Recording Area Annual Totals

97 Species in 2013, 99 in 2012, 94 in 2011, 108 species were recorded in 2010;



Friday, 30 December 2011

YELLOWHAMMER bonanza







FRIDAY 30 DECEMBER

The rain arrived earlier than forecast but was fairly light in the main, whilst temperatures remained very mild reaching 13 degrees C

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

Very quiet with just 44 Coot, pair of Gadwall, 2 Little Grebes, sub-adult Scandinavian Herring Gull, adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 70 Fieldfare and 1 Siskin noted

OLD AMERSHAM (BUCKS)

Did a comprehensive search of the Old Amersham area and was delighted to find a wintering flock of 125 YELLOWHAMMERS in stubble NE of School Lane at SU 950 982 (see map above). There were also 48 SKYLARKS in the field and a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches

Ostler's Wood and the plantation to the edge of Hervines Park held at least 85 Common Pheasants, 8 Red Kites and a Common Buzzard, whilst School Lane yielded 3 Goldcrests, 65 Fieldfare and 45 Redwing.

The Old Amersham population of Western Jackdaws numbered 60, many already paired up on chimney stacks.

CHENIES BOTTOM (BUCKS)

The resident pair of Mute Swans and 5 COMMON TEAL (4 drakes) on the lake

CHESS VALLEY (BUCKS)

All 3 LITTLE EGRETS noted

Thursday, 29 December 2011

GOLDEN PLOVER flock

THURSDAY 29 DECEMBER

A touch or so colder today with the temperature reaching just 9 degrees C. Very overcast but dry and with an increasing westerly wind

With a visit to Tring in the offing, I took the opportunity to survey the waterbodies of the Aylesbury Area..........

CHESS VALLEY (BUCKS)

Three LITTLE EGRETS today just east of Bois Mill - and 1 Cormorant on the fishing lake there.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

There was no sign of Roy's colour-ringed BLACK-TAILED GODWIT when I arrived at the Drayton Hide late morning - it had presumably moved on

The water level was increasing further with the inlet pipe by the car park in full pump mode. As a consequence, wildfowl numbers were much recovered, although Great Crested Grebe and Mute Swan numbers were very low

The sole remaining Little Grebe was noted, 8 Great Crested Grebes, just 5 Mute Swans, 256 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 375 Teal, 44 Shoveler, 107 Pochard, 73 Tufted Duck, 7 COMMON GOLDENEYES (including 2 adult drakes), 760 Coot, 45 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER and 32 Lapwings.

The Linnet flock by the hide now numbers 52 birds and Pied Wagtails remain at a high 17.

The Cemetery Corner geese flock has increased to 83 birds, including 71 Greylag, 10 Atlantic Canada and the ever-present first-winter DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE

STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR (HERTS)

The first-winter male SNOW BUNTING was still performing well along the north shore, Chris Holtby obtaining a large number of images.

Otherwise, 12 Mute Swans (including 3 unringed first-years), 7 Atlantic Canada Geese, 46 Gadwall, 4 Great Crested Grebes and a single Little Grebe were present.

Very little on TRINGFORD RESERVOIR other than 2 Mute Swans, 5 Grey Heron, 22 Teal and 2 drake Shoveler and even less on MARSWORTH with 4 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Teal and 21 Shovelers.

WESTON TURVILLE RESERVOIR (BUCKS)

Popped in at 1300 hours and was very surprised to find the Wilstone family party of 4 BEWICK'S SWANS being chased around by the resident pair of Mute Swans along the reedbed western side of the reservoir. The cob Mute repeatedly harried the two juvenile Bewick's, causing them to fly and circle.

Very quiet otherwise with just 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Moorhens, 2 drake Tufted Ducks and 1 drake Shoveler (up to 32 of the latter species had been present recently). Not one Coot.

THE WENDOVER ARM OF THE CANAL (GREEN PARK TO WENDOVER TOWN)

A single Little Grebe, 20 Mallard, 10 Coot and 11 Moorhens for my troubles - and a male Siskin.

BROUGHTON POOLS (BUCKS)

On the West Pool, a pair of Mute Swans, pair of Teal, 4 Moorhen and 1 Grey Heron, whilst on the Trout Pools, 14 Mallard, 5 Shoveler (2 drakes), 70 Canada Geese, 2 Moorhens and another Grey Heron. The neighbouring field held 14 Common Magpies.

WATERMEAD LAKE, NORTH AYLESBURY (BUCKS)

A full inventory recorded 10 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Mute Swans (including 1 first-year), 1 Canada Goose, 124 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, just 6 Coot and 4 Moorhens.

CHESHAM BOIS (BUCKS)

A small party of 13 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS was in the field opposite Green Park in Copperkins Lane.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Massive GREENFINCH roost in Penn Wood

TUESDAY 27 DECEMBER (LGRE DIARY NOTES)

The mild theme to the weather continued today with temperatures hovering around 11 degrees C. It remained dry throughout but was very overcast

Visited South Bucks today in an attempt to further census water bodies in the region.......

FULMER LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS) (SU 993 863)

Single Grey Heron and Mute Swan, 12 Atlantic Canada Geese and 13 Eurasian Wigeon, with the woodland tract supporting Coal Tit, 2 Goldcrests and 14 Fieldfares.

UPTON FARM, BLACK PARK ROAD (TQ 004 835)

Pair of Egyptian Geese in roadside field

BLACK PARK COUNTRY PARK (SOUTH BUCKS) (TQ 008 832)

By far the most productive site in the county for MANDARIN DUCK with a total of 37 birds present at the north end (including 19 drakes); also 4 Mute Swans (2 first-winters), 4 Atlantic Canada Geese, 24 Mallard, 36 Coot and 8 Moorhens

ROWLEY LAKE (TQ 003 826)

This Harrow Angling Society water held just 2 Coot and a female Common Teal, the surrounding woodland yielding 55 Redwing and 8 Long-tailed Tits.

GEORGE GREEN VILLAGE (SOUTH BUCKS)

No fewer than 26 House Sparrows present in the thick hedgerow adjoining George Green Road at TQ 003 812

LANGLEY PARK LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS) (TQ 007 813)

The lake held a pair of Egyptian Geese, 46 Mallard, 7 Coot and 4 Moorhens, whilst the parkland 14 Ring-necked Parakeets, Green Woodpecker and displaying Stock Doves.

THORNEY COUNTRY PARK (SOUTH BUCKS)

A reasonable number of diving duck for a change with 70 Tufted Duck and 42 Northern Pochard present, along with 5 Mute Swans (3 first-winters), 7 Gadwall, 10 Coot and 2 Great Crested Grebes. A single Little Egret was feeding in the brook

OLD SLADE PIT (SOUTH BUCKS)

A large gravel pit holding wintering waterbirds including 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Mute Swans (all first-winter), 4 Gadwall, 9 Pochard, 17 Tufted Duck and 12 Coot

FARLOWS LAKE, IVER HEATH (SOUTH BUCKS) (TQ 044 807)

A large gravel pit complex devoted to angling with 2 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Canada Geese, 6 Mallard, 11 Tufted Ducks, 20 Coot, 8 Moorhen and 2 COMMON KINGFISHERS noted; also 2 SISKINS in Alders.

GERRARDS CROSS COMMON PONDS (SOUTH BUCKS) (SU 998 887 & SU 999 883)

The North Pond remains dry whilst the South harboured just the resident pair of Moorhens.

PENN VILLAGE POND (SU 907 937)

A total of 58 Mallard and 2 Moorhens

PENNHOUSE GROVE (SU 923 947)

A total of 28 RED KITES roosted this evening

PENN WOOD (SOUTH BUCKS)

The Holly tree roost at SU 917 954 held an incredible 370 GREENFINCHES this afternoon, the highest number in many years, whilst the bracken held 7 roosting WOODCOCKS

Festive Season Highlights

Chris Pontin was out and about yesterday, noting 4 Little Egrets on the stream in Holloway Lane (and Common Kingfisher), with 5 Common Buzzards, 2 Red Kites and a Sparrowhawk over the Hill Farm fields

Saturday, 24 December 2011

WOODPIGEON movement

CHRISTMAS EVE

A return to colder conditions again, with a raw NW wind blowing. After heavy overnight rain, today was dry...........

Checked the local sites and very little going on - most surprising was a strong westerly Woodpigeon movement, totalling 104 birds

No sign of any Little Egrets in the Chess Valley, but both resident pairs of Mute Swans were in situ at Bois Mill Pond and Chenies Bottom and Rooks were visible in many areas

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A fine day







Birding restricted to Chaffinch House today, as venturing outside was freezing, despite the fine conditions. A lot of activity at the birdtables today and a full time job keeping them stocked. Up to 6 Woodpigeons, 16 Collared Doves, 2 Jays, 25 Common Starlings, 32 House Sparrows, 4 Chaffinch, 3 Robins, 5 Dunnocks, 8 Goldfinches, 7 Common Blackbirds and an unknown number of visiting Great and Blue Tits.

Friday, 16 December 2011

SHARDELOES unfrozen

FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER

Although winter is not officially declared until four days from now - on 20th December - it certainly felt like it today. In fact, today saw the first actual lying snow of this 'winter' after an hour or so of snowfall this morning. The strong NW wind that came in its wake was very biting indeed, even though the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly..........

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

Well at least all of the ice of my last visit had gone - and wildfowl and Coot numbers were recovering...

Nothing weather related on show but amongst the roll-call were 2 Little Grebes, 2 Grey Herons, all 8 Mute Swans (the 6 youngsters all looking well), 8 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, a pair of SHOVELER, 8 Tufted Duck and 75 Coot, whilst additional species included 1 WATER RAIL, an adult HERRING GULL, Song Thrush, a female BULLFINCH, 3 Wrens, 3 wintering Robins, 6 Great Tits, 2 Jays and a flock of 16 SISKINS in Alder trees by the river.

