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, 28 June 2011

LRP's bred successfully


Well they said it wouldn't last and with temperatures during the preceding two days hovering between a sweltering 30 and 32 degrees fahrenheit, it was of no real surprise that the storms arrived. Electric storms, coupled with heavy rain, and enough to fell an old Scot's Pine in Gerrards Cross. As such, my birding was very much curtailed today and I just got out to check some relatively local breeding LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS........


Despite the recent rains, the water level remained very low and as such, both Lapwing and LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS were doing well. I was delighted to see one of the two pairs now accompanying two little chicks, running around haphazardly about the muddy edge. This is the first time I have recorded this species breeding here

The two pairs of Lapwing were also still present and looked as though they were still sitting; no young were noted

Most importantly, the HOBBY family were doing well, the adults now flying in food every 40 minutes or so

The lake also held 1 Mute Swan and a few Coot (1 still sitting) with the surrounding area yielding 2 Stock Doves, Swallow, singing Common Chiffchaff and Common Treecreeper

Lee Evans

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

More Tetrad Work - LGRE


The longest day of the year. In fact, a better day than of late, with dry weather throughout, with some long sunny periods and warm temperatures. Carried on with my fieldwork today, covering four more tetrads, most noteworthy being a cluster of BULLFINCH sightings.......


A record number of 13 Jackdaws visited the garden together today, all cramming on to the bird tables taking seed. The flock consisted of both adults and juveniles.


A tetrad dominated by open farmland, with Dundridge Manor to the east being the only settlement. Lady Grove was a mixture of trees but had substantial amounts of Holly. A total of 19 species was noted - higher than average -:

Literally only yards from the square and just north of the Recording Area was St Leonard's Churchyard (SP 910 071) where a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were busily feeding young.

I followed the Chiltern Way footpath and fully explored the tetrad, Lady Grove harbouring a nesting pair of COMMON BUZZARDS.....

Common Pheasant (present in crops)
COMMON BUZZARD (pair feeding young in nest in tall Larch tree in Lady Grove)
Woodpigeon (numerous, with gathering of 45 in one field)
Green Woodpecker (single seen in flight)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting in the grounds of the White Lion)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male in barley crop 250 yards south of Dundridge Manor)
European Robin (pair present by the White Lion pub)
Wren (pair present at Dundridge Manor)Blackcap (singing male in Ashen Grove)
Carrion Crow (nesting in Lady Grove)
Jay (adult with recently fledged young in narrow tree belt SW of Dundridge Manor)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young in Ashen Grove, with another pair in the grounds of Dundridge Manor and another in the garden of The White Lion)
Common Chiffchaff (adult feeding young in fir plantation near Dundridge Manor)
Blue Tit (adults with fledged young at Dundridge Manor)
Chaffinch (pair with young in grounds of Dundridge Manor)
Goldfinch (pair nesting in tree close to the White Lion pub)
Linnet (female on wires opposite the White Lion)
*BULLFINCH (pair frequenting the trees along the access drive to Dundridge Manor and later seen acting suspiciously in the hedgerow opposite)
House Sparrow (the most northerly birds in my Recording Area with a colony of at least two pairs nesting in the heavily ivy-covered walls of The White Lion public house; they were commuting back and forth to the allotments alongside Springhall Hill)

Centred on Arrewig Farm, Barn and Cottages, this is another rural tetrad dominated by open farmland but featuring Chesland and Cindry Bottom Woods. Not so good as the neighbouring tetrad though with just 16 species encountered -:

