YEARLISTING IN 2016

Compared to most recent years, when for example I recorded 165 species in the county in 2011, 187 in 2012 and 173 in 2013, this has been a particularly poor one with just 157 species recorded by mid December - one of my worst years on record

YEARLISTING IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

It's all over - 2012 has come to an end. I managed a total of 187 out of the 198 species recorded all told in Buckinghamshire - 94% of the total - probably my highest-ever annual tally.

The current record is 191 species achieved in 2006 and held jointly by both Rob Hill and Simon Nichols



Thursday, 31 December 2009

WHITE-FRONT still present

Robert Norris is currently (1249 hours) watching the EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE still in same field {north east of Newport Pagnell}. Today opposite the childcare nursery building.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in MK

28 December: Rob Norris has had a EURASIAN WHITE FRONTED GOOSE today at Newport Pagnall , opposite the old shell garage with Greylag Geese.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Vast numbers of wildfowl at FOXCOTE

20 December: I had expected that large areas of the reservoir would be frozen, but there were just a few small patches of ice to the left and right of the hide, and close to the dam. Most of the ducks were congregated around the edges, in some cases deep in the vegetation, so I am sure that my count underestimated the numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard. Nevertheless there were 731 Eurasin Wigeon, 218 Teal, 87 Mallard, 29 Shoveler but strangely, a lower than normal count of 300 Coot and just 7 Gadwall. Also the drake RING-NECKED DUCK was still present showing well to the left of hide before relocating to the far side of reservoir, as well as 7 Common Goldeneye, 2 drake Goosander, 2 female-type Ruddy Duck, 15 Mute Swan, 70 Canada Geese, 1 Little Grebe, 47 Tufted Duck, 21 Pochard, 16 Cormorant, 7 Great Crested Grebe and just 3 Moorhen. Two groups of Lapwing (total 44) flew through during my WEBS count but didn't stop and there were low numbers of Common and Black-headed Gull (Bill Parker)

....and displaced EURASIAN CURLEW

Seth Chapman on a fleeting visit from far up north had a EURASIAN CURLEW flying alongside the island at Willen Lake this afternoon (19 December)

Displaced RUFF

19 December: A flock of 5 RUFF were on the bund at Linford NR for a while this morning, before flying off after being disturbed by a Sparrowhawk. An Egyptian Goose was also on the bund, and a Water Rail walked past Near Hide on ice. (Ted Reed). The same party of Ruff had earlier (18 December) visited Willen Lake North Basin.

Willen in the snow

19 December: Quick look at Willen Lake this morning, where the north basin was half frozen, but the south lake was ice free - 2m 1f Red-crested Pochard, 3m 4f Goosander, 21 Common Goldeneye & 31 Great Crested Grebe on the south lake, plus 7 Common Snipe on north, and a Golden Plover flew over north (Rob Hill)

PINTAILS at Little Marlow

On 18 December, there were 4 NORTHERN PINTAIL at Spade Oak Pit, Little Marlow (Alan Stevens). That same day, the long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET was still present in the stream just east of Little Missenden. It roosted at Deep Mill Pond.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

MARSH HARRIER surprise at Calvert

Calvert BBOWT Lake; Yesterday morning gulls settled at North end by reeds when they all erupted into air, ducks and Grebes swam out from reeds and suspected a Bittern could be about. Did Bittern watch tonight but got something totally unexpected. Gulls again settled near reeds and flew up in panic. I Quickly scanned for Bittern in flight, and got a big pair of brown wings over the reedbed but they were attached to a female/imm MARSH HARRIER!!!

It did three low circuits over the reedbed areas then lost to view in far left corner; it either dropped into reeds to roost or carried on North. it was mobbed by a Carrion Crow and a Red Kite. This was at 1500 hours. Got some chronic record shots on compact camera with no zoom. This our 1st ever Winter record of one here. Also female Goldeneye/ 141 G.B.B gulls (Tim Watts)

CASPIAN GULL roosted at Willen this evening

A decent sized gull roost at Willen this evening included 1 3rd-winter CASPIAN GULL, 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and 68 Great B-b Gulls, plus c120 Herring Gulls.Also on the south basin, 2m 1f Goosander and 22 Goldeneye. On the north basin 2m 1f Red-crested Pochard (Rob Hill)

Large flock of COMMON CROSSBILLS in Dipple Wood

13/12 : 20 COMMON CROSSBILLS : Springfield Quarry. feeding on Larch in Dipple Wood (next to footpath). (Peter Stevens)

Drake GOOSANDER briefly at Little Marlow GP

12/12 : GOOSANDER : Little Marlow GP. A drake present for at least 20 minutes before it was seen to fly off west. This species is scarce at this site (Jim Rose)

Saturday in North Bucks

As well as the continuing good wildfowl numbers at Willen, there were also pretty good numbers at Linford this evening, including the male Pintail seen this morning, 350+ Wigeon, 120+ Teal, 100+ Tuftie, 24 Shoveler, 1f Goldeneye and 49 Mute Swan.

At Manor Farm this morning, 1pr Goosander and 1 Green Sand, plus 180 Redwing & 45 Fieldfare (Rob Hill)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Willen Lake Today

A visit this morning with the local RSPB group found 3 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS (two drakes and a female) north of the island, and a Common Snipe in reeds to the left of the hide, as well as the usual selection of birds on the north lake. The adjacent South lake held two drake GOOSANDER and at least 2 Common Goldeneye towards southern shore (Tony Garner)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tongwell SCAUPS

The long-staying pair of GREATER SCAUP are still present on Tongwell Lake

Monday, 30 November 2009

RED-CRESTED POCHARDS


There are TEN Red-crested Pochards at Willen Lake today - four drakes and six females (per Rob Hill)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Foxcote Roost Spectacular

Another terrific show for 4 observers. 5,000 Common Starlings attracted the attention of a single Sparrowhawk and a male PEREGRINE. The latter was actually chased by c 500 Starlings at one point. Eventually about half roosted next to the hide and half in the reeds around the bay next to the wood.

The drake RING-NECKED DUCK was obliging for a change and a drake GOOSANDER looked pretty in the sunshine. Many fewer gulls than last week, but still 1 adult YELLOW-LEGGED (Andy Harding)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The drake RING-NECKED DUCK was again at Foxcote Reservoir this afternoon, amongst good numbers of other duck, which included 13 Common Goldeneye and c45 Shoveler (which is the most I've seen here in years).

A modest gull roost contained nothing of interest, but the Starling roost - c5000 strong - was predictably thrilling to watch. (Rob Hill)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Recencies

Very quiet at present, despite the deep Atlantic depressions crossing the region. At Tongwell Lake, the pair of GREATER SCAUP remain, Willen Lake the 3 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS and in Hogback Wood, Beaconsfield, at least 1 FIRECREST. A pair of GOOSANDER was on Wotton Lakes.

22 November

Ted Reed recorded a first-winter BLACK REDSTART in Hillesden village and a BLACK-TAILED GODWIT on the scrape Sunday morning

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

An Update: Story So Far in 2009

A total of 194 species has been recorded by 15th November 2009
LGRE has seen 170 species (those marked in blue)

1) GREAT NORTHERN DIVER
2) Great Crested Grebe
3) RED-NECKED GREBE
4) Little Grebe
5) BLACK-NECKED GREBE
6) Atlantic Great Cormorant
7) EURASIAN BITTERN
8) LITTLE EGRET
9) Grey Heron
10) WHITE STORK
11) EURASIAN SPOONBILL
12) Mute Swan
13) WHOOPER SWAN
14) EURASIAN WHITE-FRONT*
15) PINK-FOOTED GOOSE*
16) Greylag Goose
17) Atlantic Canada Goose
18) Barnacle Goose
19) DARK-BELLIED BRENT*
20) Common Shelduck
21) RUDDY SHELDUCK*
22) Egyptian Goose
23) Mandarin Duck
24) Mallard
25) Gadwall
26) PINTAIL
27) Shoveler
28) Eurasian Wigeon
29) Common Teal
30) GARGANEY
31) Northern Pochard
32) Red-crested Pochard
33) FERRUGINOUS DUCK
34) GREATER SCAUP
35) Tufted Duck
36) RING-NECKED DUCK
37) COMMON SCOTER
38) LONG-TAILED DUCK
39) Common Goldeneye
40) SMEW
41) Goosander
42) RED-BREASTED MERGANSER
43) RUDDY DUCK
44) OSPREY
45) Red Kite
46) MARSH HARRIER
47) HEN HARRIER
48) Common Buzzard
49) Eurasian Sparrowhawk
50) NORTHERN GOSHAWK
51) Common Kestrel
52) Hobby
53) Peregrine
54) MERLIN
55) Red-legged Partridge
56) Grey Partridge
57) COMMON QUAIL
58) Common Pheasant
59) Water Rail
60) Moorhen
61) Coot
62) COMMON CRANE*
63) Oystercatcher
64) Little Ringed Plover
65) Ringed Plover
66) GREY PLOVER
67) European Golden Plover
68) Lapwing
69) RED KNOT
70) SANDERLING
71) TURNSTONE
72) DUNLIN
73) LITTLE STINT
74) WOOD SANDPIPER
75) Green Sandpiper
76) Common Sandpiper
77) Common Redshank
78) Common Greenshank
79) BLACK-TAILED GODWIT
80) BAR-TAILED GODWIT
81) EURASIAN CURLEW
82) WHIMBREL
83) Woodcock
84) Common Snipe
85) JACK SNIPE
86) RUFF
87) Black-headed Gull
88) Common Gull
89) MEDITERRANEAN GULL
90) Herring Gull
91) Yellow-legged Gull
92) CASPIAN GULL
93) Lesser Black-backed Gull
94) Great Black-backed Gull
95) LITTLE GULL
96) KITTIWAKE
97) ICELAND GULL*
98) (GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL** - record still under review)
99) LITTLE TERN
100) SANDWICH TERN

