Wednesday, 31 December 2008
CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (SP 970 003)
Although the smaller lake is almost completely frozen, the larger one was ice-free, and yielded a good crop of birds, including a single GREAT CRESTED GREBE (the only local bird at present), Grey Heron, a first-winter Mute Swan, 9 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, 11 POCHARD (including 9 drakes), 24 Coot and 7 Moorhens. A drake MANDARIN DUCK flew towards Waterside whistling loudly and 2+ SISKINS flew overhaed and landed in the tall Alders.
CHESS RIVER VALLEY
A single LITTLE EGRET was east of Bois Mill and a single CORMORANT was roosting in one of the tall riverside trees west of Latimer Bridge
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
(To 31 December 2008)
127 Species recorded 1970-2008, including 99 in 2008, with 62 breeding
(b - represents breeding)
1) Great Crested Grebe (b)
2) Little Grebe (b)
3) Continental Cormorant
4) Little Egret
5) Grey Heron
6) Mute Swan (b)
7) Greylag Goose
8) Greater Canada Goose (b)
9) Mandarin Duck (b)
10) Mallard (b)
13) Eurasian Wigeon
14) Common Teal
16) Tufted Duck (b)
18) Ruddy Duck (b)
19) Red Kite (b)
20) Common Buzzard (b)
21) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (b)
22) Common Kestrel (b)
23) Common Pheasant (b)
24) Moorhen (b)
25) Coot (b)
27) Green Sandpiper
28) Common Sandpiper
29) Common Snipe
30) Black-headed Gull
31) Common Gull
32) Herring Gull
3) Lesser Black-backed Gull
34) Stock Dove (b)
5) Woodpigeon (b)
6) Collared Dove (b)
37) Tawny Owl (b)
38) Barn Owl
39) Little Owl (b)
40) Common Swift (b)
41) Common Kingfisher (b)
42) Green Woodpecker (b)
43) Great Spotted Woodpecker (b)
44) Skylark (b)
45) Sand Martin
46) Barn Swallow (b)
47) House Martin (b)
48) Meadow Pipit (b)
49) Pied Wagtail (b)
50) Grey Wagtail (b)
51) Wren (b)
52) Dunnock (b)
53) Robin (b)
54) Song Thrush (b)
56) Mistle Thrush (b)
57) Blackbird (b)
59) Sedge Warbler
60) European Reed Warbler (b)
61) Garden Warbler
62) Blackcap (b)
63) Lesser Whitethroat
64) Common Whitethroat (b)
65) Willow Warbler
66) Common Chiffchaff (b)
67) Goldcrest (b)
69) Spotted Flycatcher (b)
70) Great Tit (b)
71) Coal Tit (b)
72) Blue Tit (b)
73) Marsh Tit (b)
74) Long-tailed Tit (b)
75) Nuthatch (b)
76) Common Treecreeper (b)
77) Magpie (b)
78) Jay (b)
79) Jackdaw (b)
80) Rook (b)
81) Carrion Crow (b)
82) Common Starling (b)
83) House Sparrow (b)
84) Chaffinch (b)
86) Linnet (b)
87) Lesser Redpol
88) Goldfinch (b)
89) Greenfinch (b)
92) Reed Bunting (b)
93) Yellowhammer (b)
94) Red-legged Partridge
95) Common Stonechat
96) COMMON RAVEN
97) PIED FLYCATCHER
Species Recorded in the Amersham District but NOT in 2008
94) PURPLE HERON
95) Common Shelduck
96) Common Goldeneye
97) WHITE-HEADED DUCK
99) Northern Goshawk
102) Grey Partridge
103) Water Rail
105) Little Ringed Plover
106) European Golden Plover
107) Common Redshank
108) Common Greenshank
110) LONG-TAILED SKUA
111) Great Black-backed Gull
112) Common Tern
113) Common Cuckoo
114) Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
115) Yellow Wagtail
116) BOHEMIAN WAXWING
117) Common Nightingale
118) Black Redstart
119) Northern Wheatear
122) DARTFORD WARBLER
125) Common Crossbill
126) Corn Bunting
HORSEMOOR LANE, WINCHMOOR HILL (SU 932 947)
At the entrance to 'Goodwins' some 55 ROOKS and 15 Jackdaws were taking advantage of the moist soil and were feeding busily on the ground.