Common Pheasant (noted in fields north of Arrewig Lane)
Red-legged Partridge (pair in quarry working area just west of Autumn Cottage Farm)
Woodpigeon (numerous; nesting)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting in barn at Threegates Farm)
Pied Wagtail (male gathering food near Threegates Farm and disappearing in buildings there)
Dunnock (pair breeding at Corfield Cottage)
Wren (singing male in Chesland Wood and another in Bray's Wood)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young at east end of Arrewig Lane and another in Chesland Wood)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in Bray's Wood, another in trees just east of Corfield House, another in Chesland Wood)
Blue Tit (adults and fledged young at north end of Bray's Wood)
Great Tit (adults with fledged young in scrub opposite Threegates Farm)
Common Magpie (gathering of 5 birds along Arrewig Lane)
Blackcap (singing male along Arrewig Lane)
Chaffinch (male singing in hedgerow near Autumn Cottage Farm and pair in scrub opposite Threegates Farm; a further male in Bray's Wood)
Goldfinch (nesting at Arrewig Farm)
*BULLFINCH (vocal pair - in fact the male was in full song rarely heard these days - in hedgerow bordering Arrewig Lane SE of the farm complex)

More open farmland either side of Oak Lane with an extensive sward of woodland at Widow Croft. A total of 18 species noted -:

Red-legged Partridge (calling male in crop south of Oak Lane)
Moorhen (pair bred on small lake at rear of 'Woodlands' with one tiny youngster feeding out in the open on the lawn)
Woodpigeon (several pairs nesting in Widow Croft)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male over crop NE of 'Woodlands with another south of Widow Croft')
European Robin (pair feeding young at 'Woodlands')
Common Blackbird (at least 3 pairs nesting in Widow Croft, three juveniles at Woodlands, nesting birds in Buckland Common
Song Thrush (two singing males in Woodside Wood with two separate adults seen carrying food)
Wren (singing males in Widow Croft, Woodside Wood, another in 'Woodlands' and another in back gardens at Buckland Common)
Blackcap (singing male in Woodside Wood)
Common Whitethroat (adults feeding young by Oak Lane opposite Widow Croft)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in Widow Croft)
Blue Tits (adults and young in Widow Croft)
NUTHATCH (family party in tall trees of Widow Croft opposite 'Woodlands')
Carrion Crow (pair feeding two young in field at Buckland Common)
Common Magpie (pair in Buckland Common)
Jay (1 in Woodside Wood)
Jackdaw (19 flew over Widow Croft)
Chaffinch (singing male in Buckland Common and another pair near Oak Lane)

A very poor tetrad birdwise but noteworthy in its exceptional colony of Common Spotted Orchids.

Woodpigeon (present and breeding)
European Barn Swallow (nesting at Asheridge Farm)
Common Blackbird (nesting at both Wood Farm and Asheridge Farm as well as in Newsets Wood)
Common Magpie (pair by Newsets Wood)
Blackcap (singing male by Newsets Wood)
Great Tit (juvenile in Newsets Wood)
Chaffinch (male singing at Asheridge Farm)
Yellowhammer (singing male in hedgerow NE of Threegates Farm)

Common Spotted Orchid (an impressive spread of over 450 spikes by the small pond in Newsets Wood)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Exceptionally early jpassage COMMON REDSTART in North Bucks

I decided to try and upgrade some breeding records for SP63 tetrad this morning and succeeded with the first target, finding a Common Chiffchaff with food for young, but I was surprised and pleased to come across two or three pairs of YELLOW WAGTAILS, clearly breeding in a bean field (female with food). Interesting how birds seem to congregate--at the same spot there was a male Reed Bunting singing in the beans, a female Yellowhammer with food and several pairs of Linnets.

Found a new Little Owl location and a male Beautiful Demoiselle near Biddlesden Park. Also discovered one of the perils of roaming--following a poorly marked footpath I ended up on the wrong side of a fence and was attacked by four dogs! Not too good on canine ID but the largest one on his hind legs was taller than me!! Discovered I can still be pretty agile as I vaulted a fence to escape.

Returned home for lunch and sitting on my patio I heard an insistent 'wheet wheet' call. I put it down as possibly an odd Chaffinch, but went to investigate anyway since it wasn't quite right. I'm glad I did because it turned out to be a female COMMON REDSTART. It moved off fairly quickly, so I assume perhaps a failed breeding bird on the move? (I did have a juvenile here for a few days in 2001, which I suspected might have been raised locally, but I don't think today's occurrence is significant).Phil Tizzard

Recencies - More Tetrad Work (LGRE)

17/6 Thanks to Graham Smith and his work colleagues was finally able to add LITTLE OWL to my 2011 Buckinghamshire Year List - a regular showing bird (certainly for the past four days) in tall Cedars close to Burnham Library....

