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

Monday, 10 January 2011

Blustery conditions make it a real struggle


As the day wore on, a warm front approached from the west bringing heavy cloud and strong southerly winds, eventually pushing the temperature to over 10 degrees C. The wind was quite hindering and affected any small bird sightings. I spent the day in Buckinghamshire and after a lot of effort added 7 new birds for the Bucks year - Common Snipe, PEREGRINE, Linnet, BLACK-NECKED GREBE, Bullfinch, Common Goldeneye and BITTERN.


The adult drake SHOVELER of last week has been replaced by a first-year drake - a very rare species indeed in the Chess Valley. A drake Pochard was also present, along with 4 Tufted Duck, with both Robin and Great Tit in full song. A male Common Kestrel was seen, with 2 Pied Wagtails wintering in gardens across the road.

A Red Kite was by the Aylesbury Bypass, with two more over Waddesdon, but there was no sign of the 29 Waxwings opposite the Shanks car recycling yard on Griffin Lane when I drove by.


Up to 140 Redwing and 50 Fieldfare were in fields east of Waddesdon but an extensive search of Woodham Industry produced just 5 COMMON SNIPES. I once recorded 17 Jack Snipes at this site in its hey-day.


The two resident PEREGRINES were sitting in the large grass meadow visible from the hides - perhaps the resident pair from Aylesbury (which I still have not seen this year despite scanning every time I pass). Every now and again they got up and had a fly around, 'playing' and spooking the large wildfowl flock.

A single LINNET flew over the hide whilst at the far west end of the reserve, the flooded fields held 668 Lapwing, 261 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER, 550+ Common Starlings, 538 Eurasian Wigeon, 230 Common Teal and 2 Gadwall. At least two Common Kestrels were resident but there was no sign of the wintering Merlin.


The winter-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE was showing very well in the vicinity of the pink buoy, close to the reedbed fringe on the eastern shore (present for its 3rd day), with 3 Little Grebes, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Mute Swans, 6 Gadwall, 8 Tufted Duck and an adult drake Common Goldeneye also present. A flyover male Bullfinch was a bonus bird and my first of the year.


Very windy with all of the birds at the far south end of the lake - comprising just 66 Tufted Ducks and 58 Coots. Nothing of interest in the pre-roosting gulls.


A flock of 13 Lapwing was in fields south of the A 421 east of its junction with the B 4033 at The Common, along with 40 Fieldfares and a Common Kestrel.

Milton Keynes and its environs was a complete wash-out and almost a birdless zone. I could find no sight nor sound of the 200 or so Waxwings around the shopping complex at Bletchley, Willen Lake was very blowy, again a complete blank with the Tree Sparrows and Marsh Tits at Dairy Barn/Little Linford Wood and no Common Stonechats west of Olney.


I drove back to Calvert for dusk - just 1 EURASIAN BITTERN coming in to roost in front of the first hide (at 1640 hours). Interestingly, this bird flew in high from the west and had presumably been feeding on the Sailing Lake. It roosted in the reedbed in the vicinity of the lone tree.

Some 65 Redwings also roosted

Again, nothing of interest could be found in the gull roost. However, an alarming number of Argenteus Herring Gulls are now in full breeding plumage.