DEEP MILL POND (BUCKS)

Water level very low but birds present included Little Grebe, 2 Mallard, 1 Coot and 2 Moorhens

First snow of winter

Although winter has not 'officially' arrived (20 December is the date), snow fell for the first time this season this morning, giving a complete thin covering here at Chaffinch House and elsewhere in the Chiltern Region. It soon melted but as a result, activity in the garden has been busy, with a Jay, up to 7 Common Blackbirds, 32 House Sparrows and 6 Goldfinches

In the Chess Valley, we still have 8 LITTLE EGRETS favouring the ditches just east of Bois Mill but no subsequent sign's of Chris Pontin's Waterside Water Rail

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cold weather sees upsurge in LITTLE EGRET numbers in Chess Valley

No less than 12 LITTLE EGRETS arrived in the Chess Valley today including 9 together in ditches east of Bois Mill and singles at Pow Wow, Church Covert and Crestyl Watercress Bed. The two adult Sinensis Cormorants were again on Bois Mill Fishing Lake and 2 Mute Swans and 2 Common Kingfishers on Pow Wow

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Birding the CHESS VALLEY today; winter arrives at Shardeloes Lake with ice cover

SATURDAY 11 DECEMBER (LGRE DIARY NOTES)

Winter has now arrived in the Chilterns region with yet another hard frost overnight, freezing up some of the smaller lakes in the area for the first time this December. The day was cold, clear but bright.

CHAFFINCH HOUSE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)

A BULLFINCH here was a rare sight Also unusual were 3 Common Buzzards in the village, later being seen on Stanley Hill.

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

With a hard frost overnight coupled with a full bright moon, Shardeloes Lake was virtually completely frozen over. Very few waterbirds present - just 12 Coot, 3 female Tufted Ducks and 15 Common Gulls amongst the Black-headeds.

A party of 8 Goldfinches was in the Alders by the river, 7 Long-tailed Tits, a wintering Pied Wagtail, 3 Fieldfares, 9 Woodpigeons over and 3 Red Kites circling the lake.

CHESS VALLEY (BUCKS)

At Granary Pool, Chenies Bottom, the 2 resident Mute Swans and single Little Grebe were present, with 2 LITTLE EGRETS at nearby Church Covert, another in the large tree below Chenies Place and an additional two just east of Bois Mill.

At Neptune Falls, the Atlantic Canada Goose flock there numbered 74 with a further 62 nearby on Great Water. The latter site also yielded Little Grebe, 36 Coot, 25 Tufted Duck, a single Pochard and 16 Mute Swans (including a single first-winter). The grounds of Latimer Place added Yellowhammer, a pair of Mistle Thrushes and 4 Greenfinches whilst 230 Jackdaws were feeding to the west in a ploughed field.

Frith Wood (at SU 993 000) held 20 Fieldfares, 4 Redwings and a female Bullfinch, whilst Chesham Fishing Lakes harboured 3 first-year Mute Swans, 1 Atlantic Canada Goose, 33 Mallard, 20 Tufted Duck, 2 drake Northern Pochard, 8 Coot but no Great Crested Grebe. Walking the River Chess as far as The Pheasant public house added another adult Mute Swan, 15 Mallard and 2 singing Goldcrests.

On the stretch of water at Chesham Moor (SP 964 007), a WATER RAIL continues to show very well for at least a second day (found by Chris and his wife and the dog).

LOWNDES PARK, CHESHAM (BUCKS) (DECEMBER COUNT)

The full inventory included 4 Muscovy, 22 Atlantic Canada Geese and 75 Mallard-types, as well as 2 Moorhens and a Common Kestrel flying over.

I then moved on to TRING RESERVOIRS to undertake my first DECEMBER COUNT of the year......

TRING RESERVOIRS (HERTFORDSHIRE)

A full waterbird inventory was carried out on all four reservoirs before I did the Marsworth bunting roost. Although the water level on all four reservoirs is still very low, that on Startop's End is unprecedented in my birding career. No Water Rails were recorded on Marsworth which was unusual and equally concerning was the demise of the Starling roost.

Great Crested Grebe (32 counted with 11 on Wilstone, 3 on Tringford, 9 on Startop's and 9 on Marsworth)
Little Grebe (just 1 noted - on Startop's)
Cormorant (32 roosting on Wilstone, with an adult fishing on Marsworth)
Grey Heron (just 1 on Tringford and 2 adults fishing on Marsworth)
No sign of any Bitterns yet
Mute Swan (24 on Wilstone, including the two orange-ringed first-years from the Canal - numbers 32 and 33 - plus 2 adults on Tringford and 7 on Startop's)
No sign of the two Whooper Swans
**BEWICK'S SWAN (the family party still present in the cut-off lagoon, the first example of wintering in over a decade)
Greylag Geese (all 67 still present on Wilstone)
Atlantic Canada Goose (all 7 still present on Wilstone)
**DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE (the juvenile continues its unprecedented stay and still favouring the grassy field by Rushy Meadow. Longest-staying county bird ever)
Mallard (jusr 16 on Wilstone, 96 on Startop's and 17 on Marsworth)
Gadwall (44 counted, with 40 on Startop's and just 4 on Wilstone)
No Pintail seen
Northern Shoveler (massive decrease with just 24 on Wilstone, 2 drakes on Startop's and 27 on Marsworth)
Eurasian Wigeon (marked decline in numbers with just 85 on Wilstone and 36 on Startop's)
Common Teal (295 with 230 on Wilstone, 24 on Startop's, 30 on Tringford and 11 on Marsworth)
Northern Pochard (134 on Wilstone and just 1 drake on Startop's)
RED-CRESTED POCHARD (two females on Wilstone and a pair on Startop's)
Tufted Duck (a very poor 83 in total with 54 on Wilstone, 6 on Tringford and 23 on Startop's)
COMMON GOLDENEYE (all 5 female-types still present on Wilstone)
Common Pheasant (23 around the margins of Wilstone)
Coot (881 logged with 531 on Wilstone, 288 on Startop's and 62 on Tringford)
Moorhen (47 counted on Wilstone)
No Water Rails noted, nor Lapwing
Grey Wagtail (2 on Marsworth)
Redwing (2 on Marsworth)
Fieldfare (7 on Masrworth)
Mistle Thrush (1 on Marsworth)
Common Magpie (1 on Marworth)
Common Starling (just 3 came in to roost at Marsworth reedbed - pathetic!)
Chaffinch (7 singletons flighting to roost over Marworth)
Linnet (flock of 21 still around margins of Wilstone)
Goldfinch (8 on Marsworth)
REED BUNTING (just 5 came in to roost at Marsworth)
**CORN BUNTING (147 roosted in total in Marworth Reedbed with the first 54 arriving at 1530 hours followed by 14, 2, 15, 1, 8, 1, 50 and 2 in the next half hour; I am pleased to say that numbers have remained stable since last winter)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

SHOVELER increase



TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER

Very mild today but extremely windy (Southwesterly); heavy rain moved in mid-afternoon

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

A quick check this afternoon revealed the presence of 7 SHOVELERS - 2 adult males, a first-winter male and three females - the largest number in the Recording Area in over a decade

Also noted were 7 Little Grebes, the family party of Mute Swans, 21 Gadwall, 115 Coot and 66 Fieldfares

Thursday, 24 November 2011

SHOVELERS

There were four SHOVELERS (1 drake) at Bois Mill Fishing Lake this morning...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Chess Valley and Shardeloes - first local birding in over a month

TUESDAY 22 NOVEMBER

Although continuing very mild, today was very dreary and grey with the first rain in quite a long time. Today was also my first opportunity in over a month to do some proper birding in the immediate local area. Undoubted highlights were seeing both Shoveler and Teal at Shardeloes and a good number of winter thrushes. Most concerning was the fact that the upper Chess had completely dried up - from Bury Lake in Chesham and Pednor to as far downstream as Waterside....

CHAFFINCH HOUSE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)

Two Pied Wagtails are wintering, whilst visiting the garden feeders today were 32 House Sparrows, 6 Goldfinches, 3 Greenfinches, a Coal Tit, 3 Great Tits, 20+ Blue Tits, 5 Common Blackbirds and 16 Collared Doves

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

My first visit in over a month and a noticeable drop in the water level. A total of 41 species was noted -:

Little Grebe (4 present at west end but no sign of the Great Crested)
Grey Heron (3 present, including 1 first-year)
Mallard (20)
*COMMON TEAL (9 present at west end - a scarce species here)
GADWALL (22 present)
*NORTHERN SHOVELER (single drake present, another scarce species here - reportedly present for at least three weeks)
Tufted Duck (just 2 females)
NORTHERN POCHARD (2 adult drakes)
Coot (128 present)
Moorhen (5 on the lake and a further 12 along the Misbourne)
*WATER RAIL (2 present at the west end)
Black-headed Gull (118+)
Common Gull (1 first-winter)
European Herring Gull (1 juvenile)

Common Buzzard (3)
Common Pheasant (4)
Woodpigeon (35)
Green Woodpecker (1)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Grey Wagtail (2)
European Robin (3 - two birds in full song)
Wren (2)
Common Blackbird (3)
Song Thrush (2)
REDWING (35)
FIELDFARE (85)
Mistle Thrush (1)
Goldcrest (1)
Blue Tit
Great Tit (8)
Long-tailed Tit (11)
COMMON TREECREEPER (5)
NUTHATCH (3)
Chaffinch (8)
Goldfinch (9)
Common Starling (1)
Jay (2)
Carrion Crow (6)
Common Magpie (4)
Jackdaw (16)
Rook (a lot of activity at the Rookery with some nests being repaired)

CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)

The sole wintering Great Crested Grebe in the Recording Area - a first-winter - was present on the main lake, with a single Atlantic Canada Goose, 13 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck and 8 Coot; a pair of Mute Swans was on neighbouring Pow Wow Lake and a male Song Thrush was in full song.

LATIMER GREAT WATER (BUCKS)

The main lake held 22 Mute Swans (with another pair on the Chess at Church Covert), 2 Little Grebes, 46 Tufted Duck, 40 Mallard and 38 Coot, whilst an adjoining field being ploughed attracted 250 Black-headed Gulls, 44 Common Starlings, 1 Skylark and over 430 Jackdaws.

Latimer Place grounds yielded 2 Song Thrushes, 15 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush.

