The girls welcoming in the New Year
JANUARY 1ST 2014
Having finally finishing partying with Carmel, Jade and Emma at around 0415 hours, on the way home added several Mammals to the 2014 list with a BADGER in Hyde Heath (Bucks), Muntjac and Rabbit in Copperkins Lane, Chesham Bois, and a Red Fox here at Chaffinch House (Little Chalfont) when we eventually got home around 0500 hours
The forecast was awful for today and it was just gone 11am that I eventually decided to go out in the field. It had been very strong winds again overnight with lots of rain - pretty useless birding conditions.
Virtually nothing in the garden at CHAFFINCH HOUSE - just a single male Chaffinch, 2 Woodpigeons and 5 Common Starlings.
Venturing out into the CHESS VALLEY, it was flooding everywhere..........
At CHENIES BOTTOM bridge, both resident Mute Swan pair were to be seen, and between there and CHURCH COVERT, no less than 7 LITTLE EGRETS were feeding but no sign of the Great White (last seen just before Christmas). A lot of the valley fields were in flood with these 12 Mallard with a Grey Heron and Moorhen just east of LATIMER BRIDGE....
Just north of Latimer in FLAUNDEN BOTTOM, the Corvid flock consisted of 97 Rook and 143 Western Jackdaws, with a few Carrion Crows in the sodden fields too....
Two Common Buzzards were drying out their wings on fenceposts in the LATIMER GREAT WATER vicinity whilst at CHESHAM FISHING LAKES, a reasonable haul included 47 Atlantic Canada Geese, 18 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Northern Pochard, 8 Coot, 6 Moorhen and 3 Black-headed Gulls; 2 Common Magpie were unusual here whilst at least 8 House Sparrows were chirping from the hedgerow opposite alongside HILL FARM ROAD.
At CHESHAM MILLFIELDS in WATERSIDE, this Little Egret was performing well (the 8th individual currently wintering in the Chess Valley) and I finally notched up my first Common Blackbird of the year.
There was no respite in the weather and the birding was largely restricted to the car - CHESHAM'S BURY LAKE yielding nothing more than 8 Woodpigeons and another male Common Blackbird and the fields near White House Farm on FULLER'S HILL, more Corvids in the shape of 124 Western Jackdaw and 106 Rook; COPPERKILNS FARM nearby producing just 2 Common Pheasants.
The rain continued to fall and deluge, leaving me to make the most of the rest of the day at SHARDELOES ESTATE. The lake afforded shelter for the usual 3 Mute Swans (pictured below), 62 Coot, 5 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 13 Little Grebe, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, adult Common Gull, 15 Black-headed Gulls and a COMMON KINGFISHER, whilst 4 Carrion Crows graced the cricket field and 2 Robin, Chaffinch, Great Tit and 3 Blue Tits in the trees.
A couple of Dabchicks fishing and an adult Common Gull standing on the end of the branch
Up to 5 Red Kite and 3 Common Buzzard were loafing around, with the Misbourne Valley further along producing 33 Redwing, 18 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 8 Goldfinch and a Common Treecreeper.
The Misbourne up near KENNEL FARM was in flood where at the weir, a 'new' cob Mute Swan was in attendance, with the flooded meadow harbouring 5 Gadwall, 5 Mallard and 8 Moorhen. Whilst standing on the bridge at the weir, I heard some rustling in the undergrowth and was then amazed to see a WOODCOCK tower up from the ground - the first I have ever seen on the estate. Grey Squirrel was the 5th mammal species of the day and walking back, a Greenfinch and 2 WATER RAILS were recorded - the latter in exactly the same place I had seen the family party in June.
At dusk, a total of 977 Western Jackdaws flew into the Hundred Acres roost...
A total of 39 species recorded for the day