Saturday 31 March 2012

Greed is good............. the adage from 80's smash hit 'Wall Street'. But in the world of self-found birding, it really could be.
I can see an element of gamesmanship creeping into play as the migrants start turning up. Broom will become one of the 'theatres' in the battle for scarce birds. 
But as the tactical warfare continues it is important to stay one step ahead of the competition. Basically your objective isn't to just self-find for your own list. It is to self-find to prevent others from listing.
In other words, If you can find every Whimbrel at Broom, the chances are other SFYListers will struggle.

Today at Broom I managed 3 more for the list, 5 Sand Martin after many attempts and 2 Little Ringed Plover found in Gypsy Lane East. Just as I was about to leave, a Swallow flew north.

So, is greed still good?..................Of course it is!!

Gordon Gekko
"There's no God damn way I'd stop at one Whimbrel"

Wednesday 28 March 2012

A bit static

Im full of the joys of spring, arent you?  Lots of early morning, and lunchtime, and evening visits to Broom GP this week have revealed very little new Ive had a couple of Sand Martins through, two White Wags, and other than that its been pretty static.  Matts four Little Gulls were nice, but even they werent in stunning summer plumage, unlike our current weather!  Maybe the next few days things will improve?

Todays lunchtime outing with Mr Bashford produced two LRPs at Dereks (one up on previous days) so I think we can both legitimately claim them as a find.

Friday 23 March 2012

Snatched from under our noses...

Teresa Brown found two Black Redstarts while leading a guided walk at the Lodge today. Here are a few staff encouraged our of their offices to have a look Gutting for me having never self found one in the county but worse for Steve who could see these from his office if only he wasn't working so hard...

Thursday 22 March 2012

A boost from Broom

Self found ticks should prove easy enough over the next few weeks as the new migrants come in. I got my first with a Wheatear at Broom while searching for a certain teal sp. The key to the contest is however to get the scarcities. One example is Peregrine that is around most of the time but difficult to count as a self found for the year. Sightings are irregular away from the known locations such as Stewartby chimneys so I was delighted to score with a bird that came down to drink on the pools at Gypsy Lane East on Saturday morning. I also got a bonus this weekend as this was my first visit to gravel pit habitat since the first few days of the year so I was able to add SFYTs in the shape of Redshank, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover to give my total an extra boost.

Later in the day, a Green Sandpiper was discovered on the man-made plastic-lined pools between Toddington Services and the railway giving me a total of seven different wader species for the day. Still not found Stonechat however which was one of the key targets of my late afternoon wanderings in the Sundon area.

Have not had a chance to add anything else yet this week but the weekend will soon be upon us again thankfully, then the longer lighter evenings.

Not counting this duck from Wardown Park, Luton. Not only is it an escape but it is some sort of hybrid in which I am finding it difficult to be confident in naming species that may be included in its ancestry. If I knew the answer this would make a good competition photo but I reckon a certain amount of Ruddy Shelduck may be in there somewhere…

Andy Grimsey


A brown female Merlin at Broom GP this morning skips on to my Beds SFYL as all the previous five months worth of Merlins at Broom have always been the regular male.  A drake Mandarin over the main lake was also a bonus.

Monday 19 March 2012

Quality self finds - in the garden...

Buzzards may be commonplace nowadays throughout Bedfordshire but it's still unusual to see one flying over my part of Kempston - I took some photos of this one taking advantage of the clear blue skies above my garden this morning - definitely self-found! Martin Palmer.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Pure Quality, not quantity...........

OK, ok, so my hat's in the ring. So Andy, no you won't come last- because I will!

The reasons-
(a) I only go to Broom GPs
(b) I don't use a car
(c) Richard, Steve and Martin S 'steal' the birds before I can see them
(d) Now Richard has found the Green-winged Teal, every man jack will be combing the site for the next few weeks, making self finding all the more difficult.

So far I calculate I have 'self found' 81 species, so as I'm propping up the league- I take it no one will want to scrutinise my list....... so I may be able to cheat to catch up!

To rectify the situation, all I can do is get up earlier than Steve and Mark Thomas and sit at the Gypsy Lane East watch point until the goodies roll in. Next, simply text all of the 'Broomites' and post a quick email on Bedsbirds.

The latter action will nullify Martin, who will presumably read his emails at 10.30am, when he wakes up!

Up and at 'em,


p.s I haven't forgotten about that Sandwich Tern Andy.....................