101) Common Tern
102) ARCTIC TERN
103) BLACK TERN
104) Stock Dove
105) Woodpigeon
106) Collared Dove
107) EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE
108) Common Cuckoo
109) Tawny Owl
110) SHORT-EARED OWL
111) Barn Owl
112) Little Owl
113) Common Swift
114) EURASIAN HOOPOE
115) Common Kingfisher
116) Ring-necked Parakeet
117) Green Woodpecker
118) Great Spotted Woodpecker
119) LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER
120) Skylark
121) WOODLARK
122) Sand Martin
123) Barn Swallow
124) House Martin
125) WATER PIPIT
126) SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT
127) Meadow Pipit
128) TREE PIPIT
129) Pied Wagtail
130) WHITE WAGTAIL
131) Yellow Wagtail
132) Grey Wagtail
133) Wren
134) BOHEMIAN WAXWING
135) Dunnock
136) Robin
137) COMMON NIGHTINGALE
138) COMMON REDSTART
139) BLACK REDSTART
140) Northern Wheatear
141) COMMON STONECHAT
142) WHINCHAT
143) Song Thrush
144) Redwing
145) Mistle Thrush
146) Fieldfare
147) Common Blackbird
148) RING OUZEL
149) Garden Warbler
150) Blackcap
151) Lesser Whitethroat
152) Common Whitethroat
153) Sedge Warbler
154) Grasshopper Warbler
155) Cetti’s Warbler
156) Western Reed Warbler
157) Willow Warbler
158) Common Chiffchaff
159) Goldcrest
160) FIRECREST
161) Spotted Flycatcher
162) Great Tit
163) Blue Tit
164) Coal Tit
165) Marsh Tit
166) WILLOW TIT
167) Long-tailed Tit
168) Nuthatch
169) Common Treecreeper
170) NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE
171) Magpie
172) Jay
173) Jackdaw
174) Rook
175) Carrion Crow
176) COMMON RAVEN
177) Common Starling
178) House Sparrow
179) TREE SPARROW
180) Chaffinch
181) BRAMBLING
182) Linnet
183) Lesser Redpoll
184) MEALY REDPOLL
185) Goldfinch
186) Greenfinch
187) Siskin
188) Bullfinch
189) HAWFINCH (14/1)
190) COMMON CROSSBILL
191) Reed Bunting
192) Yellowhammer
193) Corn Bunting

194) WRYNECK
194)

Monday, 16 November 2009

PINTAIL and EGYPTIAN GOOSE still at Gayhurst

PINTAIL still, Egyptian Goose still, 2 Little Egret, 2 Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, female Blackcap, Marsh Tit and 12 Yellowhammers (Rob Norris).

SCAUP still present

Peter Stanford saw the pair of GREATER SCAUP at Tongwell Lake roday

Linford JACK SNIPE

Ted Reed discovered a JACK SNIPE feeding on the bund at Linford NR on Sunday 15 November

Saturday, 14 November 2009

RED-CRESTED POCHARDS at Marlow

Just time to visit Little Marlow GP before dark. The four RED-CRESTED POCHARD were still present along the west bank. I managed a few photos but I think the photos that Dave Ferguson has already uploaded are probably better. A female Goldeneye was in amongst the same flock of Tufted as the RCPs.

Overall there were thousands of birds present with maybe 2000+ Black-headed Gulls, 1000+ Jackdaws and a good mixture of 100s of Geese and Ducks. A few Redwings were flying around as was a Grey Wagtail. (Jim Rose)

High winds and heavy rain displace a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER to Calvert

SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER

A very deep area of low pressure passed over the area today bringing near gale force SSW winds and more heavy rain, occasionally torrential. There was little respite from the conditions all day and mid afternoon saw the arrival of a windswept juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER at Calvert BBOWT

CHESS RIVER VALLEY

Thankfully the juvenile OSPREY survived the conditions and was seen several times this afternoon, flying between the Pumping Station and Chenies Bottom. It was not seen to successfully fish however.

The adult male BLACK REDSTART also remains at Valley Farm, with a male COMMON STONECHAT in the paddocks thereabouts.

Five LITTLE EGRETS remain in the area.

TRING RESERVOIRS

David Bilcock discovered an adult winter BLACK-NECKED GREBE early morning, the first record there this year. I rolled up at Wilstone at 1045 hours and dodging the heavy showers and braving the gusty wind, managed to relocate the bird, diving frequently just offshore of the central bund. It was sheltering from the wind in the small bay just east of the Drayton Bank but later moved much closer to the jetty and was still present when I left early afternoon. Roy, Mike Campbell and Charlie Jackson had all seen it before I arrived.

Also on WILSTONE RESERVOIR

Great Crested Grebe (14)
Little Grebe (2)
Mute Swan (35 including 7 first-winters)
Greylag Geese (4)
Common Teal (198 including 101 in the SE quadrant)
Gadwall (19)
Eurasian Wigeon (256)
Shoveler (87)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (single female feeding by the old boathouse inlet)
Tufted Duck (117)
Pochard (14)
*PEREGRINE (single scattering the plover flock on several occasions eventually drifting off north)
Coot (529+ including 324 in one feeding flock near the hide)
Lapwing (212)
EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER (502)
Common Snipe (8)
Herring Gull (2 first-winters on bund)
Meadow Pipits (14 on the mud)

Dave Bilcock and Steve Rodwell did the late afternoon gull roost and discovered a 'new' 2nd-winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL (see image above) and 2 Herring Gulls.

STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR

Water level has risen dramatically with the 'mud' in the SW corner attracting large numbers of feeding wildfowl including 7 Mute Swans (2 additional adults on Tringford), 57 Greylag Geese, 61 Mallard and 31 Common Teal.

On the main reservoir were 2 Little Grebes, 6 Gadwall, 33 Tufted Ducks, 16 Pochard and 127 Coot.

A Goldcrest was in ivy close to the road bend.

COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT

Little Grebe (1)
Mute Swans (39 present including 3 first-winters)
Mallard x Red-crested Pochard hybrid
Gadwall (36)
Eurasian Wigeon (38)
Shoveler (1 drake)
Pochard (14)
Tufted Duck (27)
*RUDDY DUCK (2 female-types)

CALVERT BBOWT

Took a call from Warren Claydon at around 1430 hours; he had just located a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER on the main BBOWT Lake at Calvert. Frustratingly I was 43 miles away by that time but with two hours of light left, I decided to give it a go.

It was about 1515 hours when I arrived and Warren, Tim Watts and local birder Colin Oreton were still watching the bird from the Second Hide. It was showing very well, perhaps at 100 yards, and was a juvenile, with characteristic pale barring and pale edgings on the mantle and back. It was gleaming white on the breast with much blacker feathering on the hindneck, nape and crown and had the typical 'bump' on the crown preceding the steep forehead. It had a thick neck with a large pale grey bill. The dark feathering at the base of the neck characteristically formed a half collar.

It was surprisingly on view for much of the time, diving fairly infrequently, but did then become more active and moved back towards the back of the lake. It remained until dusk.

There was a large gull roost on the BBOWT, including at least 1,839 Black-headed Gulls, just 3 Common Gulls, 139+ Herring Gulls (including a predominate number of argenteus adults), at least 9 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (5 adults, 2 2nd-winters and 2 first-winters), 700+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls and just 5 Great Black-backed Gulls.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

The species is a rare visitor to the county with just 15 previous records, mostly between November and January. Todays bird represents the fourth for Calvert.

