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Bedfordshire

Lady Amhurst Pheasant Chrysolophus amherstiae ©Steve Blain Website

At some 123,000 hectares Bedfordshire is one of the smallest counties in England, though it can boast of being the home of both the RSPB and for many years of British Birds. Its geology, with four main strata of chalk, gault clay, lower greensand and Oxford clay traversing the county roughly from south-west to north-east ensures that it supports a diverse range of habitats even in a predominantly agricultural context, though some, such as heath-land, now occur only in small, isolated fragments. A total county list of some 280 species includes between 110 and 120 regularly breeding species: on average around 200 species are recorded in all each year.

Bedfordshire's speciality used to be Lady Amherst's Pheasant, which occurred on the greensand having spread from its original introduction at Woburn (also occurring just into Bucks). Sadly, the population of this extremely secretive and more often heard than seen bird has declined rapidly and is now presumed to have died out there.

Some popular sites for birdwatching - not implying any order of preference - are given below.

Top Sites

Harrold/Odell Country Park

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for a variety of water birds and migrants.

Priory Country Park

Website

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where sightings in past years include Ferruginous Duck, Radde's Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler…

The Marston Vale Brick Pits

Information

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(from Brogborough to Elstow) which hold large numbers of roosting gulls, often including several white-winged gulls, in winter.

Blow's Downs

Webpage

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Famous for its migrant Ring Ousels in spring, as well as several other scarce migrant species, the details of which can be found regularly updated on the site's own website.

Contributor

Additional Material

Philip Tyler

pipit@globalnet.co.uk

Andy Banthorpe

Webmaster - Beds Bird Club

webmaster@bedsbirdclub.org.uk

County Recorder

Steve Blain

9 Devon Drive, Biggleswade SG18 0FJ

07979 606300

Please Submit records through the Beds Bird Club website

recorder@bedsbirdclub.org.uk

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 291

County Bird - Hobby Falco subbuteo

Useful Reading

An Atlas of The Breeding Birds of Bedfordshire

R A Dazley & P Trodd, The Bedfordshire natural History Society 1994

ISBN: 0950652148

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Bedfordshire Bird Report

Published by The Bedfordshire Natural History Society, the annual bird report forms part 2 of The Bedfordshire Naturalist which has documented the wildlife of Bedfordshire annually since 1946. Copies of the bird report are distributed free to members of the Society and the Bedfordshire Bird Club and may be purchased from:- Mrs Mary Sheridan, 28, Chestnut Hill, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 7TR. Full details of cost and postage at http://www.bedsbirdclub.org.uk

Your Guide to Nature Reserves in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Edited by Sarah Wroot, 165 pages, col photos, illus, maps. Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust 1993

ISBN: 0952078805

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Thames Valley & The Chilterns

by Brian Clews and Paul Trodd 3rd Edition Helm 2002

ISBN: 071365953X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Bedfordshire

by Paul Trodd & David Kramer, Illustrated by AP Chick - Castlemead Publications 1991

ISBN: 0948555157

Buy this book from NHBS.com

An Annotated Bedfordshire Bird Bibliography

by David Kramer - Published Jan 2005 by David Kramer

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Organisations

Bedfordshire Bird Club

Website

The Bedfordshire Bird Club was set up in 1992 by birdwatchers, from both inside and outside The Bedfordshire Natural History Society, to cater for their specialist needs. Its main functions are to record and document the avifauna within the County and to provide a forum for local birdwatchers….

BCNP - Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust

Website

We are the largest charity working for the conservation of wildlife and wild spaces within the three counties (including Beds). Based in five offices, the Trust campaigns for the sensitive and sustainable management of wildlife in the countryside and the urban landscape, manages thousands of hectares of land for wildlife and people, and carries out extensive educational work…

Bedfordshire Natural History Society

Website

he BNHS was founded in 1946, its main function to record the fauna and flora of Bedfordshire. The society is here to help, encourage and support those with an interest in wildlife. We endeavour to cover all branches of natural history particularly in relation to Bedfordshire…

Reserves

Bird and Nature Reserves in Bedfordshire

Website

Location and access details etc.

