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

Saturday, 14 August 2010

MARSH HARRIERS are the order of the day


Another day of heavy downpours, very frequent in nature. Also, the wind veered Northeast, with a hefty fall of Scandinavian drift migrants on the NE and East coast, including Barred and Icterine Warblers, Red-backed Shrikes, Wrynecks and an Ortolan Bunting

The weather also induced MARSH HARRIER migration with four being recorded in the county today. I was also pleased to finally catch up with Ruff........


There was much garden activity in the rain with a pair of Long-tailed Tits on the peanut feeders and at least 15 Blue Tits, mainly juveniles.


Following a call from Warren Claydon, I made my way down to Lodge Hill mid-morning, where a juvenile MARSH HARRIER was showing well over oil-seed rape fields east of the Icknield Way (at SU 805 993). The bird flew back and forth over the fields for half an hour but then disappeared to the north.

The rain barely stopped during the couple of hours that I wandered about the area but when the sun came out for a short period, the COMMON QUAIL present for the past week started to call from the barley field east of Lodge Hill Farm at SU 801 993.

A pair of COMMON RAVENS appeared from the south and flew north 'honking' to each other as they went. They finally landed on the pylons.

Also noted were 220 Rooks, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 3 Red Kites, Woodpigeon, 4 Stock Doves, Yellowhammer, European Barn Swallow, Magpie, Common Buzzard, Common Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat.


I arrived in the new hides at 1630 hours and almost immediately located 2 MARSH HARRIERS quartering the hedgeline running west from the car park. Both birds were juveniles and were showing well, floating low over the maize field north of the car park and another field to the west. Every now and again, Carrion Crows would come and altercate with the birds, with some mid-air combat taking place.

YELLOW WAGTAILS were very much in evidence too, with 5 or more juveniles feeding with the cattle just behind the pool. Quite a few European Barn Swallows were in the air and further raptors included Common Kestrel and Red Kite.

Two COMMON RAVENS were feeding in the newly mown grass meadow in this large field


My good friend Colin Oram was in the hide when I arrived and for the next 20 minutes, we sifted through the birds present, the water level still being very low.

As I was scanning, I picked up yet another MARSH HARRIER flying in from the north at 1730 hours. This time it was an adult female and after disappearing behind the Willows of the NW arm, it reappeared much further away and gradually circled away to the west at 1750.

The main reason for visiting was for my first Buckinghamshire RUFF of the year - a fresh juvenile feeding along the mud just NW of the dam - a bird taht had arrived about an hour previously.

Other waders included a juvenile ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (flushed from the NW arm by the harrier and then sat down with the Lapwings and roosted), 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plovers and 253 Lapwings.

Also present were 14 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 30 Mute Swans, 4 Shoveler, 6 Common Teal, 4 Gadwall, 38 Tufted Duck, 2 Northern Pochard, 2 Common Terns, a Red-legged Partridge, Green Woodpecker, 30 House Martins and several Swallows.


Stopped off at Wilstone on my way home but very quiet - the eclipse drake GARGANEY was on the mud between the outfall and the hide, Pochards had increased to 18, a Common Sandpiper and 6 Common Terns.