Bedfordshire Birding in July
Early July is still a good time to collect sightings of breeding activity for the county records with plenty of fledglings around and birds carrying food often for second broods.
In terms of scarce breeding birds in the county, end of June and through July represents the optimum time for locating Quail. The distinctive call can be picked up especially in the evening and local birds seem to have a preference for barley fields, though wheat and other long grass crops may be favoured.
Migrants are sparse through most of the month but some quality county rarities have turned up e.g. the only county record of Woodchat Shrike in 1972, the only live record of Serin in 2003, with a male Red-backed Shrike seen nearby the same week, the first Caspian Tern in 1976, and wandering seabirds such as Manx Shearwater for a week in 2000 and Gannet in 2004. A Night Heron in 2003 would be good to repeat and maybe July could be the month when the other southern European birds such as Cattle Egret finally get their belated entry on to the county list.
Later in July sees the beginning of autumn wader passage with Green Sandpipers leading the way with Black-tailed Godwit always likely while scarcer birds like Knot and Spotted Redshank are always possible should some decent shoreline habitat emerge. Watch out for a build up of Lapwings, Little Egrets and gulls with Yellow-legged and a few Mediterranean, maybe including some of this years juveniles from the Channel coasts.