Thursday 19 June 2014

Further nailing the wildfowl cup...

My first Mandarin of the year.  Catch me if you can landlubbers!  And still got Pintail to find (as well as Velvet Scoter of course)

Monday 16 June 2014


For the greater quantity of birders in Bedfordshire, strolling through barley on a quiet late evening in hope of finding Quail is a quixotic dream, In fact, even hearing this species in the county for me is a less than quadrennial occurrence. Having eaten well and quenched my thirst, I set out once more on my quest on Tuesday last. With a handful of Quorn Buntings to keep my company, I followed a plotted quadrilateral of field boundaries in search of my quarry. After some three quarters of an hour with a brightening moon, I heard first one call then after a ten minute wait and a closer approach, a second call, a typical straight quartet of qwik-we-wic notes. After  making my notes on the record, realising the lack of light remaining, I moved quickly back to Streatley village for the five minute drive back home, my nightly (medicinal) quota of red wine and the comfort of my quilt. Quality tick and no quibbles on this one for a heard-only record. 

Common Scoter 31/05/2014

Called in to Grovebury for a quick look round. The lake was unusually calm, like a mill pond in fact. Sat on the lake in a very tight group were five Common Scoter, my second site first this May. The closest I had got previously was finding a freshly dead male just a stones throw away in July 2011.

Saturday 14 June 2014


Bee-eater. Potton. Friday 13th. Ambivalence.

During the past fortnight or so, I have spent an awful lot of time sky-watching, horizon-scanning and ear-cupping, but I was not quite expecting this.

My lightweight description is now in the hands of the Rarities Committee, although it is firmly implanted in my personal records. My notebook entry reads ''BE!! heard once, ''prrr-rrrii!'' rolling, disyllabic, not seen.'' I have since found out that the BTO code for European Bee-eater is MZ, not BE, obviously. MeropZ. Silly me.

30+ hours per week in the field was sure to eventually bring a reward, but I wish I had seen it...and it been twitchable. How many are though?

Strangely, I was thinking about Bee-eaters a month or so ago, and thought the most likely SF'er to get one would be John at Grovebury. I have only been there three or four times, but it always strikes me as looking quite rare and quite possibly to a Bee-eater's liking.


Monday 2 June 2014