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, 22 December 2013

SHAG at Priory

A little more detail on the SHAG for those who are interested.
The bird is a juvenile and Dave Kramer and I initially discovered it very close to the northern edge of the main lake, at the east end level with the 'crescent' reedbed. It was showing very well and seemed a confiding bird.

A nice surprise on an otherwise rather 'sameish' jaunt round the local patch!

Tony P

Monday, 9 December 2013

Woburn Park wildfowl

Excellent numbers of wildfowl in Woburn Park this am;

Goosander 16 (inc 12 drakes)
Wigeon 418
Canada Geese 199
Greylags 155
Barnacle Goose 1
Gadwall 135
Tufted Duck 122
Mallard 83
Egyptian Geese 2
Cormorant 11
Shoveler 5
Mute Swan 23

plus smaller numbers Pochards, Coots, various gulls

Barry Nightingale

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Thurleigh Airfield this evening

Two Short-eared Owls on the airfield tonight. I had access so one would not have been visible from the footpath around the perimeter. The other however was hunting near the control tower. Take the footpath north to the fence from TL058596 and scan. The bird tonight would have been visible from TL050599.

Site write up here

Also a Barn Owl here.

Spoke to some birders who had seen two SEOs here in the week and Tawny and Little Owl.

Richard Bashford

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Today's Highlights

A female COMMON SCOTER was discovered on Brogborough Lake late afternoon whilst Andy Grimsey had a male HEN HARRIER fly east over the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve at Chicksands. The two SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS remain at Marston Sewage Works

Monday, 2 December 2013


The two SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS were still present around Marston Sewage Works yesterday (Sunday) morning.  They were present around the east side of the sewage works, often in the company of a small tit flock.

This map should help:

Some excellent shots of one of the birds by Neil Wright can be found on the BedsBirds blog:

The second bird is more elusive, but often appears around the small plantation in the east side.  This bird is greyer above with brighter green wings and tail.

Steve Blain

SHORT-EARED OWLS at Thurleigh Airfield

At least 3 on Thurleigh Airfield currently hunting high over the parked cars in the centre of the site. Viewed from end of Keysoe Row West.

Richard Bashford (Sunday)

Saturday, 30 November 2013


The Dartford Warbler was still at Aspley Heath this morning. This afternoon there were at least six Chiffchaffs around Marston Sewage Works, including two Siberian Chiffchaffs. They were mostly around the east side, between the sewage works and MVCP visitor centre, often with a small tit flock. Also a male Blackcap in the same area made for a very good winter warbler day! Steve Blain

Monday, 18 November 2013

Wintering DARTFORD WARBLERS at Aspley Heath

Still at least 2 DARTFORD WARBLERS present at Apsley Heath this afternoon, but typically elusive in the constant drizzle. Park in the small layby to the east of the Woburn road (the A5130) at SP 932 352 then walk east towards the disused buildings. Not far before the workings, turn right and then keep to the right of the main muddy footpath to an area of dense gorse at the brow of the first slope after about 300 yards - see map below -:

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Male HEN HARRIER for second day

Neil Wright is currently (about 1215) watching the male HEN HARRIER hunting some set-a-side near the New Wavendon Heath carpark.  The bird is hunting the fields the opposite side of the road to the car park, 12:50.

The area the bird is in is grid ref: SP925334

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Second BLACK REDSTART in as many days

I've found a female BLACK REDSTART this afternoon opposite the entrance gate to Woburn Safari park. From the gate head up the opposite hill between the 2 lion statues and the bird was showing very well on top of the slate roofed buildings to the left of the road at SP970349. It's preferred the long building at the top of the complex but was quite mobile and visited most of the rooftops during the half hour I watched it for.

David James.

A productive morning at Harrold

Started with a small band of Bedfordshire Bird Club folks at Harrold working through my WeBS count which took about an hour. Usual fair but some big flocks of Wood Pigeons over and the first Goldeneye of the winter on the main lake, a few Kingfisher sightings and the long-staying injured Pink-footed Goose.

On to Radwell. At Harrold, I had just been explaining that WeBS was a great way of finding unusual birds since you count each individual and don't tend to overlook things like wild swans or geese. A Whooper Swan among the Mutes was good to see and a Rock Pipit over here. Fewer Wigeon than last month but a Pink-footed Goose with the feral geese was good enough for a SFYT.

