first male of the year I think) was
using the fence line which crosses the southern paddock parallel to the
green lane and centre path - it was favouring the end of the fence nearest
to the houses

Also - at least 16 Wheatear through the site with up to 19 (if I didn't
double count some) - this included a fly - past group of 10 by the chalk

Phil Hendon's female Ring Ouzel on the Tesco slope was very elusive.

Elsewhere on the site a couple of Common Whitethroat in and singing plus a
vocal Lesser Whitethroat - a flyover Cuckoo was my first for the year.

An excellent morning



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

All happened at BROOM early afternoon

After such a disastrous lunchtime birding excursion and news of Mark
Ward's substantially better late lunch, I decided to take some leave and
hit Broom again. Walking up to the main lake, the first bird I saw was
particularly bright - Sandwich Tern! Then turning to the smaller terns,
I'd say there were at least 35-40 Arctics and maybe twenty Commons.
Over the next ten minutes my peak estimate of Arctics was 55. I noticed
the Sandwich was then perched on the Peacocks boon so attempted some
photography. Don't hold your breath.

I was then joined by John Dingemans. Ten minutes later, there seems to
be fewer terns, maybe 30 in total, but then they increased to over 50
again including at least 30 Arctics. Sandwich seen in flight around
2.30 but not again. A small wader headed towards us low over the water
- Sanderling! It veered right and gained height heading towards Gypsy
Lane East but gaining height so perhaps did not land there but worth a
look. Returning to the road and MJP we counted around 50 terns so
numbers changing all the time. Two Swifts over - first time I can
remember seeing Swift before House Martin...

Richard Bashford


Two Common Nightingales singing at 23.30 (22.30 GMT) at the Tempsford Station Road rail crossing (traditional site) at TL179543 and TL179540, but none at the other nearby traditional site, near Cold Arbour at TL193547. - Tim Sharrock

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Another day of topsy-turvy weather. Initially, winds were blowing from the Northeast and it was cold and grey then, by early afternoon, the cold front had been matched by higher pressure from the south, clearing the skies and inducing temperatures to virtually double to 13 degrees C. There was no rain during the afternoon
The big story of the day was the ARCTIC TERN passage, with over 500 being recorded over the Midlands Region today, peaking at a flock of over 115 in the Northamptonshire Nene Valley. COMMON SWIFTS were also notable by their arrival........
The first-summer Sinensis Cormorant was still present in the Chess Valley, this morning roosting on the island at Bois Mill Lake.
At WILSTONE RESERVOIR from 0900-0945 hours in a cool Northeasterly, no less than 22 ARCTIC TERNS were present, many of which were in full breeding attire with full tail streamers. Significant also was the large arrival of HOUSE MARTIN - 76 being click-counted.
Otherwise, fairly standard-fare and no wader passage - 12 Great Crested Grebes, 10 active Sinensis nests, 5 Mute Swans, 14 Greylag Geese, 8 Gadwall, 8 Common Teal, 98 Tufted Duck, 53 Common Terns, pair of adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 45 Barn Swallows and 55 Sand Martins.
At MARSWORTH, no luck with the earlier Cuckoo, but a 'new' singing Common Chiffchaff along the causeway, 3 singing Western Reed Warblers and another pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. By Lock 41, the reeling male GRASSHOPPER WARBLER was still present (see Lucy Flowers fabulous new shots above).
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR held a single COMMON REDSHANK, 5 Black-headed Gulls and a House Martin.
Most noteworthy was a COMMON SANDPIPER on the 'beach' in the NW corner of the marsh - my first of the year in Bucks. Other waders, mostly actively breeding, included 9 Common Redshanks, the OYSTERCATCHER pair (now sitting) and 12 Lapwings.
Three Shoveler remain, as do 1 pair of Gadwall, the 2 COMMON SHELDUCKS and the drake Red-crested Pochard, whilst 2 pairs of Greylag Geese were present (1 female sat on eggs), 2 Common Terns and 2 singing male WESTERN REED WARBLERS.
Both COMMON SHELDUCK remain, with 15 Herring Gulls, 10 Common Terns and at least 120 Sand Martins.
No evidence of much movement, with 2 Common Terns and a singing male Willow Warbler at the west end.
At the Pillinge Lake, OYSTERCATCHER (pair), LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and Common Redshank were present, with a nice male LESSER WHITETHROAT 'rattling' away and showing occasionally in bushes and Hawthorn scrub along the NW bank (my first of the year).
In fact, a wealth of warbler activity was apparent, with 2 CETTI'S WARBLERS, 11 SEDGE WARBLERS, 5 WESTERN REED WARBLERS, 13 Willow Warblers and 15 Blackcaps. Hirundines included 4 Barn Swallows and a party of 9 House Martins that quickly flew through.
With vastly improving weather. Stewartby Lake held 17 ARCTIC TERNS and 4 Common Terns at 1230, the former part of  a widespread movement in the county that included 40+ at Broom and 3 at Priory Country Park.
Parking up behind the Oasis Swimming Pool, I walked the 400 yards east along the Ouse to the main lagoon at Fenlake, where in the short sedges at the NE corner, 2 reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS were performing exceptionally well early afternoon; there were also 2 singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS alongside the riverbank.
After hearing of 2 Whimbrels on site at 1115 hours, I decided to try my luck with them but with most records of this species in the county, their stay was short-lived and they had already departed by the time Tim Watts arrived an hour earlier than me. A few EURASIAN CURLEW were in the vicinity, a nice male YELLOW WAGTAIL, a singing WILLOW WARBLER, a singing COMMON WHITETHROAT and several Blackcaps.
On the main Sailing lake at 1634 hours, 19 ARCTIC TERNS was present, many of which were sat on the water washing and bathing. TW had found them much earlier in the morning. Nothing much else though, apart from 3 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS.
One of the adult PEREGRINES was sat on the nest
A return evening visit in the company of Mike Campbell and Mike & Ted Wallen. A total of 78 sterna terns was present including at least 25 ARCTICS, along with a single LITTLE RINGED PLOVER by the hide and 7 newly arrived COMMON SWIFTS - my first of the year.
A Sparrowhawk flew high across the reservoir, with 5 Red Kites in the vicinity. Sand Martins numbered 70+ with 25 Barn Swallows.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Kittiwake again