Blow's Down Nature Reserve

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Blow's Downs is now a well-known birdwatching site, particularly renowned for the regular appearance of Ring Ouzel on spring passage. Despite this species traditional use of the site many people visit Blow's but go away having not seen this elusive thrush. These notes aim to pass on some of the expertise that the locals have gained in locating them.

Gre at Bramingham Wood

Website

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Bramingham Wood is an area of natural woodland, located immediately to the north of the town of Luton in the County of Bedfordshire. In 1985, the Woodland Trust, a nation-wide charity now with in excess of 100,000 members, took over the management and subsequently the ownership of Bramingham Wood from the then private owners. Consisting of approximately 45 acres, the wood is classified as an ancient woodland in that it has known to have been in existence for at least 400 years and has probably been a woodland for much longer.

RSPB Reserves - The Lodge

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This reserve is a mixture of woodland, heathland and includes the formal gardens of the RSPB's UK headquarters…

Barton Hills National Nature Reserve

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Barton Hills are situated southeast of the village of Barton-le-Clay in the English county of Bedfordshire. They are part of the Chilterns and hiking routes are marked on maps at the entrance to the hills. From the foot of the hillside, a spring (Barton Springs) marks the start of a chalk stream river. During the summer, Dartmoor ponies roam the hills.

Forums & Mailing Lists

bedsbirds

Mailing List

To post to list: bedsbirds@yahoogroups.com

List contact: bedsbirds-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: bedsbirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

A groups that brings together all Bedfordshire birders and sightings from around the county.

Blogs

Dan's Wildlife Daniel Trim

Blog

Hello, I do most of my birding in Hampshire as I'm at Uni in Southampton and love the New Forest and surrounding area. However my home is Bedfordshire and birding is great there too despite most rareties turning up when I'm at Uni!! It's not just birds I'm in to, I enjoy all aspects of wildlife be it birds, insects, mammals, fish or plants. Hope you enjoy the blog!

Allan's Travels

Blog

Allan Cutts is a Bedfordshire birder with 35 years experience – his work takes him all over the UK and he birds whenever he can…

Robin Edwards - Birds, Butties & Bugs

Blog

A selection of Digiscoped and more recently DSLR'd images, from around Bedfordshire and further afield. Leica APO77, Nikon Coolpix995, Canon 30D + 100-400mm IS and Fuji F31d. All Images Copyright Robin Edwards…

Bedsbirds Images

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Photoblog from a whole raft of good Beds photographer/birders…

Dave's Birding Diary

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BLOG from a Bedford birder…

Back in Birdland

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Mike Lawrence's birding Diary…

Nigel Blake’s Bird BLOG

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A bird photographers diary blog page…

Other Links

Opticron

Website

OPTICRON - P.O Box 370, Unit 21, Titan Court, Laporte Way, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8YR, UK Telephone 01582 726522 Fax : 01582 723559 Email: info@opticron.co.uk

Birdline East Anglia

Website

Birdline East Anglia What's about? Simply phone 09068 700245 Please report your bird sightings to phone/text 07941333970 or e birdnews@birdlineeastanglia.co.uk - Calls to 09068 700245 cost 60p/min from a BT landline other networks may vary…

Naturenet - Bedfordshire

Website

Articles on reserves etc.

Beds Garden Wildlife

Website

Welcome to the Beds Garden Wildlife website, a site about the wildlife in my back garden. The site has been up and running since September 2010, although I have been filming the wildlife since 2007…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Nigel Blake

Gallery

Welcome to my website! I have been photographing wildlife for about 25 years. I have traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa in search of subjects to photograph. Whilst birds are my preferred quarry I am attracted to anything that catches my eye, be that people, landscapes or anything with exceptional aesthetic appeal.

Photographer - Steve Blain

Gallery

Welcome to my images section of my web site. Here you will find pictures I`ve have taken myself (mostly) using my Canon EOS 500 and 75-300mm IS lens. I have also just purchased a digital video camera and an EOS 30. I have had the camcorder around four months not and the EOS 30 around a month but have already got some great stuff. Please check out my video section, all problems should now be fixed but please send me an e-mail if you come across any more.

Photographer – Chris Gomersall

Gallery

Chris’s photography is probably best known to the one million members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds where he had the enviable job of staff photographer for some fourteen years, before leaving to pursue a solo career in November 1998…