Friday 16 March 2012


Had a trip to the bank in Biggleswade today to pay in some earnings. Took my bins though - Gypsy Lane east is just two minutes from t
he A1 roundabout. Scanning for waders maybe, but more on the look out for White Wagtails and Rock Pipits for the next few days. I noticed some birds on the back reedy pool but before scoping them, I tried to find the wagtail calling in front of me. I couldn't find it and returned to the back pit and noticed a small
group of teal - no way, there was a vertical white flash in there - sure there was... Jeez, yup - a fine drake Green-winged Teal on the latest Bedfordshire hotspot. What a list this place has already this year! I took a photo, called Steve "having my annual appraisal" Blain and Captain "out and about" (Di's words) Palmer, who was down south, emailed the group and tried some photography. Hopefully Mr Blain (arriving a few minutes later) would have better for the proper blog. First shot by Martin, second from me.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Can I play please ?

Thought I should put my hat in the ring for this one, though I will not be near the top of the quantity list due to limited time and easy access to wetlands. I’ll start in the Top 5 though with 86 BSFYL12 applicable species.

I’m going for quality again (?) this year, rather than quantity, as I am sure to be doing majority of birding in the southern fields and hills. Will be hitting the wetlands of course when a study of the weather patterns or presence of a particular bird will draw me in.

Not starting with any strong claims on scarcities, so cannot have Scaup, Smew, Scoter, GN Diver, Crossbill, Short-eared Owl, Tree Sparrow or any of the scarcer geese as they were all well publicised birds. Also only got Mandarin, Goosander and Jack Snipe from regular wintering sites that I went to in order to find these species though I might make a late claim on Goosander from East Hyde that I did bump into when I went to photograph Jacks as I had forgotten about them after the initial news. Only twitch this year was to get Steve’s tristis Chiffchaff. I have claimed the surprise of two male RC Pochards when looking for the Scaup at Brogborough on 6th Jan though and will not be denied Raven over Pegsdon by some quirk of the rules.

My wintering garden Blackcaps are mine all mine and I will not be publishing the Dusky Thrush until it has departed as my wife does not want “my wierdo twitcher mates” interrupting her efforts in the kitchen...

Andy Grimsey

Wednesday 14 March 2012


Two Sand Martins at a gloomy Broom yesterday morning brings me up to 105.  Ive been doing up to three visits a day to Broom recently and this seems scant reward for all that effort!  Maybe tomorrow Ill re-find the Glossy Ibis...

Tuesday 13 March 2012

MJP hits a rich seam!

Birding near Kempston gets Martin two more good ones. This fine Stonechat and a couple of Jack Snipe. Quality SFYTs.

Monday 12 March 2012

Harrold early doors

Dawn at Harrold gave me one more SFYT with a singing Cetti's Warbler. Less exciting were the wildfowl.
A fine shot of two female Red-crested Pochards at Harrold. The second female being a SFYT for anyone other than me having found the other two. But it was me so counts for nothing.
Another quality shot of the Harrold Pink-foot with a dodgy wing. A bird from 2011 so not countable.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Tree Sparrow and Scaups

A couple of Martin's (darn it, they don't count for the SFYL) shots of a private garden Tree Sparrow and the Scaups (found in 2011 at Brogborough).

Thursday 8 March 2012

Not so glossy Blackcap

The only new bird so far this week has been a Blackcap singing by Jordan’s Mill while I was looking for the Glossy Ibis.  I hardly ever see Blackcaps in winter (as thats what I still class early March!) so I was quite pleased.

Hopefully in the next few days therell be Sand Martins, Wheatears, Rock Pipits, Glossy Ibis to come...

Friday 2 March 2012

Curlew at Gypsy Lane East

First day of the month and a SFYT snapped with the old iphone down the scope. Worse photos will be forthcoming no doubt.

Feburary - RIB

Well, missing finding the Beans by ten minutes was a nasty experience - but they were excellent birds to see whatever the listing circumstances. Radwell Bridge on the 5th provided a large bunting flock including Corn Buntings, more Pintails at Harrold but best for the SFYL was a Dunlin on the ice. Another three Dunlin at Radwell too. Doesn't seem right to count the Pink-footed Goose at Harrold since it is injured and has been there for months. I did find it though. February 7th - enjoying Steve's Broom Smew through slightly gritted teeth (I'd looked at this pit twice while he was away). Then it was WeBS weekend. A good start with cold weather and a trip to Wyboston, dragging SCB along. Bingo, six Bewick's Swans and a pair of Smew. A few more Goosanders on other counts but the only other SFYT was a pair of Red Kites over the viaduct pit at Radwell. The second half of the month was excellent with loads of additions - the trouble was, they were in Morocco - counts for nothing! I was back for the last couple of days but didn't manage to add anything. I even drove passed a Black-tailed Godwit at Derek Whites - I looked from the car and thought that looks good. But buying rabbit food from G&M Growers mean I'd earmarked Gypsy Lane for a quick scan but to no avail. I added just seven in Feb putting me on 95.