18/6 A day of heavy showers, some prolonged, and sunny periods...

First off, went up to Lower Wingbury Farm, near Wing (at SP 875 210), where Ian had seen two European Turtle Doves 'gritting' in the yard late afternoon on consecutive days since 12 June. I put in over four hours but failed to locate them.......

This was a bird-rich farm though, with large numbers of Red-legged Partridges (30+), Red Kite (2), Common Buzzard (breeding), Goldcrest (singing male), Common Chiffchaff (singing male), Blackcap (3), BULLFINCH (2 pairs), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Common Blackbird, Dunnock, Greenfinch with young, Great Spotted Woodpecker (single parents feeding single young both), Pied Wagtail and excellent numbers of Brown Hare.

I then concentrated on further intensive tetrad work covering SP 88 06, SP 89 06, SP 90 06, SP 88 05, SP 89 05 and SP 90 05. Highlight was finding another new colony of breeding FIRECRESTS......

This tetrad is dominated by dense forest, The Ridgeway Path dissecting across it. Just a couple of settlements - Concord House being one of them - and some open arable farmland. With the trees being planted so close together, the forest itself is very poor for birds, sio very low densities....Just 10 species recorded...

Common Pheasant (male near Boswells Farm)
Woodpigeon (several nesting pairs)
European Robin (pair in garden at the start of The Ridgeway Path)
Common Blackbird (two pairs)
Song Thrush (singing male)
Blackcap (just 1 singing male noted by Ridgeway Path)
Goldcrest (2 singing males and family party in usual area by first house but no sign of Firecrests this year; another tiny colony of two pairs at the extreme east end of the tetrad)
Blue Tit (several family parties noted)
Coal Tit* (successful breeding with a family party in the conifers close to the first house, with an additional singing male by The Ridgeway)
Carrion Crow (single nesting pair)
Brown Hare (a single by Concord House)

Chesham Lane cuts across this tetrad, with one large tract of forest to the north and extensive farmland in the south, where Eurasian Skylarks were found Otherwise a very poor tetrad with just 7 species found

Woodpigeon (several pairs)
Carrion Crow (6+)
*Eurasian Skylark (singing males in cereal crops either side of King's Lane)
Common Blackbird (two breeding pairs in Kingsash hamlet and another pair in the woodland to the north)
Blue Tit (single by lane just north of Kingsash with a family party in Kingsash itself)
Goldfinch (pair nesting in the garden of 'The Cottage' with another pair at Kings Ash Farm)
Greenfinch (pair in Kinsash hamlet)

Dense coniferous forest with some deciduous interspersed with arable farming; 12 species

Common Buzzard (single pair feeding young in conifer nest)
Woodpigeon (several nesting pairs)
Stock Dove (single pair in tall trees in an open clearing)
*Eurasian Skylark (a single singing male in cereal crop immediately west of Brunsgreen)
European Barn Swallow (gathering of 18 birds hawking for insects over cereal crop west of Brunsgreen, where nesting was suspected in barns at back of farm there)
Common Blackbird (pair nesting in woodland)
Song Thrush (two singing males)
Common Magpie (gathering of 7 birds - including some tatty juveniles - in fields north of Kinsash)
Common Chiffchaff (single singing male)
Goldcrest (family party by one of the trails at the south end of the tetrad and a colony of nesters involving 5 or 6 males in tract of Scot's Pine)
Long-tailed Tit (family party in hedgerow by clearing)
Coal Tit (adults and juveniles in hedgerow with Long-taileds)

Tetrad centred on hamlet of Lee Gate and surrounding famland. To the northeast is Lordlings Wood, a very nice mature woodland with open clearings. 11 species recorded......