GAWDE WATER (GUARDS WATER) (SU 928 949)
This tiny village pond held 8 Mallard (6 drakes) and 2 Moorhen, whilst the field adjacent had Red Kite, 2 Fieldfares, Mistle Thrush, 2 Redwing and 6 Goldfinches
PENN STREET (SU 923 957)
Coal Tit in the garden of 'The Cottages'
MOP END (SU 924 967)
Feeding in the shelter of the small wood at SU 924 967 were 8 male Ring-necked Pheasants, 7 Stock Doves, 1 Redwing and an impressive 130 Chaffinches (but not a single Brambling). Three Common Blackbirds were nearby in 'Shardeloes' garden and 94 ROOKS were feeding in stubble at SU 925 974.
A flock of 21 LAPWING was still frequenting the large crop field at SU 930 960, whilst a dead Badger was just by the junction of the A404 and the Winchmore Hill road at SU 939 957.
Mute Swans (family party of 6 still), Canada Goose (3), GADWALL (15), POCHARD (4), Tufted Duck (5), Coot (143) and Wren (2).
*LAPWING - 5 flew over
WATERSIDE, CHESHAM (SP 963 008)
Mute Swans (5 including 3 first-winters), Mallard (22) and Moorhen (4)
CHESHAM SEWAGE WORKS AND BOIS MILL POND (SU 982 995)
House Sparrows (2 in the garden opposite)
SISKIN (2 overhead)
Sinensis Cormorant (1 adult on pond)
Mute Swans (6 - 4 first-winters)
LITTLE EGRET - usual bird just east of Bois Mill
*Rookery - 43 nests in tall trees above Ivy House Farm at SU 975 996.
Another LITTLE EGRET roosting on the Chess river bank just west of Latimer Bridge and a further bird in trees by Holloway Lane at TQ 023 988.
The western end of Mount Wood yielded 6 Long-tailed Tits and 4 Blue Tits, 6 Carrion Crows and a BULLFINCH.
24 Common Starlings late afternoon in gardens on Amersham Road.
Saturday, 27 December 2008
No sign of the Dark-bellied Brent Goose in Dorney Village and environs after an exhaustive search around midday
LEATHER LANE (SU 890 031): 7 STOCK DOVES in stubble and 8 Chaffinches
SOUTH HEATH VILLAGE (SU 910 020)
Moorhens (2 by the moat at Bury Farm)
Green Woodpecker (1 in paddocks north of village)
Mistle Thrush, Redwing and 7 Common Blackbirds
45 Woodpigeons (north of village)
Once again, sadly more dead Badgers to report: on the Aylesbury Road (A413) just north of Great Missenden (SU 891 022) (exactly the same place as one in November) and in Flaunden village (TL 017 009)
CHRISTMAS DAY 2008
LITTLE CHALFONT VILLAGE: Male Common Blackbird in full song in artificial lights at 0200 hours, with a European Robin 'ticking'
CHAFFINCH HOUSE: Now 2 Pied Wagtails in the garden
UPPER WENDOVERDEAN FARM (SP 877 052)
There is a superb weedy field here just east of the A413 which is attracting large numbers of feeding birds
STOCK DOVE (13)
Chaffinch (peak of 204)
Mistle Thrush (1)
Red Kite (1)
Common Buzzard (1)
No sign of the Northern Grey Shrike in the Princes Risborough area after an exhaustive search
CHRISTMAS EVE 2008
FLAUNDEN LANE EAST: 26 Carrion Crows scattered widely in large grassy field N of lane
FLAUNDEN LANE WEST: 87 winter thrushes feeding in field immediately west of Kenwood Farm Nurseries (at TL 027 026) comprising 63 FIELDFARES and 24 REDWINGS; also 3 Common Starlings
FLAUNDEN VILLAGE (TL 017 009): 6 HOUSE SPARROWS in ivy hedgerow at 'White Walls' garden
8 European Robins resident in village, along with Great Spotted Woodpecker
In horse paddocks just SE of village (at TL 018 007), 305 Woodpigeons feeding on the ground, along with 8 Black-headed Gulls.