David Kramer saw what may have been last week's KITTIWAKE again early this morning at Priory Country Park

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Priory Country Park today

GRASSHOPPER WARBLER on Fenlake. 32 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Reed
Warbler, 3 Sedge Warblers (+1 on FL), 6 Fieldfares over, Grey Wagtail with nest material
Goldcrest singing (Dave Kramer)


Three adult summer LITTLE GULLS just in at Broom now (19/04), wow its wet! (Mark Thomas)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

the Stewartby SLAV

Lol Carman obtained these very nice images of the Stewartby Lake transitional-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE as it swam just 20 yards past Lol, Bob and I last week

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Heavy rain, then sunshine and showers - SANDWICH TERN, COMMON REDSTARTS


A band of heavy rain moved north through much of the morning, associated with some quite strong SW winds. As expected, it produced a surge of tern passage through our region, but you had to be quick to intercept them...........


The persistent rain stopped at about 1030 hours and was replaced by sunshine and showers. I headed straight over to Wilstone, where I met Cliff Tack at the top of the car park steps.

A total of 71 'Commic Terns' was present, of which I identified 15 ARCTIC TERNS, 3 of which being in nice condition and with full streamers. Dave Bilcock had seen 3 Arctics during the rain but acknowledged that there had been a marked arrival since the rain had stopped. What was surprising was how many of last night's Common Terns were absent.

Other than the Arctic Terns though, it was fairly disappointing, and it was just hirundines increasing in number (17 House Martins, 70 Sand Martins and 25 Barn Swallows). A single male YELLOW WAGTAIL flew over.

A female Mallard was accompanying 12 tiny ducklings, with the DARK-BELLIED BRENT showing well by the hide, 22 Gadwall, 20 Common Teal and 8 Shoveler remaining. A male House Sparrow was on the bank.


Both the Black Poplar Common Chiffchaff and woodland Goldcrest were singing with Reed Bunting activity involving at least 6 singing males. A male SEDGE WARBLER was singing from the reedbed, as well as 3 WESTERN REED WARBLERS.

Neighbouring STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR yielded my first COMMON REDSHANK of the year, whilst the nesting LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS were still present and the 2 Red-crested Pochards. Three more male House Sparrows were by the hide.


