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, 30 May 2011

SANDERLINGS in Pitstone Quarry

Don Otter discovered these two SANDERLINGS in Pitstone Quarry today, both birds favouring the drained lagoon to the right and spending time in both the Bucks and Herts section of the pit. They were still present mid-afternoon (LGRE), Dave Bilcock obtaining the excellent images above.

The pair of Common Shelduck were still present, female Mandarin Duck with just 6 (of 9) surviving young, two Common Redshank and a displaying pair of Little Ringed Plovers.

Wilstone Reservoir was relatively quiet - the drake Wigeon still, female Teal, 2 Little Egrets, over 1,000 Common Swifts and Spotted Flycatcher (RH, DB, LGRE)

Friday, 27 May 2011


The ADONIS BLUES are in the large meadow bordering the woodland belt east of the church

GARGANEYS at Tring, massive influx of SWIFTS, bumper FIRECREST numbers and ADONIS BLUES


Thursday evening saw a heavy deluge of rain in the Chilterns, with localised flooding in some areas. As such, it seems like one local nesting pair of Garganey have been washed out and forced to move on. I spent the afternoon birding, seeing the two GARGANEY, large numbers of FIRECRESTS, an incredible number of COMMON SWIFTS and a bumper crop of ADONIS BLUES..........


Joined JT, Chris, Francis Buckle, Jeff Bailey and others on the bank at Wilstone Reservoir and to 1500 hours at least, the pair of GARGANEY were still present. Jeff had initially noticed them to the right of the Drayton Bank Hide early afternoon whilst Joan had watched them disappear into the Willow scrub to the left. Studying where JT had last seen them, I eventually relocated them, the two birds being harassed by Grey Herons, Coots and Mallards. They remained on view for a few minutes before disappearing back into the scrub. They are most likely the pair which set up territory at another site in the county but were most likely flooded out by last night's weather.

A single adult OYSTERCATCHER was a new arrival, whilst two of this week's four Little Egrets were on view on the west shore.

COMMON SWIFTS were the other exceptional phenomenon - they were everywhere - the largest number recorded this year - at least 5,600 birds being counted at one stage (the plume stretching from Tringford to the west side of Wilstone). There were also large numbers of hirundines present, particularly HOUSE MARTINS, but also 50 or so SAND MARTINS.

Of breeding birds, both families of Great Crested Grebe were still surviving (two stripy young and one), Coots with 6 and 4 chicks respectively (368 adults in total), 5 Mute Swans, 2 Greylag Geese, 8 Gadwall, 33 Tufted Duck, 16 Northern Pochards, 57 Common Terns and 1 Grey Wagtail.


Still managed to dip Hobby here despite both Francis and Chris connecting earlier; HOUSE MARTINS were in abundance with over 85 present, COMMON SWIFTS also (100+) and a handful of Sand Martins.

The OYSTERCATCHER pair were still tenderly caring for the two surviving chicks (both now growing well), whilst Lapwing young numbered at least 8. The LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS now had a single chick but there was no sign of any fledgling Common Redshanks (just four adults). A single Mute Swan was present.


I did a comprehensive survey of Wendover's FIRECREST population from the Hale end and was very pleased to find bumper numbers present this season. A total of 22 birds was recorded, including 14 singing males. Two family parties were recorded - one pair feeding young just yards inside the first gate by the Forestry Cottages (in the ivy-covered trees to the right of the entrance track) and another pair on the fringe of the main wood. A cluster of singing males was present to the left of the main track just with its junction with the ''Short Cut'' whilst several more were singing from Douglas Firs along the cut.

A male Yellowhammer was singing by the road, whilst other species noted in the forestry included Coal Tit (2 males), Common Treecreeper (pair feeding young), Robin (two pairs feeding young), Goldcrest (3 singing males), GARDEN WARBLER (singing male), WILLOW WARBLER (singing male) and Common Chiffchaff (just 1 male).

