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

Friday, 27 May 2011

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.