Blowing a gale and very inclement and nothing to add to the 8 RING OUZELS remaining on Gallows Hill and the SE slope


With Lol just leaving and heading up the Paddock Slope, I braved the heavy shower and relocated the COMMON REDSTART that he had just seen briefly. It was flitting about on the 'new' fencing at the very top field of the paddocks and had joined the original bird initially found by Rob Dazley. Both birds were females and were showing very well. A single male RING OUZEL was also still present in the paddocks (its 6th day) and others had seen at least 8 more on the slopes. Whilst watching the redstarts, Jim Gurney phoned to say that a Sandwich Tern was showing at Derek White's............


It took me about half an hour to get to Derek White's Pit and alas NO Sandwich Tern - it had departed (apparently JG had watched it up until 1249 hours). Consolation came in the form of 9 Common Terns


Little success here either - and certainly no Arctic Terns - 7 Common Terns being the best on offer on Peacock's Lake

Then did a tour of the usual Bedfordshire locations, stopping off at WILLINGTON GP (very quiet, with 1 Barnacle Goose, 2 Willow Warblers and 8 Blackcaps highlighting), OCTAGON FARM (zilch), PRIORY COUNTRY PARK (very poor, no Sedge or Reed Warblers or House Martins), STEWARTBY LAKE (distant views of the still transitional SLAV), MILLENIUM PARK (useless in the strong winds, neither Reed or Sedge Warblers) and BROGBOROUGH LAKE (birdless).

At 1545 hours, Jeff Bailey phoned with news that he had just found a LITTLE TERN at Wilstone. It was time to head straight back.........


Jeff very kindly kept on the LITTLE TERN until I arrived - it was still flying backwards and forwards amongst the throng of Commic Terns at the reedbed end on the far southern bank. Mike & Ted Wallen were already watching it and within minutes, both Ian Williams and Bill Pegram arrived. The bird had quite an extensive white forehead but an obvious yellow bill and seemed to be in transitional plumage. I kept on it until it suddenly flew through the gap by the Drayton Bank and crossed over into the SW quarter - the heavens then opened and Ian and I retreated to the cars. At this moment (1640 hours) Dave Bilcock arrived and in very inclement conditions, we failed to relocate it (it did reappear though and was still present until at least 1915 hours)

The ARCTIC TERN count was still at 15 but HOUSE MARTINS had really increased in number - up to 72 birds at least - a marked arrival


I finished the day at Spade Oak, joining Alan Stevens and a couple of other locals at the 'bench'. Once again, my arrival coincided with that of a huge downpour and for 10 minutes or more I got soaked (the others sensibly had umbrellas). However, once the shower had moved away to the east, diligent searching of the terns revealed the presence of 17 Common and 1 ARCTIC, the latter having an obvious broken tail streamer.

Otherwise, fairly normal fare, with the drake Wigeon, Egyptian Goose, pair of LRP, 41 'immature' Herring Gulls, 37 Barn Swallows, 26 Sand Martins and 5 House Martins.


WHINCHAT at Ridgeway Wood near Wootton, near log piles and play area, 16:15, per Dave Odell.

Blows Downs today

The female COMMON REDSTART was joined by a second (found by Lol Carman) -when I came back past the Paddocks at 14:00 there were two unhappy people looking but not finding.

Anyway ..

Elsewhere on the site there were five Wheatear on the ploughed field next to the Plateau and a further three on the Tesco slope Also on the Tesco slope four male and three female RING OUZELS which with the tailless bird in the Paddocks area (today is its 6th day) means at least eight on site

A very enjoyable three hours

Rob Dazley

SANDWICH TERN at Derek White's

A SANDWICH TERN was roosting on the muddy spit at Derek White's Pit from about 1215 to 1240 hours before flying off (Steve Blain, Mark Thomas, Jim Gurney)

KITTIWAKE first thing

An adult KITTIWAKE went through Priory Country Park and off to the northeast at 0737. Also four Common Shelducks on the lake (2m, 2f) (Dave Kramer)

Monday, 16 April 2012

RING OUZELS-a-plenty


The only birdwatching I managed over the weekend was a quick twitch for Alan Gardiner's adult male PIED FLYCATCHER at FROGMORE LAKES, RADLETT late on Sunday afternoon. It was a cracking stunner and afforded tremendous views, Ian Williams obtaining an impressive array of images as it flitted from Willow to Willow just 80 yards along from the Hyde Lane car park footbridge (see my Hertfordshire Birding blog for images). Just 9 birders were there to savour the delights !