BOIS MILL LAKE (SU 982 995)
The sub-adult Sinensis Cormorant remains, along with 7 Mute Swans (5 first-winters) and 163 Canada Geese, with just 1 LITTLE EGRET nearby east of Bois Mill
STONY LANE PADDOCKS, LITTLE CHALFONT (TQ 004 980): 3 FIELDFARES present; wintering female Common Kestrel still
CHURCH GROVE POND, LITTLE CHALFONT (TQ 005 978): 3 Moorhens present
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
A stunning GOLDFINCH like that photographed by James Hunter recently arrived in my garden at 0850 hours and fed just feed from the office window on the sunflower seeds for some time. This is such an enigmatic, charming and beautiful species of bird. It very carefully pokes its bill and red face into the feeder hole to extract each seed individually
Sunday, 21 December 2008
A very blustery day with freshening SW winds; quite mild and dry
STANLEY HILL, AMERSHAM - 2 RED KITES overhead
After filling my Peugeot up with fuel at just 85.9 pence per litre at the Shell garage at Hazlemere Crossroads (where incidentally another RED KITE was overhead), I spent the next 40 minutes touring the Rose Avenue estate nearby, endeavouring to relocate Graham Smith's Waxwings. Disappointingly, there was no sign in 'Rowan Close', whilst Hayfield Drive offered the most suitable habitat but only mustered up Coal Tit. I drew a blank.
There was no sight nor sound of Jim Rose's Hawfinch between 1350 and 1440 hours; just 4 RED KITES.
CHALFONT ST GILES AREA
Green Woodpecker on commonland south of Botterell's Lane, with a single Common Buzzard roosting north of Hodgemoor Woods. By Mill Farm (SU 888 940), 4 Redwings and 2 Magpies.
In Stony Lane Paddocks (TQ 004 982) there were 3 FIELDFARES and 20 Common Starlings, with a Jay nearby in Walk Wood and all 3 LITTLE EGRETS on the Chess River Valley - 2 in trees east of Bois Mill and another just east of Latimer Weir. Great Water and environs held 16 Mute Swans (1 first-winter), 83 Canada Geese, 28 Tufted Duck and an adult drake Pochard, whilst a single Meadow Pipit flew over. The Magpie roost in Old Hanging Wood (TQ 014 973) held just 8 birds.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
A relatively mild day with a strong SW wind; dry with some bright spells
Chess River Valley
Two of the three wintering LITTLE EGRETS remained today, roosting in the tall trees in the meadow just east of Bois Mill
Chaffinch House, Little Chalfont
Eurasian Collared Doves peaking out at 16; House Sparrows numbering 34; male Greenfinch; Goldfinch (on nyger), Great Tit and 15 Blue Tits; Common Starling constantly mimicking the loud 'kewick' call of Tawny Owl
Penn Wood (1500-1540)
Another extremely poor evening with just 8 BRAMBLINGS roosting in Rhododendrons near the Penna (7 arrived at 1520 and a single three minutes later), 2 LESSER REDPOLLS and just a handful of Chaffinches. A total of 83 Greenfinches roosted at the Tyler's Green end of the wood.
Very quiet after a Saturday shoot - just 5 Little Grebes, the family group of 6 Mute Swans, 1 Canada Goose, 7 Mallard and 112+ Coot (incidentally all roosting together at dusk)
There was also 1 Red Kite, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 4 Goldcrests, 10 Long-tailed Tits and a COMMON TREECREEPER, with a female REED BUNTING roosting in the sedgebed close to where a pair nested this summer.
There was also much MOLE activity
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Monday, 15 December 2008
Another dreary cold and grey day with temperatures struggling to rise about 6 degrees C. Dry but very damp and muddy underfoot
Little Grebe (5)
Mute Swan (family group of 6 birds feeding together - 4 first-winters)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (adult drake still present)
Eurasian Coot (121)
Moorhen (19 including 14 feeding on the cricket field)
COMMON KINGFISHER (showing well perched up)
Stock Dove (8 feeding together on the ground north of High Wood)
Common Buzzard (1)
Red Kite (2)
*COMMON RAVEN (adult flew across from Ash Grove and disappeared into Wheatley Wood)
Fieldfare (1 with Redwing flock and a further 19 flew west)
Redwing (10 in orchard)
Coal Tit (1)
Long-tailed Tits (7)
Female Common Stonechat (Stephen Burch)
The wintering pair of COMMON STONECHATS was still present, as well as 7 Bullfinches (Mike & Rose Collard)
Latimer, Great Water and the Chess River Valley
Little Grebe (3)
Sinensis Cormorant (1 sub-adult flew towards the sewage farm pool)
LITTLE EGRET - all 3 birds still present; the regular bird by Bois Mill and two closer to Chenies Bridge
Mute Swans (14 on Great Water and 5 - including 3 first-winters - on the Sewage Farm Pool)
Canada Geese (82)
Tufted Ducks (22)
NORTHERN POCHARD (high count of 29 on Great Water)
Woodpigeons (35 by Latimer Hall entrance)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Mistle Thrush (2)
Nuthatch (1 by Latimer Hall)
SISKIN - 1 over
EURASIAN WIGEON 1pr (scarce bird here)
MANDARIN DUCK 1fe
Shoveler 1 drake
Pochard 4 (1 drake)
L Grebe 5
Grey Heron 1
Away from the water 100+ Greenfinches were in the wood NW of the main house,
4 Siskins flew over and c50 Fieldfare came in to roost.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Tuesday 9 December 2008
Chaffinch House, Little Chalfont
Garden highlights this morning included a Goldfinch on the sunflower feeder (see James Hunter's superb image above of this gorgeous species), along with 5 Coal Tits, 16 Blue Tits, a male Greenfinch and 32 House Sparrows.
