Wednesday 30 May 2012

A very sociable Peregrine

Those of you who still need to find Peregrine this year should have come to the Birders Social at Silsoe last night. We found this one after only six pints each. We still can't work out why it didn't fly off...

Monday 28 May 2012

The only way to find stuff at Broom

Andy desperately trying not to find out what I've just seen...


After Mr Bashfords Quail sucess at the weekend I thought I'd spend this evening having a listen myself. I didn't quite expect to find one after only my second stop though!

My bird was at the top of the hill just outside Wrestlingworth, about 200 meters from the crossroads heading towards Guilden Morden. Also Corn Bunting here, and a reeling Gropper just below the water tower at Cockayne Hatley. A great evenings birding.

The last easy one?

I cycled out to some villages this morning to get Spotted Flycatcher on the SFYL and scored with two or three calling/singing birds in Colmworth.  I've now reached the late 130s but wondering what the next will be.  I think it is likely to be a couple of months away unless I get lucky with any other late passage waders or perhaps and Osprey.  Otherwise it will just have to be a major rarity...

Sunday 27 May 2012

Spot Fly Success

After seeing everyone streak ahead over the past month. It was nice to actually self-find something.
After seeing a pair of Spot Fly at Broom Moat House (which I didn't count), I finally found another pair at the southern end of Old Warden. A far more satisfying tick in a place I have found them many years ago before.
However, still no luck with Gropper, Nightingale and Turtle Dove. Also the search for calling Quail is now on- all pedal assisted of course......................

Been quiet but...

...this morning was better.  Failed with Quail after a couple of stops at Hatch Lane, Thurleigh.  Amazing then to hear one (maybe two) calling when I stopped at the A6 pit, Radwell.  Also some Greenshanks.
Then the third SFYT of the morning with a couple of Grey Plovers on the Viaduct Pit.

A little bit of irony for y'all.

Monday 21 May 2012

Lots of the same

With the challenge of getting a few more for my SFYL, I have put slightly more birding effort in the wetlands and slightly less in the hills for the second half of the spring with the hope of a few scarce wader ticks. Unfortunately they have all eluded me by not appearing in the first few hours of daylight at the weekends in the places where I have been. I have recorded more common wader numbers than usual a result of this effort with Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Common Sandpipers all over the place and good flocks of both of the first two.
Better SFYL Ticks achieved as a result of this early rising have been Turtle Dove (flyover), Hobby and latest a Black Tern at Broom this Sunday though missed out on the Greenshank that SCB grabbed.
Also seen plenty of Wheatear around this year and was pleased to capture this digiscope image on a tree guard near Gypsy Lane West pit on 13th May.

Thursday 10 May 2012


Running out of easy ones now so things will grind to a halt any day.  But nice to see my first Turtle Dove flying from Broom village to Southill. 

Wednesday 9 May 2012

On a Whim

A four-way self find this lunchtime with a calling Whimbrel heard by four hardy souls at Broom.  Steve picked it up over Peacocks and down it came into the field.  A Hobby on my way home tonight gets me into the 130s.  No nearer SCB's total though...

Monday 7 May 2012

Black-necked Spotted Turtle Gropper

After bumping in to three wonderful Black-necked Grebes at Dereks the other day, I thought I'd spend today looking for more regular migrants.  First off I tried Tempsford for Spotted Flycatchers and soon found a male singing and zooming around looking for a suitable nest site.  Next I thought I'd try Waterloo Thorns for Turtle Dove.  After a few minutes looking at various spots unsuccessfully I'd just got back to my car pondering what to do next.  A minute later and the loud buzzing of a Gropper piped up - SFYL tick number two for the day.  After spending a few minutes trying to photograph it I looked up to see a dove heading towards me - as I raised my bins I could see it was gloriously multicoloured - Turtle Dove. Bingo!  It was obviously belting north at speed, but my heart sank as I realised they're getting harder and harder to find locally.

