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

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Marlow today

LMGP 1:30 to 2:30pm:

A full summer plumaged second summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL on the spit was presumably one of the regularly roosting birds. Present for about half an hour, it had departed by 2:30pm. At least 2 HOUSE MARTINS amongst a flock of about 50 hirundines, mostly Swallows, but some Sand Martins. A PEREGRINE circled over fairly high to the SW at 1:45pm putting everything up temporarily. Otherwise 2 LRPs on the spit, 1 Willow Warbler singing to the north and several Chiffchaffs were the only other migrants noted.

Adam Bassett

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

MEDITERRANEAN GULL feast at Little Marlow - fourth consecutive evening

Adult summer Mediterranean Gull (Mark Stirland) - at least 2 birds have roosted at Marlow since Saturday, arriving with the annual spring passage of Common Gulls, of which alt least 898 were present this evening


Talk about a topsy-turvy day in terms of weather. When I first started birding mid morning, the wind was in the west and the temperature was 9.5 degrees C. It was raining intermittently and activity was rather scant. Around lunchtime/early afternoon however, the wind switched to the SSW, the sun came out and temperatures recovered to 13.5 degrees C. Then, darkening clouds brought heavier rain, and between 1500 and 1900 hours, the temperature plummeted to a freezing 5 degrees C and the wind veered to a strong NNW.

Despite the conditions, I had a great day locally, with some nice finds and new additions - particularly Yellow Wagtail and House Martin - both firsts for the year.


I did a full inventory of the lower Chesham area, walking the trail from Watercress Cottage (SU 975 999), past the former Pow Wow Lake (SP 972 003), around the Chesham Fishing Lakes (SP 972 003), across to Hill Farm (SP 973 008) and back down to Milk Hall (SP 976 002).

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (both pairs present, the pair on the smaller lake now nesting)
CONTINENTAL CORMORANT (a near adult circled the fishing lakes)
Little Egret (none seen, looks as if the wintering population has now departed)
Mute Swan (single adult on Pow Wow Lake, the Waterside pair now deserted after heavy rain, a pair on Bois Mill Lake - not nesting - and three others east to Latimer Bridge)
Atlantic Canada Geese (pair on Pow Wow Lake, with 24 on Bois Mill Pond)
Mallard (5 drakes on the river, with 14 on the Fishing Lakes)
GADWALL (pair still present on Pow Wow Lake)
Tufted Duck (drake on Pow Wow Lake, with 16 - 9 drakes and 7 females - on the Fishing Lake)
Red Kite (3 in Hill Farm area)
Common Buzzard (nest found in Chessmount - SP 974 006)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (female circling overhead of the valley)
Common Pheasant (2 males near Hill Farm)
Moorhen (9 birds in total)
Coot (9 on the larger of the two Fishing Lakes, one with an injured left leg, with 6 on the smaller)
Woodpigeon (large feeding flocks in the Hill Farm area, one of 45 and the other of 322)
Eurasian Collared Dove (pair at Hill Farm)
*SAND MARTIN (1 high over the Fishing Lakes, the first in the Recording Area this year)
*EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW (pair hawking high above the Alders and Poplars by the Fishing Lake and a 'singing' male around the larger barn by Hill Farm - the first in the Recording Area this year)
Pied Wagtail (an adult male by the Pow Wow building)
Wren (2 singing males by Watercress Cottage, with another by the Fishing Lakes and 1 by Hill Farm)
Dunnock (pair displaying by Watercress Cottage, with two further singing males nearby, and further males in scrub by Cannon Mill Avenue and Hill Farm)
European Robin (just 1 singing male by the Fishing Lakes)
Song Thrush (1 in garden of cottage at corner of Holloway Lane)
Mistle Thrush (pair nesting in Chessmount Wood)
Common Blackbird (male by Watercress Cottage, with another in gardens on Cannon Mill Avenue)
*BLACKCAP (a singing male showing well by the smaller Fishing Lake, present in the area for over two weeks)
*COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (a marked arrival with two singing males within 40 yards of each other in scrub behind McMinn's Yard and a further male present along the Riverside Walk just beyond the Fishing Lakes)
GOLDCREST (a pair present in the tall evergreen in the garden of 85 Latimer Road, the male singing frequently)
Great Tit (singing males by Watercress Cottage, the Fishing Lakes and the Riverside Walk and 2 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Blue Tit (singing males by McMinn's Yard and Fishing Lakes with 7 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Long-tailed Tit (pair along the Riverside Walk)
Common Magpie (pair nesting in the tall Evergreen in garden of 85 Latimer Road)
Western Jackdaw (nesting colony in terrace chimneys opposite Fishing Lakes involving 13 pairs, with a further pair on the chimney stack of Watercress Cottage)
Rook (the Rookery above Ivy House Farm now has 21 active nests)
Carrion Crow (1 by Hill Farm)
Common Starling (1 on chimneys in Latimer Road)
House Sparrow (2 pairs in scrub behind Cannon Mill Avenue)
Chaffinch (5 singing males/pairs in the Fishing Lakes/Riverside Walk area, with another by Hill Farm)
LINNET (2 birds flew over the barns at Hill Farm)
Goldfinch (5 birds noted)
Greenfinch (displaying male in gardens along Latimer Road)
YELLOWHAMMER (2 singing males in hedgerows by Hill Farm)

BADGERS (the sett along the bridleway near Hill Farm was active)
MUNTJAC (a stag was feeding by Watercress Cottage)

(1730 until dusk)

I was to spend the rest of the day at Little Marlow, where I could not believe the change in temperature. Whilst driving from Herts to South Bucks, the wind had switched from SSW to NNW and the temperature had plummeted from 13.5 to a mere 5 degrees C - an astounding fluctuation in one day.

