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

Tuesday, 14 April 2009



A day of Southerly winds but showery and mainly overcast.


After 'dipping out' on the first BLACK REDSTART in CMK in early March, I was very pleased to get a second chance. Rob Hill had located a female earlier in the morning at the site (located opposite the Argos Warehouse at SP 846 382) and it was still showing when Neil Fletcher and I arrived at 1330 hours. It was a female-type and was perching on obvious fenceposts and machinery within the works compound.

I also saw a male NORTHERN WHEATEAR on mounds adjacent (Neil saw three)

(Easily accessed off of the main Old Wolverton road and just over a mile from the A5; park at the main entrance to the Manor Farm business complex and walk north to the Country Park trail currently under construction)

I was looking forward to visiting this site as all the hype surrounding it surely was exaggeration - but it wasn't. This new complex of gravel extraction and shallow scrapes on the River Great Ouse valley certainly is the 'real deal' and a fantastic magnet for migrating birds. The main pool is in excellent shape and the surrounding areas (whilst wet and fresh) are certainly attractive for migrant passerines.

I spent a couple of hours tasting the avian delights of this new site and working out the best ways in which to observe it. The following species were seen, the highlight being a migrant LITTLE GULL.

Mute Swans (10 including 5 first-years)
Common Teal (pair)
COMMON SANDPIPER (1) (my first county bird of the year)
Common Snipe (2)
Black-headed Gulls (3)
**LITTLE GULL (an adult in winter plumage arrived from the west at 1427 and was then pursued by the Black-headed Gulls and chased off whilst I was on the phone to Simon and flew strongly and high SE along the river valley at 1430).

Sand Martin (3)
Barn Swallow (6)
Meadow Pipit (2)
**WATER PIPIT (a bird in transitional plumage was frequenting the rain-sodden shallow pools to the east of the main pit. It was typically mobile and flew up calling several times, disappearing to a hidden extraction pool at the NE of the site)
*WHITE WAGTAIL (male on the eastern edge of the pit and on the bunds)
*YELLOW WAGTAIL (3 gaudy males on the bunds)
*NORTHERN WHEATEAR (highly mobile male on bunds)
Goldfinch (8)

LINFORD NR (NORTH BUCKS) (1520-1620 hours)

By the time I got to Linford, it was 12 degrees C with almost constant rain (occasionally heavy)

Thanks to a timely call from Simon, I was able to connect with the transitionally plumaged adult ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWIT feeding voraciously on the bund vegetation - my first of the year in Bucks.

There was also a single Ringed Plover on the bund and a male YELLOW WAGTAIL.

The heronry contained 14 Grey Heron nests, whilst 3 LITTLE EGRETS were noted and 10 Common Teal. Due to the inclement conditions, I was unable to locate Rob Hill's two singing Sedge Warblers from earlier in the day, although both Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap were still singing.