Thursday 3 May 2012

The Grimsey bid staggers into May

Thought I was keeping up until the last few days… With the winds and rain last weekend, I recognised that I needed to spend some time by the water in my bid to keep up with the leading lights of Beds SFYL and started off well with Arctic Tern at Stewartby at 5:45am on Saturday but after just hirundines coming in for company in two hours on the stone steps, I decided it was time to move on for a while as there was clearly not a big passage going on. Just as I was considering taking the walk along to the Pillinge, I then committed the ULTIMATE SFYL SIN of checking the text message that I had just received. "F… and B…" Grey Plover at the Pillinge. Change of plan, somebody is already there and they’ve got the bird, so off into other parts of the pits keeping an eye on the sky. Slight recovery on finding a Nightingale in a private area was a consolation but then nothing else in any of the wader habitat elsewhere.

With all the birds reported on the move, a couple of lunchtime outings and two other passes through Broom area this week have found me just a flock of 13 Dunlin with no other coastal waders or different terns. So the long weekend beckons and my early morning calendar is set with a target of three in the spring passage specials category so I look forward to posting the tales of my Godwits, Whimbrel, Plovers, Sanderling, Little tern etc on Monday evening !

Note to self: If you have a plan, stick to it and do not answer text. If it is rare enough to be worth deviating for, I would hope to be getting a phone call

Here Kitti Kitti!

Hopes of flocks of feeding waders on the fine looking flooded fields near Begwary Brook were thwarted this there weren't any.  But there was this - which is only my third ever in the county - Self found one in 1988, one at Stewartby a couple of years ago, and now this one.

Right then, that's me off abroad for the next four days.  Very best of luck to my fellow listers...honest.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Sandwiches for Lunch

Having gotten up later than a late thing this morning, I eventually got to Stewartby Lake at 11.45 where it was of no surprise to find that Keith Owen's 2 Kittiwakes had already moved through (unmedically speaking), however his summer plumage Sanderling was still along the concrete slipway by the sailing club, albeit only for a few minutes as, when I looked for it again about noon, it was not to be seen and thereafter both children and boats arrived!!
At noon, I was scanning the lake to be certain that the Kittys had definitely gone and had only seen a distant single Black-headed Gull and a Common Tern resting on a closish buoy when I heard a tern calling - but what a treat! Eric had arrived!!
I reverted to bins and quickly found not one but three Sandwich Terns flying about in the nearest quadrant of the lake to by position toward the level crossing, east corner end of Green Lane along the north-east shoreline. They appeared to be a pair and a single as the two kept apart from the third bird and landed on a mid-lake buoy together. I promptly 'phoned the news out - it was 12.05. Sandwiches for Lunch indeed!!
One of the birds seemed to have gone within ten minutes but two were still present when I'd relocated to the breaker's yard, north corner. This "pair" then moved off as well and had gone by 12.23. I took this photograph, the best of a few taken, at 2x thro' my 32x 'scope lens and then blew the resultant shot up rather a lot more on the computer. Even at the near kilometre distance snapped, the large size, shaggy black cap, black legs, white body and long "dipped in butter" black bill are all clearly evident.....honest!
Later, I enjoyed further views of the long-staying Slav Grebe in the same 'scope view as the recent drake Common Scoter. The Nightingale sang sporadically at the north corner but my singing Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler of recent days were far easier to see. At 2.15 with TP, LC and BC, I enjoyed nice close views of the Turnstone found at Millbrook Pillinge a little earlier by DHB, then it was back for another half hour or so at Stewartby.  

Martin Palmer

Flo Jo working

Following a fairly standard BBS at Pertenhall this morning, I decided to briskly trudge the forty minute there-and-back to Spanoak Woods to try for Nightingale. Bingo, with two, maybe three singing.

Tuesday 1 May 2012


Egg sandwich on my face.  I've checked my Observer's Book again and reckon it was actually a Marsh Warbler (a well known mimick), doing a perfect impression of Reed Warbler song.   I've not got the time to fill in a rarity form so marking it down as Reed Warbler.


Looking at the list totals, it seems that RIB has seen a Great Reed Warbler! As it's only a 2nd county record, surely he could have told others about it!