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

Monday, 22 June 2009

North Bucks QUAIL

There was a COMMON QUAIL calling on the western edge of Milton Keynes today.

Go to the western end of the V5 (north of the prison and south of Hazeley school).

Walk west to the North Bucks Way and go across that over a stile (start of a footpath to Shenley Debns). The fields are a fairly unkempt mixture of broad beans and second growth oil seed rape. The Quail was calling from the right of that footpath - the second field to the right, I thought. Calling about 4.00 pm today.Might well have been a second bird, but only one called several times (Bob Tunnicliffe)


If anyone in North Bucks is struggling to see SPOTTED FLYCATCHER this year, they could do worse than take a walk up Church Lane, Lathbury.

There are 2 pairs within 100 yards of each other both actively feeding young. If you stop somewhere near The Rectory (The house covered in Wisteria half way up) and look into the horse field you are bound to see them (Rob Norris)


More passage at Dorney Lake this evening. On the Seasonal Pool there were 2 Ringed Plovers, Dunlin (s/p) and a Redshank. Still 2 drake Teal and c20 Lapwing.

On the Jubilee River an adult Grey Wagtail feeding 2 recently fledged chicks at Marsh Lane Weir. Closeby perched on the reeds were 4 fledged Swallows being fed by there parents. On the Marsh Lane island 7 adult Common Terns being very protective. No growing chicks seen on the island but all must be hidden in the long vegetation (Kevin Duncan)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Late spring migrant or early returning failed breeder?


The rain associated with a slow moving Atlantic front eventually reached the Chiltern area late afternoon and largely fizzled out with just the odd light shower.

Following a text from Simon Nichols, I broke away from the computer and drove down to Dorney Rowing Lakes. Fortunately Russell Ness was still on site and confirmed that the bird was still present and better still, the finder Kevin Duncan very kindly offered to drive me down to the college site from where it was a much shorter walk.

The bird involved was an adult WOOD SANDPIPER and with Kevin's guidance, both of us were able to confirm its further presence until at least 2100 hours feeding on the extensive mud exposed along the northern shore. It was a bright adult and still largely in full breeding plumage (notably brighter than the individual I saw at College Lake BBOWT last week), with contrastingly white lower underparts, a broad white supercilium and coarsely-spotted upperwings. The upper breast was greyish and finely streaked and cut off from the white in a haphazard fashion with light barring on the foreflanks. The legs were obviously long, with lengthy tibia, but were quite dark in colour, but with a yellowish tone.

The Seasonal Pool also held 2 drake COMMON TEAL (my first of the 'autumn'), the resident pair of COMMON SHELDUCK and 27 roosting large gulls (comprising of 23 mainly first-summer British Herring Gulls and 4 Lesser Black-backed).

A pair of HOBBIES and a further single were also seen in the vicinity.

WOOD SANDPIPER present until near dusk

Over the past month I've only had a few visits to Dorney Lake and have not recorded much other than geese. After the wind picked up this afternoon I decided to make another visit tonight. Walking along the causeway between the rowing lakes the first birds seen were a small group of Canada Geese with 12 Egyptian Geese including the remaining 4 growing chicks.

Nothing seen along the Return Lake or on the Reserve Pool. At about the 1125M mark the first view of the Seasonal Pool producuced just Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls. Scanned all of the pool at 1250M and noticed a wader amongst more Lapwing. With the scope on it I was surprised it was a WOOD SANDPIPER. It was feeding happily on the daily increasing exposed mud. Still present at 21:00. From my records the 2nd for the site, the last being in May 2006.Also 2 male Teal on the Seasonal Pool and 2 Hobby over (Kevin Duncan)

Third WOOD SANDPIPER of the spring

Kevin Duncan has located a WOOD SANDPIPER on the Seasonal Pool at Dorney Rowing Lakes this evening (per Simon Nichols) - the third individual to be recorded in the county this spring

Thursday, 11 June 2009



Some torrential rain fell during the night leaving localised flooding. Once cleared, the day was clear and bright, with clear blue skies and average temperatures.


Following a call from Dave Bilcock informing me of a WOOD SANDPIPER he had just found, I made my way straight there and joined him at 2027. The bird was still showing and feeding with a COMMON GREENSHANK (found earlier in the day by Gareth Luscombe) on the exposed mud in the NE corner of the main marsh. It flew a short way and landed on a miniscule island and proceeded to feed as the light faded. The bird was quite dark in plumage and not in full 'spotting' of breeding attire but had obvious and typically long pale greenish-yellow legs, a very noticeable white supercilium extending behind the eye and rather diffuse brown streaking on the breast. The upperparts were brown with variegated pale spotting, with the uppertail narrowly barred. Both birds were Bucks Year Ticks for me and fairly scarce birds on spring passage. Ian Williams and Roy Hargreaves also connected.

The marsh also held three further species of wader: Lapwings (including 4 chicks), 6 Common Redshanks and an adult OYSTERCATCHER (there was no sign of the other adult and the two small young seen earlier in the week by Rob Andrews). The main island on the lake held at least 8 nesting pairs of Common Tern, with 6 small fledged young waiting to be fed on the edge.


Highlight here was a calling male COMMON CUCKOO from fenceposts on the south side.

Also present were adult Great Crested Grebe, first-summer Mute Swan, 10 Tufted Ducks and 5 Common Swifts


During my absence last week, this dapper drake LONG-TAILED DUCK graced the Sailing Lake at Calvert for 5 days (Tim Watts photography)
The other main highlights were 5 BLACK TERNS at Calvert Sailing Lake on 5 June (Mike Wallen) and a EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR seen in headlights at Whaddon (Simon Nichols).
There was also a WOOD SANDPIPER briefly one evening at Little Marlow GP (Alan Stevens, Dave Cleal, et al)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

HOOPOE on 1 June

A EURASIAN HOOPOE was by the 14th green of the Duchess Course at Woburn Golf Club at 12.25 today. It seemed fairly settled but flew over the public road into thepractice area as I approached. I watched from the road fence and it droppeddown and resumed foraging.The spot can be reached by turning off the Woburn - Woburn Sands Road intoLongslade Lane.

Proceed along the narrow road through woodland for about amile until you pass a left turn with a Woburn Golf Club sign by it. Continue about 300 yards up a small incline and you will see an obvious 'pull off' onyour left. The 14th fairway will be on your left and the practice ground on the right hand side of the road. This is where the bird flew over at 12.25PM. Please note that the Golf Course is private (Sonnie Wing)