Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ed ticks Caspian shocker!

I thought it might have been a hopeless task this afternoon. I looked at the tip and very few gulls were on it. I then looked at the fields and I could only find a handful of birds. Quest was equally poor, with just a few early-afternoon loafers. Ed's mission to find one of the Caspian Gulls today was looking decidedly dicey!
I met up with him at 2pm and we did the usual circuit - tip, field, pit. It was quiet. We decided to have a look at Broggy and let the gulls assemble prior to roosting. Broggy was full of duck as usual, with up to five Scaup bobbing around in front of the watch point. However, as nice as they are, it wasn't what Ed was after!
We ended up back at the pre-roost pit. A few more birds had drifted in, but nothing that resembled a Caspo. I went through them again, and found this boy paddling in the water - score!
I say 'boy' but its such a demure thing, that I suspect it's probably a female. Que life tick for Ed - Cha-ching!
Looking at photos of the first-winter we had a few weeks ago, it's clear this is a new bird - that makes five individuals in the last three weeks.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Captain Caspian

I spent most of today 'brickpitting'. That is chasing gulls from tip, to field, to pit, and back again. I ended up with two Caspian Gulls - an adult from last week, and this new bird - a 3rd winter.

After complaining about the lack of Caspian's so far this winter, I've now seen four in the last two weeks. November has to be one of the best months to find these chaps in the UK?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Reed Bunt

Reed Bunting, game-strip near Upper Caldecote, 15th Nov. Game-strips are a real boon for finches, buntings, and sparrows during the winter period. They provide a fantastic food supply for wild birds, as well as their more 'cultivated' brethren. Unfortuantely, soon after Christmas, many of them are ploughed in as their usefulness declines as the pheasants and partridges are shot out.

Casper the ghost

It's been fairly slim gull pickings recently in the county. After a juv/first-winter Caspian Gull in the Stewartby roost the other week, things went a bit quiet before an adult Caspian was found in the dying rays of light on Friday night by MJP.

Saturday evenings roost was typically poor, with just a single adult Yellow-leg of note. Today I decided to pop in and see the mid-day roost on one of the more 'exclusive' brick pits.

I struck gull-gold! Well, reletively speaking - I found two adult Caspians in a matter of minutes. Both pretty typical birds, but both flew off seperately towards Stewartby before anyone else could get to see them. Below are a few shots.

This is the second bird I found:

And here's the first bird:

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


This is FAY, a Cormorant from a brood of four ringed in Forvie, North-east Scotland. I found it on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly on 31st October 2007. It's still the most southerly recovery from all the Cormorants ringed on the east coast of Scotland to date.

Coincidentally, I also found another colour-ringed Cormorant from the same area at the weekend. This one was on Brogborough lake in Beds. It was originally ringed in Inverbervie on 25th July earlier this year.

Reporting colour-ringed birds can be very rewarding....if the ringers involved can be bothered to write back! Which isn't always the case, unfortunately.

(edited to keep Errol happy!)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Time for bed...

Just part of the 30,000 strong roost of Starlings in the Beds brickpits tonight. Two Sparrowhawks were also trying their luck low over the reedbeds. Totally spectacular, and something else you don't always have to travel loads of miles to see.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


The birders favourite. Firecrest at Bedfordshires premier site for them, The Lodge. 5th Nov 2009. One of at least two lurking around the gardens in recent days.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Talking of Redwing...

I had a week away in the wilds of Scotland back in July. As it was a holiday with some mates, no hard birding was on the cards - this was a relaxing week away.
Of course, the birds didn't see it that way, and even without trying I found Redwings breeding in the garden! Reading the latest Rare Breeding Birds Panel report (for 2005) they are staggeringly rare birds - just one pair were confirmed breeding in 2005 - which makes the pair I found fairly significant.
I watched them bouncing around the lawn all week. They were picking up small worms to feed their young, which was actually in a leylandi right next to the window of our room. They were also incredibly aggressive towards anyone walking through the garden - they dive-bombed anyone who got too close to the nest, which was also right next to the gate!
The best bit was on the last day of our stay, when on a fairly wet afternoon, I saw a dark, streaky, stubby-tailed juvenile Redwing sitting on the veranda! It was too quick for the camera mind you, but it put a large smile on my face.

Monday, 2 November 2009


A mini-influx of these dudes in the county at the moment. Its gone from none on Saturday, to three on Sunday, and five today! Anyway, lovely ducks, Scaup. This one was at Brogborough Lake, 1st Nov.

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