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, 23 August 2011

LITTLE TERNS forced upriver by heavy rain and increasing easterly winds


Well, according to leading weatherman Michael Fish, the Chilterns Reigion was supposed to have received thunderstorms and flash flooding from about 2am this morning but it never materialised. Instead, we got a switch in the wind from Northeast to East, overcast conditions and just a little bit of light drizzle......

Expecting a real feast of rarities locally, I was out nice and early but it was all largely to no avail - the reservoirs seemingly not picking up a single new migrant other than a Wheatear. The saviour however was Master Adam Bassett - and his unprecedented arrival of LITTLE TERNS in the South of the county (Buckinghamshire). These birds remained all day to the delight of many........

(Several visits during the day, both morning and afternoon)


Surprisingly nothing new in the way of migrants arrived overnight other than a single NORTHERN WHEATEAR on the North Bank.......

Remaining waders included the 3 juvenile RUFFS and 1 REEVE, the 2 juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS (now located on the SE shore), 3 adult RINGED PLOVERS (perhaps tundriae), Green Sandpiper, 13 COMMON GREENSHANKS and 330 Lapwing, as well as 14 Little Egrets.

The Black Tern had departed and there was little change in wildfowl numbers - 5 Wigeon, 18 Gadwall and a marked increase to 78 Teal.

In the Cemetery Corner field, there were a gathering of 22 Chaffinch and a single Linnet and a migrant juvenile Willow Warbler was working its way along a hedgerow (see image above).


Almost birdless - 2 Mute Swans and 2 Great Crested Grebes


The 2 adult WHOOPER SWANS remained, as did 4 Mute Swans, whilst 6 Great Crested Grebes were also counted and 3 Little Egrets were feeding on the mud. RED-CRESTED POCHARDS now numbered 4, comprising of 2 eclipse drakes, a female and a single juvenile. The main Coot flock numbered 194 whilst a pair in the NW corner (one parent being one of the piebald individuals) was feeding two very young chicks.


Tringford hosted 9 roosting Grey Herons, just 1 Great Crested Grebe, 22 Tufted Ducks and a further 70 Coot


Just what has happened to College Lake? The water levels are very high and both the marsh and main lake are birdless - just 2 Mute Swans noted.

(Accessed from Church Lane)

After receiving an initial call from Adam Bassett informing me of the presence of no less than 4 LITTLE TERNS at Spade Oak, I waited for his second call before making the move. Little Terns have a knack of staying just short spells of time before moving on but today we were lucky. Although John Edwards got a good headstart on me from Wilstone, I somehow arrived in Church Lane before him and was watching the four birds by midday. They were feeding over the extreme east end of the pit, along with 23 Common Terns, and by walking around the southern perimeter footpath was able to enjoy excellent views of them with local birder Malcolm Parrish. All four individuals were JUVENILE, unusual in itself and the group perhaps representing the highest single flock ever recorded in the county. Their small size was very evident, especially compared with the Common Terns, and their flight action was very evident - very fast with rapid wingbeats. They were also keen on plunge-diving - frequently successful in catching tiny silver fish. Unlike adult birds, all four of these were wholly dark-billed, with a distinct black leading edge to the upperwings and contrasting light grey covert bar and whiter secondaries and primary bases (forming a distinct wedge in flight). All had a very short, heavily forked tail and a gleaming white rump and upper tail. The amount of black on the crown was variable between individuals and some even still had the buffish wash to the forecrown of very young plumage.

Interestingly, Howard Vaughan and others had watched a party of 5 Little Terns fly upriver on the Thames at Rainham Marsh RSPB in Essex early morning and speculating, it is quite feasible that these were the same birds.

Although I left the site at 1306 hours, all four birds were still present at 1600 hours - all in all an exceptional occurrence.....

Other species noted included 14 Great Crested Grebes (including a pair tending two small chicks and a further adult with a single youngster), a single Little Egret, 39 Egyptian Geese, 61 Tufted Ducks, a pair of Northern Pochard, 12 Common Teal, 1 Shoveler, 378 Lapwings, a single COMMON SNIPE and a female Pied Wagtail.


Just the adult pair of Egyptian Geese left now and a pair of Moorhen feeding two tiny young.


Whilst at Wilstone this afternoon, I had an altercation with an East European who was illegally 'spinning' with a fishing rod and was attempting to capture a Mute Swan. I asked him what he was up to and he claimed to not understand but after informing him ''no, no, no'', he quickly made off in a white van registration ''T 420 CRV''

I must also inform you all to be extra vigilant when parking - a car was broken into at Marsworth today and Steve Rodwell also had his car window smashed relatively locally on Friday afternoon