Today saw a heavy frost overnight in the Chilterns, followed by clear blue skies and sunshine. A cool northerly wind kept temperatures hovering around just 9 degrees C

On a local front first thing, the Red-legged Partridge pair was still in the field at the BELL LANE/LATIMER ROAD JUNCTION in LITTLE CHALFONT and 3 Tufted Ducks were in LOWNDES PARK, CHESHAM - my first ever there.


Joined Francis Buckle, Chris King, Peter Leigh, Mike Collard and many others at this 'in place' and enjoyed views of at least 9 continuing RING OUZELS feeding out on the slope just SE of the Beacon (possibly all 13 still present). This same area also held 8 WHEATEARS including a nice male GREENLANDER.

Attempting to see/hear a Lesser Whitethroat (Mike Wallen had seen one earlier), I walked the entire circuit but failed in my quest; 8 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS was noteworthy though


I then followed up on Dave Odell's messages and drove over to Pegsdon Hills (and to answer Paul Phillips' question, it is 19 miles between these two sites). Although it took an eternity, after sitting down on the ridge at the top of ''Chack Valley'' (the valley immediately south of the wood), eventually the RING OUZELS emerged from the scrub. A total of 11 birds finally appeared, the flock including 4 female/first-year males. I enjoyed superb views from above, the birds settling down to feed during a lapse in hillwalker activity. Not much else to report other than COMMON RAVENS and 2 MARSH TITS in the small thicket above the valley.


Next off, I took the opportunity of checking out some more ROOKERIES on route to Quainton Hills. Alongside the A418 at ASCOTT HOUSE, WING (SP 895 233), there were 5 active nests, with a further 27 near WINGRAVE CROSSROADS and 38 more just south of ROWSHAM. Further along the A418 in BIERTON, another 40 active nests in two clusters.

Driving NW along the Berryfields Road east of LOWER FARM, in the line of trees running NE of the road, another colony of 55 active nests. I then came upon a large number of Rookeries in the QUAINTON area, with 2 nests in tall pines at the start of DENHAM LANE at SP 751 200, 65 across the road at SP 753 197 and 20 by farm buildings at SP 744 210

A further 21 nests in the plantation at SP 740 227, 34 more SW of STONEHILL FARM at SP 758 221 and then a cluster of colonies along CARTERS LANE in the vicinity of QUAINTON DAIRY (SP 764 205), with 19, 17, 21 and 8 respectively. Then where the lane met the Whitchurch road at the T-junction (at SP 767 195), a further 7, 8, 13 and 8 nests in four loose colonies.

Between WHITCHURCH and AYLESBURY on the A413 saw more 'new' colonies, with 7 nests just south of WHITCHURCH (at SP 805 203) and 10 near WEEDON at the NEW ROAD JUNCTION at SP 808 177. Lastly, in AYLESBURY TOWN CENTRE, 4 nests (presumably relocating birds from the former Police Station site) in the tree by WEARDALE HOUSE opposite MILTON ROAD at SP 827 127.


Explored the area with Waddesdon birder Laurence Bryant and after eventually contacting Quainton Hills regulsr Tim Watts, managed to secure some birds on this mammothly extensive site. A first-summer male BLACK REDSTART was located at FULBROOK FARM, 8 RING OUZELS were feeding together on the 'humpy' field at the top of the West Slopes, 5 WHEATEARS were on the North Slope (including 2 bright GREENLANDERS) and a single Barn Swallow was noted.

We parked by the shop in the High Street in Quainton village and followed the marked footpath north across Simber Hill and cow-filled pasture fields to the transmitter and beyond. The ouzel field was just 100 yards NNW of the transmitter.

Once back in the car, I drove round to FULBROOK FARM (situated at SP 749 225 and enjoyed superb close views of the BLACK REDSTART, the bird singing from the fence and farm mavchinery. A flock of 42 FIELDFARES was by the disused railway line to the west and a dead BADGER was beside the quiet lane by the entrance to Hogshaw Hill Farm at SP 745 227.


