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).

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

BARRED WARBLER makes it into a fourth day.....

September 2014 has been the driest September on record in Britain and today saw a continuation of the warm, fine weather we have been experiencing locally since about June. In fact, temperatures still reached over 70 degrees fahrenheit today.....
Following a phone call from Mike Wallen, Francis Buckle and I rendezvoued at IVINGHOE HILLS where MSW had witnessed an unprecedented fall of COMMON STONECHAT along the fenceline just SSE of the Beacon Trig Point on the edge of the Beacon Slope. We quickly relocated them and were astounded to find a flock of 19 birds, as well as a single WHINCHAT. The birds were ranging as far east almost to Gallows Hill and included a good number of males. I have never seen as many Stonechats locally as this autumn - they appear to have had a bumper breeding season.

Little else in the way of migrant activity however - just 7 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer and 5 Common Chiffchaff noted.
I then decided to walk some of the Chiltern escarpment on the other side of Wendover but surprisingly, most likely because of the fabulous weather, virtually nothing of note was found (just a few more COMMON STONECHAT in locations such as WELLWICK FARM).

Later in the afternoon, I returned to BLOWS DOWNS (DUNSTABLE), where the BARRED WARBLER was present for its fourth consecutive day. It was still frequenting the isolated clumps of Hawthorn and Elder on the Half Moon Slope but had become much more difficult to locate, skulking for hours in the cover. There were still at least 8 COMMON STONECHATS lingering there, as well as 1+ Common Chiffchaff, 15 Meadow Pipit, Bullfinch and 9 Goldfinch. The Sparrowhawk also made its regular visit to the slope

Monday, 29 September 2014

BARRED WARBLER remains on Blows Downs for a third day

Spent some quality time with the BARRED WARBLER again today, the bird showing well on and off for around two hours from midday. It was still frequenting the Half Moon Slope, just 100 yards walk up from the road - munching away on Elder and Blackberries. Around 25 birders came and went. COMMON STONECHAT numbers on the slope had increased to 10, while other species noted included Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 9+ Meadow Pipit, Bullfinch, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Song Thrush and a Green Woodpecker.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

JOHNNY LYNCH comes up trumps again.........(First-ever Bedfordshire BARRED WARBLER)

At around 10am this morning, Johnny Lynch came upon a large Sylvia warbler on the Half Moon Slope at Blows Downs (Dunstable). To his amazement, it turned out to be Bedfordshire's first-ever BARRED WARBLER - showing well in the isolated clumps of Elderberry and Blackberry scrub on the hillside. He quickly contacted county recorder Steve Blain and Blows regulars Lol Carman and Bob Chalkley and within the hour, all three observers were connecting..... Lol then phoned me so that I could get the news out nationally.

The bird remained present on Half Moon Slope for the rest of the day, delighting just under 80 observers by dusk, including the majority of Bedfordshire's listers. I arrived mid-afternoon and spent the next three hours trying to photograph it - my results lie below -:

The slope also held at least 4 COMMON STONECHATS, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 4 juvenile Willow Warblers, as well as over 40 Meadow Pipits and a Sparrowhawk