ELSEWHERE ON THE CHESS

The 2 wintering LITTLE EGRETS were noted - again in trees just east of Bois Mill - with a Common Buzzard feeding on earthworms in a field and 2 Little Grebes on the lake by the Granary/Dodds Farm at Chenies Bottom

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

BLACKCAP

Chris Pontin had a singing male BLACKCAP in his Waterside garden in lower Chesham on Saturday........

Today, a pair of Mute Swans were back on the lake by the Chesham Sewage Works

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fieldfares and Redwings

MONDAY 24 OCTOBER

Strong Southeasterly winds blew all day, associated with clear skies before late afternoon....

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

All 6 young Mute Swans still survive, with 6 Gadwall present, a female Tufted Duck and 64 Coots. An adult Common Gull was with the Black-headed Gull flock, as well as a juvenile Argenteus Herring Gull, whilst migrants included 25 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Goldcrest and 1 Pied Wagtail

Friday, 7 October 2011

Feeling very wintery........nothing happening

FRIDAY 7 OCTOBER

Strong Northwesterly winds dominated the weather today, bringing occasional sharp showers interspersed with bright periods. Temperatures have plummeted from recent days.....

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

Very, very quiet - almost birdless - with just 3 Gadwalls (2 drakes) and 2 KINGFISHERS of note

IVINGHOE HILLS NATURE RESERVE (BUCKS)

A waste of time vizmigging - virtually nothing on the move. Highlights were 2 REDWINGS (one in Top Scrub and another in isolated hawthorns just SE of the Beacon trig point) - my first of the autumn and 2 migrating Blue Tits across the peak.......

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

The water level is starting to rise again and I see from the signs, a breakout of green algae has been registered by the Environment Agency.

For the first time in two months, not a LIttle Egret in sight...

A flock of 11 BARN SWALLOWS and a single HOUSE MARTIN came through, as well as 3 SKYLARKS

Otherwise, 4 Little Grebes, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 33 Mute Swans, the 2 Whooper Swans, 233 Common Teal, 8 Gadwall, 68 Eurasian Wigeon, 9 NORTHERN PINTAIL (1 adult drake), 109 Shoveler and 19 Pied Wagtails

Thursday, 6 October 2011

First GLIS-GLIS of 2011

Chris Pontin and I had our first GLIS GLIS of the year today - a very poor year indeed

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

SISKINS

It has been very quiet of late. Up to 20 SISKINS have been present at Pow Wow in Chesham, with 10 BARN SWALLOWS flying around McMinn's yesterday (Tuesday 4 October).

A Song Thrush and 4 Chaffinches flew west over my house early this morning, whilst TAWNY OWLS are now very active and calling loudly each calm evening.

Many MEADOW PIPITS are now on the move

Friday, 30 September 2011

WIGEON dipped !

Frustratingly, unbeknown to me, a single eclipse EURASIAN WIGEON was present at Shardeloes Lake all yesterday afternoon and evening - the first of this species to be recorded in the area this year.........

Despite being there bright and early this morning, it was nowhere to be found - just 8 Little Grebes, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 41 Coot, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatches, Common Treecreeper, Jay, Grey Wagtail and 2 Goldcrests; passage included 2 Skylarks and 1 Meadow Pipit

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Autumn Solstice is now upon us

TUESDAY 27 SEPTEMBER

High pressure bought 'Indian Summer' type conditions with light southerly winds, clear blue skies and temperatures peaking at 74 degrees fahrenheit. It was an ideal opportunity to be out in the field but frustratingly, very little was happening...........

THE CHESS VALLEY, CHENIES (BUCKS)

Birding the Chess Valley today was very depressing. Gone were all of the sounds of summer - no Swallows, House Martins or warblers. In fact, there was very little to see.

At the Crestyl Cressbeds, a Little Egret, Grey Heron and 6 Moorhens were noted, whilst Jays were a hive of activity with 4 different birds being seen. Three different Common Chiffchaffs remained, whilst Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Red Kite, male Common Kestrel and single Meadow Pipit completed the list. What made it more depressing was the number of species I have failed to log in the Recording Area this year including Common Cuckoo, Hobby, Common Stonechat, Whinchat, Common Sandpiper and Osprey.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

Moving on to Wilstone did not improve the mood. Trespassers have now taken to swimming in the reservoir rather than walking all over it. Add to that the massive disturbance caused by overflying hot air balloons, then you have it all.

Water was actually in very short supply and if the Indian Summer forecast materialises, Wilstone will be completely dry by the end of October !

Wildfowl were the main species of note with the two adult Whooper Swans still, 34 Mute Swans, 18 Gadwall, 346+ Common Teal, 38 Wigeon, the 6 PINTAIL, 84 Shoveler and 94 Pochards; 11 Little Egrets were still hanging out, as were the 3 HOBBIES and a Common Chiffchaff was in the East Hedgerow

Sunday, 18 September 2011

WHINCHAT at Penn Street



Andy Radford discovered a WHINCHAT this morning at Penn Street Farm - on wires by the small farm pond. This is the first in the Recording Area this year.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

WHEATEAR at last

FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER

For the first time in a week, the winds became light and from an easterly direction. As a result, there was much early morning passage overhead.....

CHENIES VILLAGE (BUCKS)

Don Stone discovered 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on the freshly ploughed field behind Chenies Baptist Church on Thursday - the first of this species in my Recording Area this year. As such, I was out bright and early searching for them but with no luck.

Diurnal migration was much in evidence with 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS flying south, a number of Meadow Pipits and a constant passage of Barn Swallows and House Martins. A single RING-NECKED PARAKEET flew over Don and I heading back from Chenies Bottom..........

I moved across to the other side of the A404 and checked the Chorleywood Playing Fields where 40 Meadow Pipits, 15 Pied Wagtails, several Linnets, 63 Common Starlings, 8 Common Magpies and a single COMMON WHITETHROAT were noted.

CROXLEY COMMON MOOR (HERTS)

Migrants in thick scrub north of the river included 5 LESSER WHITETHROATS and 5 Blackcaps, whilst a COMMON KINGFISHER was seen

CHENIES VILLAGE (BUCKS)

Second time lucky! I returned to Chenies to join Don and his son watching a single juvenile NORTHERN WHEATEAR in the ploughed field behind the church. It was in exactly the same place as yesterday's three - about 40 yards from the lightning-struck tree - and was showing well (1430 hours)

The farmer was ploughing another field nearby where a gull flock attracted to it included 11 HERRING GULLS (2 juveniles) and 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

WOODOAKS FARM, MAPLE CROSS (HERTS)

No sign of yesterday's Whinchat nor Spotted Flycatcher...

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

Frustratingly, my afternoon visit coincided with that of a man walking 5 dogs across the main bund, quickly followed by another two youths! Birds were flying in every direction! Remonstrating with them had little affect.

Since my last visit last weekend, the Tuesday storm has bought down crashing one of the guano-covered Cormorant nesting trees on the Drayton Bank and a Black Poplar in the hide wood (blocking the main footpath),

After the disruption, little was to be found - the long-staying juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, just 2 Ringed Plovers, an adult HOBBY, the 2 WHOOPER SWANS, 38 Mute Swans, 11 Great Crested Grebes and 11 Little Egrets.

Two juvenile Common Buzzards went south, as did 30 or so Barn Swallows

Thursday, 15 September 2011

WHEATEARS in Chenies

I saw 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS and over 100 Meadow Pipit in the ploughed field behind Chenies Baptist church today. The Wheatears were in the area about 100 feet out from the dead tree in the hedge which is at right angles to the footpath which starts besides the Red Lion pub and runs along the edge of the ploughed field (per Don Stone). These are the first in the Recording Area this year.

Meanwhile, Chris Pontin noted 10 Gadwall on Chesham Pow Wow, and several Meadow Pipits in the Hill Farm area

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A deluge of HOUSE MARTINS

TUESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER (LGRE DIARY NOTES)

A wild and windy day. In fact, the SW/West winds gusted up to 66 miles per hour in places and were often accompanied by periods of heavy rain.

Once again, passage in the local area was slow - the highlights being a juvenile BLACK TERN and a deluge of grounded HOUSE MARTINS........

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

In a relative lull in the weather, I visited Wilstone from 1330-1600 hours. There were a few birders about, including Sue Rowe and Jeff Bailey.

At 1455 hours, a juvenile BLACK TERN arrived from the east and spent the next hour commuting between the jetty spit and the Cemetery Corner.

A total of 15 RINGED PLOVERS was roosting on the spit, amongst which were 5 smaller and darker adult TUNDRA RINGED PLOVERS.

Other than that, waders remained the same or less, with the juvenile male RUFF still, just the 1 COMMON GREENSHANK and the 3 Common Sandpipers.

Up to 5 COMMON SWIFTS were wheeling about, whilst an impressive 370 migrant HOUSE MARTINS were grounded by the weather, many of which were juveniles of the year indicating a superb breeding season for the species.

COMMON TERNS were back to two, after the adult I overlooked yesterday was joined by a juvenile.

All 3 HOBBIES were putting in a good performance too from the hide, both adults trying hard to train the single youngster to hunt and catch its own prey. They have taken to roosting in the tall Black Poplars to the right of the hide in recent days again.

Over 19 Little Egrets were still in the area (with 14 commuting to Tringford) whilst of the wildfowl, the two adult WHOOPER SWANS came over to Wilstone from Startop's to sleep on the central bund, Mute Swans were at 36, Common Teal at 135, Wigeon still at 5, Shoveler at 110 and Pochard at 85.

All 4 CHINESE WATER DEERS were out of the reedbed, the male revealing his sharp 'tusks'

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

Like Wilstone Reservoir, Shardeloes Lake was deluged by passage HOUSE MARTINS - 130 in fact, the highest number recorded in the Amersham area this year,

Little else of note other than an adult Great Crested Grebe, 8 Little Grebes, an immature Sinensis Cormorant roosting on the island, 14 Gadwall, 9 Northern Pochard, Common Kingfisher, 6 Red Kites, 6 Pied Wagtails and 2 Jays

Maybe tomorrow..........