RADNAGE (BUCKS) (SU 789 979)

The extensive meadow to the east of St Mary's Church in Radnage has now become the premier site for ADONIS BLUE butterfly in our region and this evening in clearing sunny skies, I counted 33 specimens in the transect (many of which were quite worn and abraded). They were feeding on the yellow flowers at the upper part of the slope closest to the wood and were highly mobile. There were also a number of Common Blue and Small Blue on the wing as well as Small Heath and Dingy Skipper (7 of the latter).

The churchyard held a pair of Bullfinch, with Red Kite and Common Buzzard overhead and a singing Common Chiffchaff.

ACCESS: Park sensibly by the church at SU 785 977 before walking through the churchyard and along the trail to the third meadow on the slope before the woodland belt.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Saturday 21 May

Drake GARGANEY at Willen, BLACK-TAILED GODWIT at Linford bund and LITTLE STINTS at Dorney Reserve and Manor Farm

Monday, 16 May 2011


Jim Rose very kindly emailed me these two superb shots he managed to get of the Hoopoe yesterday evening

HOOPOE near Stokenchurch - Sunday

HOOPOE at last

At 1100 hours on Sunday morning, I took a call informing me of a confiding HOOPOE feeding in a horse paddock on private land. At that stage, John (the farm owner) did not want the information widely released, so I arranged a visit to see what viewing arrangements could be made.

The HOOPOE was at Gibbons Farm in Halsey's Green, near Stokenchurch, and spent the entire day feeding on insects and worms it was obtaining from in and around the horse dung piles. It was particularly confiding and seemed fairly unconcerned by admirers (I was joined by several family members on observation).

It was eventually agreed by the propreitor of Gibbons Farm to allow a few local birders in to see the bird, on the pretense that they would donate £5 on arrival. As Warren Claydon lived very closeby, I phoned him up and waited for him to arrive. Jim Rose saw and photographed the bird in the evening.

Although Warren informs me I have almost certainly seen the Aston Rowant bird, as well as a bird I found in 1977 at a locality which is now claimed by Bucks County Council, this was my first county Hoopoe (Lee Evans)

Friday, 13 May 2011

Another mega - SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Caldecott - pictures by Simon West


My first day birding in the UK for a while (following a brief incursion into Bedfordshire with MJP and KO last night) and what a day. Despite dipping out on last week's Glossy Ibis, I was more than made up today when connecting with the first SPOTTED SANDPIPER to ever grace Buckinghamshire county....

The westerly wind that blew all day yesterday veered to a much warmer SW today, with brighter periods and some warm sunshine


Following Simon Nichol's revelations that Keith's early morning images were of a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, I had to wait until mid-afternoon before finally arriving on site. MJP, the Youngs and Francis Buckle were just leaving as I pulled up in my car and quickly helped out with exact instructions on where to find the bird. Walking just 75 yards or so around the lake edge, I met up with Ben Miller and was immediately directed on to the bird - wow - what a stunner! It was a pristine SPOTTED SANDPIPER in full breeding plumage - the first-ever recorded in Buckinghamshire. It was showing impeccably well - down to 35 yards at times - wandering along one of the jetties on the east side of the lake. Although superficially similar to Common Sandpiper and of course its Nearctic counterpart, the primary differences were as follows -:

1) Extensively spotted on the underparts, extending to the flanks, lower underparts and to the vent and undertail coverts;

2) Legs very pale and yellowish unlike the greener legs of Common Sandpiper;

3) Extensive pink bill with black tip;

4) Eye-catching, extensive white supercilium;

5) A shorter tail than in Common Sandpiper;

6) In flight, a more restricted pale wingbar, with the white petering out before meeting the body

The bird was showing very well up until 1554 hours - the point at which I departed. Other than Ben, just a handful of other observers were present, including Ian Williams who had managed to obtain an excellent series of images of the bird. It kept to this one area, either cowering or flinching (but not flying) when walkers or joggers passed to within just a few feet of it on the jetties. An exceptional find and a very unexpected addition to my County List.

Large numbers of hirundines were also over the lake as well as several Common Swifts.


