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

Thursday, 19 February 2009



Another mild day, with some brief bright periods and very light winds. Predominantly cloudy.


Chasing up on a flock of finches seen near Mount Pleasant Farm yesterday morning, I completely drew a blank - not a small bird was seen. Raptors were in evidence, with many RED KITES sitting around (including some with yellow wing-tags) and 5 COMMON BUZZARDS in the air.

I was just about to visit Church Wood RSPB when I took a call from Mike Collard. Dave Ferguson had just discovered a white-winged gull in Hedgerley Landfill (at 1145 hours).


I raced round to the A40 and wasted nearly ten minutes trying to find David's parked-up Fiat. Eventually pin-pointing his position, it then transpired that he had walked to the site from home. I charged down the muddy footpath leading along the west side of the landfill site and soon found Dave - every single gull (all 400 of them) had just flown off SW perhaps heading for Little Marlow. They had all been washing and bathing on the newly created drainage basin about 200 yards south of the London Road and Dave had managed to get some good video footage of the bird and some good photographs. I looked at them on his small screen and said to him that the bird was not a Glaucous Gull but was very interesting (I couldn't see the detail I needed to clinch the identification).

Dave later sent me his images: the bird was a first-year ICELAND GULL, most likely the individual seen recently in the London area.

Some 30 RED KITES were in attendance at the landfill but not a single gull was in sight.


Spade Oak GP was the most likely location where the large gulls had relocated so both Chris Heard and I headed there to search.

Unfortunately, there was just a small number of gulls on site, and very few large white-headed, and no sign of the Iceland. The undoubted highlight was the first-year PEREGRINE, constantly harassing the large Lapwing flock.

The Ruddy Shelduck was present (incidentally without its right foot, been missing two years apparently - per AS), along with 4 COMMON SHELDUCK (2 pairs) and a large increase in GADWALL (47).

There were 4 Greylag Geese, 15 Shoveler, 27 Tufted Duck and 19 Pochard, with 4 Common Snipe roosting on the spit and at least 879 Lapwing present.

Three Ring-necked Parakeets flew over, the COMMON KINGFISHER was seen and on the island, 7 Sinensis Cormorant nests were being utilised and two Grey Heron nests were active.


Penn Wood (176 hectares, 436 acres) is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a wood which is known to have existed since 1600 and has many different varieties of native broad-leaved trees, shrubs and plants. Following its acquisition by the Woodland Trust in April 1999, the wood now consists of a mosaic of ancient semi-natural woodland with plantations of mixed broadleaf and conifer, and heath grassland and scrub. One veteran Oak tree, the remains of an ancient collapsed Beech tree and a scattering of trees over 200 years old can be found across the site.

Although early in the season, I carried out a transect survey of the wood today, particularly with the mild weather in mind. It was very poor with birdlife particularly spartan - 1 singing Coal Tit, 1 singing male Chaffinch, 5 European Robins, 2 Dunnocks and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers was all that was noted.

MOP END FARM (SU 924 972)

93 Rooks feeding on the plough, with 2 RED KITES overhead, a single male Common Kestrel by the farm and single singing Eurasian Skylark and Great Tit.


The long-staying male COMMON STONECHAT was showing very well in the vicinity of the manure heap north of the farm.

A RED KITE also lingered over the area from 1536-1550 at least.


Very quiet. No sign of the pair of Egyptian Geese seen earlier in the morning just 3 moisy Ring-necked Parakeets.


Great Crested Grebe (6)
Little Grebe (1)
Mute Swan (3)
Shoveler (3)
Tufted Duck (95)
Pochard (8)
Coot (167)


Joan Thompson and I did the roost from 1730 hours.

The Sinensis Cormorant population was in full swing with 18 nests in active use and 186 individuals roosting. Likewise, 7 Grey Heron nests were in use.

Once again, as my January count, LITTLE EGRETS peaked at 48 birds as darkness fell at 1750 hours. A total of 20 birds was already in when we arrived at 1730, with totals rising to 28 (at 1735), 30 (1740), 32 (1741), 34 (1742), 39 (1744), 40 (1745), 42 (1746), 43 (1747), 44 (1748), 47 (1749) and 48 (1750). I believe this is the largest London February count ever.

A redhead GOOSANDER flew south at dusk.