Sunday, 4 September 2011

YELLOW WAGTAILS at Shardeloes (2nd day)

SUNDAY 4 SEPTEMBER (LGRE DIARY NOTES)

For the first part of the morning it was dry with leaden skies but just as midday approached, the heavens opened, giving way to just under three hours of torrential rain. As a result, there was localised flooding. Once the front had moved through, it was replaced by much fresher weather from the Northwest and largely clear skies........

SHARDELOES CRICKET GROUND (BUCKS)

The migrant flock of wagtails on the side pitch held 25 Pieds and 2 juvenile YELLOWS - the latter my first in the Recording Area this year (2 had been seen by Ed Griffiths yesterday); also 44 migrant House Martins present in the rain.

CHORLEYWOOD CRICKET GROUND (HERTS)

A total of 12 Pied Wagtails present

LINFORD RESERVE, NEWPORT PAGNELL (NORTH BUCKS)

After the heavy rain had gone through, I decided to revisit Linford to try and get better views of the GREAT WHITE EGRET. Alan had refound it again this afternoon after it had flown off east at 0800 hours this morning. I arrived there at about 1730 hours in bright sunshine and excellent light conditions. The bird was showing very well - just roosting with 2 Grey Herons on the main bund. This time I could see the legs clearly - definitely no signs of any colour rings. In fact, at the upper part of the tibia, the legs were still quite pale. I could also see that the bird possessed long aigrettes, suggesting that it was an adult bird. The bill was bright orange-yellow, with lime green bare skin at the base and around the eye. It was still sat there preening at 1810 hours when I left.

Also present were a pair of Mute Swans with 7 cygnets, 8 Eurasian Wigeon, 7 Gadwall and 133 Lapwing whilst others had seen 2 GARGANEY and a Common Sandpiper.

Just as I was about to leave the perimeter Swans Way, I received a call from Dave Bilcock - there were 20 RED KNOTS at Wilstone Reservoir........

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

In virtually the time it took me to drive from Linford to Wilstone, the RED KNOT flock were present - feeding voraciously on the mud to the right of the Drayton Bank Hide (see Dave's two images above). However, at 1844 hours, Steve Rodwell, Roy Hargreaves and about 7 other local observers watched all 20 birds (all apparent juveniles) suddenly take flight and fly strongly NW into Buckinghamshire. Mike and Ted Wallen who arrived literally just minutes before me only just narrowly missed out whilst I was 9 minutes out of synch - blow it, yet another batch of good local birds missed. You really need to be there every hour of daylight in such conditions !

The Knot flock had been the highlight of a surprisingly quiet weekend at the reservoirs. The juvenile LITTLE STINT was still present whilst the RINGED PLOVER flock had now increased to 15 birds, including several of which showed characters of tundrae - the northern TUNDRA RINGED PLOVER (smaller and darker and much browner in appearance). A single juvenile RUFF and COMMON GREENSHANK were still present, as well as 3 Common Sandpipers, whilst Little Egret were back up to 22 and Mike W picked up a late COMMON SWIFT with the 40 or so Sand Martins and 120 House Martins over the central bank.

A further 6 COMMON SWIFTS were hawking over the causeway at Tringford Reservoir

The weather this week promises to be unsettled and quite changeable and should produce dividends at the reservoirs........

Monday, 22 August 2011

Negative news on Redstart this evening

MONDAY 22 AUGUST

With a steady SSE breeze blowing and part-cloudy skies, I knew today was going to be special - it had that feel to it. Being bereft of any avian enjoyment since Friday, I was ready for action and committed a day to slogging the local patches - and furthermore Steve Rodwell was back and work and out of play.........

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)

As the evening progressed, a thick band of darker cloud cover encroached from the south - a precursor of some seriously wet weather expected overnight. Despite an extensive search, there was no sign of the female Common Redstart - the only migrants apparent being 2 juvenile WILLOW WARBLERS, 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, a juvenile Blackcap and a Common Chiffchaff.

Of the residents, the female MANDARIN DUCK was still present - this evening venturing out on the grass to graze.....

Also 7 Little Grebes (4 juveniles) (but again no sign of any GCG's), the Mute Swan family (6 surviving cygnets), now 4 NORTHERN POCHARDS (female and 3 drakes), 3 Tufted Duck, Common Kestrel, pair of Stock Dove, 2 Common Magpies, Nuthatch, 3 Great Tits, 12 Long-tailed Tits, 15 Blue Tits, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest, 13 Goldfinch and COMMON KINGFISHER

If all goes to plan, tomorrow should be very exciting.........WATCH THIS SPACE

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A new REDSTART

WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST

Another warm day with bright conditions being replaced by light rain early evening; winds remained light and variable.......

A juvenile Common Redstart had been present at Shardeloes Lake for at least 10 days prior to last week but today I saw a different female in very much the same area, first photographed by Richard Billyard yesterday..........

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)
(with David T Cox)

A late afternoon visit yielded a new migrant COMMON REDSTART in the hedgerow bordering the lake - ranging up to 75 yards from the gate. The bird was a female and was showing well - flitting between the Oaks and the Willows and darting out on to the ground to feed when quiet. DTC had informed me of an image on the BBC website and this confirmed that Richard Billyard had photographed it yesterday.

Other migrants present included a single LESSER WHITETHROAT, 5 SEDGE WARBLERS (my first in the Recording Area this year), several Common Chiffchaffs and 2 juvenile SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS.

Meanwhile, the family party of Mute Swans had reappeared - all 8 birds, whilst of 8 Little Grebes noted, an adult was feeding two very recently fledged young. Coots numbered 76, with at least 8 babies still surviving. Two drake NORTHERN POCHARDS were fresh in.

Also noted were a female Gadwall, 3 Grey Herons, a juvenile Red Kite, 10 Blue Tits, 2 Goldcrests, a male Chaffinch, 11 Goldfinch, 3 Jays, 6 migrant Barn Swallows and an adult with juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Juvenile REDSTART still at Shardeloes

The long-staying juvenile COMMON REDSTART is still present at Shardeloes Lake today, as well as at least 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (per Wally Smith)

Chris Pontin also informs me of an adult COMMON TERN at Chesham Fishing Lakes briefly in July, as well as numerous pairs of Common Buzzard with young and a good number of juvenile Common Whitethroats in the Chess Valley

Another migrant SAND MARTIN

FRIDAY 12 AUGUST

Still SW winds but much lighter in strength than yesterday. A few bright intervals but mainly cloudy - still warm though.........

HEATH END (BUCKS)

To the north of Heath End, a flock of 11 Lapwings were being frisked by a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk

CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)

Single Great Crested Grebes were present on both lakes, with a pair of Mute Swans attending two cygnets and a pair of Common Buzzards feeding young on the edge of Chesham Bois Wood. Hirundines feeding over the large lake included only the second SAND MARTIN of the year in the Recording Area, 4 House Martins and 12 Barn Swallows; two Common Chiffchaffs were also noted and Western Reed Warblers numbered at least 4 including fledged juveniles.

A second pair of Mute Swans had two surviving cygnets on Pow Wow Lake.

LATIMER GREAT WATER (BUCKS)

Thankfully, unlike at other local sites, Tufted Ducks have done well at Neptune's Falls area as usual with a total of 17 ducklings/juveniles noted in the nursery - a single Little Grebe there too, pair of Mute Swans with 3 cygnets and 98 Atlantic Canada Geese.

On Great Water itself, 16 Mute Swans and 8 Tufted Ducks counted, a covey of 4 Red-legged Partridges, Common Kestrel and Green Woodpecker on the slope above and 70 House Martins overhead indicating an excellent breeding season. Most unusual was a flyover Eurasian Skylark - heading towards Chesham up the Chess Valley.

Two pairs of Stock Dover were also noted as well as a charm of 6 Goldfinch

Monday, 8 August 2011

First SAND MARTIN

MONDAY 8 AUGUST

A very autumnly feel to the weather today, with quite strong and cool NW winds and grey, overcast skies for much of the time.........

Another freshly killed Badger I am afraid - this time on the A404 at Hazlemere, by the plantation there at SU 897 958

DEEP MILL POND, GREAT MISSENDEN (BUCKS)

Bank's Pond, to the south of Great Missendon, was completely dry whilst neighbouring Deep Mill Pond held just 8 Coot, 8 Moorhen and a female Tufted Duck.

SHARDELOES LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS)

In very blustery conditions, migrants included 44 House Martins and the first local SAND MARTIN of the autumn. There was no sign of the recent Common Redstart nor Spotted Flycatchers.

The 4 Great Crested Grebes were still present (juvenile now independently feeding), the 4 Dabchicks, 1 Grey Heron, 62 Coot (including 7 'new' babies fledged in recent days) and an adult Song Thrush still feeding young in a nest.

COMMON CROSSBILL at last

With an irruption occurring throughout Britain since the end of May it has taken me up to now to find this species in the Recording Area - a flock of 3 birds jipping noisily as they flew SW from Chilton's Wood, between Chennies and Chorleywood, at 0700 hours on Sunday morning

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Heavy rain grounds large wagtail flock

Some 35 Pied Wagtails were present on Chorleywood Cricket Ground at 0730 hours this morning

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Return passage well underway

My few local Common Swifts departed on 31 July this year, somewhat earlier than usual. A juvenile Barn Swallow flew south this evening over the house.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Migrants arriving including first COMMON REDSTART in years

MONDAY 1 AUGUST

A light easterly breeze blowing with some cloud but very warm temperatures - feeling very 'muggy' indeed at 81 degrees F

With over 15 COMMON REDSTARTS recorded in the county this year, it was perhaps inevitable that the Amersham Recording Area would see its first for many years this autumn. As such, Richard Birch discovered one at Shardeloes on Saturday......

SHARDELOES LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS)

The female/immature COMMON REDSTART was still present this morning, calling loudly from the small plantation that lies just to the left of the lake 80 yards beyond the first gate. The bird was very elusive and eventually flew up the slope and disappeared into the wood below Shardeloes House.

Also mid-morning, a juvenile PIED FLYCATCHER arrived in this same tiny stand of lakeside trees and showed well for about 15 minutes before too moving further up the slope and into the wood beneath Shardeloes House. It was present up to 1020 hours at least.