The overcast conditions and intermittent rain had grounded 33 hirundines, including 23 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS, 7 SAND MARTINS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS - the latter my first of the year and the first in the county (235).

However, it was to the migrant gull flock that most concentration was asked for, and with Alan Stevens, we located FOUR different MEDITERRANEAN GULLS in the roost this evening, one of the largest single groups I have ever recorded in Bucks. The records involved two full breeding-plumaged adults and two near-identical second-summer birds, the latter with orange-red bills and a slight dark bar, dark pigmentation in the primary tips and full black hoods and contrasting white eye crescents. The first immature flew in at 1830 hours, followed seconds later by the first adult, then a second immature at 1835 and the final adult at 1856. All remained until dusk, after initially bathing and drinking on arrival, and disappeared out of view in the Common Gull throng.

Click-counting COMMON GULLS revealed the presence of at least 898 birds, with 6 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 15 Argenteus Herring Gulls, predominantly immatures.

Otherwise, species noted included the pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, 22 remaining Eurasian Wigeon, a pair of Common Teal, a drake Shoveler, 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, 5 Lapwing and 1-2 COMMON KINGFISHERS (constantly flying to and fro from the main island where they are nesting)

Manor Farm today

A wet, windy and cold MF looks better than it probably ever has at the moment, an expanse of mud and pools at 'Wader South Central' to the west while the eastern side of the main body of water has a few gravel/mud islands exposed as the water gets lower. All it needs now are the birds.

However at least three Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Redshank and a couple of Green Sandpipers were there this evening as were around fifty (yes 50) Swallows over the water alongside a handful of Sand Martins. Along the north shore a few Pipits are dotted about, might be of interest to you scopers (Chris Gleadell).

Monday, 29 March 2010

Another singing WILLOW WARBLER

An unproductive and very wet walk around the fields in Rowsham this morning, except for a pair of Grey Partridge, a pair of Common Teal and a singing WILLOW WARBLER.

Broughton Trout Pools held a few Common Teal and the lone ( presumed injured ) Eurasian Wigeon and a lone Atlantic Great Cormorant. However this Cormorant is a bit special, its the ringed 'carbo' DXA ( now an adult ), which winters at the Tring Reservoirs ( and Broughton in Spring ) which returns to its birthplace in the breeding season each year, NE of Aberdeen by the Ythan Estuary.

Onto Weston Turville Reservoir where there was a singing Cetti's Warbler and a pair of Mandarin mating (per Mike Wallen birding)

GARGANEYS gone - LGRE Diary Notes for today


A band of rain moved steadily up from the south leaving a dark, dull and very gloomy day. Although not heavy rain, it was enough to stifle any sort of migration.

Being otherwise occupied by a certain Mediterranean Kestrel and Swifts over Sunday, I was unable to get to Marlow, where a pair of Garganey had spent the day. As suspected, they departed overnight.


Reloaded the garden feeders, with two Goldfinch on the Nyger and 25 House Sparrows present all day. Two RED KITES overhead for some time.


No sign of yesterday's pair of Garganey but 3 Mute Swans, pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, 8 Shoveler, 22 Eurasian Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, 16 Tufted Duck, 1 Northern Pochard, 5 Lapwing, 1 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 39 Common Gulls, 1 near-adult Argenteus Herring Gull, 8 Red Kites, 1 Common Buzzard and Common Kingfisher. Two singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS remained in the NW corner.


No sign of the Great Crested Grebe pair but two Dabchick new in and together.
Grey Herons (two - an adult and first-year)
Dramatic fall in wildfowl numbers with just 4 Gadwall and 16 Tufted Duck remaining and cob Mute Swan 'pushing around' his three offspring from 2009.
Coot (just 46)
Common Kestrel - female and male seen in area
Stock Dove calling
GREY WAGTAIL (male by lake, briefly in song)
Song Thrush (2 singing males)
REDWING (8 by Misbourne)
Wren (6 different territories)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (2 - singing males at the west end of the lake in Sallows and another by the Misbourne 250 yards further west)
Blue Tit (much activity, with perhaps 10 birds noted)
Goldfinch (5)
REED BUNTING (singing male in reed vegetation 250 yards west along the Misbourne from the lake)


A pair of GARGANEY was present at Little Marlow GP all day Sunday 28 March (many observers) - the first in the county this year

Another OSPREY

OSPREY near Steps Hill at about 9.15am (Sunday 28th); was flying from east to west (Don Otter)

Saturday Sightings in North Bucks

At Olney Meadows late afternoon, a RAVEN flew in from the west before going down in the sheep fields. Also 52 Barnacle Geese, 3 Teal, 2 Buzzard and nearby a Curlew.

At Ravenstone STW, the field to the left of the track held a few passers near the sewage works, most notable of which was a CORN BUNTING, which took off to the east with 8 Skylark & 7 Linnet. Also 12 Pied Wags & c10 Chaffinch.At Linford, 12 Little Egrets were in a pre-roost on tern island. Rob Hill

Friday, 26 March 2010

A chance for me to catch up with those early migrants. DUNLIN was also new.


During the morning, the wind was mainly SW with temperatures reaching 11 degrees C, but as the day progressed, it swung round to the NW pegging temperatures back down to 8 degrees. It also brought with it some hefty rain showers.

Today was my first real opportunity to catch up with some local birding and with this in mind I targeted the many migrants now flooding in to the country and immediate Three Counties area. Most peculiar was the complete lack of hirundines today. The highlight was a superb adult male RING OUZEL and a very dapper WATER PIPIT.

(0730-0900 hours)

There was no sign this morning of the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers but I did see 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a single Green Woodpecker. There was much drumming activity going on.

Common Treecreepers and Nuthatches were both vocalising again, whilst 2 male Coal Tits were in song, a male Song Thrush and 5 different male Chaffinches.

