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, 3 January 2016

Birding Bedfordshire in the heavy rain - LGRE highlights

Sunday 3rd January 2016
Spent the day in BEDFORDSHIRE, where heavy rain curtailed most of the birding bar the last hour of daylight....
Below is a list of the highlights, spent in part with Stuart Warren & MJP...
GREAT GREY SHRIKE briefly in rain perched high on the fragmented hedgerow on the opposite side of the railway line at TL 193 390 and viewable from the concrete track that leads to the sewage works - TL 192 390 (Poppy Hill Farm, NNE of Henlow)
Stuart & I put up 2 JACK SNIPES at G & M Growers Pits (Broom), with 2 Teal there and a Meadow Pipit but no sign of any Bearded Tits or Common Snipe. The early COMMON SHELDUCK was nearby at Gypsy Lane East (Broom) but there was no sign of neither Peregrine nor Merlin in the driving rain
Ten of the 13 LITTLE EGRETS were on show in the damp field adjacent to Stockbridge Close in Clifton (situated at TL 173 390, while at Upper Caldecote, I could only find 5 Yellowhammers, with no sign of either Tree Sparrows or Grey Partridges.
At the Hatch Turn, most notable were a mixed flock of 105 Common Starling, 39 Fieldfare and 8 Redwing, with not a single Corn Bunting or finch flock in the Moggerhanger area.
I spent a while in heavy rain looking at the entrance gate feeders at The Lodge, Sandy, but drew a complete blank on Bramblings.
At TL 094 487, opposite Octagon Farm, a massive flock of Lapwing and European Golden Plover, click-numbering 538 and 2,007 respectively!
On Rookery Pit North, both GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS were still present but none of the Scaup (a lot of Aythya's though) and likewise a wildfowl busy Quest Pit failed to relinquish the 5 Red-crested Pochard MJP had seen there on New Years Day.
Dropped in to Stewartby Lake to join MJP and his self-found adult winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, with 38 Great Crested Grebe there, 35 Common Gulls, 8 Herring Gulls and a single adult Great Black-backed Gull; a single PEREGRINE was roosting on one of the chimneys (MJP had seen 4)
Brogborough Lake added 3 GREATER SCAUP in with a relatively small group of Aythya's by the Cormorant islands - an adult drake, a first-winter drake and an adult female (although NW tells me the adult has a hint of a tuft indicating some outside influence) as well as 384 Coot, 43 Common Goldeneye, 8 Great Black-backed Gulls and 6 Argenteus Herring Gulls.

I then rushed over to Upper Drakelow Pond in Woburn Park, where MJP's 3 GOOSANDER were still showing and waking (2 drakes and a female) before just arriving at a Woodcock roost for Martin to ring me with 2 Little Gulls!! I hastily raced back but alas to no avail - the light had gone - all 3 observers having lost them (MJP, Pete Smith & Bob Hook)

Two LITTLE GULLS at dusk on Stewartby

Initially sheltering under a brolly, I spent the last two hours of the day at Stewartby Lake gull watchpoint with some success. After the downpour passed through, the last hour was fine and almost bright.
The murmuration of Starlings over Rookery North was brilliant but then I picked out not one, not two, but three Peregrines passing them, two of which did a food pass. A fourth Peregrine was atop one of the old brickworks chimneys as well – amazing!!

Earlier I’d found a splendid winter adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL, not too large compared to the BHG’s so presumably a female, some dusking to head already appearing, thickish red bill with pale distal end and nice white primaries and tail etc. LGRE twitched the Med and one of the Peregrines successfully but then left as did the Med just as Bob Hook arrived. Pete Smith was parked up in the sailing club carpark and I was on the mobile to him when Bob saw the Kingfisher zap past.

Late on, I found 2 LITTLE GULLS, nearer PS than Bob and I and Pete managed to see them to -  both with white wing tips and puny alongside a couple of Common Gulls, one had a winter head pattern but the other already had some extensive black to the ‘hood’. The light was fading now and unfortunately when some late BHG’s arrived we lost them too view, only a few minutes before Lee dashed back in the interim having scored with 3 Greater Scaup at Brogboro’ and the pair of Goosander I’d seen on Drakelow, Woburn Park earlier today.

Many of the few hundred BHG’s lingered here merely for a ‘wash and scrub up’ before heading over the north corner towards Grafham, ditto the likely 50 or more total Common Gulls. 2 Great Black-backs, 5 Lesser Black-backs and 22 Herring Gulls completed the 7 species gull roost tonight.