During 1600-1630 hours, the WOOD SANDPIPER seen earlier at both Wilstone and Pitstone Quarry was showing very well on the mud in front of the new hide overlooking the marsh. It was occasionally spooked by the local Common Redshanks but mainly fed unperturbed and was my first of the year in the county, missing the influx of the last week.

The Oystercatchers were still sitting, whilst other species noted included 2 lingering drake Shovelers, the pair of Great Crested Grebes and 6 Common Swifts.


Just a couple of miles from the Bucks county boundary, I set eyes on my first-ever ROSEATE TERN in Berkshire this evening. Kevin Duncan very kindly waited for my arrival at the site (the Jubilee River as overlooked by the small car park by the A332 roundabout at SU 971 788) but just as I pulled up, the bird took that moment to fly east (it had been sitting on the weir buoys for the past 40 minutes). As it had done this twice during the afternoon, I figured it was fishing closeby, and set off with Kevin along the towpath. As suspected, I quickly relocated the bird fishing with four Black-headed Gulls just 350-400 yards further east along the river. It was showing incredibly well and was a second-summer or adult, with salmon-pink flushed underparts, very white upperparts and upperwings, an all-dark bill and bright red legs and feet. Rather than fishing, it was actually taking insects from the water surface and was successful in catching several. It repeatedly followed a circuit and remained on view for about 15 minutes, often at ranges of just 45 yards, before it suddenly flew east and disappeared towards Queen Mother Reservoir where it had first been recorded on Tuesday. It had one tail-streamer very much shorter than the other.


At least 3 Common Swifts over my garden this evening - the first of the year in the village.


Kevin Duncan discovered Buckinghmahsire's first-ever GLOSSY IBIS at Dorney Reserve's Seasonal Pool and Reserve Pool last Saturday afternoon and the bird remained overnight, departing early next morning. It was seen by all of the county's keen birders. I was away of course.

04 May - a Red Letter Day at Manor Farm

I've been walking this site for quite a few years now, way before the digging even started but tonight for an hour and a half it was as good as its ever been or indeed ever likely too.

Alerted earlier in the day that two Bar Tailed Godwits were on site, and later a lone Greenshank, I headed down to the Farm after work. In the first bay at the end of Central Field was the Wood Sandpiper that has been on site since the weekend and nearby the Greenshank picked about in the shallows. A call from Simon N that the Barwits were in the inlet and I headed off noting two Common Sandpiper and a single Green Sandpiper in the bay to the south west end. The Barwits were as Simon described, stunning and well viewable from the Riverside Walk (alas they flew east at 7:00pm). Also along the inlet four Oystercatcher, increasing to five by the time I left. Little Ringed Plovers were everywhere, one very probable (and there may be more) Ringed Plover was amongst them. Just as I was leaving 'sumplum' Dunlin was found in the south west bay.

Including the usual Lapwings that makes ten species of wader at the Farm tonight and at a site where not so long ago your heart would skip a beat if you saw a lone Lapwing fly over.

Away from the waders, five Little Egret were seen, including two over heading to roost whilst a handful of Yellow Wagtail can still be found dotted about the islands. And finally to cap it all the first Swifts i've seen at the site this year darted across the fields as I wandered off after a somewhat surreal hour or so.

Chris Gleadell

BAR-TAILED GODWITS at Manor Farm (04 May)

The 2 BAR TAILED GODWITS (pair) are still at Manor Farm , but you will have to walk the River path as they are on the back edge and not viewable from the hill - showing really well and quite close. Also GREENSHANK , Common Sandpiper , Oystercatcher , 2 LRP (Simon Nichols) and WOOD SANDPIPER (Chris Gleadell)

WOOD SANDPIPER still present at Manor Farm - 04 May

And the WOOD SANDPIPER still at Manor Farm, Old Wolverton this morning at 6:30 (Chris Gleadell)


The male COMMON NIGHTINGALE found earlier by Steve Rodwell is still belting out its song at 23.50 per Rob Hill. It is singing just south of the Kingston Roundabout , Opposite the BP garage , in a small scrubby area where the road splits to go to Woburn Sands and towards Walnut Tree (3 May at least)


Tim Watts recorded two summer-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBES and 2 ARCTIC TERNS on the Sailing Lake at Calvert on 3 May

BLACK TERNS at Furzton Lake (03 May)

4 BLACK TERNS feeding near big bridge, still present at 2pm (per Dick Bodily)

02 MAY (a great day's birding - Simon Nichols Diary Notes)

After missing out on yesterday's wader festival , I decided to camp out in Linford from 5.45 ! I was joined by Rob and Lucy from 06.45 and Mal McGar from 7.10.