Once again, I failed to locate the Northern Goshawks nearby.

(0918-1015 hours)

I carried out a full inventory of the site and walked the entire circuit of the lake. Three species were new to my Bucks Year List - LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, Common Chiffchaff and WILLOW WARBLER. A total of 44 species was noted.

Great Crested Grebe (10 present, mostly all paired up)
Continental Cormorant (25 active nests on the island, many in one tree)
Grey Heron (14 nests on the main island and another 5 on the small island just 45 yards out from the west bank)
Mute Swan (3)
Greylag Goose (15)
Atlantic Canada Goose (22)
COMMON SHELDUCK (2 pairs roosting on the spit)
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (12 present and much display and territorial behaviour being acted out)
Mallard (17)
Gadwall (12)
Northern Shoveler (17)
Eurasian Wigeon (32 lingering)
Common Teal (8)
Tufted Duck (14)
Red Kite (3 overhead)
Moorhen (12)
Coot (27)
Lapwing (14 on the spit)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (my first of the year showing well on the nearside of the spit - 224)
Black-headed Gull (48)
Common Gull (78 including two second-winters showing characteristics similar to those shown by a popular bird in Leicestershire)
Argenteus Herring Gull (24 including 1 summer adult, 3 second-years and 20 juveniles)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 adults)

Woodpigeon (16, already nesting)
Ring-necked Parakeet (2 in Poplars)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 in garden)
Pied Wagtail (pair on spit)
Wren (8 territories)
Dunnock (3)
European Robin (several already pair-bonded with 12 noted in total)
REDWING (single migrant in bushes at east end)
Common Blackbird (5)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (2 singing males in NW corner and two migrants in Railway Hedgerow)
WILLOW WARBLER (my first of the year - a singing male in the SE corner - 225)
Great Tit (3)
Blue Tit (7)
Long-tailed Tit (5)
Common Treecreeper (singing male in wood on north bank)
Common Magpie (pair building nest)
Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Rook (all noted flying overhead)
Chaffinch (6 singing males)
Goldfinch (5)


Thanks to Simon Nichols and Paul Moon, I was able to add this year's first Buckinghamshire DUNLIN to my Year List - a winter-plumaged bird feeding with two Common Snipe on the first sections of the bund now starting to emerge as the water level drops significantly. Other migrants included a flock of 136 FIELDFARES.

On the breeding front, 13 active Grey Heron nests were now being utilised, as well as at least 2 LITTLE EGRET nests (5 birds in all present in the colony)


Surprisingly devoid of any hirundines or migrants. Most impressive were the TUFTED DUCK numbers - 257 in all - the highest number this year. There were also 9 remaining Eurasian Wigeon, 18 Gadwall, 8 Common Teal, 16 Northern Shoveler and 29 Northern Pochard. Just 6 Great Crested Grebes were apparent, whilst 61 Greylag Geese were on the field east of the reservoir.

In the far distance over Northfield Road and Bulbourne were a flock of 107 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS.


The adult drake RED-CRESTED POCHARD was busily dredging up weed from the bottom of the reservoir whilst other wildfowl present included a pair of Mute Swans (with 3 more on the adjacent canal), 2 Great Crested Grebes, 20 Tufted Duck and a drake Pochard.

No migrants were present but 2 Grey Wagtails and 43 Pied Wagtails roosted on the rafts.


Very deep with no muddy islands - 1 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Little Grebes and 5 Tufted Ducks present. Nothing nearby on the Pitstone Industrial Estate pools.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


At least two singing male WILLOW WARBLERS in the railway hedge on the south bank at 2pm before the rain washed me out (Adam Bassett)

.And another county round-up with Ben Miller

With the reason for my planned morning trip to Linford cruelly gone, it was back to the Tring area early doors, where the theme of Wildfowl movement continued.

At College Lake, there was no sign of the 5 Goldeneye from yesterday, and Shoveler numbers were also down. Just the usual 2 Oystercatchers and 6 Redshanks.

The drake Red-crested Pochard was on Startops with 2 Barn Swallows, whilst the presumably plastic female Pintail has re-appeared to take bread with the Mallards on Marsworth.

This afternoon I tried to avoid the rain (and failed) to check a few sites, with just limited success;

Calvert - Cetti's singing, 1 Common Snipe, 3 Barn Swallows
Mid-Bucks - 4 Curlews
Weston Turville - 1 Little Egret
Wilstone (Herts) - Roy's Northern Wheatear still sat on the fence between the reservoir and Cemetery corner; hopefully it had moved at some point in the intervening 9 hours....
Pitstone Ind Estate - 2 Ringed Plovers still, but no sign of the LRP of yesterday.

Cheers & Good Spring Birdfinding,

Ben Miller

North Bucks Birding Today with Simon Nichols

A fairly relaxed work morning meant the following highlights

SSNR 2 OYSTERCATCHERS on the newly created shingle island

Willen Lake North 19 Shoveler , 2 Goldeneye, 15 Teal , 1 CHIFFCHAFF singing near the Sewage works

Broughton Building site ( near Kingston ) 10+ Skylarks , 1 Male NORTHERN WHEATEAR

Broughton Grounds 348 (!) Golden Plovers , 20+ Lapwing, 1 CHIFFCHAFF singing Manor Farm 3 redhead Goosanders , 1 GREEN SANDPIPER

Broughton Building site ( near Kingston ) (2nd Visit) 2 NORTHERN WHEATEARS (Male and Female) , 3 Reed Buntings , 1 CHIFFCHAFF (seen, not heard)

Willen lake South The continuing female RED CRESTED POCHARD

Vagrant Teal GONE !

