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.
A long weekend in the park kicked off with my usual Saturday morning visit for a bit of birding with DK and JA. Before they arrived I was lucky enough to see an Otter on the Finger Lakes as it swam past the fishing swim I was standing in along the Spit. There is always a sense of excitement when I see an Otter and I was already for a photo session with this animal but that was the last I saw of it! I'm not sure how it gave me the slip as the water was flat calm but I didn't see another ripple, let alone the Otter. Still I've been waiting a while since my last Otter sighting so this, albeit short encounter, was very welcome.
Later we came across a set of Otter tracks over on the earthworks at Castle Mill. They've probably been there for a while but the water levels have dropped over there and they have now been revealed. It looks like the works over on Castle Mill have resumed so these tracks will likely be under a few feet of top soil in the near future.
Otter track on Castle Mill earthworks
New in this week are Cuckoo, Reed Warbler and Common Whitethroat. There were also at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats around on Monday morning. The Sedge Warblers were more active in the STW reed bed with up to 4 seen and one even doing the display flight.
Chiffchaffs were quiet this weekend but Blackcaps hit their second wind with a count of 26 on Tuesday morning per DK.
The Flower Meadow has had a pretty good display of Cowslips this year and I grabbed a quick shot on Saturday morning.
I came across this Wren with a beak full of nest material on Saturday afternoon.
Easter Monday I spent the day in the park working on the Tern raft that we started a few months ago on one of the volunteer tasks. JA helped out in the morning along with Ranger Jane and between us we have it pretty much finished. Juts need some gravel, a few more bolts and a couple of anchors and we'll be there. Not bad given most of the materials are reused stuff some of which was fly tipped in the park. One man's trash is another man's treasure as they say.
I took an extra day off on Tuesday and went out oiling Canada Goose eggs with Ranger Danny. The rangers have already been out to the main lake island where they found 32 nests and oiled 165 eggs! We added another 60 eggs to the count with a trip up the river as far as Honey Hill Islands and a paddle across to 100 Acre island. On 100 Acre island we only found a couple of CG nests but we did flush 3 Snipe while we were searching.
All in all a pretty good weekend. Coming up this weekend we have the monthly guided bird walk which is on Sunday 27th at 9am. Meet at the visitor centre at 9am, see you there.