Monday, 8 December 2008
Following a hard frost, the day was gloriously bright, clear and dry, with temperatures rising to no more than 4 degrees C.
Widmer End Lawn Tennis Club/Grange Farm Fields
At last, on my 6th attempt, I finally connected with Alan Petherbridges' wintering pair of COMMON STONECHATS. They were frequenting the tall grassy field behind Grange Farm at SU 884 959 and were showing extremely well.
The area also produced 2 RED KITES (feeding on the ground on earthworms in the large field opposite the tennis club), a Green Woodpecker, Wren, 2 Dunnocks, 2 European Robins, a Goldfinch, a pair of Bullfinches and a single Yellowhammer.
Common Wood Lane, Penn (in vicinity of Pugh's Wood) (SU 908 943)
A healthy number of Common Pheasants in area (40+); also 4 Magpies.
Winchmore Hill (Pennstreet Farm Wood) (SU 925 953)
This site, which held 7 active ROOK nests in the summer, held 62 roosting Rooks late afternoon. The hedgerow leading down to Tragoe's Plantation (at SU 927 953) held 3 SONG THRUSHES and at least 15 Common Blackbirds.
A single wintering Common Kestrel remains in Penn Street
Penn Wood Rhododendron Finch Roost (SU 917 959)
I arrived at the Monument Crossroads early (1445 hours) and watched incoming roosting finches arrive over the next half-hour, in clear, calm, crisp conditions. Overall, it was very poor and birds were not using the site as they had done in the previous two years. Apart from singles of Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay, roosting finches consisted of 115 Chaffinch, just 44 Greenfinch, 13 LESSER REDPOLL and just 7 BRAMBLINGS (6 males and a single female).I was somewhat concerned that management opeartions undertaken by The Woodland Trust may have had an affect on the roosting finches as areas of rhododendron has been extensively cleared from the main rides. There has also been extensive felling operations in the wood.
Although Rhododendron is a non-native plant which can spread through woodlands and shade out more native plant species, it is unrivalled in its attraction to roosting birds in winter, particularly finches and other small birds. THIS IS A VERY VALUABLE ASSET TO PENN WOOD. In the last two winters, Penn Wood has received internationally important numbers of wintering Bramblings, with the largest wintering flock in Britain. I am hoping that this winter's pitiful numbers is not related to the work carried out on this invasive plant.
SUNDAY 7 DECEMBER
Another heavy frost being slow to clear and penetrating all day in some areas. Clear, dry and cold.
Stoney Lane Pastures, Little Chalfont (TQ 004 980)
Two Mistle Thrushes and a FIELDFARE feeding amongst the cows.
Latimer House and Great Water (SU 995 988)
A thorough check of this part of the Chess River Valley during which time I had the opportunity and good fortune to meet two very keen local birdwatchers for the first time - Stuart and Lesley Wilson - who regularly walk their ten-year old dog along this section of the Chess and actually found the Purple Heron six days before I set out eyes on it and identified it.
With many of the smaller waters frozen over, this year's best wildfowl count to date on Great Water involved 16 Mute Swans, 123 Canada Geese, 4 EURASIAN WIGEON (1 drake - rare here), a single female COMMON TEAL (also rare), 75 Tufted Ducks and 10 NORTHERN POCHARDS (1 female). The lake also held 5 Little Grebes, 17 Moorhens and 33 Eurasian Coot.