Further migrants came in the form of a bright juvenile WILLOW WARBLER and a party of 8 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, the latter all feeding from the tall Oak trees by the gate. A party of 3 Common Swifts flew through, as well as 8 Barn Swallows.

Little Grebes have bred locally, with two juveniles now accompanying two adults on the lake, with the 4 Great Crested Grebes on site and the continuing female MANDARIN DUCK

Also Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, juvenile Common Buzzard, Common Treecreeper and Bullfinch

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

EGYPTIAN GEESE breed literally yards from local Recording Area

WEDNESDAY 27 JULY

There were a few light rain showers this morning but generally it was dry and warm. The heavy cloud cover eventually dissipated later in the afternoon. Wind was mainly light.

There was some minor wader passage during the morning, with a Eurasian Curlew and 2 Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits briefly at Tyttenhanger GP and an arrival of 3 Common Greenshanks at Wilstone. Steve Rodwell also had a very early migrant juvenile MARSH HARRIER fly south through Wilstone early afternoon

BEACONSFIELD M40 SERVICES (SOUTH BUCKS)

Thanks to a call from Dave Cleal, I discovered a new birding site this afternoon. There is a landscaped lake just south of the services that I had been previously unaware of and I was amazed to find a flock of 14 EGYPTIAN GEESE on there - an adult pair with 12 youngsters - literally just yards outside of my local Recording Area. One of the juveniles was a pale-headed variant. There was also a single Moorhen and a single female Tufted Duck on the lake, as well as a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Magpie and 8 juvenile Great Tits in the vicinity. No fewer than 13 Pied Wagtails were in the area (mostly juveniles), whilst a superb area of weeds and scrub held a large mixed flock of Greenfinches (45) and Goldfinches (18).

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)
(with Kevin Holt)

This was my first visit to Shardeloes in nearly two months - and most satisfying was seeing a family of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS at the west end of the lake (two adults feeding three juveniles).

Great Crested Grebe (3 adults still present, with one of the adults still tending this year's sole surviving youngster - now well grown)
Little Grebe (pair at west end)
Grey Heron (3 juveniles)
Mute Swan (just the male present - and no sign of the female and 6 cygnets)
Atlantic Canada Geese (8)
MANDARIN (female present; KH had seen her accompanying two ducklings on 6 June)
Mallard (39 present, plus two females with tiny ducklings - 2 and 5 respectively)
GADWALL (female with 5 out of 8 surviving young)
Tufted Duck (female with 4 ducklings)
Coot (55 counted; two active nests still of second broods)
Common Kestrel (female on the cricket ground)
COMMON KINGFISHER (1 by the island)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Green Woodpecker (2)
Barn Swallow (22 hawking for insects over trees)
Common Treecreeper (family party)
Common Chiffchaff (5)
Great Tit (4 juveniles)
Long-tailed Tit (8)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER* (pair feeding 3 juveniles in Willows)
Nuthatch (1)
Goldfinch (adults feeding young)

LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)

Still 8 noisy Common Swifts in the vicinity of my house

Monday, 25 July 2011

WHINCHAT just out of area

Unbeknown to me, Peter Stevens had discovered a WHINCHAT at Springfield Quarry, Beaconsfield, last week - on 19 July. Dave Cleal also saw the bird and saw another one today - in exactly the same area.

As soon as I heard of it, I rushed over and after parking at Lillyfee Farm, quickly relocated it just 100 yards along the track consorting with a family party of 6 Common Whitethroats. It was favouring an area of rough weeds and nettles just left of the track, in the same area where all of the migrant Whinchats were found last autumn. It represented my first in the county this year.

Elsewhere in the quarry it was very quiet, with nothing present on the two scrapes. A flock of 31 ppost-breeding Lapwings were in the first field beyond the farm buildings.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Garden Visitors



The garden at Chaffinch House has been bustling with birds of late, particularly during the rain, with 32 House Sparrows, 7 Goldfinch, 5 Greenfinch and 7 Long-tailed Tits.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

LITTLE OWLS fledged













LITTLE OWLS have successfully bred at Valley Farm, with 5 young fledged from the usual nest (see Marie Nott's superb images above).


There were also 5 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS in Chenies this morning. They spent ten minutes in the village before flying Sw towards Chorleywood

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mote Tetrad Work - SP 96 06 and SP 97 06 HOG LANE AND HOCKERIDGE/PANCAKE WOODS

WEDNESDAY 6 JULY

Although the first half of the day was relatively bright and calm, the second half was dominated by increasing winds from the Southwest. A few sharp heavy rain showers also quickly swept through. This deepening front was responsible for pushing over 660 Cory's Shearwaters in front of it, moving west past the Runnel Stone at Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra (West Cornwall)......

With such conditions, I fully expected a wave of new waders in Rookery Pit South but the only arrivals landed after I had departed the site.........

SP 96 06 HOG LANE FARM AND ENVIRONS (BUCKS) (continuing tetrad work)

Another bird-rich tetrad, with a broad diversity of habitats. A total of 23 species encountered -:

Red Kite (pair nesting)
Common Kestrel (1 in the vicinity of Short Heath Farm)
Woodpigeon (present and nesting)
Collared Dove (pair visiting spilt seed at Johns Lane Farm)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 present at 'The House in the Wood')
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting opposite Hog Lane Farm, with 3 pairs and fledged young at Johns Lane Farm)
Pied Wagtail (pair with single juvenile feeding by horses in Willow Wood stable fields with another pair still feeding young in barn roof at Johns Lane Farm)
Robin (pair feeding young along Hog Lane, with another at Holly Bank)
Wren (pair at 'Owl Meadow')
Common Blackbird (juvenile in one of the small coppices)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in garden of Willow Wood Barn and adult with young near Willow Wood)
Great Tit (1 by Hog Lane)
Blue Tit (3 by Hog Lane)
*Common Treecreeper (family party of 5 birds on the perimeter of Highfield House)
Rook (68 feeding with other corvids in vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Carrion Crow (20 birds feeding in the vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Common Magpie (5 in vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Jackdaw (55 in vicinity of manure heaps at Johns Lane Farm)
House Sparrow (colony of 15 birds at Johns Lane Farm)
Chaffinch (pair feeding fledged young at 'Owl Meadow' and another family at 'The House in the Wood')
Greenfinch (singing male near Highfield House, with further males at Hog Lane Farm and Little Paddock)
Goldfinch (pair in garden of Old Farm Cottage and another at Little Paddock)
BULLFINCH (family party of 5 birds in grounds of Highfield House with perhaps the same drinking at a roadside pool in Northchurch Lane adjacent to 'The House in the Wood')
Comma Butterfly (1 along Hog Lane)

SP 97 06 HOCKERIDGE AND PANCAKE WOODS, ASHLEY GREEN (BUCKS)

These woods belong to the Royal Forestry Society and are being managed for timber production, wildlife and amenity. They have been replanted with a variety of ornamental and forest trees and in many areas, the evergreen conifers are 'nursing' groups of Beech, Oak or Cherry. In all, 20 species are represented, including several Larch and Fir. The site has long been a traditional haunt of the Edible Dormouse and in recent years, Firecrests have colonised. An exhaustive search this afternoon yielded just 19 species.

Common Pheasant (1 male)
Woodpigeon (20+ pairs)
Carrion Crow (adults with fledged young)
Wren (8 separate territories, two pairs feeding fledged young)
Dunnock (just 1 pair located)
Robin (four pairs in Hockeridge Wood)
Common Blackbird (three different pairs)
Song Thrush (singing male in Pancake Wood and just one nesting pair in Hockeridge)
Blackcap (just 1 singing male)
Goldcrest (total of 11 singing males/family groups)
FIRECREST* (frustratingly, too late for recording singing males, as core area devoid of birds - elsewhere in wood, just one transient family group located, probably numbering 6 birds)
Blue & Great Tit (in noisy family parties)
Coal Tit (2 family groups)
MARSH TIT (single scolding bird noted in Hockeridge Wood)
Long-tailed Tit (family party)
COMMON TREECREEPER (family party)
Chaffinch (5 singing males)
BULLFINCH (family group at north end)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A Day of PURPLE EMPERORING - LGRE Diary Notes





















PURPLE EMPERORS (FRANCIS BUCKLE)


MONDAY 4 JULY

Another glorious day weatherwise, with long sunny periods, warm temperatures and no wind. Having been busy all weekend, I took advantage of the sunshine to do some butterflying - and in particular, for searching for PURPLE EMPERORS, my favourite British butterfly. I was not disappointed...........Avian highlights included a few returning waders, including a WOOD SANDPIPER....

TRING TOWN (HERTFORDSHIRE)

In Wingrave Road, I came across a breeding colony of Common Swifts - some 8 adults entering a hole in the guttering at number 8, alomost opposite The Pheasant public house.

COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT (BUCKS)

There was no sign of yesterday's adult Wood Sandpiper, seen by both Paul Reed and David Bilcock. In fact, there were much fewer waders present than of late, with no sign of the family party of 4 Oystercatchers.

A quick inventory check revealed the presence of 3 Mute Swans (the pair with just one surviving cygnet still), 1 Greylag Goose, 113 Atlantic Canada Geese, 1 female Common Teal, 11 Tufted Duck, two family groups of Moorhen (1 with 5 chicks and another with 3 chicks), 4 Common Redshank, 15 Lapwing (including 9 young of varying ages), 4 Little Ringed Plovers (2 pairs), 1 Black-headed Gull, 14 Common Terns and several Western Reed Warblers.

AYLESBURY COUNCIL OFFICES (BUCKS)

Once again, absolutely no sign of either adult Peregrine in the nest chamber or anywhere else on the building.

CALVERT AREA AND ENVIRONS (BUCKS)

In an extensive search of the area and nearby sites, no sign of Richard Birch's pair of European Turtle Doves from last Friday. Warren Claydon also failed during a search over the weekend. If my bad luck continues throughout July, 2011 could go down as my first year with a complete blank on this species within the county - a sad show indeed and representative of the stark decline and situation this once common farmland species is really in.

