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, 10 September 2009

MARSH HARRIER lingers for an hour

Working from home today created the opportunity to take my lunchtime walk at Pitstone Hill rather than the village where I work! I joined Rob Hill there in the hope of a migrant raptor, with recent Honey Buzzard claims and Lee's heads-up from of our minds.

Sure enough, at c.12:50, we picked up a raptor heading north from Aldbury direction (Herts) along the valley towards us; distant at first but eventually reaching the copse SW of the hill, above Pitstone Quarry. The long tail, elastic wings with raised 'arms' and more level 'hands' and dark impression raised hopes, and as it got nearer we could confirm it was a cracking juvenile MARSH HARRIER, cream limited to just crown and throat. After a lengthy fight with a Carrion Crow into Bucks airspace, it dropped behind the copse; we expected that to be that, so let just a couple of people know on the off-chance.

However, at 13:10, the bird then re-appeared above the same tree-line; clearly the strengthening wind and cloud cover had halted its migration. We made a concerted effort to contact more locals, though unfortunately no-one was able to arrive by the time it gained height and headed off SW deeper into Herts towards Tring Station and town at 13:45.

The GARGANEY is still in Pitstone Quarry today (in Bucks initially, now Herts) with 11 Teal and 5 Shoveler, plus Rob and I enjoyed a steady stream of Swallows is groups of up to 30 moving south (Ben Miller)