Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Recent News - 19/04/2017

The drake Garganey hung around until the weekend at least. No reports since Saturday but it might be hiding itself somewhere, you never know.

The Red-crested Pochards also seem to have departed but I got this picture of the male which looks quite weird front on like this!
Red-crested Pochard

A Cuckoo was heard near the Priory Wall on Apr 11 per Lin.

Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warbler both at Priory on Apr 12 per TP. This is the earliest record of Reed Warbler in the park per DK.

On Saturday (15th) JA and I had a Swift over, again the earliest record in the park per DK.

Plenty of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps but Whitethroats are hard to come by. On Tuesday (18th) I finally caught up with a House Martin which was in a mixed flock with Sand Martins and Swallows over the main lake.

Here are a couple more pictures from recent encounters. Firstly a Chiffchaff at the Sewage Works bridge.

 And finally here's a Chiffchaff sunning itself in the Long Hedge up near the Kissing Gate.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Saturday 08/04/2017

Garganey (M)
A drake Garganey turned up on the Finger lakes on Saturday, found by TP. DK called me to let me know it was there and I managed to catch up with it on my way back from 100 Acre. I also had my first Sedge Warbler of the year on the south side of the Sewage Works Bridge. There was a second in the sewage works compound.

On 100 Acre were 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Snipe, 3 Redshank, a pair of Wigeon and a Cetti’s Warbler down by the mooring place on the river. There seem to be at least 5 Cetti's Warblers in and around the park with the usual 2 (Crescent and Sewage Works Bridge), this one on 100 Acre and another reported in the week at Cardington Lock along with a second near the Crescent.

The Garganey was still around on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Recent News

Mar 13 - Sand Martin over the main lake this morning. Also 9 Chiffchaffs, 2 Cetti's (DK)

Mar 14 - A female Blackcap at Priory this morning was a first for the year at the site. (TP)

Mar 27 - Minimum of two little gull with black headed gull on main lake. Male red crested pochard and 5 shoveler. (MB)

Mar 27 - 5 Little Gulls Priory Co, Bedford, showing well north west corner @5.30pm (SW)

Mar 29 - c110 Sand Martins, 15 Chiffchaffs and 11 singing Blackcaps this morning. (DK)

Mar 30 - 2 Willow Warblers, 15 m Blackcaps, 16 Chiffchaffs, 2 Cetti's (DK)

Mar 31 - 2 Common Terns (DOM)

Apr 1 pair Red-c Pochards, 2 Jays, 120 Sand Martins, Swallow (TP), 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Common Terns, 13 Blackcaps, 16 Chiffchaffs, 2 Cetti's, 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Otters (ad + 2 cubs). 4 Egyptian Geese (one sitting) (DK)

Apr 2 - Sedge Warbler heard singing briefly south side by the river. (DOM)

The vols were in on Sunday 2/4 doing a quick trim along the edge of the reed bed by the main lake hide followed by a session clearing the upper Leat of obstructions and litter.

The tern raft has finally been launched and can be seen on the north side of the island on the main lake. Fingers crossed that the Terns like it!

Record shot of the Cetti's Warbler NE corner of the main lake

Friday, February 24, 2017

Doris did a bit of damage around the park

Spent the day volunteering in the park to deal with the fallen trees after storm Doris passed through yesterday. This Willow was the biggest challenge of the day (both pictures by Danny Fellman):


It was due for pollarding on Monday but unfortunately Doris got there first!

This one took three of us about 3 hours to clear up. There was another one further along the path but that was a bit easier to deal with so the path along the river is fully accessible now.

Earlier we cleared a smaller Willow which had fallen across the lake side path. A good days work if i do say so myself!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Herons nesting at Priory

The Heronry has gotten off to a good start this year with one pair already on eggs and another two pairs taking up residence. On Monday there was also a seventh heron hanging around. The 2 pairs on the east side of the spit are easily viewable from the east side of the Finger lakes. Keep an eye on the comings and goings throughout the breeding season. If you want to know more why not join the guided walk on Sunday morning (26th). Meet outside the visitor centre at 9am.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Winter at Priory CP

It's been a strange winter so far, generally mild and dry until the recent cold snap. Bird species that we expect to see in numbers have not materialised although with the colder weather a few more Pochard have arrived. We still have a good selection of wildfowl in the park just in smaller numbers than we might expect.

We also expect to have good numbers of Corn Buntings and Reed Buntings roosting in the Crescent Reed bed but just a handful have made the reed bed their home this winter.

Female Reed Bunting
Things are starting to liven up around the park with Rooks inspecting the south side rookery, a pair of Herons already nest building and the main lake Mute Swans staking their claim for territory.

Mute Swans
Lots of birds are starting to sing now with new voices joining the dawn chorus every week. Best of all dawn isn't at stupid o'clock so everyone can get out and enjoy the concert! You might even spot displaying Sparrowhawks and Kestrels over the meadows.

Over on 100 Acre the cattle have departed but the number of Lapwings and Golden Plover is far short of the those we had last winter.

Male Muntjac
The Sunday vols have been busy around the park with a return visit to Riverside Pond, a session in the Rough, plantation thinning on Riverside and coppicing in the Sheep Pen. Meanwhile the weekday crew have been all over the place with a number of sessions in Clapham Park Wood, several sessions on Fenlake meadows and several days clearing one of the spits on the Finger lakes.

There was also a recent hedge laying training weekend up at Browns Wood. (Thanks to Tom Williams for the following photo's):

If you are interested in joining a week day volunteer session these are held on Mondays and Thursdays. Please contact to Priory Rangers to let them know you want to come along and discuss the tasks.