Monday 29 October 2012

A bit finchy

The autumns going ok so far.  Filled in a Brambling sized hole in my list with regular vismig birds.  A run of Rock Pipits at various pits and even over The Pinnacle seemed to make them easy this year.  And the cream of the crop recently have come in the form of three Hawfinches also on vismig.  Now up to 155, with just one obvious gap to sniff out, and hopefully some unexpected additions.  Best of luck everyone...

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Rocks and mud

As can be clearly seen here, a fine Rock Pipit perching about as far away as possible from me, through the mist.  But that'll be another on the list...

Sunday 21 October 2012

Merlin Magnificence

Reward for freezing my arse off for three hours whilst vis-migging at The Lodge this morning was a magnificent male Merlin, which flew directly over my head and over two Ravens I was watching at that very moment.

Merlin - the thinking man's Peregrine.

That takes me to 125 SFYL.


Monday 15 October 2012

Yeah whatever...

Bramble Finch for me too.  Hard work adding birds these days.

Woodlarks right on cue

Vis-migging with Mark Gurney at The Lodge yesterday morning (14 October), amazingly we had one (or possibly two) fly over us us at the watchpoint. It wasn't necessary amazing to see Woodlarks (although fabulous of course), but more that it was precisely one year to the day that we had two fly over us at exactly the same spot.

So if you want to see Woodlark in Bedfordshire, stand by the gate on the new heath at The Lodge between 07:13-08:33 on 14 October.


Saturday 13 October 2012

Brambling too

Getting a little practice in for the Big Mig tomorrow and fortunate enough to have Brambling call over, then one calling in a bush and then one feeding on the ground in stubble with a mixed flock. Not only a Beds self found year tick but a UK year tick after the complete lack of them earlier in the year. First time out on the hills for a while without a chat but as usual the fenceposts looked inviting...

Fenceposts... good for chats and good for putting your tea on while vismigging.

Monday 8 October 2012


It was rubbish for them during the first winter period, but promises to be better during the second. Not entirely unexpected, a vis-mig Brambling this morning at The Lodge takes my total to 123.


Saturday 6 October 2012


A Little Owl and one of two Black-necked Grebes...showing well...

Friday 5 October 2012

Class act

He may have been doing a little less birding of late but Martin P shows us how it's done and pulls out a corker at Stewartby Lake!

"I had just completed my first scan through the gull roost at Stewartby Lake when I happened across the same "little grebe" just beyond the middle of this large lake as I reported for Wednesday evening. It was 6.25 and this time I looked at it properly! The clue on Wednesday was, of course, that it was alone toward the centre of the lake whereas Dabchicks here generally hug the fringes. It was clearly blackish grey and smoky white with an erect neck and slopy dark crown descending below the eye - classic BLACK-NECKED GREBE!  Unsurprisingly, it was too distant and too gloomy to attempt a thro' the 'scope shot of the BNG at Stewartby Lake.

 Yellow-legged Gull

My pocket Lumix around with me is paying dividends! After Wednesday's Stonechat and Whitchat shots at Woburn Road Wetlands, Kempston, here are a couple of shots of the Northern Wheatear and Yellow-legged Gull from y'day evening. I've even got the A421 roadsign in one shot in proof of location!

It always pays to have something handy in you pocket when you find something unusual whilst out birding!"


I found a Whinchat accompanied by a Stonechat c5.30pm y'day at Woburn Road Wetlands - I'd already got Stonechat as a sfyt at this site back in spring of course but Whinchat was a welcome addition.

Its been a long time finding something - June to September busy with family and house improvement reasons have seen me hardly get in more than a couple of hours local birding/butterfling/dragonflying this summer but now that all those nasty tiny singing birds have gone I can get down to finding a nice fat duck or gull for my list!! I've not knowingly self-found a Gypo or a Mandarin this year - yet!

And adding in the Wiles Wood Short-eared Owl (I never did find a Spot Fly this year - just twitched the Tempsford ones when they first arrived).  MJP

Tuesday 2 October 2012

My low hanging fruit

September has allowed me to pick off a couple. Not had a lot of self-found waders this year so a Greenshank in Quest Pit on the 9th September was welcome and also added Egyptian Goose with a number of sightings of the flock at East Hyde both on family drive pasts and while parked up to clear the scrape out as part of support to my sons DofE award volunteering experience. For any other prospective tickers of these Gypos, make sure you are not looking for them specifically as you drive down the B653 and watch out they are not in Herts. A female Stonechat at Pegsdon on 29th Sept completed the month (and the list of the chalk hill migrants that I was aiming for this year), anything left now is difficult.

So what are my low hanging fruits to pluck in the last few months of the year...?

I could not justify any of my Goosander this year for the SFYL so that has got to be one, also Med Gull, Brambling, Short-eared Owl and Kittiwake are dangling out there somewhere. That leaves me with two from Bittern, Tree Sparrow or Lesser 'pecker to make 140. Any other hits when visiting the wet stuff will be a bonus. SO Target set... brownie points in the bank... and a new flask for vis mig mornings... now where is my SFYL rarity ?