Common Pheasant (several in vicinity of barns in Lee Gate)
Common Kestrel (male hovering just north of Lee Gate village)
Woodpigeon (several pairs)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (adult in Lee Gate)
Wren (singing male in Lee Gate)
Dunnock (two breeding pairs in Lee Gate and another pair in Lordlings Wood)
European Robin (pair feeding young in Thorndon Lodge garden)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young at Thorndon Lodge on Chesham Lane with two more breeding pairs in Lee Gate)
Common Magpie (juvenile in field by Lodge)
Blackcap (male singing in Lee Gate and another in Lordlings Wood)
Common Chiffchaff (singing bird by Chesham Lane and another male in Lordlings Wood)

Two hamlets feature in this tetrad - the picturesque Kingswood centred around The Old Swan Freehouse and the eastern extension of Lee Gate - 12 species noted.....

Woodpigeon (several pairs breeding)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (in flight over gardens in Chesham Lane)
Common Blackbird (two different pairs nesting in Kingswood
Song Thrush (1 by Kingsvale Farm)
Dunnock (pair in Kingswood)
Blackcap (singing male at road junction and another in Fairleigh garden at east end)
Common Chiffchaff (anguished parent attending small young in scrub just north of road junction south of Kingswood)
Great Tit (1 at feeders at Kingswood Cottages)
Blue Tits (several birds including fledged young at feeders at Kingswood Cottages)
Chaffinch (male by Oak Cottages, with another by The Old Swan, with two further males in Pooch Park, opposite Elmwood Exclusive Hotel for Dogs)
Goldfinch (pair nesting in garden of Old Chelsea Cottage)
Common Magpie (juvenile in Kingswood and pair with young by Chesham L

Sunday, 19 June 2011

WOOD WHITES in North Bucks

For those bothered with butterflies, a walk round Wicken & Leckhampstead Woods today produced around 20 WOOD WHITES, in both the Northamptonshire and Bucks sections. The recent over-the-top ride widening and understorey clearance for pheasants has produced ideal conditions for this nationally declining butterfly, so long as they don't all get eaten.

Birds of interest included Grasshopper Warbler (one in Northants) and one Marsh tit. Still several Willow Warblers singing (Chris Coppock)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

LGRE Diary Notes Thursday 16 June


A belt of heavy rain crossed the Chilterns area this morning but cleared up early afternoon. It then brightened up and remained sunny and clear until evening - quite warm too.

Undertook survey work this afternoon, mapping out all of the breeding birds of the Amersham Recording Area for 2011.........


There was no sign whatsoever of any Peregrines in the nesting chamber on the east side of the town hall nor roosting on the building. Only last week I checked another local pair and that nestbox held four very well-grown juveniles standing at the front of the chamber. This pair has fledged 11 young in just three years.....


One of the EURASIAN CURLEWS (a long-billed bird so probably a female) was aggressively mobbing anything that flew over the main grassy meadow visible from the hides so I am assuming she is protecting fledged young.

In front of the first hide, on the scrape, a single adult LITTLE RINGED PLOVER was attending just a single young on the closest shingle island; also Atlantic Canada Geese with 8 goslings.

The pools behind the hide held YELLOW WAGTAIL (a male carrying food), 2 singing male Reed Buntings and several Linnets

SP 86 06 Smalldene Farm, SW of Wendover (Buckinghamshire)

A tetrad of mainly open farmland, with a few farmsteads and scattered deciduous woodlands. A total of just 15 species found -:

Feral Pigeon (pair nesting in the barns at Grove Farm)
Woodpigeon (pair nesting at Smalldene Farm
Stock Dove (5 birds feeding in an open short cereal field)
European Barn Swallow (1-2 pairs nesting in the barns at Grove Farm)
European Robin (breeding pair at Smalldene Farm)
Common Blackbird (breeding pairs in the wood beyond Smalldene Farm and another pair in Upper Bacombe Wood)
Wren (just one family group encountered - adults feeding 5 young in wood by low-lying vegetation)
Blackcap (male singing from trees just along footpath from Smalldene Farm, with another just yards away and another in the next belt of woodland to the NW)
Common Chiffchaff (male singing from trees 50 yards from Smalldene Farm)
Great Tit (fledged juveniles on the feeders at Smalldene Farm with an adult in one of the woodland belts)
Blue Tit (at least 6 juveniles feeding on bird feeders by Smalldene Farm with nesting birds in an old stand of woodland to the NW)
Carrion Crow (13 birds seen, mainly in the open grassy fields, including begging juveniles)
Rook (none nesting in square that I know of but both adults and fledged juveniles at Grove Farm - 18 in total)
Chaffinch (family party in woodland towards the west side of the square and a singing male)
Goldfinch (3 in flight over meadow)
Red Fox (showing well inside one of the older stands of woodland)

SP 86 05 - Dunsmore and Little London Villages - Buckinghamshire

Another tetrad dominated by rural landscapes, with a picturesque village to the SW and Little London on the eastern flank - plenty of open farmland and the odd tract of deciduous woodland. A better tetrad with 17 species located -:

Common Pheasant (two females noted in barley)
Moorhen ( present on the tiny village pond at SP 862 052, with a pair brooding 2 or more small chicks on the nest and a well grown juvenile closeby)
Woodpigeon (nesting in gardens in Dunsmore village as well along the track west of the village and at Wendover Lodge)
European Barn Swallow (3 nesting pairs in outbuildings at Lower Little London Farm)
European Robin (nesting pair at Dean House, with at least 3 more in Dunsmore hamlet and another at Wendover Lodge)
Common Blackbird (pair nesting in the garden of Dean House, with 4 different singing males in gardens as I approached the north side of Dunsmore; another pair west of the village and two breeding pairs at Wendover Lodge)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in Dunsmore village)
*Common Whitethroat (singing male in meadow just SSW of Little London hamlet)
*Goldcrest (a singing male in conifers opposite the pond and a pair with fledged young in the conifer belt by the access road to Wendover Lodge))
Blue Tit (pair fledged from nestbox at Dean House)
Wren (male singing at Dean House)
Dunnock (singing from hedgerow at Small Dean House and nesting in Dunsmore)
Carrion Crow (adult in meadow behind Small Dean House)
Common Magpie (pair present on the southern outskirts of Dunsmore village; local numbers controlled by owner of Dean House)
Chaffinch (6 different singing males in Dunsmore village and another pair at Wendover Lodge)
Goldfinch (pair breeding in garden at Wendover Lodge)
Greenfinch (singing male in conifers in garden of 'Chequermate' and nesting pair in Little London)

SP 87 06 - London Road - Buckinghamshire

Largely cereal farmland, with thick vegetation bordering the lane to Little London and a stand of woodland to the east of the London Road. An impressive Wild Poppy field just north of the houses. A total of 13 species recorded -:

Woodpigeon (11 in field north of Hogtrough Lane and 35 more in crop SSW of Boswell's Farm)
Stock Dove (a pair in the stand of trees bordering the no through lane leading off from the Wendover bypass roundabout)
Carrion Crow (1 by Boswell's Farm)
Common Magpie (pair in the thick vegetated lane near Grove Farm)
European Barn Swallow (nesting in barns to south of Hogtrough Lane - 2-3 pairs - including a very russet individual on the underparts)
House Martin (certainly no nesting birds but a single over barns along Hogtrough Lane)
Wren (singing male by Dunsmore Lane)
European Robin (pair feeding young along the lane and another in the barn by the allotments in Hogtrough Lane; also nesting at Boswell's Farm)
Mistle Thrush (a single bird flew towards tall trees in Hogtrough Lane)
Common Chiffchaff (pair feeding several young in scrub west of the lane opposite track to the railway)
Blue Tit (2 birds noted along Hogtrough Lane)
Chaffinch (singing males by the farm in Hogtrough Lane as well as at Boswell's Farm)
Greenfinch (male singing from tall trees along Hogtrough Lane)
Goldfinch (pair seen along Hogtrough Lane)

To the north of the square, over Boddington Hill, a Red Kite, pair of Common Buzzards and 170 Common Swifts.

