Wednesday 29 April 2015

LBJs no more?

I'm assuming that a Garden Warbler isn't the most exciting bird around but it's proven to be a bit of a milestone for me. Matt's info about them being back at Broom the other day led me to realise that I wouldn't know one if it landed on me. This resulted in a fair bit of reading up, a look at the excellent BTO bird ID videos and then a walk around my local area to see if I'd been missing out all these years - and I was. I did think I was listening to a Blackcap today but when a LBJ appeared I (for once) knew what it was straight away.

I still don't think I'm a birder but I do know that by the end of this year my limited knowledge of birds will have been enhanced significantly and it will be down to this SFYL caper :-)

Once again, apologies for the quality of the picture and I really must take Matt up on that offer of a photo workshop.


Monday 27 April 2015

Little Tern

Not only a county tick, but a self-found county tick - the best kind. Glad Steve got there in time, but somewhat gutted that Jim Gurney - surely one of the most pleasant and charming birders in our fair county - arrived just too late. Can't recall the last bird I found that Jim saw, but he took it with remarkable good grace...again. I'm sure he must secretly think that I'm a big stringy tw@t. ;-) So many of my finds are either 'ephemeral' or located at the arse-end of nowhere.

For those that are interested, why not submit your county self-found life lists on this website. Choose Bedfordshire from the county list and select the self-found option:

Above photograph courtesy of SCB.


Back to back

This is 2nd year on the bounce I've selfied this species after a brace last year. Reassuringly, this bird has no rings too. First found at 0630 on Peacock's Lake. Relocated to GLE before flying east at 0705. A nice one to get...........

Sunday 26 April 2015

Sneaking in a wit

The first man there and the regular visitors seem to get all the Broom finds at this time of year but a chance visit on a good passage day in between times could be a good tactic. Not a Hudsonian but still good to grab a Barwit on the deck in full summer plumage with a phone-less Jim Gurney during a quick pop in before work after the early shift had already gone on Thursday. Nothing much over the weekend as I was not around save for an hour early morning on the way up north Saturday, but two singing Nightingales and a Cuckoo in Coronation went on the SFYL just to keep the count ticking along.

Thursday 23 April 2015


I said at the very beginning that I was rubbish at this birding caper and that most of the things I see are by accident. This was proven by my initial oversight of the 2 Little Terns at Peacock's Lake, about 10 minutes before they were seen at GLE. Most terns look "funny" to me, so I pretty much take pictures of every one I see, then quickly check the pictures on the back of the camera for ID but for some reason I didn't check these until I got home, when the white forehead could be faintly seen and the yellowish bill colour stuck out - oh and they were little.

I think the only saving grace in this instance is that the birds were definitely only at Peacock's for no longer than about 1 minute, so the ID delay didn't stop anyone else seeing them there.

I've already said to Matt that I think it would be unsporting to claim them as a true SFYL, hence I've stuck them down as a 0.5 - if that is OK with the other members?

Promise to pay more attention next time to terns that suddenly appear and disappear.......


Sunday 19 April 2015

WeBS debut

Its difficult to add new birds to my Broom WeBS list.  But 4 Arctic Terns did the trick on Peacock's Lake this evening. BTW, one of the terns is clearly visable at 10.00 o'clock from the small white blob which is clearly a Mute Swan.

Saturday 18 April 2015


Thought I'd have a look at Meadow Lane first this morning given the weather and time of year; turned out to be a good move, not only was there no RIB Skoda parked up suggesting that any good tick had already been nabbed, but there was actually a tick worth nabbing. After an initial flush by a dog, it settled down along one piece of opposite shoreline and fed happily, first one I've found in county since SFYL started in 2012.

Friday 17 April 2015

Big effort, Little reward....................

After morning and afternoon visits and well over 3 hours of waiting, GLE finally came up trumps. Nice to catch up with Martin Stevens too. They were there for just 15 minutes of down time before climbing high and departing NW.
NE winds for the next 3 days folks- get out there!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

GLE Hobby

A pity to have missed the GLE Whimbrels this morning, as I could watch these birds all day but I decided to plonk myself down for a bit in the blistering heat of the late morning and early afternoon to see if anything else would turn up. After a while something swooping about at the south end of GLE caught my eye and of course typically I was up the "top end" watching a male Wheatear.

Anyway, given the size, speed and acrobatics of this bird I immediately thought of a Hobby - but a bit early. I fired off a few long distance shots and thankfully managed to get something to confirm the ID.


Friday 10 April 2015

...and then a Sarnie!

Almost immediately after my last post! Straight through GLE heading East over the A1. No quality image this time though.......

Club Med

An early morning vigil added a belting 2nd Summer Med Gull to my SFYL. Also caught up with a Kingfisher.
Another 2 green ticks. I think I've cracked this photography thing too!

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Ring my bell

I'm glad that it only took 2 visits and approximately 5 hours of tramping around Pegsdon this year before I caught sight of a couple of these beauties, as it usually involves a lot more effort (and swearing).

Just about to pack up and come home tonight when a distinctive "chack" call rang out from the hedgerow at the bottom of the western slope of Deacon Hill and then luckily (and surprisingly) both birds went up into the top of the large trees with some Fieldfare and Starlings. The birds then went down into the scrub near the water trough, with one even occasionally breaking into song, something I'd never heard before.


Saturday 4 April 2015

Stewards' Enquiry required

Gentlemen of the SFYL jury, I require your adjudication on today's GGS sighting.

I'm sure this is the SSNR bird but it obviously roams about a bit and I last saw it on the 22nd of March on a private site close to SSNR. In this instance I'd been told earlier in the day that the bird was still about and, although I wasn't actually looking for it, the fact that I knew it was about discounted it as a SFYL "tick".

I was on a different part of this site today doing a bit of dog training after a few hours at Broom (3 LRP, 9 Swallows through and PFG showing well) when the cheeky bugger briefly landed on a bush fairly close by. Having learnt my lesson after missing pics of decent birds before I now always try to have the camera to hand and managed a couple of shots before it flew off in the general direction of SSNR (so maybe still worth a look there also?). In this instance I was not looking for it and having been raking around this area during the past few weeks thought it had gone.

Either way, I never tire of seeing these birds and it must be on its way soon.


Thursday 2 April 2015

Things are picking up

Having had a Swallow over the garden in the frost the other day, I was convinced that the Sand Martins would have returned to Broom by now, so have been spending a fair bit of time down there over the past few days.

No Sand Martins so far but a couple of decent birds have turned up in the meantime. Yesterday afternoon (1 April - honest) saw a Little-ringed Plover drop in briefly straight after a fairly heavy hail shower. Luckily, 5 Ringed Plover were also there to provide a size comparison, otherwise I would probably have ignored it as "just" another RP.

Today saw 2 trips to Broom due to work travels and the first stop found a Curlew that didn't hang about very long and left almost immediately. I then had to go to the Chicksands area and got a bit of a surprise with a Yellow Wagtail in the yard of the "onion factory" next to Rowney Warren, which flew off across the road to the middle of the field.

Another trip to GLE later on didn't add anything to the SFYL but it was good to catch up with Matt for a chat and then dig out the Pinkfoot from amongst the Greylags feeding in the field across the water.

Thoughts are turning to Ring Ouzels and Whimbrel, so we'll see how that works out!