Linford from 06.00 til 07.10

NO sign of the Green Winged Teal , 18 Teal , 2 Shoveler are all down on yesterdays figures so presumably departed overnight

However Linford was alive with bird song and other notable sightings include 7 LESSER REDPOLLS on track near Woodland Hide , buzzing around , 2 BARN OWLS again showing well on the approach track , minimum of 4 COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS (3 singing) , 2 CETTIS WARBLERS , 1 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (til 06.10 only) and 2 OYSTERCATCHERS , 2 BLACKCAPS (one singing near Far hide and another male seen on entrance track) and 3 SAND MARTINS thru east at 07.00 (Simon Nichols)

Dusk Update - 24 March

The cracking drake NORTH AMERICAN GREEN WINGED TEAL was still present until dusk this evening , showing really well in front of the near hide , but on several occasions going out of sight behind the Willows. it was loosely associating with a female Teal , there are approx 30 Teal using the site at the moment

In the company of Rob Andrews , Bob Fowles and Paul Moon we also observed the following

2 BARN OWLS showing very well on the approach track , and then later in the right hand owl box, 1 LITTLE OWL near the reserve centre , 2 OYSTER CATCHERS asleep on the bund , 1 RINGED PLOVER and 1 REDSHANK also on the bund , 36 Cormorants roosting on Tern Island , also 1 LITTLE EGRET into roost. Good numbers of Shoveler and Pochard still around. Quite a few Wigeon were also coming into roost as the light faded (Simon Nichols).

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Local Mega - NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Linford Reserve

Paul Moon discovered a drake NORTH AMERICAN GREEN WINGED TEAL at Linford Reserve this afternoon, showing very well from the Near Hide. It was paired up with a female-type Teal and was present until dusk. At least 15 birders managed to see it during the afternoon and evening (per Simon Nichols). The site is permit access only.

Drake RING-NECKED DUCK hangs on

This morning between 10.00 and 11.30 at Foxcote Reservoir - adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK (best viewed from dam), 6 SAND MARTINS (Peter Barnes)

And the Day gets better - ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWIT pitches in

Rob Hill texted me this morning to say he had found an ICELANDIC BLACK TAILED GODWIT on the Spit at Willen Lake, 26 SAND MARTIN were split between the lakes , but moved off North , he then went on to find an LRP at CMK which flew off at 08.05.

Spurned on by this I checked Stony Stratford and then Willen , a silent COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was the highlight at SSNR

On arrival at Willen at 09.00 the Godwit (colour ringed - red on right leg , green on left leg) was still asleep alongside a COMMON REDSHANK , but woke up shortly afterwards , had a mock attack on the Redshank before departing high to the east at 09.04 , the CETTIS WARBLER still in good voice also 2 CHIFFCHAFFS singing, 55+ SAND MARTINS were hawking high over the south lake.

News elsewhere in the County include LRP at LMGP (Dave P) and WHITE WAGTAIL and first WILLOW WARBLER at College Lake (per Ben Miller)

Up to 6 CETTI'S WARBLERS are currently on territory in North Bucks (per SN)

Another productive day at Manor Farm

Now four LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS at Manor Farm.

The bird in Godwit Corner, probably last nights bird, while another three flew in just before seven this morning settled briefly on the spit then circled the site a few times which they were still doing when I left. No sign of yesterday's Common Redshank, it might be in the inlet, but still Green Sandpipers, pair of Oycs and five Goosander (Chris Gleadell)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

First OSPREY of year

An OSPREY was seen well between 16:20 and 16:40 this afternoon in the Tyringham Bridge/ North Newport Pagnell area by local bird watcher, Martin Norwood. At one point it was apparently receiving unwelcome attention from one of the resident COMMON BUZZARDS, before heading off towards the Mill Farm / Gayhurst Quarry area.


Indeed a mini waderfest at Manor Farm late on.

A LITTLE RINGED PLOVER in the ever expanding Godwit Corner, a Common Redshank along with two Green Sandpipers along the spit and a pair of Oystercatchers at the mouth of the inlet. Also eight GOOSANDER including two drakes and for good measure a further BARN SWALLOW over the water (Chris Gleadell)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Manor Farm shaping up well for the spring season

A good, if not wet, wander around the perimeters today.

The highlight the first EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW of the 'summer' out over the water alongside two further SAND MARTINS.

Good buildup of FIELDFARE with the odd Redwing thrown in on the slopes, numbering around 100 birds. Around this time last year the flock built up to several hundred in the bottom fields before they all but disappeared north overnight. Pied Wagtails numbers increase around the site.

Pair of Common Shelduck back briefly before heading west, whilst GOOSANDER numbers building, seven present late afternoon - a group of one drake with a harem of four feamles around the mouth of the inlet while a more monogamous pair were out on the main body of water. Also on the water two pair of Teal and single pair of Tufted Duck alongside a single Great Crested Grebe.

Wader wise just a pair of Green Sandpiper (one in the Inlet a second on Godwit Corner) and a single Lapwing were joined by a Little Egret in the shallows.

The now common Common Buzzard was as per usual sitting along the canal banking. Over on the Cosgrove side there were a couple of dozen Tufted Duck, six (three pair) of Pochard further Great Crested Grebe and a not too common here pair of Greylag Geese. On the River itself a squabbling flock of around fifty Canada Geese. (Chris Gleadell)

EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS arrive early - LGRE Diary Notes

One of the four NORTHERN WHEATEARS that arrived on Ivinghoe Beacon yesterday morning (Dave Bilcock)


Migrants have come flooding in over the last few days as the wind continues to blow from the south, including some rarer birds in between, namely a Purple Heron and Pallid Swift in South Wales, several Hoopoes, a female Rustic Bunting in Hampshire, a male Little Bittern in Sussex and an influx of early Alpine Swifts.