After a brief trip to Willen Road GP , where a Common Sandpiper and Little Egret were the only birds of note , I found myself looking at quite a birdless bund ! Indeed for the next 2 hours , the only wader that dropped in was an Oystercatcher at 06.32, the best of the rest were 2 Cettis Warblers, 1 Cuckoo, 3 GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS, 8 Little Egrets (arriving from the west in 1's and 2's), drake RED CRESTED POCHARD that flew in about 07.30, 10+ Common Terns , 4 Garden Warblers, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat (Rob only ) and a Sedge Warbler. Hirundines were also on the move.

After a disappointing morning , we decided to head to Manor Farm , a Male Bullfinch greeted us at the car park and a Little Owl was calling from the pollarded willows. After scanning the first areas of open water and turning up a few LRP's , we moved through to the 2nd field along and scanned the spit - WOOD SANDPIPER ! all the previous 2 hours agony was washed away ! Cracking bird in full summer plumage. Also on the pits were a further 4 LRP's ( must be up to 6 on the site ) 1 Common Sandpiper , 5+ Lapwings and 2 Common Terns Whilst walking back we came across a fantastic singing TREE SPARROW , which is probably rarer in North Bucks then Wood Sand !

I then headed home , whilst Rob went to Willen , to find 2 smashing WHIMBRELS and the GREENSHANK from yesterday I wasted no time in heading back down !

Again a great mornings passage !

Simon Nichols

Highlights from this morning (02 May) - Simon Nichols

WOOD SANDPIPER at Manor Farm at 09.00 still

2 WHIMBRELS on the spit at Willen North at 09.45 still , also GREENSHANK ( Rob Hill)

5 WHIMBREL east thru Calvert (Warren Claydon per Tim Watts) at 07.22

1 BAR TAILED GODWIT on spit at LMGP at 08.08 ( Alan Stevens per Adam Bassett)

Male WHINCHAT and female RING OUZEL east of the trig point at Ivinghoe Beacon ( Mike Wallen )

Little Marlow wader passage today - 01 MAY

An interesting period of wader passage. Seemingly not turning up the numbers of passage waders seen at other nearby sites, but still getting a reasonable throughput. Spurred on by the 4 Barwits on Friday am and large numbers seen elsewhere, I made a quick check of the pit between 8 and 9am on Saturday 30th (all that time allowed) and the only new bird in was a Ringed Plover. In the evening, the Little Rings had swelled to 5 birds. Another early start today, pre 6am, and 4 Common Sands were new in on the spit, with the Ringed Plover remaining, but frustratingly nothing else was seen up to 8:15am (when I got the call for my fry-up, so had to go!). Typically, Alan Stevens texted at 8:45am as 3 Turnstones had arrived on the spit. I couldn’t make it back out until 11:15am, when a quick search for the Turnstones found that they had departed, but a Wood Sandpiper had taken their place! A fun weekend indeed – what will tomorrow bring! (Adam Bassett)

BLACK TERN at Willen - 01 MAY

01 MAY: Common Swift, BLACK TERN, Greenshank, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper at Willen (Nik Maynard).

Today's WOOD SANDPIPER in College Lake - David Hutchinson (01 May)

01 MAY: WOOD SANDPIPERS at College and Little Marlow

Two WOOD SANDPIPERS have just been found in the county;

1 by Adam Bassett on the spit at LMGP
1 by Jack O'Neill at College Lake

This fabulous day of passage continues!

