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.
It was a great morning in the park starting with the first Common Tern of the year which was flying around the main lake when I arrived just after 6am. It was still about when DK and JA arrived so we all got our year tick.
We also had 2 Common Terns over 100 Acre and by the time we got back to the Park there were 2 over the main lake which were still there when we left.
Highlight of the morning was the Red Kite first seen over 100 Acre and then again over the visitor centre and heading west just before we left the park.
There was also a Common Buzzard over 100 Acre.
100 Acre also had a good selection of waders with Snipe, Oystercatcher, Redshank and the colour ringed Black-winged Stilt all showing well. There were 4 Little Ringed Plovers over on the earth works at Castle Mill and a single Ringed Plover.
Little Ringed Plovers
There were plenty of spring migrants in the park with a couple of Willow Warblers, plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a handful of Sand Martins. There was an Oystercatcher on the main lake island, all in all a pretty good morning birding.
A great turnout for the guided walk this morning despite the clocks going forward and it being Mothers Day! The sun struggled to make an appearance finally appearing as we returned to the Visitor Centre at the end of the walk. The only disappointment was that the Sand Martins failed to show having been present most mornings since their first appearance a couple of weeks ago. Can't complain though as we had 51 species on the list by the end of the morning.
Willow Warblers have also arrived with TP having the first one yesterday but unfortunately despite at least 4 being around the park this morning we failed to connect with one during the walk.
Highlight for me were the Redshanks which were playing hard to get at first but we finally found them on the return leg across 100 Acre. The colour ringed Black-winged Stilt also showed well although it does seem to have an injured leg and was limping quite badly. A couple of Ringed Plovers also showed well on the Castle Mill earth works.
Here's the full list kindly noted down by Marion Hession:
Great Spotted Woodpecker