Priory Country Park is a former gravel pits located on the South East edge of Bedford, adjacent to the River Great Ouse. Find us at Barkers Lane off A428, or in Priory Business Park off A421 Bedford bypass. Admission is Free with access to the Visitor centre and 2 hides, one overlooking the main lake and one on the Finger lakes. You will find Winter wildfowl, passage terns and waders, and Water Rail all year.
Great work by all the volunteers last Sunday. We started the work cutting back the Elders on the north side of the Finger Lakes. Despite a dodgy forecast we had a good turnout and managed to get quite a bit done with the bonus being that the rain held off so we all stayed dry. We'll probably be back there again next month to finish off, especially as the water levels around the park will likely prevent us working on most of the other tasks that need to be done.
There has been plenty more rain this week and the main lake is overflowing at the Beach making good use of the new sluice the volunteers built last year. The river level has fluctuated during the week bringing flooding to the east side of the Finger lakes and Press Mead on and off. This weekend the level has dropped back a bit and the park is accessible all round although wellies are the preferred footwear still.
Saturday dawned clear and bright with no frost. At least 6 Little Egrets were in the roost with 4 moving out onto the flood waters on Kings Mead at first light. Still only a few hundred Jackdaws at roost but still quite a spectacle when they all get up, especially with a beautiful sunrise behind them like this morning, what a noise!
Kingfishers are active around east Fingers and the north east corner of the main lake. We also had a visit from some of the 100 Acre Lapwings but unfortunately we were along the Spit so we missed a low level pass over the main lake, just managed a snap as they headed back to 100 Acre.
Lapwings high over the main lake
Plenty of Song Thrushes singing around the park, this guy was at the Kissing Gate in some nice early morning light.
Singing Song Thrush
The bright start to the day provoked a Chiffchaff into singing by the STW entrance. There were only low numbers of Golden Plovers on 100 Acre along with ~350 Lapwings. There were at least 8 Little Grebes on Meadow Lane GP.
The flood waters are always worth checking out and there were 32 Pied Wagtails on Kings Mead when we returned to the park.
Duck numbers remain relatively low although they vary from day to day. Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall and Teal can usually be found along with the resident Mallards.
I popped down to neighbouring Willington GP on Saturday evening for the Starling roost but hardly any showed up. I will check again sometime but it looks like the roost may have moved elsewhere. The sunset made up for the lack of Starlings and there was a good number of Lapwings on the flood water in the field with the Barnacle Geese.