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, 28 December 2012

Southill area this morning

A good start to my usual walk around Southill when a male Tufted Duck flew over the garden with 4 Mallard - a new house bird (number 111 on the list). Then in Southill Millennium Woods a flock of 13 or 14 COMMON CROSSBILLS, 8 or 9 lovely red males and 5 females, one of them very yellow. They were giving great eye-level views in larches by the circular mound. Another new Southill bird for me, and some of the best views I've ever had of this species. A little further on at the second Premier Trees sign, a flock of 38 WAXWINGS appeared from the direction of the tree nursery and perched in the "usual" trees, and these were shortly joined by another group of at least 20, before the whole lot flew off into Southill Park. So, around 60 in the area. The fields north of Southill are hooching with birds, at least 800 Fieldfares, plus Redwings, Starlings, Linnets and finch flocks, including at least one Brambling. Small parties of Golden Plovers overhead, a flock of 1 20 Lapwings and 4 Tree Sparrows on the garden feeders. All in all, a great morning's birding! - Paul Donald

Not far away at Broom GP, Mark Thomas had 5 male BEARDED TITS

Thursday, 27 December 2012

WAXWINGS in Wigmore Lane Luton

There are at least 50 WAXWINGS around the ASDA carpark feeding on the cotoneasters between the library and the petrol station. Incredibly flighty because of all the human activity. (11.05am)

Nearby up at the country park  there's a large flock of about 70+ SISKINS

Mike Russell

This ASDA is along Wigmore Lane close to the airport.

Monday, 24 December 2012

SLAV still

David Kramer confirms the continuing presence of the Priory Country Park SLAVONIAN GREBE today whilst Dunstable Sewage Farm's Grey Phalarope was last seen on Tuesday 18 December; still quite a few WAXWINGS scattered about Bedfordshire including 20 in Dunstable

Christmas Bird Hunt 2012

A reminder that our annual Bedfordshire Christmas Birdhunt begins at
midnight tonight. From that time we want to see how many species we can see
/ hear in the county in the seven day period ending with the start of 2013.

Last year we had 111 species which was a low count so it will be good to see
if we can exceed that this year. I've not seen a mention of the Priory Slav
since Saturday but if that is still present tomorrow then it will be a new
species for the list as it has not been recorded in the past 10 years.

Please if possible email lists to me at
- though I will read all the emails on groups it makes it easier for me to
quickly see new species. I will put updates on the web about once a day in
the evenings.

For a full summary and some thoughts on the last 10 years please see the
article in the current Beds bird Report.

Good luck & Happy Christmas to all from Melissa and I

Andy Banthorpe

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Y'day afternoon (Friday), Keith Owen, Jim Gurney and I found a Slavonian Grebe at Brogboro' Lake. It was at the windsurfers end and still present at dusk.

Lunchtime, the Ring-necked Parakeet was again showing well it its favoured field up the farm track at Southcott Village, Linslade

Stockgrove Country Park was a waste of time....... 1 Nuthatch seen + 2 heard but no Mandarins and no Marsh Tits

8 Egyptian Geese were near the entry kiosk at Woburn Park

M J Palmer

David Kramer confirms the continued presence of the SLAV at Priory Country Park too

Still quite a few WAXWINGS scattered about the county, and the male MERLIN at Broom

Sunday, 16 December 2012


I joined Neil Wright from 3.55 and we both stayed until 4.20 with the SLAVONIAN GREBE still present - only about 250m away from the gull watchpoint. Other speceis noted were 27 G C Grebes, 8 Dabchicks, 1 Grey Heron, 100+ Lapwings swirling about low over the lake,

An odd gull roost with hardly any smaller gulls and the larger gulls flying off in the last few minutes of our visit. Nonetheless 22 L B Backs, 15 G B Backs, 9 Herring Gulls, a probable small adult female Yellow-legged Gull - bill not as thick as expected but upperwing colour and primary black wedge strongly suggested this species - very clean white head and underparts, negligible sized primary spots. Only 28 B H Gulls and a couple of Common Gulls.