Popped in this evening at 1930 hours but little going on in the cold conditions. The COMMON TERN flock numbered 81 individuals, with 12 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Little Grebe, 13 Mute Swans, 4 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 1 adult Black-headed Gull, 1 adult Common Gull, 15 Sand Martins and 12 Barn Swallows being noted.


Martin Stevens had a WHIMBREL fly north over Broom GP at around 19:45 this evening.

SLAV GREBE still present this evening

The SLAVONIAN GREBE was showing well in the lagoon corner at 18.10 - 18.20-ish this evening and there were three Yellow Wagtails on the sailing club lawn (Barry Squires)

RING OUZEL on Barton Hills

Fairly quiet this morning with three Northern Wheatears, Two at SE corner below Fairy Ring (1m,1f) and a male on the slopes of Bonfire Knoll. No sign of any Ring Ouzels but a flock of at least 20 Linnets moving about. On Saturday there had been three Wheatear at SE corner(2m,1f) together and also a superb male RING OUZEL with very striking gorget and prominent white wing panels. Also on Saturday had both Song and Mistle Thrushes carrying food, and also a single Fieldfare in bushes near middle fence. (Ian Kelly)

First ARCTIC TERN of year

15/4 - An ARCTIC TERN at Priory C.P. from 1645 to at least 1715. - Between showers (Dave Kramer)

Willington 15/4

Three Common Tern taking an interest in the new raft on the Main Lake that was newly installed on Wednesday.

3 Oystercatchera

ound the old railway line and settling lagoon :-

15 Willow Warbler
6 Chiffchaff
7 Blackcap
2 Whitethroat
1 Sedge Warbler (first heard yesterday on settling lagoon)

A Greylag seems to be paired with a Barnacle - an odd couple!

2 Wheatear in ploughed sheep field.

Robin Edwards

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Streatleybury and Pegsdon Hills today

There were still at least 2 male Northern Wheatear on the top sheep field at Streatleybury. Mistle Thrush was also present with 3 Buzzard together on the wing. Corn Buntings were singing on the wires from nearby Bartonhill Road.

On Pegsdon Hills, 6 Ring Ouzel were showing well at lunchtime between the Deacon Hill terrace (south west end) and the Great Coombe (Chack Valley). Meadow Pipits were conspicuous with a couple of Red Kite quartering languidly in the area (Darren Thomas)

in the very far north !

A Common Whitethroat was singing and showing well at Knotting Green this morning, also a singing Cuckoo, but no sign of any Groppers (Tony P)

SLAV still present

Transitional SLAVONIAN GREBE still present in SE corner of Stewartby lake this morning, per Andy Grimsey.


Two adult summer LITTLE GULLS just dropped in at Broom with 4 Common Terns mid-morning (Mark Thomas)

LITTLE GULLS at Marston Vale

Two adult LITTLE GULLS on The Pillinge, MVCP at 07.15 this morning, per Andy Grimsey.

Wyboston Lakes 13/4

Best were a pair of Wheatears on the approach road grass field. At least six Common Terns, some Swallows, an Egyptian Goose and anOystercatcher. Ten Great crested Grebes on the Conference Centre Lake (Richard Bashford)

Mid-morning update 13/4

Now four Ring Ouzels at Pegsdon Hills this afternoon, per Val Thompson.

The transitional plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE is showing down to twenty meters in the extreme south-east corner of Stewartby lake still, per Lee Evans.

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at Knotting Green at 7am this morning, per Ray Wright.

And the only bits from me today are six Common Terns at Derek Whites Eggs pit, one Common Tern at Broom GP along with a White Wagtail (Steve Blain)

Thursday, 12 April 2012


This afternoon the male COMMON REDSTART showed well again in the same hedge as yesterday, though chased about by a Robin. 3 male NORTHERN WHEATEAR still remain and showing in nearby field; 2 COMMON RAVEN put in an appearance over the sheepfield (Darin Stanley).

SLAV update

The SLAVONIAN GREBE is still in the south-eastern corner of Stewartby Lake this afternoon, often tucked up against the bank, 15:45, per Johnny Lynch.


Partial summer plum Slav Grebe was by far the best, otherwise very quiet on the water.

