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 prospecting bird again as it has in a number of recent years.
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. Our first record of Savis Warbler was in 2021 and Marsh Warbler bred in the county in 2020, with a previous record over 100 years previously so possibliity will be for these species to be recorded again. Some birders will remember also a River Warbler in Bucks in June 1997 which would be a real find in our county… maybe more likely is an Icterine Warbler or Blyth’s Reed Warbler that is expanding westwards and being more regularly recorded in the UK.
Maybe another Serin (previous record in June 2003) or Common Rosefinch will be recorded singing in or around a birders garden.
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), both of which will surely reappear soon, though Red-footed Falcon (2006, three in 2008,and 2013) is perhaps more likely. There are also three Night Heron records (1970, 1988, 2021), and a Corncrake for two weeks in 1988, which may be more likely now with reintroduced populations expanding in the Nene Washes. Golden Oriole has also been noted in a few years in the last decade.
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).