Now back in the area, I spent the day scouring the local wetland sites in search of incoming migrants, whilst diverting for an Alpine Swift in London late morning........

The main bird of the day was EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW, with a surprising number of birds so early in March......

Sadly, a BADGER I enjoyed seeing only just over a week ago was killed last night on the A404, just east of Stoney Lane in Little Chalfont at TQ 005 978. I also found another one dead on Northfield Road, NE of Tring Station, at SP 950 127.

A RED KITE was gliding across Northfield Road.


My first EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS of the year - four birds - were feeding over the main marsh with 8 SAND MARTINS at 1000 hours.

At least 8 COMMON REDSHANKS were present on the reserve, noisily displaying on the islands, with other waders represented by OYSTERCATCHER (the pair), 3 COMMON SNIPE and at least 12 Lapwings (three birds already sat on nests on the two marsh islands).

Two pairs of Mute Swan were present, along with 8 Common Teal and 10 Northern Shoveler.


The pair of RINGED PLOVERS were displaying over the pools.


Jack O'Neill and I failed in our quest to locate any of the 4 Northern Wheatears that had been present the day before. They were not where I had seen them yesterday. Several Meadow Pipits were in full aerial display.

(1730 hours until dusk)

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (pair still present but no sign of any Dabchicks)
Grey Heron (three adults on island)
Mute Swan (adult pair now nesting with three of last year's offspring still present and feeding together)
Atlantic Canada Geese (6)
Mallard (6)
GADWALL (high spring count of 42 birds)
Tufted Duck (34 present)
Coot (62)

Song Thrush (3 singing males)
Common Blackbird (2)
FIELDFARE (migrant flock of 84 birds)
REDWING (7 in with the above flock)
COMMON TREECREEPER (pair together on Pollarded Willow tree)
Long-tailed Tits (9)
GOLDCREST (2 at the far west end of the Willows but no sign of the Firecrest seen last week)
Wren (3 singing males)
Dunnock (singing male)
REED BUNTING (singing male)
JACKDAWS (massive noisy roost again, numbering at least 894 birds)

2nd BLACK REDSTART of year and first spring record

While mooching around the edge of the new building site (NE of the Chaffron Way / Mandville Drive roundabout in Milton Keynes) this afternoon I found a female/ immature BLACK REDSTART. Unfortunately when the bird saw me it took off and appeared to go quite a distance NE (Rob Dazley)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Recent Sightings

Apologies for recent lack of reports - just returned from a week away

The past week has seen a major arrival of spring migrants, particularly of Sand Martin, Common Redshank and Common Chiffchaffs.

RED-CRESTED POCHARD: female at Willen Lake until at least 16 March (Simon Nichols)

GOOSANDER: 6 remained at Willen Lake until at least 18 March (per Simon Nichols)

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER: a pair at Broughton Grounds on 19 March (SN), with at least one still present today (Rob Hill)

SAND MARTIN: the first appeared over Caldecott Lake on 16 March (Ted Reed), followed by further singles at Stony Stratford Reserve on 17 March (Tony Wood) and Little Marlow GP on 18 March (Adam Bassett). Two were then at Manor Farm on 18 March (Chris Gleadell) and another at Hillesden (Tim Watts), with 23 at Willen and 5 at Calvert Sailing Lake today (Rob Hill/Warren Claydon).

NORTHERN WHEATEAR: the first male appeared at the usual site at Central Milton Keynes on 20 March (Rob Hill), with another at Hillesden Pools later in the day (Tim Watts) and 4-5 at Ivinghoe Hills NR today (Dave Bilcock, LGRE, et al).

CETTI'S WARBLER: singles at Willen Lake and Linford NR on 16 March (SN, Paul Moon)

Monday, 15 March 2010



The warmest day of the year so far with afternoon temperatures reaching 14 degrees C. A moderate westerly wind and dry and bright. More and more migrants arriving on the South Coast, particularly Northern Wheatears, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts; several Ospreys too.

I went 'peckering' today, as well as chasing up a few more local species.


A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was drumming and calling from the woodland, 150 yards west of the hut. A pair bred at this site last summer, fledging three young in June. There are two main trees it was favouring to feed, both completely 'potholed'.

At least 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also noted, along with Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 5 Common Buzzards, frequent overflying Red Kites, 4 Nuthatch, 2 singing male Common Treecreeper, 7 Redwing, 1 SISKIN and 2 Jays.

Resident birds included Dunnock (1 singing male), European Robin (5), Common Blackbird (3 males), Chaffinch (2 singing males, plus 5 feeding birds), Goldfinch, Wren (4), Coal Tit (singing male), Blue Tit (9), Great Tit (6) and Long-tailed Tit. House Sparrows were present in the village.


The 36 Eurasian Wigeon were still present on the main lake, along with 9 Tufted Duck, 3 Northern Pochard and 8 Coot, whilst the marsh held 7 Shoveler. No Garganey as yet and Common Teal seem to have departed.


The warmer weather was certainly conducive to FIRECREST with 3 separate birds (two singing males and a female) seen very easily in the shrubs and Holly trees backing on to the Cliveden Housing complex along Green Drive at SU 913 843. I enjoyed fabulous views as the males dropped down from the canopy to investigate. My first of the year.

The area also yielded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper (singing male) and Coal Tit (singing male).


The reserve pools held two pairs of COMMON SHELDUCK and 15 Eurasian Wigeon whilst the small lake on the east side of the rowing lakes held an impressive 94 Tufted Ducks.


GREAT CRESTED GREBES included a pair on each lake, whilst the larger of the two lakes held just 10 Coot, a drake Pochard and 8 Tufted Duck.

