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


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

Wednesday, 7 January 2009




A day of two tales, with one of the best days the valley has ever seen (in terms of variety) but a very sad one, with the killing of one of our two wintering Atlantic Great Cormorants.

Firstly, Richard Tomlin witnessed the Cormorant (an immature of the Continental form Sinensis) being shot east of Latimer Bridge at cTQ 007 986. The bird fell to the ground (and incidentally it had been roosting alongside a single Little Egret at the top of a dead tree) and was still alive before being finished off with a single bullet. The corpse was then taken away by the assailant. This incident happened shortly after midday and was shot from the south side of the river south of Church Covert.

A license can be issued to fisheries provided they can provide proof that a number of Cormorants are taking an excessive number of fish. A number of birds can then be 'culled' through the winter months. There is a small fishery at Great Water, half a mile from this location. I do not know whether the person that shot this bird had a valid certificate and was therefore within his rights to shoot the bird, but I would be very surprised that a certificate was issued for this location which rarely attracts more than three wintering birds. What worries me much much more is the possibility of my Little Egrets being shot, of which there has only been three regular birds this winter, surprisingly less than normal! I welcome any comments on this subject and if visiting this location, please be vigilant and record details of person with firearms, vehicle license plate if known, etc

Anyway, back to the positive points of my email

Today's sightings in the valley included
(from 1030-1200 hours, Stuart & Lesley Wilson, Richard Tomlin and 1500-1630, LGRE)

Little Grebe (6 on lake below Neptune Falls, with another east of Latimer Bridge)
Grey Heron (1+)
*LITTLE EGRET (7 birds recorded today, 4 of which were feeding east of Latimer Bridge)
Mute Swans (3 by Latimer Bridge and 6 on Great Water)
Mallard (9)
*COMMON TEAL - 3 on the Chess just west of Church Covert (S&LW)
Tufted Duck (26 on Great Water)
*NORTHERN POCHARD (55 on Great Water - peak count this winter) (LGRE)

*LAPWING (31 in filed NW of Mill Farm in Chenies Bottom at TQ 013 989)
**EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS (18, morning only, with the Lapwings above - S&LW)
**GREEN SANDPIPER (the bird first seen by Dave Horton on New Years Day was still present today east of Latimer Bridge)
*COMMON SNIPE (8 in cressbed just east of Latimer Bridge)

Black-headed Gulls (106 flew from Chesham direction towards Chorleywood at dusk presumably to roost at Hilfield Park Reservoir)

*COMMON KINGFISHER (1 on Great Water)
Common Kestrels (2)
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
*MEADOW PIPITS (large flock of 40 on meadow east of Latimer Bridge)
Wren (8)
Mistle Thrush (2)
Song Thrush (3)
*SISKINS (40in Alder near Chenies Bottom Bridge)