1) The first record involved a bird in the Ford area on 3 December 1774;
2) A juvenile was captured alive in a ditch at Chequers Court on 9 May 1850;
3) One was apparently seen in Chesham in November or December 1859;
4) One was 'obtained' on the River Thames at Marlow in November or December 1865;
5) One was obtained at Temple Island near Henley-on-Thames in 1865;
6) A juvenile was shot at Calvert Brick Pits on 11 November 1944;
7) A juvenile crash-landed in a field adjacent to Foxcote Reservoir on 4 November 1964. It was taken into care and later released but was found dead two days later;
8) One was at Iver GP on 17 January 1965;
9) One was found dead near Willen village in February 1971;
10) A juvenile appeared at Linford GP on 12 November 1972;
11) After a 14-year gap, a juvenile was present at Taplow Fishing Lake from 12 December 1986 until 11 January 1987 (photographed by Mike Wallen and published on page 18 of the 1986 BBR);

12) One was found at Willen Lake on the South Basin during the gull roost vigil on 16 December 1994. It was present for just the first half hour of daylight on 17 December;
13) An adult moulting out of breeding plumage visited Calvert Sailing Lake on 27-28 November 1997 but flew off west when visibility improved on its second day;
14) A juvenile remained present at Caldecotte Lake from 23 December 1997 until 6 January 1998;
15) A juvenile was found late afternoon on Calvert Sailing Lake on 28 November 2006. It was present for just a short time the next morning before flying off east.

Lee G R Evans

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday the 13th - floods order of the day

At Tongwell Lake, the pair of GREATER SCAUP remain, whilst at Foxcote, the drake RING-NECKED DUCK is still in winter residence.

At the opposite end of the county, the two male FIRECRESTS are still present in Hogback Wood on the west side of Beaconsfield

Thursday, 12 November 2009

OSPREY continues to draw the crowds
















Mike Collard captured these excellent images of the Chess Valley juvenile OSPREY that I first discovered on 21 October. The bird has now established a well rehearsed routine of roosting between 1100 and 1400 hours on this dead tree just opposite Sarratt Bottom village and adjacent to the Crestyl Water Cress Bed Farm. The bird is marked on its left leg by a dark blue ring inscribed with the white letters ''MB'' and was ringed in Northern Scotland this summer.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

New Images of the Foxcote regularly returning drake RING-NECKED DUCK




Paul Boult obtained these new images today of our resident county rare - the adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK that has returned for three successive winters to Foxcote Reservoir

Farmoor Reservoir today

FOXCOTE RESERVOIR (NORTH BUCKS)
Observations by Paul Boult

On on near the water, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (33), Mallard, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Shoveler, Northern Pochard, Tufted Duck. *RING-NECKED DUCK (the adult drake was still present showing well in front of hide and is coming out of eclipse plumage); COMMON GOLDENEYE (5 present, 2 adult drakes, a first-winter drake and 2 female); Grey Wagtail.

In Farmland near Reservoir, Woodpigeon, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jay, 2 COMMON RAVEN (heard then seen flying away both still calling), Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pheasant, Chaffinch

OSPREY remains on the River Chess

The juvenile OSPREY remains present this morning, hunting Brown Trout (Salmo trutta fario) in the shallower sections of the River Chess. It fished as far west as Latimer Bridge before returning back eastwards and continued back towards the Cress Beds and Sarratt Bottom (Lee G R Evans)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

North Bucks male MERLIN 9/11

A brief late afternoon visit as the sun went down and the first real bird of note for quite a while at Manor Farm.

An almost slate grey male MERLIN, along the edge of Back Brook then along the fenceline by the Ouse, stopping for a moment to perch on one of the pollarded willow stumps was a very welcome site.

Water levels low in the new area but still increasing elsewhere. The sites gradually getting back to what it was in early spring, we live in hope.Only other birds of note were a pair of Green Sandpiper and a single Little Egret over. Chris Gleadell

http://manorfarmbirding.blogspot.com/

Foxcote Reservoir 7/11

Playing to a packed FOXCOTE RESERVOIR hide this evening we had a 4.20 PEREGRINE disturbing the building starling roost. The bird did a few passes of the reservoir and was followed seconds later by a Sparrowhawk doing the same thing. A probable second Sparrowhawk hit on the starling some 10 minutes later and treated us to seeing a kill; a male Sparrowhawk landing in the field before flying away with its dinner seconds later. A COMMON RAVEN passed over and continued distant calling when all left the hide at around 16.50.

Starlings (-1) roosted in front of the hide.

The drake RING-NECKED DUCK was still present and Andy Harding counted the Cormorant roost at 64 birds. By Foxcote standards, an impressive evening (Richard Goodlad)

Belated early November report - SHORT-EARED OWL over Aylesbury

02/11 08:45 : SHORT-EARED OWL : Aylesbury SP 139 804. Seen flying quite high over Bearbrook school, being followed by a Crow - it drifted eastwards over Aylesbury. (David Maunder)

Large flock of RED-CRESTED POCHARDS - 6/11 - and record roosting county flock of LITTLE EGRETS

At Linford this evening (6/11), 7 Red-crested Pochard (2 ad m, 1 eclipse m & 4f), plus 24 Little Egret in the roost - a new record. The egrets began by pre-roosting on Tern Island, then one by one moved to their roost proper within the reserve.

Earlier at Tongwell the pair of GREATER SCAUP still present at the north end.

At Ravenstone STW, 9 Grey Partridge. (Rob Hill)

GREEN SANDPIPERS wintering at Dorney Lake

DORNEY LAKE 6/11 Scoping down the north side of the return lake from behind the barriers produced 4 Green Sandpipers. They were a long way down but kept flying at intervals which confirmed ID. Also a Grey Wagtail. From the Thames path, the reserve lake was deserted, not a bird showing. However the return walk produced a stunning Kingfisher from the Bucks bank that darted across the river on my approach. This is the first one I've seen on this stretch.

As I approached the car, Ring Necked Parakeets started to fly over in groups, all heading noisily NE I counted 188 visually but there were more that I could hear out of sight, so probably circa 250 (Dave Cleal)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

GREATER SCAUPS and OSPREY

The pair of GREATER SCAUPS are still present at Tongwell Lake today as is the long-staying OSPREY in the Chess Valley

RED-NECKED GREBE still present

Neill Foster and I spent some time at Foxcote Reservoir, mid morning, and saw the drake RING-NECKED DUCK heading into the hidden corner, also pair of PINTAIL and female Goldeneye plus usual range of other Duck.

Visited Calvert on the way home and watched the RED-NECKED GREBE on the BBOWT Lake from the second hide (John Gearing)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

RED-NECKED GREBE new in at Calvert this afternoon

WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER

A glorious day weatherwise, dawning bright and clear and then predominantly blue skies and sunshine throughout. The wind though was a cool WNW with temperatures struggling to reach 8 degrees C. Surely not winter already! Despite the beautiful conditions though, birding was rather uneventful, until of course I took that call from Tim.......

LITTLE CHALFONT

WOODPIGEONS were once again the order of the day with over 2,314 birds flying south/SW over the village during the morning - with some single flocks numbering over 600 birds.

Experimenting with the chicken carcasses, 3 RED KITES showed an interest and after several poor attempts they eventually plucked up courage and swooped right down on to the lawn to retrieve pieces of meat. There was much arguing going on. Two birds were juveniles.

CALVERT BBOWT/SAILING LAKE

Calvert supremo Tim Watts contacted me mid afternoon to say that he had located a RED-NECKED GREBE - a first for the year and an excellent county bird. Wasting no time, I battled my way through the Aylesbury school run and after successfully surviving the hazardous rat-run between Berryfields Junction and Edgcott, eventually arrived at Calvert at 1633 hours.

The juvenile/first-winter RED-NECKED GREBE was still present, preening its neck and breast feathers, in amongst a few Mallard along the southern shore (in fact towards the SE corner) of the Sailing Lake at SP 677 248. It smartened itself up before tucking its head under its wing to roost and was still sleeping when both Tim and I left it. It still had remnants of the dark striping on the rear crown and ear-coverts indicating that it was a first-winter and had a dark crown, some russet-brown on the fore-neck and an extensively bright yellow bill. It was also markedly smaller than a single Great Crested Grebe nearby. It was the 35th individual to be recorded in the county (see detail below).

I then moved round to the BBOWT Lake where I click-counted and surveyed the large numbers of gulls in the roost showing exceptionally well from the second hide. A total of 2,458 birds logged between 1650 and 1710 including 29 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1,988 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 83 Herring Gulls (including a larger proportion of Scandinavian Argentatus), 11 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (7 adults, 1 3rd-winter, 2 2nd-winters and a juvenile), a single well-marked first-winter and very white-headed CASPIAN GULL, 11 Common Gulls and 335 Black-headed Gulls. Additional to this were at least 3,500 birds already roosting on the Sailing Lake including 6 Great Black-backeds and 2,000 or more Lesser Black-backs.