The singing male Goldcrest was still present in the ivy along the riverside walk (with a female nearby), with Grey Wagtail, a male Coal Tit, 2 Long-tailed Tits and a displaying Greenfinch also noted. Chris Pontin noted a singing male BLACKCAP earlier in the day.

Driving back along the A404 between Chorleywood and Little Chalfont, two different BADGERS were seen in two minutes (at 2329 and 2331 hours) - one near the Garden Centre at TQ 024 977 and another closer to my village at TQ 007 978.

Saturday Tour of the County - Lee G R Evans


A beautiful day, with temperatures reaching 9.5 degrees C. Spent the entire day in Buckinghamshire, attempting to clean up on a few species I was still missing from the year, with a few brief forays in to Herts during the morning.


In ideal weather conditions, did a 2-hour stint looking for the resident pair of Northern Goshawks but no joy. A male EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK was seen, along with at least 8 COMMON BUZZARDS and 3 RED KITES.

A flock of 10 SISKINS flew over Walk Wood, whilst resident species included Stock Dove (2 birds), Chaffinch (2 singing males on territory), Blue Tit (3 singing males), Wren (singing male), European Robin (1), Common Blackbird (1), Goldfinch, Dunnock (2 singing males), Long-tailed Tit (4) and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The fields to the west of Chenies Farm held a singing male EURASIAN SKYLARK - the first local bird of the year.


Two more singing male EURASIAN SKYLARKS either side of Green Street, a flock of 186 Woodpigeons and a Linnet over.


A total of 5 House Sparrows in the gardens along Lodge Lane (TQ 005 965) and 3 Greenfinches by Lodge Farm.


(1052) Thanks to Steve Blake, finally connected with my first Herts OYSTERCATCHER of the spring (113), the bird showing well on the grassy edge near the sunken causeway at the west end of the Fishing Pit, just down from Willows Farm.

The main pit held a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK and 4 Shoveler (3 drakes)


A total of 7 nests north of the A414 near Sopwell (Herts), with another 18 north of the M10 near Windridge Farm, Chiswell Green (TL 128 056) and 7 within the Whipsnade Wildlife Park complex at TL 000 174.


A RED KITE was loafing over the main slope.


A full inventory of the site yielded 3 Great Crested Grebes (including a displaying pair), 1 adult Mute Swan, 8 Atlantic Canada Geese, 10 Mallard, NO Gadwall, 1 drake Shoveler, 24 Eurasian Wigeon, 12 Common Teal, 43 Tufted Duck and 16 Northern Pochard. There were also 22 Coot counted.

Waders were represented by 9 Lapwing (including a pair on each island on the main marsh and 5 roosting on the bund), a single COMMON REDSHANK and a pair of OYSTERCATCHERS (feeding on the turf of the North Bank).

The only other species of note was a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk.


Water back to usual level with species noted including 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, 12 Coot, 12 Tufted Duck and 15 Lapwing. Roosting gulls included 189 Black-headed and 15 Common.


Up to 8 pairs of Eurasian Collared Dove in the village, and 11 Common Starlings.


Despite the weather, not a true migrant in sight. Wildfowl numbers were well down with just 8 Great Crested Grebe, 2 adult Mute Swans, 17 Gadwall, 8 Common Teal, 75 Eurasian Wigeon, 18 Shoveler, 118 Tufted Duck, 29 Northern Pochard and 195 Coot counted. A pair of COMMON GOLDENEYE remained off of the jetty, with a Red Kite drifting south.

Nesting was already underway by Grey Heron (6 active nests) and Continental Cormorant (5 active nests).


An impressive 124 Northern Shoveler feeding, with 6 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Mute Swan, 2 Greylag Geese, 16 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Coot, 5 Tufted Ducks and 6 Northern Pochard present. A male Common Blackbird was in full song.


Just south of the reservoir, a flock of 103 non-naturalised geese were grazing, including 54 Greylag and 49 Atlantic Canadas. The reservoir was very quiet with just 2 Mute Swans, 18 Tufted Duck, 3 Northern Pochard and 14 Coot present. The Rookery in the wood to the south held 15 active nests.


Wildfowl included 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Mute Swan, 19 Tufted Duck, 29 Northern Pochard and 71 Coot.


Checked out the local Rookeries with 27 active nests in the tall trees at New Mill (opposite Massey House at SP 926 124) and 8 in Pendley Manor Grounds.


Last winter's owl fields north of the A41 all now completely ploughed but RED KITES (4+) still in area.


Just east of Waddesdon and in trees south of the A41, 12 active Rook nests at SP 754 167.


After much searching, eventually located a pair of EURASIAN CURLEW, showing very well on the new reserve pools west of the Edgcott road at SP 670 198 (my first of the year). There were also 8 Common Teal nearby.

At the west end of Grendon Underwood village, 13 House Sparrows were present by the farm buildings at SP 676 209. There were several RED KITES between here and Calvert.


Very quiet, with the only bird of note being the drake leucistic Gadwall (photographed by Tim Watts above). There were 4 Gadwall in total, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 25 Tufted Ducks, whilst migrant Lesser Black-backed Gulls included 1,297 (mainly full breeding-plumaged adults).


Just south of Gawcott in trees by Spinney Farmhouse, 38 more active Rook nests (SP 685 314)


A further 9 active Rook nests in Wellmore, Maids Moreton (SP 709 352)

(1530-1600 hours) Checking the main reservoir with Dave Horton, I eventually located the adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK in with Northern Pochard and Tufted Duck in the extreme NW corner visible only from the far end of the dam at SP 707 367. It was moving in and out of the reeds and was distant.

Otherwise, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Mute Swan, 18 Northern Pochard, 83 Tufted Duck and 8 COMMON GOLDENEYE (4 adult drakes) present.

Not that far away, at Cranley Oak, and in trees south of the A422, 33 active Rook nests.


