Bedfordshire Birding in June
June is a quiet month in Bedfordshire in comparison to the excitement of April and May. Spring migration comes to an end at the beginning of the month, with the first movements of the autumn migration already recorded by the end of the month. Our breeding birds settle in to bringing up their young, song is reduced and thick cover makes birds elusive but this month is the ideal opportunity to check out breeding records of notable species. There’s still a chance of a rarity however, with local records of excellent vagrants during this period.
Tempsford © Steve Blain
At the beginning of the month, the last few spring migrants will be recorded, maybe a passing northern breeding wader such as Sanderling, or the final arrival of Spotted Flycatchers.
Other late arriving migrants may be Quail which may have already bred further south in Europe and moved north into new territories; singing birds are mostly to be located on June or July evenings in barley or the dense grass of any remaining set-aside areas in the county.
June is probably the best month for a Nightjar to be recorded. There are not many suitable areas in the county for this species to breed but the developing heath at RSPB Sandy may attract a bird again as it did in 2009 and 2012.
The first autumn migrant will almost certainly be Green Sandpiper before the month is out, though in years of irruption, the first flocks of Crossbill will generally occur in June.
Birders doing surveys or chasing butterfly and dragonfly records should keep their ears open for rare warblers. Many will have travelled to neighbouring counties to hear Savis and Marsh Warbler in the Lea Valley in June 2009 and River Warbler in Bucks in June 1997. These birds appeared in habitat which is quite extensive in Bedfordshire and the next local appearance is maybe as likely to be in Marston Vale as anywhere else.
Broom © Steve Blain
Scarce and rare visitors this month may be wandering failed breeders from southerly areas and previous June records have included the only accepted county records of Black Kite (1989), Bee-eater (1991), Serin (first live record 2003), all of which will surely reappear soon, though Red-footed Falcon (2006, three in 2008,and 2013) is perhaps more likely. There are also two Night Heron records (1970, 1988), a Corncrake for two weeks in 1988, which may be more likely now with reintroduced populations expanding in the Nene Washes, and Golden Oriole (2012).
Less likely to be found again, and more recently recorded, many local birders will remember the Razorbill that appeared in calm conditions in 2002 and the Roseate Tern (2008).