39 G C Grebes were noteworthy, also 5 Dabchicks and a Little Egret.

At Eversholt Lake in the mire this morning, I found a flock of 60-100 Siskins by the lakeside but failed to find any Mandarin, Goosander, Woodcock, Raven, Bullfinch or Marsh Tit there or thro’ Milton Wood in very muddy, slippery conditions.


Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Years Day with Martin Palmer Birding

Hi all,
had a day of two halves y’day – brilliant in the morning but tailing off dramatically in the afternoon. Thanks to directions from Stu Warren, I caught up with the Roger Hick’s Poppy Hill Farm Great Grey Shrike and left there at 1.25 with my day’s species tally on 73 then, in the next 3 hours, I visited Langford Mill, Gypsy Lane E + W, Broom Lake, lanes from Southill to Houghton Conquest, Quest ClP, Chimney Corner South ClP, Brogborough Lake and Stewartby Lake but only added another half dozen species ~ Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Red Crested Pochard, Great Black-back and Goldeneye then Feral Pigeon on Kempston Keep as I passed by at dusk.
Nonetheless, a very satisfying day out – 5 raptors, 2 owls + GGS being one highlight; finding G N Diver and Scaup on Rookery North being another and getting some great views of the c60 strong flock of Lesser and Mealy Redpolls by Broom Village Pond being a third. Very satisfying were a small flock of 3 mixed bunting sp with Linnets at Pasture Farm entrance track south of Cardington. I totalled 79 species so (only) just pipped Roger’s tally despite covering a good few more miles.
I could, perhaps should, have had at least another 11 species to reach a magic 90 but I failed to find any Common Snipe, Jack Snipe or Green Sandpiper at up to 4 suitable sites I visited, neither, surprisingly, could I find any Red-legged Partridges, Stock Doves, Kingfisher or Bullfinches, nor any Egyptian Geese along Harrowden Lane nor the recent Pintail at Broom Lake.
My diversion to Poppy Hill and Langford Mill meant I didn’t visit The Lodge so I could have had Brambling, Siskin and, perhaps Raven and Woodcock there – there were none of the latter pair in suitable habitat I visited in the Old warden area. A walk along Meadow Lane/BSTW failed to produce the hoped for Chiffy and maybe Firecrest and I ran out of “passerine” time to visit MVMP or MSTW for e.g. Chiffchaffs, Stonechat and possibly Bearded Tit – also Water Rail. Overall finch numbers were very poor throughout the day – apart from the Redpolls -  and my only House Sparrows were a few in Southill.
My list is below – Roger, I wonder how many we got between us? Thanks to all friends I met out and about y’day and messages of sightings from Pip, Richard, Steve, Martin G, Stu W etc All the best to all for 2016,

  1. Great Northern Diver
  2. Great Crested Grebe
  3. Dabchick
  4. Cormorant
  5. Little Egret
  6. Grey Heron
  7. Mute Swan
  8. Greylag
  9. Barnacle
  10. Canada Goose
  11. Mallard
  12. Gadwall
  13. Wigeon
  14. Common Teal
  15. Shoveler
  16. Tufted Duck
  17. Greater Scaup
  18. Common Pochard
  19. Red Crested Pochard
  20. Goldeneye
  21. Coot
  22. Moorhen
  23. Pheasant
  24. Grey Partridge
  25. Red Kite
  26. Common Buzzard
  27. Sparrowhawk
  28. Peregrine
  29. Kestrel
  30. Lapwing
  31. Golden Plover
  32. Great Black-back
  33. Herring Gull
  34. Lesser Black-back
  35. Common Gull
  36. B H Gull
  37. Carrion Crow
  38. Rook
  39. Jackdaw
  40. Magpie
  41. Jay
  42. Wood Pigeon
  43. Feral Pigeon
  44. Collared Dove
  45. Little Owl
  46. Short-eared Owl
  47. Green Woodpecker
  48. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  49. Skylark
  50. Meadow Pipit
  51. Grey Wagtail
  52. Pied Wagtail
  53. Great Tit
  54. Blue Tit
  55. Coal Tit
  56. Long-tailed Tit
  57. Treecreeper
  58. Nuthatch
  59. Goldcrest
  60. Wren
  61. Dunnock
  62. Robin
  63. Starling
  64. Blackbird
  65. Song Thrush
  66. Redwing
  67. Filedfare
  68. Mistle Thrush
  69. Great Grey Shrike
  70. House Sparrow
  71. Chaffinch
  72. Greenfinch
  73. Goldfinch
  74. Linnet
  75. Lesser Redpoll
  76. Mealy Redpoll
  77. Reed Bunting
  78. Yellowhammer
  79. Corn Bunting