The heronry held 13 active Grey Heron nests but rather surprisingly no Little Egret nests.

A single redhead SMEW was a nice bonus, whilst other wildfowl included 6 Mute Swans, 10 Great Crested Grebes and 18 Shoveler; 3 very noisy OYSTERCATCHERS were chasing each other around.


Returned to various sites searching for Tree Sparrows but once again drew a complete blank. FIELDFARES were the order of the day with 85 near Tathall End and 265 by Bullington End Farm. A huge flock of 750 Woodpigeons was feeding on cereal crops SW of Hoo Wood NE of Little Linford, whilst 10 more Rook nests were being actively used in trees just west of the B526 in Gayhurst at SP 847 468.


In fields just north of the River Great Ouse were a pair of feeding EURASIAN CURLEW, whilst 2 BARNACLE GEESE were with Atlantic Canada Geese.

At nearby Cowpers Alcove north of Weston Underwood village, again no sign of Grey Partridge, but 6 Brown Hares boxing.

On the east side of the A605 at SP 893 507 and SE of Olney, 44 non-naturalised BARNACLE GEESE were feeding, along with the single Cackling Canada Goose with the Atlantic Canadas.


Sadly, joined Rob Hill too late. Just prior to my arrival, he had seen both first-winter Mediterranean Gull and Caspian Gull in the roost, but had lost them in the fading light. Up to 3,000 Black-headed Gulls were in the roost.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Park in layby at Shire Oak and walk up public footpath towards the golf course. After a few minutes you come to a junction with tees on either side, at that junction there's a sign for 10th tee and just further a large mound of mud and sand, behind this is a big puddle where the birds were drinking and they were also seen in several deciduous trees around the area. Large flock split into two flocks of about a dozen birds. Seen at 14:30 today (Mick and Chris Shepherd)

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Story So Far - 2010

A total of 127 species have now been recorded in Buckinghamshire in 2010 (see list below)

1) Little Grebe; 2) Great Crested Grebe; 3) Atlantic Great Cormorant; 4) EURASIAN BITTERN (6+); 5) Little Egret (25+); 6) Grey Heron; 7) Mute Swan; 8) WHOOPER SWAN (2 adults); 9) BEWICK'S SWAN (1 adult); 10) EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (4); 10) Greylag Goose; 11) Atlantic Canada Goose; 12) Barnacle Goose; 13) DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE (1); 14) Common Shelduck; 15) Egyptian Goose; 16) Mandarin Duck; 17) Mallard; 18) Gadwall; 19) NORTHERN PINTAIL (7+); 20) Northern Shoveler; 21) Eurasian Wigeon; 22) Common Teal; 23) Northern Pochard; 24) Red-crested Pochard; 25) Tufted Duck; 26) RING-NECKED DUCK (adult drake); 27) Common Goldeneye; 28) SMEW (5); 29) Goosander; 30) RUDDY DUCK (1); 31) Red Kite; 32) HEN HARRIER (1+); 33) Common Buzzard; 34) Eurasian Sparrowhawk; 35) NORTHERN GOSHAWK (2+); 36) Common Kestrel; 37) PEREGRINE; 38) MERLIN (5+); 39) Red-legged Partridge; 40) Grey Partridge; 41) Common Pheasant; 42) Water Rail; 43) Moorhen; 44) Eurasian Coot; 45) COMMON CRANE (2); 46) Oystercatcher; 47) Ringed Plover; 48) European Golden Plover; 49) Lapwing; 50) Green Sandpiper (10); 51) Common Redshank; 52) EURASIAN CURLEW (1); 53) Woodcock; 54) Common Snipe; 55) JACK SNIPE; 56) Black-headed Gull; 57) Common Gull; 58) MEDITERRANEAN GULL (2); 59) Argenteus/argentatus Herring Gull; 60) YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (19+); 61) CASPIAN GULL (7); 62) Lesser Black-backed Gull; 63) Great Black-backed Gull; 64) GLAUCOUS GULL (1); 65) ICELAND GULL (1); 66) Stock Dove; 67) Woodpigeon; 68) Eurasian Collared Dove; 69) Tawny Owl; 70) LONG-EARED OWL (5); 71) SHORT-EARED OWL (2); 72) Barn Owl; 73) Little Owl; 74) Common Kingfisher; 75) Ring-necked Parakeet; 76) Green Woodpecker; 77) Great Spotted Woodpecker; 78) LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (2); 79) Eurasian Skylark; 80) Meadow Pipit; 81) Pied Wagtail; 82) Grey Wagtail; 83) Winter Wren; 84) BOHEMIAN WAXWING (2); 85) Dunnock; 86) European Robin; 87) BLACK REDSTART (1 male); 88) COMMON STONECHAT (2); 89) Song Thrush; 90) Redwing; 91) Mistle Thrush; 92) Fieldfare; 93) Common Blackbird; 94) Blackcap; 95) CETTI'S WARBLER (5); 96) Common Chiffchaff; 97) Goldcrest; 98) FIRECREST (2); 99) Great Tit; 100) Coal Tit; 101) Blue Tit; 102) Marsh Tit; 103) Long-tailed Tit; 104) Nuthatch; 105) Common Treecreeper; 106) Common Magpie; 107) Jay; 108) Jackdaw; 109) Rook; 110) Carrion Crow; 111) COMMON RAVEN; 112) Common Starling; 113) House Sparrow; 114) TREE SPARROW (22+); 115) Chaffinch; 116) BRAMBLING; 117) Linnet; 118) Lesser Redpoll; 119) Goldfinch; 120) Greenfinch; 121) Siskin; 122) Bullfinch; 123) COMMON CROSSBILL (60+); 124) Reed Bunting; 125) Yellowhammer; 126) CORN BUNTING; 127) LESSER WHITETHROAT (overwintering bird)

SHELDUCK at Manor Farm

With the pumps on this week and the water level down about a foot or so this week with areas of mud slowly but surely appearing here and there prospects look good.Today, new arrivals in a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, a second Green Sandpiper joining the overwintering one and a pair of the Goosander flock still remain as does a single Grey Wagtail (Chris Gleadell)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Willen Spit 7 March

Paul Moon recorded two OYSTERCATCHERS and the first 2 RINGED PLOVERS of the year

6 March Sighting

At Linford this morning, a drake NORTHERN PINTAIL on the main lake before it flew off west, a PEREGRINE zipped over going east, and there were a minimum 26 Lesser Redpolls in alders near the far hide.