RED-NECKED GREBES IN BUCKS 1900 ONWARDS

The Red-necked Grebe is a rare visitor to the county with perhaps one record every five years on average, although at one stage it appeared almost annually. Prior to 1900 there was one record - a bird shot at Saunderton on 10 October 1848. There have been at least 35 recorded since 1974.

1) The first record in modern times was of a first-winter at Weston Turville Reservoir from 9-26 November 1974 providing me with one of my first ever opportunities to study this scarce grebe at close quarters.

2) In February 1979, there was a major influx of Red-necked Grebes throughout central Britain following severe weather in the Baltic and this resulted in four individuals reaching Buckinghamshire. There were two first-winters at Willen Lake on 14 February;

1979-1985: Data Incomplete (Reports missing)

6) 1987 was another extraordinary year with an unprecedented seven occurrences, including the first to ever oversummer in the county - singles at Willen Lake on 1 January, the Blue Lagoon, Bletchley, from 16-27 January, at Newton Longville Brickpits from 18-28 January, at Randall's Farm in the Little Marlow GP complex on 24 January, on the River Thames at Bourne End from 31 January to 2 February and an adult largely in breeding plumage at Willen Lake on 22-24 March. This latter bird then moved to Haversham on 26 March and New Bradwell from 31 March to 9 April and was most likely the full summer-plumaged adult that loafed with non-breeding Great Crested Grebes at Caldecotte Lake from 6 June until 19 August and again from 7-27 September. A further bird was at Newton Longville on 2 December;

13) An adult in full breeding plumage visited Willen Lake on 9 April 1989;

14) One remained at Calvert from 5-20 February 1990;

15) A first-winter was present at Little Marlow Spade Oak Pit on 24-25 December 1990;

16) Two arrived in late 1991 with a first-winter present on Caldecotte Lake from 26 November to 11 December, with a second bird present from 6-10 December;

18) A first-winter remained at Caldecotte Lake from 22 November 1994 until 19 April 1995 and was seen next day (20 April) on Willen Lake;

19) 1996 was another exceptional year with no less than five recorded including an unprecedented three together: the first of three different birds arrived at Caldecotte Lake on 7 February, followed by another on 22 February and a third on 26 February. Two remained until 28 February with one to 27 March. What was presumed to have been one of these three was present on Willen Lake from 14-21 February and another at Linford NR from 9 March until 2 April. A bird which was wintering on the River Thames on the Berks/Bucks border straddled across to the Taplow Court side on 17 and 24 March with a further arrival at Weston Turville Reservoir on 22 March;

24) One visited Marlow GP on 7 April 1997;

25) A first-winter remained at Calvert from 23 October 1997 until 24 April 1998, by which time it had acquired full summer attire;

26) One was seen at Taplow on 22 December 1998;

27) A long-staying bird remained at Thorney CP from 2 January until 10 April 1999;

28) A juvenile was at Calvert from 16-19 October 1999;

29) An adult remained at Willen Lake from 4 February until 26 April 2001 (see photo in 2001 BBR Report);

30) An adult in almost full breeding plumage visited Calvert Lake on 24 March 2001;

31) One appeared briefly in the gull roost at Willen South Basin on 10 November 2002;

32) One was present briefly at Calvert Lake on 19 March 2005;

33) A wide-ranging first-winter in North Bucks visited New Bradwell Lake on 26-27 February 2006 before moving to Haversham Lake on 3-4 March and Willen Lake from 14 March until at least 1 May (see photo in 2006 BBR Report);

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Gayhurst

This afternoon the juvenile PINTAIL was still present. It is now starting to develop the plumage of a male bird. Also a Green Sandpiper was on the fishing Pit.

Other birds seen were an Egyptian Goose in the large Greylag flock, Little Egret, 5 Little Grebe and a Grey Wagtail.

Duck numbers are now building up with good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler (Robert Norris)

SCAUPS

The adult pair of GREATER SCAUPS are still present today on Tongwell Lake. Meanwhile, four more Greater Scaup are present in neighbouring Bedfordshire - at Brogborough Lake - so a small influx

Monday, 2 November 2009

First day of November pretty much a washout

NOVEMBER 2009

SUNDAY 1 NOVEMBER

Heavy rain persisted throughout the morning along with blustery WNW winds making birding conditions very unpleasant. It finally cleared early morning with brighter conditions following, although the wind still remained strong. Temperatures struggled to 15 degrees C. Despite an excellent Saturday where rare wildfowl was the main theme and a dapper male Black Redstart attracted the crowds, Sunday was largely a let down for me.

STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING

There was no sign of Saturday's Common Goldeneye but overnight rain had pushed water levels up attracting large numbers of dabblers to the SW shore - including 6 Mute Swans, 10 Greylag Geese, 143 Mallard, 15 Shoveler and 37 Common Teal whilst the open water held 4 Great Crested Grebes, a pair of Gadwall, 43 Tufted Ducks and an impressive 86 Northern Pochards.

TRINGFORD RESERVOIR

Sadly, the road running alongside the reservoir harboured a fresh Badger casualty.

Few birds on Tringford - just 3 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Grey Herons, 1 Mute Swan, 2 Common Teal, 8 Gadwall and 6 Northern Pochard.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR

Totally windswept - 3 DUNLIN from the Drayton Bank Hide being the highlight, with the juvenile GREATER SCAUP still feeding on the east shore.

LONG MARSTON (HERTFORDSHIRE)

No sign of yesterday's adult male Black Redstart enjoyed and photographed by many (see blog)

WINGRAVE AREA (BUCKS)

Two adult Moorhens on the village pond at SP 870 192 with 41 Linnets just north of Lower Windmill Hill Farm at SP 872 184.

GROVEBURY SAND QUARRY (BEDFORDSHIRE)

Just outside the Tring Recording Area, 6 DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE were present until at least 0945 hours in driving rain (Johnny Lynch). They were not there when I visited mid afternoon.

TONGWELL LAKE, MILTON KEYNES (NORTH BUCKS)

The pair of GREATER SCAUP were showing very well diving frequently in front of the main island at Tongwell Lake at SP 867 423. Both birds were adults with the drake just moulting out of eclipse with patchy grey in the flanks, light grey vermiculations on the mantle, a black breast, a rich dark green sheen to the head and a pale blue bill with a dark nail restricted to the tip. The adult female had an extensive white blaze, extending on the forehead as well as at the sides of the bill, a similarly patterned bill, flat and broad dark brown head and breast and dark grey vermiculations on the sides, flanks and mantle.

FOXCOTE RESERVOIR (NORTH BUCKS)
(with Jenny Wallington; late afternoon)

Great Crested Grebe (7)
Little Grebe (5)
Mute Swans (38 including 6 first-winters)
Gadwall (41)
Eurasian Wigeon (343)
Common Teal (27)
Shoveler (19)
Northern Pochard (23)
Tufted Duck (63)
*RING-NECKED DUCK (the adult drake was still present roosting in the weed-covered section at the north end directly opposite the hide - occasionally lifted its head and still largely in eclipse plumage)
COMMON GOLDENEYES (3 present, my first of the autumn - an adult drake, a first-winter drake and a female)

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Excellent day for wildfowl

Pair of adult GREATER SCAUP discovered on Tongwell Lake just as it got dark. I phoned Paul Moon and he just about got there before the light totally went. They were associating with a group of 8 to 10 Pochards and fed totally away from all the Tufted Ducks that were on the lake. The female was actively feeding, but the male was mainly asleep. Hopefully the heavy rain we are forecast will keep them there overnight (Robert Norris)

To the SW of Milton Keynes, two RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, two pairs of RED-CRESTED POCHARD and a ROCK PIPIT appeared at Calvert BBOWT and Sailing Lake complex this morning (Tim Watts et al)

LITTLE MARLOW today

A significant increase in birds in general including ducks and gulls. A drake Red-crested Pochard and a female Common Goldeneye were apparently not present yesterday and were in amongst the flock of Tufted Duck and Pochard along the north bank. With four others turning up at Calvert (perhaps 25 miles away) there seems to have been a movement of this species today. No time to count the dabbling ducks today but perhaps not much change in numbers (Jim Rose).

Thursday, 29 October 2009

RING-NECKED DUCK still present

I started on Steps Hill (where else), where after an initial burst of activity just before sunrise, things quietened down quickly. Highlights were a few Redpoll and Brambling, as well as usual winter thrushes and finches. Just beyond the S bend in the thick area of bushes it was great to watch Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush and Blackbird all feeding side by side, probably all having arrived from Scandinavia. There was an obvious influx of Common Blackbirds on the hills and the first big movement of Woodpigeon.