FINEMERE WOOD, NEAR QUAINTON (BUCKS) (SP 721 216)

By mid morning, the sun was radiating heat and the temperature had risen to nearly 70 degrees F - it was time to visit Finemere. I met up with local butterfly expert Steve Croxford and nature photographer Martin Parr and enjoyed an excellent hour or so of butterfly entertainment along the main drove up to 140 yards beyond the private parking area. The stars of course were the PURPLE EMPERORS - up to 7 on the wing today. Martin cheated a little bit - by relocating a major food source on to the track inside the wood - and within a short time indeed attracting two somewhat worn-winged males down (perhaps individuals attacked by birds). The views were spectacular - down to a few feet - allowing Martin to take over 250 photographs. They remained at the food source for at least an hour, with different more mobile individuals (including a single female) being seen flitting high in the Oak canopies and along the ride.

A WHITE ADMIRAL was also seen, as well as 5 SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES, along with 2 PURPLE HAIRSTREAKS, 7 MARBLED WHITES, large numbers of Ringlets, Large White, Green-veined White, Small White, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper (40+), Small Skipper, Comma (3), Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell.

Avian highlights included no less than 8 BULLFINCHES (two single pairs and then two pairs together - all 'budding'), 2+ MARSH TITS, Common Buzzard carrying prey, Common Chiffchaffs, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, male Yellowhammer, Blackcap, Nuthatch and a large mixed flock of Long-tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tit.

(Note: Finemere Wood is a premier site for Purple Emperor in Buckinghamshire but this year has been eclipsed by Rushbeds Wood BBOWT, Brill, where up to 15 have been showing daily)

ASTON ABBOTTS (BUCKS)

Sadly, another dead Badger - this time on the A418 north of Wingrave Cross Roads at cSP 860 203.

KING'S WOOD, HEATH AND REACH (BEDFORDSHIRE) (SP 930 300)

Another prime butterfly wood and again very productive today. Along one of the side rides was one mobile male pristine-conditioned and presumably newly-emerged PURPLE EMPEROR, no less than 9 SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES and 3 WHITE ADMIRALS, along with good numbers of many of the commoner butterflies.

CHICKSANDS WOOD (BEDFORDSHIRE) (TL 100 400)

I arrived at Chicksands Wood shortly after 1400 hours, at the same time as Letchworth butterfly fan Dave Blofield. It was more Crossbills than butterflies that I had driven all the way over for, but despite walking all round, drew yet another blank on the former - my 8th dip now. Dave and I walked the main drove SW from the parking space (at TL 106 411) and soon came upon a stunningly confiding female PURPLE EMPEROR on the main track, just 30 yards along from the Obelisk (at TL 104 406). She was in immaculate condition and sat on the track just yards from us for 12 minutes before flying off and into the wood. Dave got some nice photographs. A second individual, this time a male, was seen 400 yards further on, along a track off to the left after a further 75 yards. This was in flight and highly mobile.

Just 1 WHITE ADMIRAL was seen along the main drove, and 3 different SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES, along with 9 Commas, 2 Red Admiral, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, 15 Marbled Whites, large numbers of Ringlets, Meadow Brown, 40+ Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and in the usual bramble scrub adjacent to the Henry John Robert Osborn monument at TL 097 395, 4 well-showing WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAKS - my first of the year.

In the heat of the mid-afternoon, birdlife was scant, frustratingly Common Crossbills. No sign of any Spotted Flycatchers either, but Common Buzzard with food and Jay - as well as Southern Hawker and Ruddy Darter.

As MJP proclaimed only yesterday, the two vast Poppy fields at TL 104 441 are resplendent and well worth photographinge (just west of the parking spot on the Haynes Church End road).

ROOKERY PIT SOUTH, STEWARTBY (BEDFORDSHIRE)
(1600-1645 hours)

Two WOOD SANDPIPERS in our region in the first few days of July is very unusual and early so despite missing yesterday's College Lake bird, I was more than pleased to make up for it by seeing the Rookery adult, now present for its third day. It was feeding along the edge of the closest island on the right hand side of the complex viewing from the Jackdaw Bridge side. Newly arrived were two spanking adult summer-plumaged ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS.

Otherwise 52 Lapwings (flock of post-breeding adults and at least 9 juveniles wandering about), an adult Oystercatcher, several Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Redshank and a Little Egret. Also female Northern Pochard with single young, female Red-crested Pochard with single young and both Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe with young; one pair of Mute Swans with 5 cygnets and at least 17 juvenile Black-headed Gulls within the colony. Grisly was watching an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (one of the nesting pair) attack and kill a baby Moorhen and later devour it.

Both Western Reed Warblers and Common Whitethroats were feeding fledged young.

SHARPENHOE CLAPPERS (BEDFORDSHIRE)

Although late in the day and fairly overcast, it was still very warm and in the wild flower-rich meadow immediately north and adjacent to the car park was highly productive for butterflies. No less than 10 DARK GREEN FRITILLARIES were seen (mainly nectaring on the purple flowering heads), 20 or more Marbled Whites, several Commas, both Small and Large Skippers and my first PAINTED LADY of the year. One further DARK GREEN FRITILLARY was seen in the usual meadow with the wooden bench 250 yards down along the footpath.

SPRINGFIELD FARM QUARRY (SOUTH BUCKS)

Thanks to Peter Stevens, I was able to locate the rest of the COMMON SHELDUCK family this evening - all 13 birds (including 11 surviving juveniles) on the largest of the three pools to the NE of the quarry buildings and offices just beyond the tall pines (see map). This is a record family gathering in my Recording Area and replicates an identikit family group that Chris Heard observed at Queen Mother Reservoir in Berkshire this evening. Interestingly, both family parties were accompanied by the fathers - at one time all of the males flying off to moult in Holland post-breeding.

Also tonight, the wader pools held 3 adult GREEN SANDPIPERS and an adult LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, whilst the female Lapwing with her two chicks was joined by 32 post-breeding adults of the species.

Further breeding success came from the isolated Oak-nesting Common Kestrel family - 3 juveniles fledging today - with Pied Wagtails feeding young at the cement complex and 11 Skylarks being seen on the meadow. The 63 Common Starlings roosted again in the row of tall pines.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Mammoth Breeding Success



Peter Stevens found this creche of 13 baby COMMON SHELDUCKS at Springfield, 11 more than I saw yesterday at the site. This is the closest successful breeding has ever taken place in my Recording Area - the site being just SW of Beaconsfield

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Just outside the Recording Area - Beaconsfield

SATURDAY 2 JULY

Another glorious day with temperatures climbing back up into the high 70's fahrenheit; long clear periods with long spells of sunshine.

SPRINGFIELD FARM QUARRY, BEACONSFIELD (SOUTH BUCKS)

Some nice local breeding successes, sadly just outside the Amersham Recording Area. Very pleased to confirm local breeding of COMMON SHELDUCKS - with a pair accompanying two well-grown juveniles on the largest of the pools.. Generally locally, all of the young are quickly taken by predators, so this was great to see.

Next off, another pair of HOBBIES nesting, the second pair I have located in the past week. A juvenile Sand Martin was taken into the nest, as well as a juvenile Common Starling

And LAPWINGS - two pairs breeding, with one adult now accompanying two tiny babies on the small reed-fringed pool

SAND MARTINS have had a great year, with at least 60 juveniles on the wing this evening and many still being fed in the burrows - about 460 birds counted in total.

Otherwise, 17+ Stock Doves, Common Kestrel, 14 Common Swifts (scarce at this site), a singing Skylarks and 63 Common Starlings at pre-roost

THE HEATH END AND BELLINGDON AREAS - More tetrad work

FRIDAY 1 JULY

A very pleasant day with clearing skies and warm sunshine. No wind to speak of and dry. I spent the day doing more local tetrad work.....

HAWRIDGE COMMON (BUCKS) (continued)

I returned to the SP 94 06 tetrad to fill in a few gaps, concentrating on the area to the west of the common. A few new species and some tremendous meadows for butterflies; also an extensive young Christmas tree plantation. With three new species, total now 29....

Common Pheasant (male calling from fields behind Hawridge Place)
Green Woodpecker (in fields near Hawridge Place)
Pied Wagtail (pair at Hawridge Place)
Wren (singing male by new plantation)
Robin (family party at Hawridge Place)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young at Hawridge Place)
Common Chiffchaff (male singing from treeline bordering new plantation)
Coal Tit (one in pines by Hawridge Place access road)
Great Tit (1 by Hawridge Place)
Common Magpie (adult and two juveniles near Hawridge Place and another family group in young plantation)
Chaffinch (nesting at Hawridge Place)
Yellowhammer (male singing from stunted pines in young plantation)

Several large meadows full of wild flowers where butterflies were particularly abundant including 300+ Meadow Browns, 75 Ringlets, numerous Small Heaths and 25 Marbled Whites.

SP 94 05 BELLINGDON AREA (BUCKS)

Predominantly farmland with gardens either side of Chesham Road, Bellingdon Farm, Hilltop Farm but little else in the way of habitation. Like the neighbouring square, rich in grassland meadows. 21 species recorded.....

