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, 30 November 2010

Huge gathering of TREE SPARROWS as Chilterns Region has first snowfall of winter


With the wind veering to the east and Northeast, the first snow of the winter arrived overnight depositing a light covering over South Buckinghamshire and up to four centimetres in North Bucks and Bedfordshire. It was bitterly cold as the wind freshened and as darkness fell, temperatures plunged below freezing again.

The highlight of my day was an exceptional wintering flock of TREE SPARROWS in North Bucks - my largest flock in many years


Almost completely frozen over with 3 Little Grebes, 5 Mute Swans and 69 Coots remaining and 7 adult Common Gulls and a 4th-winter Argenteus Herring Gull resting on the ice and a single Fieldfare in the bushes.


Barry Nightingale had seen 105 WAXWINGS at 0800 hours but when I visited around midday, just 29 were feeding on the Pink Rowans along Leighton Street.


The female SMEW discovered on Sunday was still present, diving with Tufted Ducks on the east shore of the North Lake. On the opposite side of the dual carriageway, on the South Lake, a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK were noted, along with 33 Great Crested Grebes and good numbers of dabbling duck.

(Access road very snowy - utmost care required)

Following up some information kindly supplied by Rob Hill, a strip of maize crop and its adjoining clump of conifers and thick hawthorn scrub yielded an incredible 130 TREE SPARROWS - my largest local gathering of this species for at least ten years. They were all chipping away together and making a loud racket and keeping to one core mass. There were also a lot of Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Chaffinch with them, whilst 2 MARSH TITS were in the hedgerow.


I had to park in Maids Moreton village as the roads around Foxcote were treacherous and incredibly icy - cars were strewn everywhere having collided with one another or slithered off of the road.

When I finally reached the hide, there was one wide sweep of open water that had escaped the ice. Sat on the ice at the entrance to the NW arm were the 4 BEWICK'S SWANS (three adults and a single juvenile) that Paul had found about an hour earlier and Francis had seen. The adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK was also present - showing very well for a change - and wide awake - and diving in front of the hide.

The cold weather had also seen a massive influx of wildfowl on the reservoir with 44 Mute Swans, 516 Eurasian Wigeon, 43 Common Teal, 15 Gadwall, a drake PINTAIL, 32 Tufted Duck, 17 Northern Pochard and 8 Common Goldeneye (4 drakes) present, as well as 8 Great Crested Grebes and an adult pair of GOOSANDER. A single DUNLIN was standing on the ice by the tern raft.

The hedgerows bordering the road between the village and the access gate held 25 Redwings and a party of 6 nominate BULLFINCHES.


My last port of call was an ice-free Brogborough Lake where the GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was still present, as well as the 7 adult RED-CRESTED POCHARDS that MJP counted earlier (5 drakes and two females). There were also 16 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Mute Swans, a single Little Grebe, 22 Pochard, 7 Shoveler, 1 Wigeon and 34 Common Goldeneyes.