Speeding up with a rarity

I was desperate to go out birding today. The weather was just perfect. The girls had not much choice this time as Kea got chicken pox yesterday. I started my eBird year at the Mount Farm Lake where the regular birds were present. I didn’t see many songbirds though. Most of the berries have been gone and birds possibly moved to new places.

List of birds:

Greylag Goose 4
Canada Goose 4
Mute Swan 28
Gadwall 21
Mallard 7
Tufted Duck 18
Great Cormorant 7
Gray Heron 3
Eurasian Moorhen 2
Eurasian Coot 23
Black-headed Gull 164
Mew Gull 8
European Herring Gull 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Common Wood Pigeon 8
Eurasian Magpie 11
Carrion Crow 4
Great Tit 2
Eurasian Blue Tit 8
Long-tailed Tit 4
Eurasian Wren 2
European Robin 8
Eurasian Blackbird 1
Mistle Thrush 2
Dunnock 2
European Goldfinch 4

From the lake I drove to the Aspley Woods near Bow Brickhill where I have never been before… at least not for birding. It’s a very nice old mixed forest. It is thought to be the oldest forest in Bedfordshire. It was a real living forest. I was surprised by the large bird flocks in the woods. The species composition wasn’t extraordinary but the numbers were unexpected.

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Nice mixed forest with soggy footpath. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Maroon seed on the grounds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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These beautiful pine forest was full of British Coal Tits. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Tit flocks were often feeding in the canopy of these tall pine trees making birding a bit challenging. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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This nice house has a perfect backyard at the edge of the forest. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Right next to the woods one of the most beautiful golf courses of Buckinghamshire located. © Gyorgy Szimuly

List of species seen in the north west part of the woods:

Common Buzzard 2
Common Wood-Pigeon 11
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Eurasian Magpie 1
Eurasian Jackdaw 3
Carrion Crow 2
Coal Tit (British) 32
Great Tit 29
Eurasian Blue Tit 21
Eurasian Nuthatch 3
Eurasian Treecreeper 1
Eurasian Blackbird 3
Common Chaffinch 1
Eurasian Bullfinch 1

The route from the Aspley Woods through the Woburn golf course was fascinating. It is worth to spend a bit more time in the woods. As I arrived to Woburn I saw a huge female Eurasian Sparrowhawk. First I thought it was a Northern Goshawk by its size. Over the sparrowhawk 2 Red Kites were patrolling. This area was the hot spot for the Red Kites most probably by the rich food source in the Woburn Safari Park.

I stopped briefly at the southeast road of the safari park where more Red Kites (5) were soaring. Also Common Buzzard (2), Green Woodpecker (1), Stock Dove (1), Common Wood Pigeon (4), Western Jackdaw (12), Carrion Crow (34) and European Starling (11) was seen.

South end of the Woburn Safari Park. © Gyorgy Szimuly

South end of the Woburn Safari Park. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Wood Pigeon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Wood Pigeon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

On the way to the Stewartby Lake I saw a flock of 14 Fieldfares, 65 Eurasian Jackdaw (at Tyrells End of Eversholt), a Red-legged Partridge, a Common Kestrel and a feeding Redwing (on the Eversholt Road near Steppingley) was seen.

The last stop of today was at the Stewartby Lake near Marston Moretaine where a Great Northern Loon has been staying for a while. Before I reached the famous Aston Martin test circuit I saw another Red Kite soaring over the road. After the main entrance of the Millennium Country Park 11 overflying Northern Lapwing coloured my day. I spent about an hour at the southwest corner of the Stweartby Lake with two other local birders and tried to locate the loon. It was feeding close to the north side of the lake. It briefly showed twice. Literally it came up breathing just for a few seconds then dived again.

List of birds:

Mallard 8
Tufted Duck 8
GREAT NORTHERN LOON 1
Great Crested Grebe 36
Great Cormorant 8
Black-headed Gull 250
Mew Gull 6
European Herring Gull 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Common Wood Pigeon 13
Rook 1
Carrion Crow 27
European Robin 2
Eurasian Blackbird 1
White Wagtail (British) 1

Wintering Great Northern Diver. Image taken in Hungary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Wintering Great Northern Loon. Image taken in Hungary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Unfortunately at home I learned that at least one Siberian Chiffchaff was seen on the same place. Luckily it is also a long staying bird so there is some chance to see it.

Some eBird stats for 2014: 10 total checklists, 50 seen species. Ranking in the Top 100 eBirders in the United Kingdom: #3.

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