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, 21 July 2009

LITTLE EGRETS fledge six young


Torrential rain fell for much of the morning and with seabirds and waders dropping in across the Midlands, I had high hopes for some good birding today. The wind was strong Southwesterly. The rain moved NE by early afternoon leaving overcast skies and temperatures of 16 degrees C.

Following several morning calls from Birmingham-based birders, I raced up to Bill Oddie's old stomping grounds of BARTLEY RESERVOIR (West Midlands), where together with many old friends enjoyed fabulous views of a spectacular pale morph adult POMARINE SKUA that had arrived in the appalling weather conditions. It was an astounding occurrence at this time of year and, apart from one of the 'spoons' being broken off, was in full breeding plumage.


After being hastled by several Lesser Black-backed Gulls and with a narrow window in the blanket cloud cover and heavy rain, I watched the bird rise up, circle three times and then fly strongly SE at 1250 hours. I eventually lost it from view in the low cloud.

(1515-1530 hours)

Driving back from Birmingham, I stopped off at Gayhurst, where Rob Norris had earlier discovered an adult summer RED KNOT - an exceptional July record. Rob had last seen the bird late morning but despite searching all of the Fishing Pit, it was nowhere to be found when I managed to get there. The only waders present were 2 COMMON SANDPIPERS and 25 Lapwing.

The Mute Swan herd numbered 27 and migrant warblers included 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS and 4 juvenile Common Chiffchaffs in the hedgerow


Being in the north of the county gave me an ideal opportunity to check the breeding colony of LITTLE EGRETS. At Site A where I recorded three pairs in April-May, I was absolutely delighted to find 6 fully-fledged juveniles in the trees - the fifth successive year of success. Two adults were also visiting the colony.


Deciding to check further sites for the Knot, I visited Linford Reserve but apart from a single COMMON SANDPIPER on the bund and noteworthy counts of 8 Great Crested Grebe and 17 Northern Pochard, it was fairly birdless.

(1715-1745 hours)

With a scattering of waders grounded by the weather, I fully expected some new arrivals at Tring. I was to be disappointed however, with 2 DUNLIN dropping in after I had left. In fact it was very quiet,

DUNLIN (2 summer-plumaged adults on the spit this evening, viewable from the hide - Dave Bilcock)

Mute Swans (22)
Common Teal (1 still)
EURASIAN WIGEON (eclipse drake still)
Lapwing (248)
COMMON SANDPIPER (3 on the bunds)
Common Terns (78)
HOBBY (1 adult - DB)


Mute Swans (32)


**LITTLE GREBES (excellent breeding success, with three pairs accompanying young - single pairs with two chicks apiece, and another pair with a single chick. Additional four adults.
Mute Swan (1)
COMMON REDSHANK (1 juvenile)
Black-headed Gulls (68 roosting including 4 juveniles)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 adults)
Common Swift (25)
Song Thrush (2 singing males)
Blackcaps (4)

(evening visit)

A red letter day for a whole host of reasons. Most importantly for more breeding successes, particularly of grebes, but also for Hobby and Sedge Warbler sightings - the latter representing the first for the year in the District.

GREAT CRESTED GREBES** (a record 9 birds noted. The original pair now has THREE stripy chicks in tow and all feeding well - the male coming in to feed them with small fish every few minutes - whilst an additional pair are present and incredibly a further adult with a very well grown and self-sufficient juvenile feeding at the extreme west end)

LITTLE GREBES** (the original pair were still feeding their two growing youngsters whilst another pair were feeding three tiny young. A further pair were also seen.

Continental Cormorant (1 immature roosting on the island)
Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swans (family party of 7 birds)
Canada Geese (77)
Mallard (27)
Tufted Duck (4, plus a female with three juveniles)
Gadwall (2 females)
Northern Pochard (1 female)
Moorhen and Coot

RED KITES (much activity as one of the breeding pairs has fledged two young - much chasing and crying going on)

HOBBY (a superb adult flew in and chased a juvenile Sand Martin low over the water. After several rapid manouevres, the falcon eventually caught the martin and flew off with it in its talons)

Green Woodpecker (1)
Common Swift (32)
House Martin (25)
SAND MARTIN (1 juvenile, sadly taken by Hobby)
Pied Wagtail (15 on the cricket pitch, including 11 juveniles)
Carrion Crow (6 birds on the cricket pitch, mainly juveniles)
Goldfinch (8)
Blackcap (1)

**SEDGE WARBLERS (2 noisy juveniles in sedges along the edge of the lake just where the Willows begin at the west end. Both birds showed well when 'pished' and represent the first record in the Amersham District Recording Area this year)

(Lee Evans)