Two Common Terns and a (very) small handful of waterbirds. Stacks of Willow Warblers all the way round the lake The grebe was extremely mobile and a flight view of it was probably my first ever of this species. We first saw it in front of the sailing club when we were at the other end of the lake. We then saw it briefly in the middle of the lake before it flew towards the gull watching point. From the sailing club end we could see it to the west of the gull watch point. By the time we reached the west corner it had moved right back to the sailing club end and was heading towards the south corner - that was about 11:45 (Barry Nightingale)

Breeding-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE at Stewartby Lake

Barry Nightingale just called with news of a summer plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE in the middle of Stewartby Lake, 10:55 (Steve Blain)

Early morning update 12/4

This from Birdguides this morning:

07:52 12/04/12 Ring Ouzel Beds Blow's Downs one in Sink Hole this morning

And a message from Mick Price saying there's a Ring Ouzel and a Wheatear on the paddocks at Blows Downs too.

Yesterday evening (11th) at Broom GP the Short-eared Owl was still showing well on the south side of the main lake, and there were two male White Wagtails on the old washout pit. A Marsh Harrier also flew north at around 7:25, per Mark Thomas.

Quiet at Broom this morning, with the highlight a single Dunlin still and a Tawny Owl (Steve Blain)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

RING OUZEL delight


Another day of sunshine and showers, with the wind mainly northerly but much lighter than of late, allowing temperatures to recover to 14 degrees C. A surprising number of migrants arrived overnight

All morning was spent in NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE observing a certain High Arctic gull (detailed notes/images/discussion to be inserted) but on the way back, checked out a couple of BEDFORDSHIRE locations.......


A nice selection of waders present including 1 of the splendid male RUFFS, a COMMON SANDPIPER, a GREEN SANDPIPER and Ringed Plovers, Common Redshanks and Lapwings


Met up with Lol and enjoyed superb views of 4 male RING OUZELS feeding together on the grass slope above Tesco's, at the east end of the complex. Interestingly, two of the males were ringed


At least 11 MONK PARAKEETS still in residence

Lee G R Evans

Yet another male COMMON REDSTART at Streatleybury and 6 RING OUZELS on the Downs

Male COMMON REDSTART seen on fence line thisafternoon in sheepfield to the right of the second metal kissing gate, nearby to the prominent dead tree. Viewed from the footpath. This is the 2nd male seen in a week in the area; also 3 Northern Wheatears seen close by (Darin Stanley)

At Blows Downs. 4 cracking male RING OUZELS showing well on the Tesco Slope (Bob Chalkley, Lol, LGRE, JT, et al), with two more at Bison Hill (Pete C)

SHORT-EARED OWL for second day (Broom)

Jim Gurney has just called to say the Short-eared Owl is still at Broom GP this morning, and quartering the area between the main lake and the village pit, 09:00 (per Steve Blain)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

RUFF still there !

The two male RUFF are still present at Derek Whites Eggs pit this lunchtime, although often on the eastern shore and difficult to locate (per Steve Blain).

Monday, 9 April 2012

It rained all day


What a dreary Easter ! The wet theme continued today with rain virtually falling all day. The wind was in the southwest and temperatures were just slightly lower than average at 11 degrees C

This was my first full day's birding since last Tuesday so I was keen to make the most of it, visiting all three Home Counties in the process and adding a few 'year birds'.....


Checked out two Rookeries in Old Wolverton - that at the west end (SP 804 411) yielding 15 active nests and that at the east end (SP 820 414), a further 10 nests.


Thanks to Simon Nichols, eventually managed to find my way around this large complex of pits and walked from the south side to the north bank. There was no sign of yesterday's drake Garganey but the site did yield 4 Common Teal, pair of Tufted Ducks, pair of OYSTERCATCHER, 4 Common Redshanks, numerous Lapwings, at least 1 pair of displaying LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, Song Thrush, 5 Sand Martins and 2 singing male Common Chiffchaffs. The highlight however was the wagtail flock at the NE end of the complex, including two male YELLOWS (my first of the year) and two eye-catching male WHITES. I also saw a pipit here that was either a Water or Scandinavian Rock but it flew before I managed a decent view; 9 Meadow Pipits were also in the area.