Woodpigeon (nesting in 'Cockwood' garden and commonly encountered elsewhere in square)
Green Woodpecker (1 in the large meadow)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting at Bloomfield Farm)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male in meadow north of Chesham Road)
Wren (pair at 'The Cottage' garden, male at Bloomfield Farm and a nesting pair in the narrow strip of trees bordering the meadow)
Robin (pair feeding young in gardens along Ramscote Lane)
Common Blackbird (pair nesting at Bellingdon Farm, another at Betony Cottage on Chesham Road, 3 more singing males in neighbouring gardens and another nesting pair at Harvest View in Ramscote Lane)
Blackcap (single pair near meadow)
Common Chiffchaff (pair feeding young near meadow)
Common Whitethroat (singing male in overgrown scrub along Chesham Road adjacent to 'Amberley')
Blue Tit (at The Cottage)
Great Tit (at feeders at Bellingdon Farm)
Carrion Crow (4 in the meadows)
Jackdaw (88 birds including juveniles feeding in Animal Farm fields SE of Hawridge Lane)
Common Magpie (6 in livestock fields at Animal Farm)
Chaffinch (present in gardens along Chesham Road)
Goldfinch (in gardens along Chesham Road)
Greenfinch (singing male in firs behind 'The Hollies' on Chesham Road, with another in gardens along Ramscote Lane)
Linnet (3 flew over the large meadow)
BULLFINCH (pair along Chesham Road
House Sparrow (8 birds, both adults and juveniles, in area of overgrown habitat along Chesham Road; the colony had nested in the thick hedgerow at 'Amberley')

SP 95 06 HEATH END (BUCKS)
Yet another very rural tetrad dominated by farmland and rich grassy meadows - total of 17 species

Woodpigeon (breeding and roosting in both Chesham Lodge Wood and plantation by Mill Farm)
Green Woodpecker (1 in Chesham Lodge Wood)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (in garden of The Old Farmhouse)
Carrion Crow (adults and single juvenile in meadow)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting at Glebe Farm)
Robin (pair nesting at The Old Farmhouse)
Common Blackbird (pair present at 'The Glebe House' and at 'Glebe Farm' and in Haddens Plantation)
Song Thrush (singing male in wood behind Chesham Lodge)
Blackcap (male at Glebe Farm and a singing male at Hadden's Plantation)
Common Whitethroat (pair in field and scrub opposite The Old Farmhouse, with another feeding fledged young by main road)
Blue Tit (family party at Glebe Farm, with several on the feeders at The New Farmhouse)
Great Tit (visiting the feeders at The New Farmhouse)
House Sparrow (pair nesting at The Old Farmhouse)
Chaffinch (singing male in Chesham Lodge Wood with breeding proved in Hill Farm Wood)
Greenfinch (in 'Old Forge' garden and nearby by main road)
Linnet (3 in hedgerow in large meadow and another by Hadden's Plantation)
YELLOWHAMMER (singing male around The Glebe House, another in cereal crops by main Wigginton road)

One rich meadow held over 120 Marbled White butterflies

SP 95 05 HADDEN'S PLANTATION (BUCKS)
More open countryside and arable farmland but with two tracts of woodland; 16 species

EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (active nesting pair in Hadden's Plantation with relatively small young in nest)
TAWNY OWL (pair with four fledged young in Hadden's Plantation)
Carrion Crow (pair feeding young on lawn at Short Heath House)
Wren (pair by Nut Hazel Cross Farm and another singing male by Chesham Road)
Robin (pair feeding young in Hadden's Plantation, another pair by Bucks Water Board and a further pair in Hirst Wood)
Common Blackbird (fledged young and adults on lawn of Bucks Water Board)
Song Thrush (singing male opposite Hadden's Plantation)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male along the Chesham Road)
Goldcrest (male in scrub opposite Hadden's Plantation)
Blue Tit (in gardens opposite Hirst Wood)
Great Tit (1 by Bucks Water Board)
Coal Tit (in Hirst Wood)
House Sparrow (colony of nesting birds - 3 pairs - at 'Wayflower House')
Linnet (1 in hedgerow near St Mary's Church in Hawridge)
BULLFINCH (pair in scrub along the Chesham Road)
Yellowhammer (singing male by Bucks Water Board building and another on barn opposite Wayflower; a further singing male opposite St Mary's Church)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Just outside recording area - LRP's breed successfully

TUESDAY 28 JUNE

Well they said it wouldn't last and with temperatures during the preceding two days hovering between a sweltering 30 and 32 degrees fahrenheit, it was of no real surprise that the storms arrived. Electric storms, coupled with heavy rain, and enough to fell an old Scot's Pine in Gerrards Cross. As such, my birding was very much curtailed today and I just got out to check some relatively local breeding LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS........

FULMER LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS)

Despite the recent rains, the water level remained very low and as such, both Lapwing and LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS were doing well. I was delighted to see one of the two pairs now accompanying two little chicks, running around haphazardly about the muddy edge. This is the first time I have recorded this species breeding here

The two pairs of Lapwing were also still present and looked as though they were still sitting; no young were noted

Most importantly, the HOBBY family were doing well, the adults now flying in food every 40 minutes or so

The lake also held 1 Mute Swan and a few Coot (1 still sitting) with the surrounding area yielding 2 Stock Doves, Swallow, singing Common Chiffchaff and Common Treecreeper

Monday, 27 June 2011

More tetrad work (Hawridge Area - SP 94 06)

MONDAY 27 JUNE

Unbearably hot again today, with temperatures soaring in the sunshine to 32 degrees C. Cloud did gather in the afternoon but apart from a few spots of rain, it remained dry.

It was too hot to birdwatch really but I did manage about six hours in the field........

LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)

The local Common Swift population has now risen to 13 birds, with the addition of 5 screaming youngsters. Near Chalfont and Latimer railway station, I saw a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk with prey disappearing into the trees.

SYMONDSHYDE WOODS (HERTS)

Following Paul's email of yesterday, I decided to have a look for his Common Crossbill family. Frustratingly, there was no sight nor sound of them in the pine belt, although several were seen in Broxbourne Woods today. There was a lot of activity in the wood, with post-breeding families of Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Blackcap, Robin and Wren; also Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

It was the butterflies that really stole the show though with two SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES (one flying around the logpiles by the entrance and another on territory by the sharp bend 700 yards into the wood), 2 WHITE ADMIRALS, a MARBLED WHITE, a RED ADMIRAL, numerous Speckled Woods and Large Whites, a handful of Small Heaths and dozens of Meadow Browns.

SP 94 06 HAWRIDGE/HAWRIDGE COMMON (BUCKS)

My latest tetrad survey, dominated by the rich woodland strip of Hawridge Common. A very productive area with 26 species recorded -:

Common Buzzard (1 flew over Cholesbury Lane)
Woodpigeon (60 or so in fields by the common and nesting observed)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1-2 ranging widely on the common)
European Barn Swallow (1-2 pairs nesting in barn at 'The Limes')
Eurasian Skylark (a large crop field to the east of the common held no less than 5 singing males with one bird tending young)
Robin (pair with young on Hawridge Common, and another pair at 'Barncroft')
Wren (two singing males on Hawridge Common, 1 by Church Lane, 1 behind Flint Cottage and another at the north end of the common)
Common Blackbird (two males in the gardens and woodland edge in Cholesbury Lane, another male in the scrub opposite May Cottage, a singing male by Stoney Lane and another by the Rose & Crown)
Song Thrush (2 singing males within 40 yards of each other on Hawridge Common with another less than 70 yards away and a further bird by the road at the north end)
Blackcap (singing male in scrub opposite May Cottage, another near Field View, another near Stoney Lane, another by Church Lane)
Common Whitethroat (a singing male in the young plantation area east of the common)
Common Chiffchaff (several singing males on Hawridge Common with one in trees opposite May Cottage, another by Stoney Lane, another in tall trees behind Flint Cottage and a bird at the extreme north end by the road)
Coal Tit (1 at the north end of Hawridge Common)
Blue Tit (two family parties noted on Hawridge Common)
Great Tit (adults and juveniles along Hawridge Lane)
*MARSH TIT (pair on Hawridge Common near Willow Tree Cottage)
Long-tailed Tit (pair on Hawridge Common)
Nuthatch (family party of 5 birds on Hawridge Common)
Common Treecreeper (1 present on the common)
Jackdaw (colony of hole nesting birds on Hawridge Common, with three holes occupied and some fledged young in the vicinity)
Common Magpie (2 different birds noted on Hawridge Common)
Jay (pair present on Hawridge Common)
Chaffinch (singing male in garden along Cholesbury Lane with another by Willow Tree Cottage)
Goldfinch (pair in gardens along Cholesbury Lane, another pair on Hawridge Common)
Greenfinch (singing male in tall conifer in garden of 'Field View' and another in hedgerow by the young plantation east of the common)
Yellowhammer (two nesting pairs in large cereal field east of common)

Lee G R Evans

Local Orchids in bloom























































































A nice spread of orchids on show at the moment in the Amersham Recording Area - the Frog Orchids at Pulpit Hill and the huge numbers of Common Spotted Orchid I found at Newsets Wood last week - all pictured by Acegooner Chris Pontin



Friday, 24 June 2011

The BELLINGDON area - SP 93 05

FRIDAY 24 JUNE

The rain started again this evening - about 1700 hours - but before that it had been a bright sunny day. I finished off another tetrad today - SP 93 05. A few nice bits, including 2 singing Skylarks and my first Common Starlings in the north of the Recording Area......

SP 93 05 BELLINGDON (BUCKS)
Some nicely vegetated lanesides, a couple of small plantations and some productive farmsteads dominate this tetrad, with 29 species recorded.....the best tetrad so far in the north

Woodpigeon (large numbers present and good numbers nesting)
Stock Dove (1 by Wood Farm Cottage)
Feral Pigeon and Fan-tailed Doves in gardens near Asheridge Farm
Great Spotted Woodpecker (2 visiting nut feeder near Asheridge Farm)
Green Woodpecker (1 in the horse paddocks by Asheridge Farm)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male over field east of Wood Farm and another in cereal field 250 yards SE of Hunters Oak)
Pied Wagtail (male collecting food in horse paddocks near Asheridge Farm)
European Bank Swallow (breeding at Bank Farm with 6 birds over the horse paddocks near Asheridge Farm)
Wren (singing male near Asheridge Farm and another at Six Acres garden)
European Robin (pair present at The Old Farmhouse at Bank Farm)
Dunnock (pair in garden near Asheridge Farm)
Common Blackbird (breeding pairs by Wood Farm Cottage, Hunters Oak, Six Acres Garden, Wood Farm and in gardens along Chesham Road)
Song Thrush (singing male west of Bank Farm, another in scrub opposite 'Hunters Oak' and another in gardens along Bank Green)
Mistle Thrush (3 in flight over Southview)
Blackcap (singing male by Wood Farm entrance and another 200 yards beyond Hunters Oak)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in lane 200 yards beyond 'Hunters Oak' and another in trees near Southview)
Blue Tit (at least 5 roving family parties, with 10 or more juveniles at feeders by Asheridge Farm)
Great Tit (at least 5 at feeders by Asheridge Farm)
Long-tailed Tit (pair in scrub near Hunters Oak)
Carrion Crow (5 in paddocks near Asheridge Farm)
Jackdaw (4 in wood near Southview)
Common Magpie (1 by Wood Farm Cottage and a pair by Southview)
Jay (2 in coppice near Southview)
Common Starling (adult visiting bird feeder near Asheridge Farm and a family party of 2 adults and 2 juveniles at Bank Farm)
Chaffinch (5 birds at feeders near Asheridge Farm, pair near Southview, another pair in gardens along Bank Green and 3 singing males in gardens along Chesham Road and Cedar Grove)
Goldfinch (pair nesting in garden adjacent to Asheridge Farm and another pair at Bank Farm)
Greenfinch (single in Five Elms garden in Bank Green)
Linnet (female on wires at Bank Farm)
House Sparrow (8 birds visiting peanut feeder in garden adjacent to Asheridge Farm)
Yellowhammer (pair in hedgerow by Bank Farm)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

More tetrad work and more nesting FIRECRESTS.........