Also 1 Little Egret, 2 Oystercatcher, and 5 Bullfinch near the visitor centre. 2-3 Skylark in song were nice to hear too (Rob Hill)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Emberton BARNACLE GEESE have returned

A visit to Emberton Park this morning revealed that approximately 65 of our summering Barnacle Geese have returned. Also present 11 Goosander (3 drakes), 5 Goldeneye (all drakes), 3 Buzzards and a Kingfisher (Rob Norris)


0845 hours on Wednesday 3 March: As Malc McGar was just turning into the reserve at Linford, two COMMON CRANES flew strongly west.

At Linford Reserve, drake Common Goldeneye and 2 Oystercatchers in field behind left hand owl box. Also 1 Lesser Redpoll seen in a flock of about 30 Siskins in the Alders and Water Rail near the woodland hide.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

SHELDUCKS return as county tally now reaches 121

COMMON SHELDUCKS (two pairs) have returned to Dorney Lakes, the total number of species now recorded in Buckinghamshire this year now rising to 121.

Remarkably confiding DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE and a border BITTERN

Bittern images taken earlier this year by Craig Shaw


Another glorious, spring-like day, with clear blue skies, endless sunshine and temperature highs of 10.5 degrees C. More migrants were trickling into the country, including two Little Ringed Plovers and a pair of Garganey, and Northern Goshawks were in full display at many locations, including in my village.


Thanks to Kevin Duncan and Simon Nichols, I was able to quickly get over to Taplow and catch up with the DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE that KD had discovered early afternoon. Adam Bassett was just departing as I began walking west from the Marsh Lane car park (situated at SU 915 806) and had connected. The bird - an apparent adult- was feeding with 29 Greylag Geese (including a leucistic individual) and 16 Atlantic Canada Geese at very close range in the grass field just west of the public footpath and Amerden Lane at TL 907 806 - and was still present when I left it at 1635 hours.

A further 4 Greylag Geese were seen on the Jubilee River in flight, whilst Amerden Scrapes proper and neighbouring fields yielded 9 Mute Swans (an adult on the river and a family party of 8 birds in the fields), 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Tufted Duck, 4 Northern Pochard, 6 Coot, several noisy Ring-necked Parakeets and a male Reed Bunting in full song.


Within a mile of the Taplow site, and to the east, and literally just 25 yards outside of Buckinghamshire, the south bank of the Jubilee River harboured an exceptionally confiding EURASIAN BITTERN. Parking just north of the pub on the Dorney and Eton Wick road, a walk of just 150 yards to the east brings you to an area of scant reedbed bordering the south bank, where the Bittern has been present since at least 1 January. From 1745 to at least 1807 hours, the bird was showing unbelievably well, filling my entire 'scope view and clumsily crashing its way through the reed-edge. In fact, the best way of locating this rare, is by listening for it rustling through the reeds, it is just so noisy and clumsy. It clambered up the reeds, thrust its long beak pointing towards the sky and occasionally grabbed reed stems and snapped them in half. It was a very ungainly sight and on several occasions as it climbed up, the reeds gave way and it fell back down again.

A singing CETTI'S WARBLER was also on territory in the same belt, along with 5 WATER RAILS and 3 Reed Buntings (including two more singing males). Northern Pochards numbered 18.


Kevin Duncan has located a DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE west of Marsh Lane carpark jubilee river Taplow. Was still present at 14.15 now feeding alone in field adjacent to Amerden lane. Still viewable from jubilee river path.

Also the 2 WAXWINGS still present in Giffard Park at 13.15 per Peter Allen


As predicted whole of bottom valley pretty much in full flood but out on the expanse a group of five GOOSANDER including two drakes were the highlight. A single Green Sandpiper still hanging in there on small island on the east bank of the new formed lake (Chris Gleadell).

Drake RING-NECKED DUCK still at Foxcote Reservoir

The adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK was present Monday evening with a group of Pochard in front of the reeds to the left of the bay in the NW corner of Foxcote Reservoir. Also 13 Common Goldeneye and a Grey Wagtail (per Rob Norris). Four GOOSANDER have also been roosting at the site..

Ringtail HEN HARRIER on North Bucks/Northants border - 1 March

Richard Billyard observed a ringtail HEN HARRIER near Castlethorpe (SP 8044) hunting over the fields late afternoon on Monday 1 March.


Thje adult and first-winter BOHEMIAN WAXWING were still present in Giffard Park today, after showing well throughout Sunday and briefly on Monday (many observers)

First CURLEW returns

28 February: Drove over to the Grendon Underwood area this afternoon where the whole areais very flooded. Some large flocks of Lapwings and European Golden Plover were constantly going up in the area with at least 1500 of the former and 800 of the latter in total scattered around the area. Also a EURASIAN CURLEW was back in one of the fields.

With Mick A'Court at Gallows Bridge Farm we had a partial albino Lapwing in with the flocks on the deck. It's got a completely white head and crest but the rest of the plumage appears normal. Cracking looking bird though (Rob Andrews).