SP 87 05 London Road - Buckinghamshire

Another rural tetrad with some nice well vegetated gardens bordering London Road north of Dunsmore Road and paddocks to the north of Rocky Lane. An interesting 'Christmas Tree' plantation to the north of Dunsmore Road. 15 species recorded -:

Common Kestrel (a female hovering for food by the horse paddocks in Rocky Lane)
Woodpigeon (nesting pairs in the London Road gardens)
Common Magpie (pair in garden along London Road)
European Barn Swallow (several pairs breeding in the barns of the horse stables north of Rocky Lane and at The Laurels)
European Robin (nesting in at least one garden along London Road)
Common Blackbird (nesting in hedgerows bordering the railway line behind gardens in London Road and 2 males in the Xmas Tree Plantation)
Song Thrush (a singing male utilising a tall dead tree in the disused plant yard east of London Road and another in the young conifers north of Dunsmore Road)
*Common Whitethroat (singing male in hedgerow and from tall trees along Dunsmore Road - seen also in conifer plantation - with another just north of the 'Firecrest' public house car park)
Blue Tit (fledged juveniles in gardens along London Road)
Long-tailed Tit (a family group in hedgerow opposite 'The Laurels')
Chaffinch (pair present in garden of 'The Laurels' and a male singing at 'The Firecrest' pub car park)
Greenfinch (two pairs present in back gardens along London Road, the males utilising tall conifers from where to sing)
Goldfinch (nesting in cherry trees along Rocky Lane)
Linnet (5 in the grounds of the disused plant yard east of London Road, a pair on wires along Dunsmore Road and family party in young conifer plantation north of the road)
*Yellowhammer (singing male in young Xmas Tree plantation north of Dunsmore Road)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

COMMON RAVENS breed in North Bucks - a rare trip to the extreme north


Well the forecasted rain failed to materialise. In fact, it remained dry all day, only clouding up late in the afternoon. Temperatures held up too, with the light westerly breeze continuing

With news of Richard's Quail coming up so early, my plans for the day were quickly made up..........


Grange Farm is at the extreme north of the county, almost on the Northamptonshire border, and falls within Richard Bashford's remit for BTO Atlas surveying. At 0620 hours this morning, he heard a COMMON QUAIL calling. As I had missed the only previous Quail in the county this year, at Broom West, I made my way up there as soon as I could.

I was eventually in position early afternoon and after a little tempting, the bird was heard calling from the spring rape field immediately north of the Grange Farm outbuildings at TL 075 664. It called on about eight occasions between midday and 1300 hours, uttering only its ''wet-my-lips'' call-note and never the ''wow-wow'' note of imminent breeding.

A winter rape field on the opposite side of the track at TL 076 667 held a singing male REED BUNTING whilst Linnets were particularly numerous in the area (45) with a number of family parties seen. A single RED KITE was also drifting over the fields.

Grange Farm itself held 8 Chaffinches, Dunnock, male Greenfinch and Common Blackbird and whilst chatting to the farm owner and informing him of the Quail, he told me that both Little Owl and barn Owl bred in the vicinity.


I then moved south to Little Staughton, where I was somewhat surprised (and pleased) by the number of House Sparrows - 22 in total. A male Yellowhammer was singing from the wires by South Hoo Cottage.

At a regular site at the extreme south end of Staughton Airfield, and opposite Berry Woods Farm at Bushmead, the thin coppice and associated scrub produced a 'purring' male EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE - only my second in the county this year. The coppice also yielded a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Greenfinch, Common Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat. In fact, Common Whitethroats were frequently encountered this far north in the county.


I continued driving south down Chequers Hill, passing through Colmworth to Wilden. Again, House Sparrows were very prevalent on this road, virtually every farmhold having them, with 6 pairs in Colmworth, 4 pairs at 'The Cornfields' and a further 15 birds to the road junction. Colmworth also produced breeding Song Thrush and another singing male Common Chiffchaff.