WEDNESDAY 22 JUNE

Some hefty rain showers moved through the Chilterns late morning but gave way to clear, bright and quite warm conditions this afternoon. Once the rain had passed, I resumed more work on my tetrads...

At one site, I recorded more nesting FIRECRESTS - a female feeding noisy fledged young - and two additional singing males. Once again, this is a site with few conifers but with an awful lot of Holly, ivy and understorey. At least three singing males had been present in the area during two visits in early spring.

This same tetrad also yielded BULLFINCH, a singing male Song Thrush, Nuthatch, Common Buzzard and Wren - all additional species.

SP 93 06 CHOLESBURY AREA (BUCKS)
This is a very productive tetrad with some excellent habitat and many farmsteads - hence an impressive list of species recorded totalling 24....Song Thrushes were in good supply...

Woodpigeon (fairly abundant and breeding)
Stock Dove (one flew over Little Braziers Farm)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (pair fledged from wood NE of the brick company)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting in barns at Braziers End Farm, with another in horse sheds by Kiln Farm)
House Martin (two nests and a new site for my Recording Area - at The Old Orchard)
Pied Wagtail (adult male feeding in front of Kiln Cottages)
European Robin (singing male in wood by Ray's Hill)
Common Blackbird (good numbers noted, with two pairs at Braziers End House, a pair on Ray's Hill, a pair by The Full Moon pub, adults and fledged juveniles at Bowmore Farm, breeding pair at Kingston Cottage, singing male by HG Matthews, breeding pair in Kiln Meadow gardens, breeding pair at Bellingdon End Farm)
Song Thrush (singing male in Cholesbury in scrub opposite 'The Row', another in Kiln Meadow garden and another by Kiln Cottages; yet another singing male at Bellingdon End Farm and a nesting pair in the vicinity of Wood Farm)
Dunnock (two singing males in grounds of Braziers Well, another pair at 'The Row' in Cholesbury)
Wren (singing male in wood by Ray's Hill, another by HG Matthews)
Blackcap (female in front garden of Little Braziers Farm)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in trees by Kiln Meadows
Goldcrest (singing male by Chesham Road adjacent to Kiln Cottages)
Blue Tit (adults and young by cowshed at Ray's Hill)
Great Tit (pair with fledged young at Braziers End Farm, as well as near cowshed)
Long-tailed Tit (fledged young with adults at Ray's Hill near cowshed)
Chaffinch (singing male in coppice by Braziers End, another in trees by HG Matthews Brick Manufacturers, a male in Kiln Meadow garden and a singing male at Bellingdon End Farm, a singing male by 'Little Cherries)
Goldfinch (pair nesting at Kiln Cottages)
Greenfinch (pair at Little Braziers Farm)
House Sparrow (pair nesting at the Rock House on Ray's Hill, part of the The Gables built in 1905)
Common Magpie (noted along the hedgerows north of Braziers Well, in Cholesbury)
Carrion Crow (several adults with young in fields)
Jackdaw (2 birds feeding with horses by Braziers End Farm, adults and fledged young at Kingston)

Some wonderful grass meadows south of Cholesbury at SP 932 069 harbouring Small Tortoiseshell and Marbled White butterflies and over 130 Meadow Browns. There were also many Ladybirds to be found.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

SP 92 05 - COMMON SPOTTED ORCHIDS

SP 92 05 NEWSETS WOOD AND ASHERIDGE FARM (BUCKS)
A very poor tetrad birdwise but noteworthy in its exceptional colony of Common Spotted Orchids.

Woodpigeon (present and breeding)
European Barn Swallow (nesting at Asheridge Farm)
Common Blackbird (nesting at both Wood Farm and Asheridge Farm as well as in Newsets Wood)
Common Magpie (pair by Newsets Wood)
Blackcap (singing male by Newsets Wood)
Great Tit (juvenile in Newsets Wood)
Chaffinch (male singing at Asheridge Farm)
Yellowhammer (singing male in hedgerow NE of Threegates Farm)

Common Spotted Orchid (an impressive spread of over 450 spikes by the small pond in Newsets Wood)

SP 92 06

SP 92 06 OAK LANE AND WIDOW CROFT SOUTH OF BUCKLAND COMMON (BUCKS)
More open farmland either side of Oak Lane with an extensive sward of woodland at Widow Croft. A total of 18 species noted -:

Red-legged Partridge (calling male in crop south of Oak Lane)
Moorhen (pair bred on small lake at rear of 'Woodlands' with one tiny youngster feeding out in the open on the lawn)
Woodpigeon (several pairs nesting in Widow Croft)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male over crop NE of 'Woodlands with another south of Widow Croft')
European Robin (pair feeding young at 'Woodlands')
Common Blackbird (at least 3 pairs nesting in Widow Croft, three juveniles at Woodlands, nesting birds in Buckland Common
Song Thrush (two singing males in Woodside Wood with two separate adults seen carrying food)
Wren (singing males in Widow Croft, Woodside Wood, another in 'Woodlands' and another in back gardens at Buckland Common)
Blackcap (singing male in Woodside Wood)
Common Whitethroat (adults feeding young by Oak Lane opposite Widow Croft)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in Widow Croft)
Blue Tits (adults and young in Widow Croft)
NUTHATCH (family party in tall trees of Widow Croft opposite 'Woodlands')
Carrion Crow (pair feeding two young in field at Buckland Common)
Common Magpie (pair in Buckland Common)
Jay (1 in Woodside Wood)
Jackdaw (19 flew over Widow Croft)
Chaffinch (singing male in Buckland Common and another pair near Oak Lane)

SP 91 05

SP 91 05 ARREWIG FARM AND LANE (BUCKS)
Centred on Arrewig Farm, Barn and Cottages, this is another rural tetrad dominated by open farmland but featuring Chesland and Cindry Bottom Woods. Not so good as the neighbouring tetrad though with just 16 species encountered -:

Common Pheasant (noted in fields north of Arrewig Lane)
Red-legged Partridge (pair in quarry working area just west of Autumn Cottage Farm)
Woodpigeon (numerous; nesting)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting in barn at Threegates Farm)
Pied Wagtail (male gathering food near Threegates Farm and disappearing in buildings there)
Dunnock (pair breeding at Corfield Cottage)
Wren (singing male in Chesland Wood and another in Bray's Wood)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young at east end of Arrewig Lane and another in Chesland Wood)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in Bray's Wood, another in trees just east of Corfield House, another in Chesland Wood)
Blue Tit (adults and fledged young at north end of Bray's Wood)
Great Tit (adults with fledged young in scrub opposite Threegates Farm)
Common Magpie (gathering of 5 birds along Arrewig Lane)
Blackcap (singing male along Arrewig Lane)
Chaffinch (male singing in hedgerow near Autumn Cottage Farm and pair in scrub opposite Threegates Farm; a further male in Bray's Wood)
Goldfinch (nesting at Arrewig Farm)
*BULLFINCH (vocal pair - in fact the male was in full song rarely heard these days - in hedgerow bordering Arrewig Lane SE of the farm complex)

SP 91 06 DUNDRIDGE MANOR

TUESDAY 21 JUNE

The longest day of the year. In fact, a better day than of late, with dry weather throughout, with some long sunny periods and warm temperatures. Carried on with my fieldwork today, covering four more tetrads, most noteworthy being a cluster of BULLFINCH sightings.......

SP 91 06 DUNDRIDGE MANOR, ASHEN AND LADY GROVES (BUCKS)

A tetrad dominated by open farmland, with Dundridge Manor to the east being the only settlement. Lady Grove was a mixture of trees but had substantial amounts of Holly. A total of 19 species was noted - higher than average -:

Literally only yards from the square and just north of the Recording Area was St Leonard's Churchyard (SP 910 071) where a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were busily feeding young.

I followed the Chiltern Way footpath and fully explored the tetrad, Lady Grove harbouring a nesting pair of COMMON BUZZARDS.....

Common Pheasant (present in crops)
COMMON BUZZARD (pair feeding young in nest in tall Larch tree in Lady Grove)
Woodpigeon (numerous, with gathering of 45 in one field)
Green Woodpecker (single seen in flight)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting in the grounds of the White Lion)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male in barley crop 250 yards south of Dundridge Manor)
European Robin (pair present by the White Lion pub)
Wren (pair present at Dundridge Manor)Blackcap (singing male in Ashen Grove)
Carrion Crow (nesting in Lady Grove)
Jay (adult with recently fledged young in narrow tree belt SW of Dundridge Manor)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young in Ashen Grove, with another pair in the grounds of Dundridge Manor and another in the garden of The White Lion)
Common Chiffchaff (adult feeding young in fir plantation near Dundridge Manor)
Blue Tit (adults with fledged young at Dundridge Manor)
Chaffinch (pair with young in grounds of Dundridge Manor)
Goldfinch (pair nesting in tree close to the White Lion pub)
Linnet (female on wires opposite the White Lion)
*BULLFINCH (pair frequenting the trees along the access drive to Dundridge Manor and later seen acting suspiciously in the hedgerow opposite)
House Sparrow (the most northerly birds in my Recording Area with a colony of at least two pairs nesting in the heavily ivy-covered walls of The White Lion public house; they were commuting back and forth to the allotments alongside Springhall Hill)