Richard Bashford

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Second GREAT GREY SHRIKE in a week following one at Sandy Heath RSPB

The adult GREAT GREY SHRIKE was present until dusk at Streatley, commuting between the middle hedgerow and the hedgerow that runs east directly away from Swedish Cottages (TL 075 278) along the Icknield Way Path (LGRE, Darin, Jo & Charlie Stanley). It was ranging up to 600 yards down this track and was favouring the pylons. Always distant, I managed these record shots.......

As you can see, the bird was a very long way away (see first two shots to get an idea of range - perhaps 600 yards)

Saturday, 12 October 2013


A DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE was present at Peacocks Lake, Broom, for a while this morning, while Pintails were noted at Blunham lake, Chimney Corner South lake, and six more in Quest. Additionally, a juvenile Arctic Tern and Little Gull at Brogborough Lake.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Two juvenile SIBERIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE arrived at Broom GP this afternoon and eventually ended up with the large Greylag flock. The juvenile LITTLE STINT was also still present on Gypsy Lane East.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I finally caught up with a LITTLE STINT whilst 3 LITTORALIS ROCK PIPITS were an added bonus

The first day of October dawned grey and overcast, with a fresh SE wind and above average temperatures. It stayed like this for the remainder of the day, the forecast rain not arriving prior to dusk.
I spent much of the morning at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) where the only 'new' arrivals were 2 DUNLIN and a juvenile RINGED PLOVER (both feeding on the exposed islands in the NW corner). Five juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS remained on the reed-fringed mud of the south shore, along with 4 Common Snipe.
Still large numbers of waterbirds present including 15 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Grebes (see pix), 11 Little Egrets, 8 Grey Heron, 20 Sinensis Cormorant, 52 Mute Swans (including orange-ringed 679 initially ringed in Berkhamstead on 5 May 2012), 31 Greylag Geese, 160 Mallard, 21 Gadwall, 330 Eurasian Wigeon, at least 6 NORTHERN PINTAIL, 560 Common Teal, 152 Shoveler, 124 Tufted Duck, 211 Northern Pochard, 552 Coot and 25 Moorhens, whilst 216 Lapwing, 214 Black-headed Gull, 3 first-year Common Gull and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull completed the inventory.
Otherwise, 3 Pied Wagtails, Stock Dove, 9 Woodpigeon and a roving feeding flock of 340 Common Starlings in fields in Cemetery Corner. A pair of Collared Dove and 25 Jackdaw were in the vicinity of Wilstone Great Farm.

I then headed north into BEDFORDSHIRE and replaced Jim Gurney and Martin Palmer at BROOM GP. The juvenile LITTLE STINT was showing well on a small muddy island with a Green Sandpiper (record shots below) on GYPSY LANE EAST whilst a group of 3 SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPITS was performing well on the west shoreline of the neighbouring PEACOCK'S LAKE (also illustrated below).

Monday, 30 September 2013

Gypsy Lane early afternoon

2 Rock Pipits, Little Stint, and a Dunlin on Gypsy Lane East pits, 12.40 (per Steve Blain)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Just north of the border.......

This SOOTY SHEARWATER turned up this afternoon at Grafham Water (Cambs) - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this species on an inland reservoir. In fact it is the first one I have ever heard of...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

SPOTTED CRAKE still present

Showing very well in the sunshine this morning from around 9:30 to 10am, feeding on small black pond snails.
It is back where it was last Sunday, on the north, eastern corner of the lake viewed closest from the platform at the eastern end closest to the road bridge.

Robin Edwards

Friday, 20 September 2013

SPOTTED CRAKE showing well

I spent a lot of hours in Bedford today waiting for the SPOTTED CRAKE to appear. During the morning, it showed on and off for about two hours before the rain set in and then this evening, showed very well from around 5pm until dusk - Graham Madge and Tim Stowe both joining me on the observation platform.

The bird is inhabiting the extreme far NE end of Longholme Lake, immediately south of the River Ouse (and south of the Embankment) at TL 063 493 and favours the reedy fringe in the immediate vicinity of the plastic container easily visible from the platform in that corner. Although the light was fading fast, I managed to get this selection of record shots before dark and the whole of the moon....