I popped into Foxcote Reservoir later in the morning, but it was a brief visit only viewing from the gate.The male RING-NECKED DUCK was at the far end of the reservoir, there was also 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL in front of the hide, a Little Egret, an adult Yellow legged Gull and tons of wildfowl (Mike Wallen)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Beaconsfield FIRECRESTS










There are now 2 FIRECRESTS in Beaconsfield (per Steve Marshall; photographs by kind courtesy of Bill Baston) roving around with a tit flock early afternoon at cSU 928 913 in Holly bushes on the side of the pathway leading away from the gardens.
Park in Hogback Wood Road and take the footpath alongside house number 23. Turn left at the stile and keep to the upper track.
A single was discovered by Wally Smith on Tuesday 21 October.
There was no reports of the Chess Valley Osprey today

COMMON CROSSBILLS over the Beacon

Another great morning, not for quantity but for quality, enjoyed with David Bilcock.

Highlight was only my third ever record there of COMMON CROSSBILL when a flock of 14-18 flew over us , 5 minutes before sunrise.

A first winter RING OUZEL flew across in front of us and up onto Ivinghoe Beacon where it landed in a clump of bushes at the East end but was not seen again.

Otherwise pretty typical late October fare with a few Thrushes and Finches over, and a COMMON STONECHAT near the 'S' bend (Mike Wallen)

BRAMBLING

24/10 : male Brambling : Wooburn Common. viewed from footpath from Green Common Lane to Dipple Wood SU 929 880 in Oak Tree with a small flock of Chaffinch in a pre roost gathering. Kevin Duncan

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Head staining in Wildfowl




Mike Wallen recently raised the issue of 'neck-staining' in wildfowl and I present here an example of a 'feral' Lesser Snow Goose in Lancashire that shows such a trait. Neck-staining is quite common in wildfowl in Britain and may not necessarily relate to natural staining in the Arctic. The debate arose after I made claims that a heavily stained pair of Whooper Swans that arrived at Latimer Lake and over my village in early October had just freshly arrived from Iceland. Although this was most likely the case with these birds, staining cannot be used in isolation as a reason for vagrancy (Lee Evans)

CROSSBILLS...AND OSPREY

A flock of up to 15 COMMON CROSSBILLS still remains in the vicinity of the Golf Course clubhouse at Little Brickhill (per North Bucks birders) whilst meanwhile, the OSPREY is still present in the Chess River Valley at Little Chalfont (Per Lee Evans)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

OSPREY reappears

THURSDAY 22 OCTOBER

At 1123 hours, Stuart and Lesley Wilson kindly 'phoned me to say that the OSPREY was sitting in a dead tree just 50 yards east of Latimer Bridge (in fact on the same perch in which the two Little Egrets and Common Buzzard had been sat yesterday). I immediately rushed down and was just in time to see it still sitting there, showing fantastically well from the road bridge.

It was being mobbed by a procession of birds, including even a Grey Wagtail, and just as I went to 'scope it, a Common Buzzard had a go at it and it took flight. It took to the air and circled around over the River Chess before being intercepted by firstly one, then two and finally three RED KITES. All three Kites then chased it and continued following it eastwards towards Chenies Bottom. As it got to Chenies village, the three kites left it but their place was then taken by a persistent Carrion Crow, which then pursued it well into Hertfordshire and I finally lost it from view over the woodland belt (at 1138). It presumably carried on towards Stocker's Lake.

Poor Ashley Stow only just missed it and Mike Collard and the Frogmoor warden turned up a little later. The owner of Valley Farm said that it had been present at the cressbeds and old trout farm at Sarratt Bottom earlier in the morning.

I spent the next two and a half hours searching for it but it did not appear, I guess late mornings are best.

It was an excellent period birding in the Chess Valley today though with the following species encountered :-

Continental Cormorant (near adult flew east)
Grey Heron (2 but no sign of the four Little Egrets)
Red Kites (3+, almost constantly present over Frogmoor Reserve)
Common Buzzard (5 including an adult with much white in the uppertail)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1 male)
Common Kestrel (2)
COMMON GULL (1 first-winter flew south)
HERRING GULL (2 - adult and juvenile - flew south)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 adult)
COMMON KINGFISHER (1 by Latimer Bridge)
Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker
EURASIAN SKYLARK (23 flew south over Mill Farm Meadow)
Meadow Pipit (1+)
Pied Wagtail (first-winter on Mill Farm Barn)
Grey Wagtail (2)
Wren (2)
COMMON STONECHAT (yesterday's pair had moved across the road into Mill Farm Meadow)
REDWING (37 over Mill Farm Meadow and landing in trees at Chenies House)
Mistle Thrush (1)
Jays (20+ very active)
LESSER REDPOLL (party of 11 birds around Mill Farm)
SISKIN (1 over)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

OSPREY surprise

WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER

LITTLE CHALFONT AND THE CHESS RIVER VALLEY

A RED KITE had been showing an interest in one of my ponds for some time, circling back and forth with its head and beak pointing downwards and when it was joined by a second bird, I thought nothing of it. However, on closer inspection, I realised it had long wings and a flight silhouette that somewhat resembled a large gull. I quickly grabbed my 'bins and latched immediately on to it - it was white underneath with a darker chocolate-brown breast-band. Crikey - it was an OSPREY.

It drifted off north and I jumped quickly in the car, hoping to intercept it in the neighbouring Chess Valley. Less than nine minutes later I was at Latimer and as I ran along in front of the Conference Centre Hall, I picked the bird up again, being mobbed by four Jackdaws. It was flying with heavy flaps fairly low over Great Water and as it approached the much narrower section of river at the west end, started to circle around and then hover. It was staring down at the water and as I scrambled with my tripod and telescope to get better views, it started flapping again and started retracing its flight back towards the waterfall.

It was very white below on its body, undertail coverts and underwing coverts, the white only broken by a noticeable band of feathers across the chest, forming a dark chocolate-brown streaked band of feathers. The crown was also white, with a dark line through the eye and a beady yellowish eye. The upperwings and mantle were dark but appeared to be pale-fringed, suggesting it was most likely a first-winter. It seemed to be lingering so I contacted RBA, Mike Collard, Ben Miller, Simon Nichols and local birders Dave Cleal, Ashley Stow, Chris Pontin and Graham Smith. I kept it in view from 1327 until 1341 hours but then, for no apparent reason, it drifted off west up the Chess towards Chesham. I lost it from view when it reached Bois Mill and the Sewage Farm and despite searching for the next three hours, failed to relocate it.

I was then told by Stuart & Lesley Wilson that they had obtained fabulous views of the bird as it fished along the eastern section of river by Mill Farm at 1225 hours and talking to other local residents, it seems that it has been present for some time in the vicinity of Sarratt Trout Farm and may well be the individual recently present at Stocker's Farm.

Whilst searching for the Osprey and walking between Chesham and Chenies Bottom along the Chess River Valley, the following species were seen -:

(in part searching with Dave Cleal and Ashley Stow)

Little Grebe (7)
Grey Heron (5)
*LITTLE EGRETS (4 birds now back, all adults, two of which were showing very well by Latimer Bridge)
Mute Swan (18 adults on Great Water)
GREYLAG GOOSE (an adult was still present on Great Water) *see later note
Atlantic Canada Goose (15)
Tufted Duck (3)
Coot (43)
WATER RAIL (two squealing individuals in Church Covert Reserve)
Black-headed Gull (15)
HERRING GULL (3 noted, including two juveniles and an adult; all flying east)

Common Buzzard (4 individuals including a juvenile which landed close to Latimer Bridge)
Common Kestrel (1)
RING-NECKED PARAKEET (noisy pair in Chenies village)
Stock Dove (14)
Collared Dove (6 over)
Green Woodpecker (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Eurasian Skylark (2)
Grey Wagtail (2)
Meadow Pipit (4)
*COMMON STONECHATS (pair in weedy field just west of Mill Farm Barns representing the first record of the autumn)
Jays (16+ - much activity)
Common Magpie (6)
Common Starling (8)
Goldcrest (1) (extremely scarce of late)
Long-tailed Tit (8)
Coal Tit (1 by Hall)
NUTHATCH (3 in Latimer Hall grounds)
Chaffinch (7 together in Beech trees west of Latimer Hall and 6 further flyover singletons)
SISKINS (party of 3 overhead by Church Covert and a singleton heard by the Hall)
Goldfinch (charm of 23 by the Latimer Bridge)

SHARDELOES LAKE

I checked out Shardeloes Lake just in case the Osprey had relocated there. It was also an excuse to see whether the adult GREYLAG GOOSE was still present and it was - confirming my suspicions that there are two different adults in the area - remarkable considering these are the first records for at least 12 years.

