Since returning back home to Bedford I have spend a lot more time birding at Willington (only a 30 minute walk from home to the main lake) which is currently looking the best that it has been since I first started birding there in the mid/late 90s. Since the spring floods of 1998, the islands in the main lake have remained submerged, with any suitable wader habitat being largely lost. Although the water levels on the settling lagoon remain very high (any shallow feeding areas having long since been covered over) the water level in the main lake has dropped considerably, returning the original islands, and creating an excellent lake margin for feeding waders. The largest island is allready home to breeding Ringed Plovers (two young chicks seen yesterday) whilst Common Terns have been present in reasonable numbers, and will no doubt attempt to settle down and breed next spring, assuming the water levels remain suitable.
Passage waders have so far been represented by a Greenshank, two Common Sandpipers and up to six Green Sandpipers, whilst Lapwing numbers have been steadily building to around 250 birds. It may not sound like a lot, but lets remember, this is Bedfordshire we are talking about (the county in which, I am still yet to see a Black tailed Godwit, Whimbrel or Ruff) A party of four Raven were a nice surpise the other day, playing about together in the sky over the main lake, but had allready been eclipsed in the morning by an adult Mediterranen Gull, flying low over the houses just a short distance down the road... a county tick! Elsewhere, the pair of Grey Wagtails are still busy along Bedford river, bringing in food to the nest, with another bird seen at Willington, feeding a juvenile on the footpath beside the main river.