M J Palmer

Saturday, 15 December 2012

GREY PHALAROPE still showing

After yesterday's rain, it was comforting to see Saturday dawn bright and clear. And, after a week with temperatures barely creeping above freezing, a relief to see double figures once more. In fact, by late afternoon, it was 11 degrees C, but then heavy showers returned.....
I did not do a great deal of birding today just mainly duck counting.......
After stopping off there very briefly on two occasions during the week, it made a change to be able to have a relaxing look today. Thanks to John Tomlin and Johnny Lynch, who very kindly agreed to man the gate this morning, some 75 or so birders were able to savour the delights of the GREY PHALAROPE, now present for its third day. Once again, it was favouring the SW corner of the third pan, elegantly pecking at insects and flotsam on the surface of the warm water. Johnny Foster attempted a couple of images, despite it being some 100 yards away (see above).
Duck numbers had dropped since the freezing temperatures, such that today all I could muster were 2 Little Grebe, 3 Mute Swan, 88 Mallard, 44 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler, 18 Teal, 63 Tufted Duck and 22 Coot; JL and I also had a LESSER REDPOLL fly over us calling.
I met up with Darin and young Charlie, and after consulting the help of Andy Whitney and Andy Grimsey (thanks guys, and once again apologies for mixing you both up), checked the berry-bearing shrubs extensively covering the outer edge of the estate. Sadly, there were no Waxwings to be found, just a lot of winter thrushes and a Red Kite drifting overhead.
I then returned to home ground and set out to finish the duck counting duties for the remainder of the Chess Valley not already done. Lowndes Park Lake had now mostly cleared of ice and held 45 Atlantic Canada Geese, 8 Muscovy Ducks, 3 surviving Embden Geese, 86 Mallard, 9 Moorhen and 126 Black-headed Gulls, whilst the parkland yielded 2 Mistle Thrush and 6 Long-tailed Tits.
Chesham's Bury Lake (SP 955 015) was filling up with water again (after being dry for the best part of two years) but was birdless; CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (SP 971 003) however held 1 Atlantic Canada Goose, 15 Mallard, a drake Gadwall, 5 Tufted Duck, 21 Coot and 6 Moorhens.
Two WATER RAILS were showing well on the pool just by the footpath SE of the smaller lake, with 1 of 2 wintering COMMON KINGFISHERS there too and 3 SISKIN and BULLFINCH pair also. The adjacent Pow Wow Lake held 2 Mute Swans (the two first-years), 34 Mallard, a female Tufted Duck and 4 Moorhen.
At GREAT WATER, LATIMER (BUCKS) (SU 997 987), the biggest surprise was a redhead GOOSANDER, swimming just upstream of Neptune's Falls. Mute Swan numbers were down slightly at 16, with 113 Atlantic Canada Geese still accompanied by the single adult GREYLAG GOOSE (the sole occurrence in over 15 years), 18 Mallard, 18 Tufted Duck, 8 NORTHERN POCHARD, 2 Little Grebe, 56 Coot and 24 Moorhen. Three LITTLE EGRETS were fishing the stream east of Bois Mill, with 4 Mistle Thrushes, a single Fieldfare (the huge numbers now departed since the freeze) and 3 Goldcrests also encountered.

Friday, 14 December 2012


The GREY PHALAROPE was still present at Dunstable Sewage Farm this evening, feeding voraciously where the inlet valve pumps water in at the SW corner of Pan 3. Special access will be available tomorrow if the bird is still present.

Bedfordshire still has a lot of WAXWINGS at various sites, including the 21 in Luton.

Lee Evans

Thursday, 13 December 2012


The GREY PHALAROPE was still present on the third pan at Dunstable Sewage Farm today, special access being granted temporarily at this private site


Jenny and I had a quick wander around the back of the Bushmead estate early this afternoon (Thursday). Three Bullfinches by the car park at TL086259, 20 WAXWINGS near the end of the Riddy path at TL094243, 4 Siskins by the play area at TL092246.

Also lots of Fieldfares mixed with some Redwings in the hedges between the path at the back of the houses and the field.

The Waxwings should be there tomorrow as there seems to be plenty of food for them.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012


A first-winter GREY PHALAROPE spent the day at a private Bedfordshire site today, delighting about 22 observers prior to dusk. If you are a member of the Bedfordshire Bird Club, give me a call and I will discuss access arrangements.

Quite a few WAXWINGS still around in the county.

BITTERNS back at Brogborough on ice

Jim Gurney and I saw one of the two BITTERNS (both found by Roy Nye) fly across the west end of the lake, south to north at 3.45pm.

Also at Brogborough Lake were a roost of 1000 Common Gulls (967 clicker-counted plus others flying in) and a similar number of B H Gulls but only 4 Gt Black-backs, 1 Herring Gull (argentatus) and 7a 1w Lesser Black-backs.

Amongst the hordes of diving duck and coots were 20 Teal, 12 Wigeon and the hybrid drake Tufted x Pochard.

Quite a few Goldeneye were present, also 50 Cormorants roosted. 2 Common Buzzards passed south-west at 3.15 mewing as they went. A male Sparrowhawk sped low past the gull watchpoint; a Little Egret is uncommon here and several Fieldfares were noisily passing along the hedgrerows to roost.

My thanks to Rob D, Don G, Lol and Bob and Jon Lynch et al for access to Dunstable STW earlier this afternoon - my first visit there for maybe 18 months - in fact since the hybrid Ring-necked Duck drake was first reported - uncannily it was there again today, having re-appeared in the last few days, per DG.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

WAXWINGS.........and SLAV

WAXWINGS today included 60 at 101 High Street, Sandy, and 35 in Harlington.......

Meanwhile, the long-staying SLAV remains at Priory

A single immature GREATER SCAUP on Brogborough and 5 BEARDED TITS still at Marston Vale. Another small flock of BEARDED TITS is at Broom, on the G & M Growers complex

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

WAXWINGS all over the place

Seen at Harlington today (11 birds), Wilstead (30+), Potton (11), Woburn (20), Pulloxhill (14) and in Biggleswade (3), whilst neaighbouring Cambs has several hundred.

Monday, 3 December 2012

SLAV still present and belated news of a DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE

The long-staying SLAVONIAN GREBE was still present today at Priory Country Park whilst a DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE spent all weekend in a field at TL 011 560 near the railway bridge east of Milton Ernest Garden Centre.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Impressive flock of RUFF

18 RUFF on the fields between Milton Ernest and Radwell bridge; Pair of PINTAIL on A6 pit (Richard Bashford)