The three wintering LITTLE EGRETS were again present, all roosting in trees east of Bois Mill, with Mistle Thrush (4), FIELDFARE (3), Wren (two singing), Meadow Pipit (3), Goldfinch and SISKIN (two singles overhead) all noted.
The undoubted highlight however was a pair of COMMON STONECHATS in weeds at the north edge of Great Water (at SU 996 987) which had apparently been present for a month.
Chaffinch House, Little Chalfont
Since I have uploaded three new feeders full of black and dried sunflower seeds, up to 8 COAL TITS have been taking advantage - the largest single number I have ever had feeding in the garden.
Shardeloes Lake (partly frozen)
A few more wildfowl than of late with 7 Tufted Ducks present (5 drakes) and 10 GADWALL (7 drakes), with 10 Little Grebes and a reduction in Coot down to just 66 birds. Large numbers of gulls resting on the ice included an adult Common, 250+ Black-headed and a juvenile argenteus Herring Gull.
A413 Amersham-Wendover Road
Two wintering Common Kestrels, with single females along the Great Missenden bypass and opposite the nursery at Cobblershill Lane. At Upper Wendoverdead Farm, 28 Jackdaws were noted.
Sadly, a BADGER was run over on the A413 just before dark near Havenfields at SP 891 022.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
TUESDAY 2 DECEMBER 2008
A bitingly cold day and after a clear, frosty start, heavy cloud soon moved in from the west bringing a period of sleet and rain. This moved away to the east after a short while leaving a cold, crisp afternoon.
DORNEY ROWING LAKES
The juvenile COMMON SCOTER was showing exceptionally well at 900m on the Return Lake. It was resting and preening for some time close to the far shore and then resumed diving, successfully finding food on at least five occasions. Whilst diving, it frequently resurfaced less than 30 yards away and by sheltering up against the first cabin beyond the bridge, was able to obtain some outstanding views. The fact that it has an extensive white belly and underparts suggests that it is a juvenile, whilst otherwise much of its plumage is uniform dark sooty brown, with contrasting whitish cheeks, throat and sides of neck. The bill was all-dark with an obvious pink gape when eating.
Excellent views were also obtained of 30 Fieldfares feeding on berries by the car park, and Grey Wagtail.
HICKNAHAM FARM IN LITTLEWORTH COMMON
On the pond along the access road to Hicknaham Farm and in the muddy field adjacent to Bristles Wood (SU 935 867) (almost opposite the Jolly Woodman public house) is the largest flock of MALLARD that I have ever encountered in Buckinghamshire - I click-counted 1,315 birds, almost all being pure rather than being influenced by farm breeding. This huge flock also attracted 3 RED KITES, which were flying low over their heads and spooking small groups which were occasionally flying up.
HEDGERLEY TIP (SU 960 895)
Gull numbers were well down with just 553 click-counted, including 309 Lesser Black-backed, 231 Herring (a large proportion of which were northern Argentatus) and 13 Great Black-backed Gulls. Corvids were well represented with 143 Carrion Crows in attendance, 86 Jackdaws and 355 Rooks, whilst the Common Starling flock totalled 657.
RED KITES as usual were everywhere, with 23 circling over the 'new' rubbish hole together at one time and 12 scattered in trees surrounding Hyde Farm. Two individuals were wing-tagged, both YELLOW on left wing and numbers '9' and '13' - does anyone know their history?
Five Redwings were also in the Hyde Farm fields, as well as 1 Fieldfare and a Pied Wagtail.
HILLMOTT'S FARM WOOD (SU 963 885)
A further 4 RED KITES were tree-roosting, with 55 Common Pheasants, 3 Redwing and a Fieldfare in adjoining farmland, with 4 Wrens, 18 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 3 Goldcrests, Jay and 2 Robins in the woodland belt itself.
TYLERS GREEN VILLAGE POND (SU 907 934)
A total of 40 Mallards (25 drakes), 2 Moorhens (adult and first-winter) and 10 adult Black-headed Gulls.
HOLMER GREEN (SU 910 966)
In the sheep fields north of the A404, COMMON GULL numbers had increased to a new record of 112 adults. The same field also held 62 Common Starlings.
At least 500 Woodpigeons still remained in the crop field south of Whielden Lane (A404) at SU 933 960.
Very quiet apart from 8 GADWALL