At midday, looking north from the hide, I noted 1 drake Wigeon, 2 COMMON TERNS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS, with a singing male WILLOW WARBLER in trees behind the hide and a noisy CETTI'S WARBLER in scrub to the right of the hide; at least 5 Blackcaps too and several singing Chiffchaffs

Just south of MOULSOE BUILDINGS on the A509, a dead BADGER at SP 893 413


I then entered Bedfordshire in search of migrants, with my first port of call the Willington area. The recently tilled field adjacent to the footpath to Dovecote Pit held both YELLOW WAGTAIL (two beautiful males) and WHITE WAGTAIL (a single male), along with 23 FIELDFARES, numerous Linnets and 15+ Meadow Pipits. A female Mallard was accompanying a single duckling on the river and I saw just 2 Barnacle Geese in the grass field.


There was no sign of the 2 Ruff at Derek White's and with Aubrey and Martin Stevens, saw very little of note at Broom. At the East Pits, 4 COMMON SHELDUCK and 2 Sand Martins were of note, but Steve Heath's adult Little Gull had moved straight through


Traversed the area back and forth in the rain but no migrants and certainly no obvious Ring Ouzel - up to 4 Red Kites and two displaying male Meadow Pipits.


Managed my first WILLOW WARBLER of the year in Beds but otherwise just 6 Mute Swans, the pair of Whooper Swans, pair of COMMON SHELDUCKS, 14 Common Teal, 12 Gadwall and a single GREEN SANDPIPER


A single BARN SWALLOW with 27 Sand Martins but little else of note


After the excitement of the last few days (Fulmar, Kittiwake, etc), 1520 hours this afternoon was back to normal. COMMON TERNS had increased to 6 birds, with 15 Black-headed Gulls, 43 Shoveler, 16 Gadwall, the continuing DARK-BELLIED BRENT, 14 Sand Martins, 5 HOUSE MARTINS and 3 Barn Swallows to see.


The drake Red-crested Pochard and pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS noted, with 10 Great Crested Grebes in residency on here and adjacent Marsworth.


Met Bob & Lol in the Paddocks where we obtained excellent views of a female BLACK REDSTART and pair of NORTHERN WHEATEARS as the rain stopped and the SW wind freshened.


Both Great Crested Grebes were on the larger lake whilst an arrival of hirundines included 5 BARN SWALLOWS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS

KITTIWAKES through Priory 7/4

Two adult KITTIWAKES flew NE through Priory CP 07.55 per Dave Kramer.


Well done Richard and Nick and thanks for the call Jim. Excellent to see so many Beds birders connecting with the superb GREAT WHITE EGRET at Radwell. Having flown over the railway soon after 11.00, it was distantly visible on the small pit west of the railway from the road bridge until 11.30 at least...... Bob, Lol, Stu Warren and DHB still on site when I left..

Not as sharp as I'd have liked as most heavily cropped but here's a selection of shots for your amusement (Martin J Palmer).


06 April: Two yellow wagtails on A6 pit, Radwell and Red crested Pochard at Harrold (per Richard Bashford). COMMON CUCKOO at Cainhoe per Peter Soper


On Friday 6 April, Richard Bashford discovered an adult GREAT WHITE EGRET by the Viaduct Pit at Radwell GP. A full scale twitch was initiated and by midday, virtually all of the county's listers had connected, the bird commuting between the well vegetated pools adjacent to the footpath.


Friday 06 April: A SEDGE WARBLER was singing strongly and showing intermittently just north of the sewage works bridge on the left (west) bank of the Ouse at Priory this morning, until 08.15 at least (Tony P)

5-6 April: RING OUZEL at Pegsdon Hills

Male RING OUZEL at Pegsdon Hills: On field between terraces of Deacon Hill and road with approx 80 fieldfares. Per Andy Grimsey.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


A male COMMON REDSTART and a total of 5 NORTHERN WHEATEARS in the ploughed strip this afternoon (Darin Stanley)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WHITE WAGTAILS at Willington

3 WHITE WAGTAILS at Willington, the middle sheep field has been re-seeded and is alive with pipits, fieldfares and alba wagtails.

Curlew now roosting on peacocks island at Broom.

Big rain to the north!

Mark Thomas

Broom this morning

A bloody good morning!

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER - female, initially sat on Peacock's Island then drifted in to NW corner before flying off NNE ten minutes later.

Egyptian Geese - 3, Common Tern in/out, MARSH HARRIER ad male lowish N, Curlew in and still present. LRPlover 5, Snipe.

