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).

Thursday, 14 March 2013

RING-BILLED GULL - 6th record for Bedfordshire

The first-winter Ring-billed Gull at Stewartby Lake this evening was a
tremendous find by Neil Wright. A further dozen local birders got there to
enjoy the bird which was still on show near dusk at 6.15pm. Neil called me
c5.15 to tell me of his exciting discovery and Pip Housden and I got there
in just over 15 minutes to join Neil and Andy Plumb. Paul Wright and Keith
Owen arrived soon after followed by Dave Ball, Martin Stevens, Jim Gurney,
Bob Chalkley, Lol Carman, Mark Thomas and John Bowler.

Very many congrats are due to Neil and also to Dave Ball who has now gone
one ahead of the pack to lead the County listings - the first to reach 260
in Bedfordshire. DJO, LGRE and I all remain second on 259.

Other gulls present included 135 Lesser Black-backs, 1 second-winter Great
Black-back, 4 Herring Gulls - an adult pair and first winter argenteus and
an adult argentatus, also a few hundred Common Gulls and a few thousand B H
Gulls. At least 1 adult Med Gull was also present and later I found a
probable second bird (or the original I had found relocated).

The RBG could have easily been overlooked as a Common Gull but once locked
in view the differences from that species were immediate and obvious. The
head was obviously larger and with a longer thicker pale yellow bill with
extensive black distal end but for creamy culmen distal edge. The head and
bill of equivalent aged Common Gulls were decidedly feeble in comparison.

The mantle was only a tad darker pale grey than the many Black-headed Gulls
alongside, obviously lighter than the mantles of the Common Gulls. The long
dark brown primaries were held decidedly uptilted. The coverts were speckled
brownish and the tertials clearly brown with a narrow white fringe. There
was no white tertial crescent as on many of the Common Gulls.

The RBG drank frequently which made it easy to pick out amongst the melee at
the 400m or so distance 'scoped by us from the Caulcot gull watchpoint
half-way along the north-west bank. After dipping its bill to drink, it
would raise its bill to swallow often. We didn't see it in flight - a shame
perhaps - but the i.d. was unmistakeable on the extensive views enjoyed by
all who got there.

This is, I believe, the first RBG since a second-winter on 28th March 2005
found by Kevin Shepherd and Neil Wright at this same site which was also
seen that evening by PH, LGRE and myself. Thus, this is only sixth
Bedfordshire record.

Martin J Palmer

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