A flock of 37 LAPWINGS also flew twice over the lake but otherwise it was similar to yesterday with 13 Mallard, the 4 Tufted Ducks, again no Gadwall, all 6 Mute Swans again (thankfully), 81 Black-headed Gulls, numerous Jays and just 1 REDWING

RED KITES at all-time high










Not only are we blessed with an exceptionally burgeoning population of RED KITES but the reintroduction in Scotland is now finally going from strength to strength - the most successful reintroduction species ever in the UK (images by Steve Botham)

See :

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

PEREGRINES once again regular on Aylesbury County Hall

The regular pair of PEREGRINES are once again roosting each evening on the Council Hall buildings in the centre of Aylesbury. Depending on wind direction, they sit on the upper flat level of roofing and favour the east side, with one bird on or near the platform and the other oin the north side of the building. They rarely appear before the last hour of daylight (Lee Evans).

Furzton Lake GOOSANDER still present

Roy has seen the female GOOSANDER at Furzton this morning.

I wanted to stress that this is the second modern record ( since 1996); there have been a few ( including flocks ) prior to this , I am collating a full Furzton list over the winter and will publish this in due course. I had the CETTIS WARBLER sing briefly yesterday afternoon (Simon Nichols)

NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE in the county

A NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE was seen at 1700 hrs 16 October perched on tree adjacent to Northampton Way public footpath near East Claydon Grid Reference 738265.Bird flew across field in easterly direction towards road between EastClaydon and Sandhill.(Rupert Litherland)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Female GOOSANDER at Furzton

female GOOSANDER in the middle of the lake at 1734. Only the 2nd record for the site according to Mr Nichols (Paul Moon)

COMMON CROSSBILLS in North Bucks

Lots of COMMON CROSSBILL activity around the Duke's golf course (Bucks) at Woburn again this morning including a feeding group of 11 birds. (Sonnie Wing)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

BLACK REDSTART still present

The first-winter BLACK REDSTART has been present all weekend at LUDE FARM (SU 914 918) flitting between the red-tiled roofs of the farm buildings and the machinery in the field opposite. There are also 27 HOUSE SPARROWS resident at the farm, whilst other species noted on Saturday morning included 9 YELLOWHAMMERS, 15 Chaffinch, 4 European Robins, Goldcrest, 3 SISKIN and LITTLE OWL (Lee Evans).

Friday, 16 October 2009

BLACK REDSTART in PENN

Black redstart seen at 15.00 on roof of farm buildings at Lude Farm, Penn, grid ref. SU 913919 (Bob Jackson)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Remarkable sight at Ivinghoe

During a vigmigging episode this morning, along with large numbers of REDWINGS (3,000+), Mike Wallen watched a flock of at least 15 COMMON SCOTERS fly SW over the escarpment - a most incredible sight and record. They were almost certainly the 19 COMMON SCOTERS that later dropped into Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire.

This is the first record of Common Scoter this year in the county.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

RING-NECKED DUCK

The drake RING-NECKED DUCK reappeared at Foxcote Reservoir on 11 October and is still present today. The GARGANEY was also still present that day as well as two RED-CRESTED POCHARDS.

Friday, 9 October 2009

WRYNECK gives itself up

I visited the Lathbury Allotments site yesterday lunchtime and along with 15 others, including Andy Harding, Martin Palmer, Adam Hartley, Jake Ward and Andy Whitney, enjoyed superb views of the WRYNECK as it sat in the sunshine in the Elder clumps and Plum trees at the back of the site. It remained on view for about ten minutes (1340-1350) before dropping back down into the cabbages from where it had been initially flushed.

The bird had not been seen since Simon Nichols enjoyed close views of it perched on garden implements and fencing early morning and is generally very elusive,

DETAILED DIRECTIONS

Leave Newport Pagnell north on the B526 and after 0.8 miles, turn right on to the gravel 'square' at SP 877 453 to park (at the bend just south of the houses). Walk through the back of the parking area and skirt along the edge of the field for 50 yards to view the allotments

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

LOCAL MEGA - WRYNECK in North Bucks

I discovered a WRYNECK at Lathbury this afternoon, in the allotments "near the sharp left hander in the road as coming from Newport Pagnell"

Unfortunately the bird did not show again before dark, but I still feel it is probably still around.

I first saw the bird around 3:30 when I put my bins on a large finch flock that were feeding in the field behind the allotments-these turned out to be Linnets and I would estimate probably 150 birds. It was then that I noticed an odd shaped bird on the fence in the foreground. I was totally amazed when it turned out to be a WRYNECK! I had excellent views of it for about a minute before it hopped down into a patch of nettles. It was at this point it started to rain so I guess it decided to stay under cover. The area it was in is not massive, but there is quite a lot of scrub, therefore a lot of places to hide. I intend to have a look around before work tomorrow when the weather is meant to be a lot better (Robert Norris)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

PEREGRINE at Hedgerley Landfill

04/10 14:00 : male PEREGRINE : Beaconsfield. Watched for 5 minutes as it drifted high over the land fill area. It was persued for several minutes by a Red Kite but the Peregrine just veered away when the Kite got too close. At one point the Peregrine and Kite were heading directly at a Buzzard which ducked out of the way fairly promptly. I imagine this species could be regular here but you have to be lucky to pick one out with all of the Corvids and Gulls milling around. (Jim Rose)

Sunday 4/10

This morning (Sunday 4 October)

GAYHURST QUARRY: juvenile PINTAIL back on Spinney Pit. Also around the pits, about 150 Gadwall - must be a site record!, Wigeon up to about 50, same with Teal, 4 Little Grebe, Grey Wagtail.

At Quarryhall, the Game Strip and Pheasant feeders are starting to pull in the birds, with Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and a single TREE SPARROW all present. No 'winter Thrushes' as such, but a group of 5 Song Thrushes could well have been new arrivals; 3 Jays, c20 Skylarks, 47 Lapwings and c500 Woodpigeons were in the surrounding fields (Rob Norris)

Friday, 2 October 2009

WHITE WAGTAILS at Manor Farm

Another mostly uneventful visit saw a pair of WHITE WAGTAILS in amongst the big influx of Pieds to the site. Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe and three Little Egrets the only other real birds of note (Chris Gleadell http://manorfarmbirding.blogspot.com/

Prestwood COMMON CROSSBILL 1/10

Sitting in the garden at Prestwood after lunch, I was awoken from my power nap by a new sound emanating from the spruce trees bordering the garden, bins were to hand but still too far away to confirm my suspicion, so a dash to the van and scope was rewarded by great views of a stunning male COMMON CROSSBILL.

He seemed agitated and flew to the other side of Peterley wood, possibly to another clump of Norway Spruce and Scots Pine. Looking round many of the trees have a good crop of cones so hopefully Crossbills will be back (Richard Billyard)

WHOOPER SWANS over Little Chalfont garden then relocated on Latimer Great Water













As I type, wonderful views are to be had of a BADGER feeding on peanuts in my back garden - the first here in a while (0111-0117 hours at least). Despite an absolutely still and starry night with obvious moonlight, still no Redwings migrating over - I've not had a single one yet

Now for yesterday's news - THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER

Wind continued from the Northwest but was very calm and it was surprisingly warm in the afternoon sunshine. Another dry day.

I was just attending to one of my cats late morning and talking Northwestern Redpolls and Taiga Flycatcher images with Shetland contacts on the mobile when I heard the familiar bugling or trumpeting sound of WHOOPER SWANS. I looked up to find two birds flying at fairly low level slightly west of north over my house in Little Chalfont. I was absolutely staggered as only yesterday I had constructed an email urging local birders to watch out for this species as large numbers were migrating SSE through Speyside and elsewhere in Scotland on their way back to wintering areas in Norfolk, particularly Welney WWT - much earlier than normal. The birds were dropping in height and I suspected that they were heading for the Chess River Valley where a resident herd of Mute Swans is always present.

Retrieving my Tabby from a neighbours stairway, I jumped in the car and raced over to Latimer, where at 1222 hours I relocated both birds on the main 'Great Water' in front of the Conference Centre and hall (at SU 995 987). They were trumpeting with glee after presumably finishing a long journey and were not impressing the resident Mute Swans and were drinking, washing and bathing. Whooper Swan has never before been recorded in my area and is an excellent addition to the local avifauna and excited with my find I contacted Chris Batty (RBA), Ben Miller, Simon Nichols, Mike Collard and others to ensure that those that may wish to could perhaps come over and see them.

I was most excited about them mainly because one of the birds (they were both full adults by the way) was heavily stained rusty-brown on the head, neck and upperparts - a feature I have noted on numerous returning wild Whooper Swans before and a feature of birds spending the summer in Iceland (apparently the orange staining is caused by iron deposits in the upland pools in which Whoopers feed during the summer months). Both birds were obviously very tired and exhausted after their journey too as within a very short while, they both tucked their heads in and went to sleep. They kept to themselves and to the outer edge of the 18-strong Mute Swan herd. I watched them for about forty minutes before moving on but was pleased to hear from Ashley Stow that they were both still present when he visited later in the afternoon (he also managed to rattle off at least 100 images of them, a selection of which are presented above).