When I was at College mid-morning the Barwit and Greenshank from earlier had moved on, but birds present included 2 Shelduck, 2 LRP, 1 RP, 1+ Common Sandpiper and the nesting Oystercatcher (Ben Miller)

OSPREY over Linford (01 May)

OSPREY heading south over Linford per Rob Hill (01 May)

TURNSTONES at Little Marlow (01 May)

3 TURNSTONES on the spit at Spade Oak Pit, Little Marlow, per Adam Bassett

Thursday, 12 May 2011

WHIMBREL through Foxcote 1 May

A single WHIMBREL flew through, calling, but could obviously not see any reason to stop. Otherwise a single male Wigeon, single male Gadwall a single Common Tern and a Sand Martin were the only things of note (Phil Tizzard)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Manor Farm today - 30 APRIL

Whilst not competing with elsewhere still some stuff of interest today.

The 'sumplum' Dunlin found by Simon Nichols earlier still on site as were another pair, one in summer, one in transitional plumage in the inlet as was a Common Sandpiper. Little Ringed Plover numbers appear to has risen again given how easy they were to find, also a single Ringed Plover. A pair of Oystercatcher also about as were three Little Egrets.

Alongside five Common Tern two Arctic Terns dropped in late afternoon. A White Wagtail and a handful of Yellow Wagtails can still be found on site. Out on the water was a drake Common Shelduck.

Bird of the day though a Hobby, who not only hunted at close quarters along Back Brook but put in several strafing runs along the channels between the islands out on the water at breakneck speed.

A fine day...Chris Gleadell


Tim Watts has had a WOOD SANDPIPER , 20 BAR TAILED GODWITS (touched down very briefly) and 4 DUNLIN

Andy Harding has texted to say that the GARGANEY is still at Linford as well as a DUNLIN (per Simon Nichols)

30 April - a fantastic morning's birding in North Bucks

A fantastic mornings birding !

First off a text from Tim about 7 BAR TAILED GODWITS thru Calvert had me rushing to Linford ! at least 3 GARDEN WARBLERS were singing on the reserve , including a very confiding one to the left of the near hide that is nest building ! , 3 CETTIS WARBLERS were also singing , 1 CUCKOO was Cuckoo-ing throughout the morning , 1 Willow Warbler , 1 Goldcrest and 3 Chiffchaffs were also proclaiming Territory ( Rob also had 1 GRASSHOPPER WARBLER still ) Not long after sitting down (07:20) an ARCTIC TERN battled through west covering the entire reserve in under 15 seconds ! , this was followed by further 4 ARCTIC TERNS that flew east at 07:32. Bouyed up by this I started scanning in earnest and was soon rewarded as a small duck headed in from the north (07:40) and pitched up on the opposite side of the bund ! a smashing Drake GARGANEY ! it proceeded to preen and then dissappeared. just as I was putting a text out , I glanced up and noticed a medium sized wader approaching from the east , it swung in low and circled the bund twice before heading back off east (07:42) ! Although it was orange and grey , it was not the expected Bar Tailed Godwit, but a fantastic Summer Plumaged RED KNOT ! ,

Life at linford after that seemed a bit dull ;-) With just 2 Common Sandpipers , 3 Little Egrets , 10+ Common Terns , 1 SWIFT and 4 Swallows.

Moving on to the Excavation pits at Newport Pagnall we were greeted with a GREENSHANK , 5 LRP's, 2 Little Egrets and a few Sand Martins

Stony Stratford held the pair of Oystercatchers Manor Farm hosted a Sum Plum DUNLIN , an OYSTERCATCHER flew in and a Common Sandpiper , LRP and a few Lapwings were the best of the rest Many Hirundines (Simon Nichols)

30 APRIL - Red Letter Day

A couple of additions - I arrived at Linford too late for the Knot but saw the Garganey. Then Simon & myself went to Willen Road pits, where there was 1 Greenshank and min.6 LRP.At Willen north, 1 Common Sand & 1 Oyc. - Rob Hill

Earlier, Simon Nichols commented...............Drake GARGANEY has just pitched into Linford , out of sight behind bund from near hide. And as I was writing , a summer plumaged RED KNOT flew around the bund low twice and headed off east again ! Wow , what a morning