Mark Thomas


Mark Thomas had a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER briefly at Broom GP early morning whilst Lol Carman had a male BLACK REDSTART and 2 Northern Wheatears in the paddocks at Blows Downs

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

BARN OWL recovery

On 19 February 2012, I found a dead BARN OWL on the northbound A5 at Fourne Hill Farm, near Heath and Reach (Bedfordshire). Sadly it had been hit and killed by a passing vehicle.

It transpired that this particular Barn Owl had been ringed 255 days previous in a nestbox 24km away in Buckinghamshire, at Thornborough Grounds Farm, Thornborough, on 9 June 2011

24 kilometres is quite a way for a Barn Owl to move

Best wishes

Lee Evans

Broom this morning

Broom GP today:

Teal – 10
Shoveler – 2
LRP – 1 on GLE
Ringed Plover – 2
Redshank – 4
Green Sand – 1 on GLE
Snipe – 1
Dunlin – 1 on Peacocks Island this morning

Fieldfare – 4
Willow Warbler – 1 to the north of the main lake
Sand Martin – max of 5
White Wagtail – 1 on Peacocks Island at lunchtime

Steve Blain

Monday, 2 April 2012



After a very slight frost, it was another glorious day, with light northerly winds, clear skies and unbroken sunshine. Despite the cool wind, temperatures reached 12 degrees C during the afternoon

Following an early morning call from Darrel Bryant, I started off my day at Norton Green.......


Darrel discovered a cracking adult male RING OUZEL at Norton Green last night and luckily, despite clear skies, it was still present this morning. I joined two other observers mid-morning to find the stunning bird resting in Willows on the west flank of the site, just 200 yards in from the parking gate at the south end. It sat there for about 25 minutes before finally being pestered by a male Common Blackbird and then flew to the ground and started feeding. It afforded excellent views and was still present when I departed at 1020 hours.


Two CORN BUNTINGS noted in the roadside hedgerow at TL 164 287


Walked the Icknield Way Path and Deacon Hill area but failed to find any Ring Ouzels or Northern Wheatears - just 4 FIELDFARES on the lower slopes, 1 singing Common Chiffchaff in the Palnatation, a singing male Blackcap in The Meg and several Red-legged Partridges. A Red Kite was busy collecting nest material.

Spent an hour or so in suitable weather scanning over Goshawk habitat but no joy - just several more Red Kites and Common Buzzards.


The two (pair) Whooper Swans were present, along with 15 Common Teal and 8 Gadwall, 4 Common Snipes, a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and 4 singing male Common Chiffchaffs


Not far from Grovebury, I located two displaying pairs of EURASIAN CURLEW, the eery calls penetrating loudly across the fields; also Sparrowhawk and a single FIELDFARE

On the pit itself, very quiet - pair of Great Crested Grebes, pair of Mute Swans and pair of OYSTERCATCHERS

Nearby at GROVE (BUCKS), the small coppice at SP 920 222 held 28 active Rook nests (the total this spring in the county a whopping 1,094 nests - and still more to count)


An impressive 35 waders of 5 different species noted, including a pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS from Octagon Hide (my first in Bucks this year), 2 Common Snipes, the usual pair of OYSTERCATCHERS (which, incidentally, do seem likely to be the parents of the Tring 3), the 11 Common Redshank and 18 Lapwing (7 birds now sitting).

Also present were 6 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Mute Swans, the COMMON SHELDUCK pair, 8 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 6 Common Gulls, 1 Argenteus Herring Gull, pair of Lesser Black-backs and singing Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff (2).


No sign of KD's Dark-bellied Brent Goose of the last two days but 32 Mute Swans grazing in the second field south of the river.


Little migrant activity apart from 20 SAND MARTINS, a single BARN SWALLOW (my first in Bucks) and the LITTLE RINGED PLOVER pair on the spit

Usual padders in the form of Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, 8 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 6 Shoveler and 8 Great Crested Grebes, just 12 Lapwing, 18 Herring Gulls, 25 Common Gulls (mostly first-years), 2 Sparrowhawks, upwards of 25 Red Kites and singing Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap.


The Lodge Water shrew showed for best part of an hour from 4.30 - 5.30 ish (approx times)

A photo here -:

Mark Hows