Their arrival coincided with that of many other Whooper Swans in the south, including 80 fresh-in at Welney Refuge and at least two flocks in Cambridgeshire (11 birds flew NW over Paxton Pits NR in the evening).

Great Water also held 22 Coots, whilst nearby parkland held both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, several singing Robins, Mistle Thrush, two fly-over Meadow Pipits and a Jay at Chilton's Wood.

IVINGHOE HILLS NR

I then joined Mike Collard on Ivinghoe Hills where on the slope to the SE of the Beacon we enjoyed excellent views of a migrant party of 5 COMMON STONECHATS (including tow males) and 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS. One of the latter was a brightly marked GREENLAND WHEATEAR. A RED KITE also passed overhead.

Monday, 28 September 2009

COMMON CROSSBILLS still in Black Park

28/09 16:00 : 15 COMMON CROSSBILLS : Black Park. Circled over heathland area just as I arrived then flew south back over woods . David Cleal

Sunday, 27 September 2009

VizMig on Ivinghoe Beacon

It was a rather cool 3 degrees when I stepped onto the hills this morning, hat and gloves were required for the first time this Autumn. The only noteable passage migrants were Mipits and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker went over. Otherwise pretty typical Autumn fayre of finches and Buntings.The Beacon produced 2 COMMON STONECHAT and a massive c200 Mipit on the deck. It was a balmy 8 degrees when I left (Mike Wallen)

VizMig in North Bucks - an excellent passage of LINNETS

At Ravenstone STW this morning, c210 Linnet, 45+ Skylark (most flying over south), c60 Mipit, 3 Chiffchaff and 27 Yellowhammer.A definite autumnal feel to the crisp, clear sky, and the corresponding birdlife (Rob Hill)

COMMON CROSSBILL

27/09 : Common Crossbill : Wooburn Common. over Farm Wood. Peter Stevens

Saturday, 26 September 2009

College Lake today

43 Mute Swans which is a good count for here, 150+ assorted Gulls, mostly Black-headed and small number of LBB'S, 50+ Lapwings, 35 Pochard plus 1 Red Crested Pochard female, 25 Wigeon and single figures of Tufted Duck and Gadwall. A total of 7 Common Buzzards and 2 Red Kite flew over in one sighting. A few Meadow Pipits went through throughout the day and a single Yellow Wagtail. Amazingly we had 5 species of butterfly - Brimstone, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Brown Argus and an extremely tatty Common Blue (Paul)

Linford Evening Update 24/9

Lovely evening at Linford, with a splendid red sky. There were still 1m 1f Common Stonechat & 2 Whinchat in the paddock next to Swanns Way, plus 2 Hobby, 2 Water Rail, and 6 Little Egret on the reserve (Rob Hill)

More migrant 'chats - 24/9

At Willen Lake this lunchtime: 2 Green Sandpipers, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 1 Buzzard and the female Red-crested Pochard (Paul Moon)

Nik Maynard discovered at Linford along St Peters Way, on the wires next to the road - 2 WHINCHAT and 2 COMMON STONECHAT.

First REDWING of the autumn 21/9

21/09 10:00 : 5 Redwing : Aston Clinton. Hedgerow in Stablebridge Road. (Graham Jones)

Monday, 21 September 2009

GARGANEY still

The GARGANEY was still at Foxcote Reservoir Sunday lunchtime. Plus three Common Snipe.

And there was a WHINCHAT at Hillesden earlier (Ted Reed)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

GARGANEY at Foxcote

FOXCOTE RESERVOIR: About 150 Lesser Black-backed Gulls plus one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Common Snipe and a Common Redshank.

A female/immature GARGANEY was feeding right of the hide near far bank.

A plump immature Western Reed Warbler crashing around in the reeds in front of the hide and a build up in the number of Eurasian Wigeon were the main highlights this afternoon (Ken Earnshaw)

COMMON CROSSBILL bonanza

David Ferguson had up to 30 COMMON CROSSBILLS in Black Park this morning, not far from the Five Points Crossroads

Gayhurst Wildfowl

At Gayhurst Quarry this morning; Mallard, probably 300, Gadwall, c50, Teal, c30, Tufted, c20, Shoveler, 4, Wigeon, 2, PINTAIL, 1 juvenile on Spinney Pit.

Also 4 Egyptian Geese on Motorway Pit, 8 Little Grebe, 20 Lapwing, Snipe and Little Owl (Robert Norris).

Friday, 18 September 2009

LITTLE GULL at Foxcote Reservoir











I arrived at Foxcote this evening to be greeted by the sight of a juvenile LITTLE GULL flying in typical erratic fashion quite close to the dam. It was making regular circuits and appeared to be feeding on flying insects as well as picking items from the water surface. After about ten minutes it landed and started to preen so a great opportunity to get some digiscoped shots, but I managed just one shot before the camera decided the batteries were flat and shut down. I loaded some fresh batteries, but the camera allowed me only one shot before again closing down. At that point the bird decided I had had my chance and took off again! I did manage some flight shots with a different camera though which I will put on the web-site.

Also of interest were seven Common Snipe on the east shore, plus three Reed Warblers and a juvenile Sedge Warbler in the reeds in front of the hide.When I left there were around 80 LBBGs and maybe 400 BHGs on the water, but I could not find the Little Gull, so don't know whether it had left or I just could not see it (Phil Tizzard). One of the adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls was an apparent intermedius (see photograph above)
Nik found a WHINCHAT and a COMMON STONECHAT along the approach road at Linford NR today, whilst at Broughton Grounds this evening, 22 GREY PARTRIDGES were a splendid surprise. They were in 2 coveys of 11 each (Rob Hill)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Roosting YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS

An adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted this evening amongst c260 LBBG's at Willen Lake South Basin (Rob Hill) with at least 7 more on Calvert BBOWT Lake (Tim Watts)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

LITTLE MARLOW this morning

A brief visit to LMGP this pm produced a fem/imm Pintail at the back of the spit, an adult Hobby over the spit a couple of times and a Peregrine circled over from the STW and back again - this bird was an adult in partial wing moult and looked very similar to the bird that flew over my house last week. Also 6 Wigeon and 25+ Teal, but no wind blown scarcities or (Tufted Puffin!) (Adam Bassett)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

BLACK TERNS

Rob Hill found 3 Juvenile BLACK TERNS on Willen South this evening; they were very mobile , also a probable Juvenile ARCTIC TERN seen very briefly.

Of equally scarce status , only the 3rd COMMON TEAL in the last 10 years was found on FurztonLake by Paul Moon; Paul also had 8 Sand Martins (per Simon Nichols)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Rowsham PEREGRINE

An adult PEREGRINE was seen twice over fields at Rowsham on Saturday afternoon (13 September) (Mike Wallen)

Stowe WHINCHAT

A WHINCHAT was present in Stowe on Saturday 13 September (Phil Tizzard)

Bledlow Ridge migrants

12/09 : At Lodge Hill Farm, Bledlow Ridge, a TREE PIPIT flew over calling, whilst a WHINCHAT was by the farm (Warren Claydon)

Friday, 11 September 2009

''Garden'' MARSH HARRIER

Filled with a bit of optimism that some raptors might be on the move in the north-easterlies, I spent about an hour sky-watching from the patio early afternoon - I even had the 'scope set up for any distant uncertainties! As yesterday, it was apparent that there was very little moving and actually very little to look at with the resident Red Kites and Common Buzzards only showing occasionally. However, at 1:40pm I picked up a circling falcon drifting SW and was surprised to find a PEREGRINE in the 'scope - this is a garden tick, so I was well chuffed!

Then at 1:55pm, I picked up a distant raptor flying more or less east to west and quite high up. I also got this in the 'scope and saw a generally dark, chocolate brown, long winged and long tailed raptor with a pale head, showing slight pale patches at the base of the under primaries - Black Kite came to mind briefly, but closer inspection revealed a round-tipped tail and cream coloured head markings - a female/imm MARSH HARRIER. At one point it fanned its tail, which from below looked quite pale reddish brown, but it wasn't hanging around and after about 20 - 30 seconds of viewing it disappeared westwards. This is the third consecutive year I have had Marsh Harrier fly over the garden in the autumn - it just goes to show that you never know what is flying over! (Adam Bassett)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

MARSH HARRIER lingers for an hour

Working from home today created the opportunity to take my lunchtime walk at Pitstone Hill rather than the village where I work! I joined Rob Hill there in the hope of a migrant raptor, with recent Honey Buzzard claims and Lee's heads-up from of our minds.

