31 March, 2009

Barton Hills NNR

Fairly quiet after dawn in a two hour walk around this great reserve near Barton. A Red Kite flew in from the east joining a Common Raven.
No visible migration was apparent and the only ground migrants were two singing Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap.

Song Thrush

Barton Hills NNR, looking north-west.

30 March, 2009

Local Patch - 30/03/09

New arrivals included another Little Ringed Plover - this one spending much of the day feeding and loafing on the scrape. The first Red Kite for the site this year 'appeared' above the scrape quite low before drifting off east. JL picked out a House Martin as the Hirundine numbers increased in the afternoon - certainly my earliest record in the UK ! Four new Mute swans joined the three 'residents' - one adult and three immature birds.

Todays shots were always going to be a bit rough as i'd left on the 1.4x converter, this only performs well with lashings of sunlight - which didn't happen.

Little Ringed Plover

Red Kite

House Martin

29 March, 2009


A Ringed Plover replaced yesterdays Little Ringed Plover at Octagon farm, and there was a Green Sandpiper along a brook near junction 13 of the M1.

Ringed Plover

Green Sandpiper

A male Reed Bunting singing at Octagon farm.

Reed Bunting

A flock of 145 Barnacle Geese were back at Willington, some of them sporting red darvic rings.

Barnacle Goose

27 March, 2009

Local patch - 27/03/09

My first Barn Swallow of the season (well, two actually !) was nice to see. It landed on some wires where it gave a few minutes of its 'twittering' song - a taste of the summer to come. A Grey Heron drifted past.

22 March, 2009

Wheatear @ Blow's Downs

An early drive up to the paddocks at Blow's downs, Dunstable to see a Northern Wheatear. A nice male that kept its distance - not helped by frisky horses galloping around its favoured area ! Peach, blue/grey and black - a great colour combination, methinks.


The weather continues to stay fair, but change is, apparently, on the way. At Dstw, new arrivals included a fly-over calling Little-ringed Plover ( a week late) and a few more Sand Martin (never lingering). A pair of Grey Wagtail hunted on the wader scrape.

Grey Wagtail

21 March, 2009

Local patch - 21/03/09

At Dunstable STW the fine weather continued, new arrivals included a Greylag Goose, an Egyptian Goose (a site tick for me), a Great-crested Grebe, and two Sand Martin.

Egyptian Goose

On Nina's pond, the pair of Whooper Swan (of Wardown park origin) posed for the camera.

Whooper Swan

17 March, 2009


A minor detour between birding spots brought me through Woburn, and a quick check around Duck Lane proved fruitful as the Waxwing were still present. They were feeding on the few remaining shrivelled berries.


06 March, 2009

Local Patch - 06/03/09: Sand Martin

A single Sand Martin at Dunstable STW again - or another ?

04 March, 2009

Local Patch - 04/03/09: First African migrant arrives !

At Dunstable STW, my earliest ever Sand Martin - by all accounts, the third earliest for Bedfordshire! A Brambling was hanging around the feeders, and four Little Egret were disturbed by contractors. During the afternoon, a pair of Mandarin were found by JL.
So, please forgive the postage-sized record shot, for it's the symbolism behind the image that counts: SPRING has arrived !