Thursday 11 March
It was a no-show by the STOCKER'S LAKE male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker this morning - nothing by the time I departed at 0900 hours (although it did show later). A lot of Great Spotted Woodpecker activity though, and Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper too. A male Common Chiffchaff was singing by the River Colne, as were 2 male Song Thrushes, while Ring-necked Parakeets were active marking out their territories, and Stock Doves. At least 3 Little Egret nests appeared to be active, with 28 Shoveler lingering.
Healthy population of House Sparrows by STOCKER'S HOUSE, with a male Mistle Thrush singing by STOCKER'S FARM - the meadow harbouring 3 feeding COMMON SNIPES.
At around 0850, David Kramer had watched a Pied Avocet fly SW through Barkers Lane (Bedford), so I headed up that way in anticipation of a relocation. Heading north up the A1, I was very pleased to hear of 2 GARGANEY at GYPSY LANE EAST (BROOM GP), the pair of which were both showing with 5 Common Teal when I arrived shortly later. They were mostly asleep on the bank.....
Two LITTLE RINGED PLOVER were freshly arrived too, while other waders present included 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Oystercatcher, with 2 Common Shelduck, 8 Gadwall & 14 Tufted Duck completing the line-up. Across the road on GYPSY LANE WEST was the first DUNLIN of the year, as well as 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS, a Common Snipe and 2 Red-legged Partridges. The adult male MERLIN was sheltering behind a tussock in its usual area whilst a PEREGRINE flew east.
At PEACOCK'S LAKE (BROOM), another pair of Oystercatcher, with 6 Brown Hares in the field opposite.
The LITTLE OWL was present in the tall Oak adjacent to SANDY SMITH NATURE RESERVE, whilst an afternoon visit to EVERSHOLT LAKE resulted in me finding a pair of LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS in the trees at the back - the birds on view for at least an hour. At least 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers too, as well as 2 Common Treecreepers, 4 SISKIN, 18 Goldfinch, Jay, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, 15 Redwing and a flock of at least 230 Fieldfare. The lake held 6 MANDARIN DUCKS (5 drakes) and 5 GOOSANDER (2 drakes), with 42 Greylag Geese in the field adjacent.
Over in WOBURN PARK, 6 more MANDARIN DUCK by the entrance road, and Oystercatcher, 25 Wigeon and a COMMON KINGFISHER on DRAKELOE POND.
The adult drake SMEW was showing well at BROGBOROUGH LAKE, while STEWARTBY LAKE proffered 2 Oystercatcher and 15 Pied Wagtails on the grass.
At MARSTON VALE, BARN OWL, WATER RAIL and CETTI'S WARBLER were all noted, as well as this pair of cheeky Chinese Water Deer. The new Tower Hide is coming along well too.
No less than 5 male LADY AMHERST'S PHEASANTS have been seen within the General Motors compound, the new arrivals no doubt being attributed to all of the forest work being undertaken in neighbouring Centre Parcs.