At Northfield Farm nearby (TL 110 635), confirmed breeding by both Linnet and Barn Swallow was made.


In Great Barford, more House Sparrows were recorded, as well as a colony of 4 nesting pairs of House Martin.

BEDFORDSHIRE: checking one of our PEREGRINE nests, I was amazed to find no less than four well-grown chicks on site - suggesting plenty of food availability.


Following up a visit by Tony P on Thursday, I did a wide circuit of the wood trying to track down the Crossbill flock but failed; however the habitat looks superb, particularly the open heath to the south of the house for sale. Not too much in the way of birdlife but did manage both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Jay, Bullfinch, Mistle Thrush, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, Wren, Goldcrest (2 singing males) and Jackdaw, Muntjac and Common Blue and Meadow Brown butterflies. There was a lot of Common Buzzard activity over the wood.


Met up with Martin Green briefly in an attempt to see either of the two pairs of European Turtle Dove on site but neither materialised - Martin had seen them earlier though, including one of them on wires above his garden. The CETTI'S WARBLER was repeatedly singing from the overgrown ditch between his garden and the lake and in Green Lane, RED KITE, a male Bullfinch and 2 singing Willow Warblers were noted.


Literally on the Bucks county border is Salcey Forest where this year, record numbers of WOOD WHITE butterflies have emerged (over 90 being transected between Piddington Lodge and the Milking Oak plantation this May). With 22 still on the wing prior to this week's deluge, I tried my luck this afternoon but the weather was against me - and increasing winds and cloudy skies meant that I drew a blank (park in the designated car park at SP 812 509 and follow the cycleway north).

Despite the lack of butterflies, the woodlands were a hive of activity, with many families of birds on the move - Blue Tits, Great Tts, Wrens, Long-tailed Tits, Common Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Common Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. More noteworthy were Common Buzzard, 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawks, 3 Goldcrest and a singing male Garden Warbler.


In Dag Lane, 3 TREE SPARROW chambers were occupied in the main colony, the adults busily carrying in insect food for the 'cheeping' young. Nearby, I located 11 active House Martin nests under the eaves of 43 Chimney Cottage, as well as a nesting pair of Common Swifts.


Although I failed in my quest to locate any Little Owls at 5 sites kindly provided to me by Rob Hill, I did stumble upon an adult COMMON RAVEN accompanying a single begging youngster close to the hall. I was alerted to them both by the adult's unmistakable deep croaking calls - seemingly calling the youngster over or perhaps keeping contact with the partnering adult.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

BLACK TERN at Linford

Single BLACK TERN at Linford at midday, visible from the Far Hide (Peter Barnes)

Friday, 3 June 2011

SAND MARTINS numbers holding up; HOBBY at last


Another gorgeous day, high pressure firmly in charge - wall-to-wall sunshine, clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 70's

(Permit access only)

Some 25 House Sparrows were present in and around Castleman's Farm, whilst Pied Wagtails were busy feeding young in this vicinity. A further pair of Pied Wagtails were nesting at Lillyfee Woodcarving Studios.

The reason for my visit today was to do an inventory on the burrow-nesting SAND MARTINS in the sand quarry and to see if numbers were holding up. A grand total of 208 occupied burrows were located, with two colonies of 32 and 17 at the north end and three colonies of 24, 55 and 79 within 50 metres of each other at the main breeding 'wall'.

The quarry was very quiet birdwise other than the martins, with one wing-moulting Lapwing flying over, 23 Red Kites, 5 Linnet and several Common Whitethroats on the periphery.


For the second year running, a pair of HOBBIES was nesting in the vicinity - belatedly my first in the county this year.

With the water level so low and an island formed, I was most surprised to find a breeding pair of Lapwing, whilst the lake itself held a single Mute Swan, a drake Tufted Duck and 12 Coot. A male Common Chiffchaff was singing from the woodland belt where breeding proof was confirmed for Stock Dove (pair), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Blue Tit. A pair of Barn Swallows was also in the vicinity.