Sure enough, at c.12:50, we picked up a raptor heading north from Aldbury direction (Herts) along the valley towards us; distant at first but eventually reaching the copse SW of the hill, above Pitstone Quarry. The long tail, elastic wings with raised 'arms' and more level 'hands' and dark impression raised hopes, and as it got nearer we could confirm it was a cracking juvenile MARSH HARRIER, cream limited to just crown and throat. After a lengthy fight with a Carrion Crow into Bucks airspace, it dropped behind the copse; we expected that to be that, so let just a couple of people know on the off-chance.

However, at 13:10, the bird then re-appeared above the same tree-line; clearly the strengthening wind and cloud cover had halted its migration. We made a concerted effort to contact more locals, though unfortunately no-one was able to arrive by the time it gained height and headed off SW deeper into Herts towards Tring Station and town at 13:45.

The GARGANEY is still in Pitstone Quarry today (in Bucks initially, now Herts) with 11 Teal and 5 Shoveler, plus Rob and I enjoyed a steady stream of Swallows is groups of up to 30 moving south (Ben Miller)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

COMMON REDSTARTS at Manor Farm

A male and female COMMON REDSTART this evening along the ridge path heading from farm buildings towards canal.

Also Green Sandpipers, Little Egret and the first Kingfisher in a while along Back Brook (Chris Gleadell).

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Dorney area and environs

One of those lively days at the Dorney Rowing Lakes today, with circa 5-600 Canada Geese, 40 Greylags, 80 Egyptian Geese, a Barnacle Goose and an escaped blue morph Snow Goose type - not a truly wild bird among them!! Together with circa 400 corvids and 80 odd BHGs, many feeding at height over the lake it was some show. But prize bird went to a single COMMON GREENSHANK on the reserve pool and with it a juvenile COMMON SHELDUCK, nice to have some water back in there. No sign of any Wheatears/Whinchats in the pump field but 4 Meadow Pipits at the Start End were my first this autumn; there were 4 Linnets here also.

A quick trip just across the county border to Slough Sewage farm produced 3 Green Sandpipers, several Shoveler, Teal and a some Gadwall there. I then drove north of Burnham where scanning over part of Burnham Beeches produced a string of 32 Barn Swallows tracking south.

At Little Marlow GP there was a single Green Sandpiper on the spit with only a Kingfisher and 2 Common Terns also being of note. Couldn't see any Yellow Wags with the cattle by the river. (Dave Cleal)

Yet another OSPREY

Neil Manthorpe noted an adult OSPREY over Spade Oak Lake, Little Marlow, today, present from 1700-1705 hours before drifting south over the River Thames

Sunday REDSTARTS

At Linford this morning, the male REDSTART was still in bushes by the first right hand bend along the entrance track.

At Lathbury c190 Lesser B-b Gulls in a ploughed field, plus 1 Herring Gull.

At Broughton Grounds, a male REDSTART, in the small copse next to the north-east corner of the quarry. Also 1f/juv Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, 160+ Lapwing and 6 Buzzard (Rob Hill)

GARGANEY still at GAYHURST

Saturday morning (5 September) at Gayhurst Quarry: The GARGANEY is still present on Spinney Pit associating with 6 Gadwall, viewed from the gate at the bottom of the track.

Also on the pits 6 Little Grebe, 2 Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, 2 Teal.

Up at Quarryhall, a Wheatear on the fenceline down to the farm, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby and several Meadow Pipits with an obvious passage of the latter overhead (Rob Norris)

Saturday morning at Linford

2 COMMON REDSTARTS at Linford this morning, 1m & 1f, in the bushes around the first right hand bend along the entrance track. They were part of substantial passer flock which also included 12+ Blackcap, 4 Lesser 'throats, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Treecreeper, and a handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs (Rob Hill)

YELLOW WAGTAIL flock

04/09 17:30 : 21 Yellow Wagtail : Little Marlow GP. In meadow with cows. Difficult to count (the cows' legs got in the way) but maximum I managed was 21 which seemed about right. A really lovely sight, though, to watch the birds, at lose range, feeding around the animal's hooves. (Wally Smith)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Dorney WHINCHATS - 4/9

Still about a dozen Yellow Wagtails on Dorney Common associating with the cattle. In the pump field at the Lakes were 2 WHINCHATS and 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS (Dave Cleal)

Yet another OSPREY

David Ferguson noted an OSPREY flying south over Ivinghoe Beacon at 0930 hours on Friday 4 September.

Linford NR - Friday 4/9

Linford Reserve this morning between 10:10 & 12:45.

Birds of note included 1 COMMON REDSTART near the Quiet Please gate (as highlighted earlier), 1 Little Grebe, c6 Common Tern, 3 Egyptian Geese, 2 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 2 Buzzard, 1 Swallow, 8 House Martin & 1 Hobby (Roy)

Quainton Hills COMMON REDSTART







This fabulous and very beautiful male COMMON REDSTART was photographed by Tim Watts at Quainton Hills on Friday 4 September.

Linford COMMON REDSTARTS

Since Friday 4 September, 1-2 COMMON REDSTARTS have been present at Linford NR, showing intermittently near the signs just as you approach the boardwalk (Rob Hill et al)

YELLOW WAGTAILS at Spade Oak

The YELLOW WAGTAILS are still present on the Thames meadows near Spade Oak Nature Reserve (aka LMGP).

On Thursday (3/9 at 17:30) there were 15 amongst cattle, but many initially flushed from the longer grass, near the Thames path at the meadow nearest Spade Oak. Also, at least 4 were reported with cattle at the meadow nearest Marlow Rugby Club.

I have put 3 photos on the new BBC Uploaded Photos site (Kevin Holt)

Thursday 3 September

At Linford NR this morning, a single SANDWICH TERN, 7 ARCTIC TERNS, 4 Common Terns and a Common Sandpiper were sighted.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

SANDWICH TERN through

A SANDWICH TERN spent ten minutes at Spade Oak GP, Little Marlow, today (David Ferguson)

Monday, 31 August 2009

Large build up of YELLOW WAGTAILS

This evening with Kevin and Mike at Little Marlow GP - 35 Yellow Wagtails in meadow, 330 Greylags in at dusk and 1 Green Sandpiper (Alan Stevens)

Rowsham WHINCHATS

I went back down the fields tonight and found two WHINCHATS ( both looked like juveniles ) in the same place I found 1 this morning; tonight they were happily feeding from the tops of Wheat in a large field. However whilst I'm confident one was one of those from this morning, one clearly was different. I suspect the other I saw this morning was a female. So 3 today.

Also a nice little flock of YELLOW WAGTAILS in Rowsham earlier (Mike Wallen)

WHINCHATS in Stowe













3 WHINCHATS in Stowe. near the Bourbon Tower (Phil Tizzard)

Large flock of YELLOW WAGTAILS at Dorney

On the way to the carpark check amongst the cattle. At least 22 Yellow Wagtail seen this morning (Kevin Duncan). 2-3 COMMON GREENSHANK were also still present today on the Seasonal Pool.

In a bumper autumn for WHINCHAT - Mike Wallen finds two in ROWSHAM




Two WHINCHATS this morning in Rowsham, both fem/ imm. My first in Rowsham ( proper ) in 10 years. Both were on fences but some distance apart. One was on a fence adjacent to an old manure heap which I have checked twice, for chats, on every walk down my fields for 10 years. Today I put my bins on the heap/ fence to finally see a chat !! (Mike Wallen)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL

At around midday Steve Rodwell and I had a juv/1st winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL in a field being ploughed at Smokey Row near Little Kimble. Also c60 LBBGulls, 1 Herring Gull and a few Black-headeds (Rob Andrews)

Broughton Grounds

At Broughton Grounds this morning, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and a juvenile Hobby; plus 6 Green Sandpiper at Willen (Rob Hill)

Another WHINCHAT

A WHINCHAT was near the Bourbon Tower, Stowe, on 28 August (Phil Tizzard)

Little Marlow - Friday evening

A total of 26 YELLOW WAGTAILS in Randalls Meadow feeding with cows

Alsol 2 Common Terns, Grey Wagtail, 30 Sand Martins and 40 Swallows (Alan Stevens)

North Bucks GARGANEY

On spinney Pit this morning (Friday 28 August) a female-type GARGANEY was keeping company of a male Shoveler and 8 Gadwall. Just one Common Sandpiper and one Green Sandpiper were on the Fishing Pit.

Around the site were 4 Little Egret, 4 Little Grebe and Tufted Duck broods of 7, 4 and 3; also a noticeable movement of Sand Martins through.

Up at Quarryhall which was surprisingly sheltered from the wind was a lone Spotted Flycatcher and a Hobby flew through. On the way back up a Sparrowhawk was being mobbed by several Swallows and 3 Yellow Wagtails as it flew over (Robert Norris)

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in Stowe garden

What a treat to see a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in my garden today, exactly three years to the day since the last record. They nested in 1999 and 2002, but not surprisingly have been increasingly rare visitors ever since (Phil Tizzard)