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

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Today's Highlights

At Hedgerley Tip where I found an excellent selection of rare gulls last week, Steve Rodwell, Chris Hazell and others connected with both the juvenile GLAUCOUS and 2nd-winter ICELAND there today, as well as 3 different CASPIAN GULLS.

Dave Parmenter had a female LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER in Hillmott's Farm Wood, Hedgerley, and both Ted & Mike Wallen saw the 2 SHORT-EARED OWLS at Gallows Bridge and 4 Yellow-legged Gulls and a CASPIAN GULL on Calvert Sailing Lake.

A probable DUSKY WARBLER was also seen again by the pools at Hedgerley Landfill, but this area is strictly private and dangerous to access

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I actually made it down to my first gull roost at LMGP this year this afternoon. I was hoping that the Hedgerley ICELAND GULL might come in and indeed at 4:30pm a 2w Iceland Gull came in to roost, which is presumably this bird. Viewing from the west bank it was at the back of the spit and was on view for about 20 minutes, but unfortunately managed to get lost in the throng before Alan S appeared, though I expect it probably roosts here quite regularly. An adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was seen earlier, but could not be found whilst I was there (Adam Bassett)



A rather grey start and very cold. The wind turned northerly, pegging temperatures right back but the light conditions improved later, with some bright periods. I spent most of the day birding Buckinghamshire........

First off, yet another dead Badger - this one on the A355 Amersham Road just north of Beaconsfield by Birchen Spring SU 952 922

(0800-1000 hours)

Put in a long stint at prime time and in calm conditions but no sight nor sound of the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker seen here yesterday; in fact, no woodpeckers whatsoever....

I did see the following though - 2 Nuthatches, 3 Common Treecreepers, 15 Redwing, Great, Blue & Long-tailed Tits, Jay, Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, 2 Bullfinches, Greenfinch, 15 SISKINS, 2 singing male Song Thrushes and Grey Squirrels.


Highlight here was undoubtedly the COMMON CROSSBILL flock - 15 birds including 9 adult males in both deciduous and conifer trees to the west of the road. The flock were very vocal and easy to see, especially if walking along the public footpath that leads through the wood to the pines.

Also noted were 4 SISKINS, several LESSER REDPOLLS, 2 Jays, 8 Red Kites including a very confiding bird perched in a dead tree in the wood, Wren, Long-tailed, Blue & Great Tits, 2 Nuthatches, 2 Common Treecreepers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Common Buzzard and 2 Ring-necked Parakeets.


No sign of any Firecrests this morning but Great Spotted Woodpecker, 90 Woodpigeons, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, 50 Redwings and Green Woodpecker


The pair of GREAT CRESTED GREBES on the smaller lake are the earliest back I have ever known in my Recording Area. Chris Pontin first recorded them over a week ago. The male is in full breeding plumage.

Coots numbered 16 and Tufted Duck 19, whilst a party of 20 SISKINS was feeding in the Alders. A Green Woodpecker was 'yaffling' from neighbouring trees


At Kiln Farm (SP 929 086), a Mistle Thrush flew across the road


Since my visit yesterday, overnight had seen a few changes: two LITTLE EGRETS were roosting with 4 Grey Herons on the Drayton Bank, 2 Little Grebes were present, Great Crested Grebes had increased to 13, 5 Mute Swans were present, Northern Pochard had increased to an impressive 164 and a Grey Wagtail flew over. Best of all though, I finally connected with the cracking adult drake GOOSANDER that has been present for a while.

On the nearby Dry Canal and Wendover Arm, I was quite surprised to see a pair of Mute Swans still accompanying 5 of their last year's young - all harmoniously feeding together as a kind couple walking their dog threw them a whole container worth of food pellets. Six Coots were also present on this stretch of the canal (by Bridge 5 at Drayton Beauchamp).

The farmland here also produced 2 Yellowhammers and 4 Eurasian Skylarks.


The pools hosted a single Great Crested Grebe and 4 Shovelers but the adjacent sedge beds were still very dry and consequently harboured no snipes of any species.

(permit access only)

Wildfowl numbers included 5 Mute Swans, 397 Atlantic Canada Geese, 4 Common Teal, 2 Gadwall, 9 Shoveler, 22 Tufted Duck, 10 Wigeon, 3 Northern Pochard and 11 GOOSANDERS (including three adult drakes).


Made two separate visits this afternoon. Viewing from the first hide, noted 4 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Cormorants, 2 Mute Swans, 1 Little Grebe and 28 Coots. Checking the late afternoon pre-roost with Steve Rodwell and Warren Claydon, counted 24 Great Black-backed Gulls from the second hide, along with 125 Herring Gulls (largely argentatus), just 35 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 19 Common Gulls and about 300 Black-headed Gulls.

Went away and in the meantime, SR and WC located an ICELAND GULL. I returned with Graham Smith towards dusk and quickly located two different immature ICELAND GULLS from the first hide within a mammoth roost (the gulls had been forced on to the BBOWT by shooting). One Iceland Gull was a quite pale, dark-eyed and blue-based billed 2nd-winter-type whilst the other was a dark biscuit coloured juvenile - so dark that it suggested kumlieni but without seeing detail in the primaries in poor light, not possible to ascertain with any degree of confidence

Nearby at EDGCOTT, Graham and I witnessed a superb murmuration of at least 5,000 Common Starlings - flying round and round prior to roosting.


Two COMMON RAVENS were seen in the usual hide field whilst at dusk (1700 hours), a SHORT-EARED OWL appeared over the field adjacent to the access road (thanks to Rod Scaife for directions).

Friday, 27 January 2012


The 2nd-winter ICELAND GULL remains at Hedgerley Landfill this afternoon whilst another roosted again at Calvert Sailing Lakes

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A tour of North Bucks and North Beds


What a day. Rain, rain and even more rain. It started shortly after first light and then became very heavy for two hours or more before turning into drizzle - and then continuing on and off for the rest of the day. Visibility was often awful - down to 75 yards on occasions - and keeping optics clear was a major obstacle to overcome.

Anyway, I risked the conditions and spent the day trying to find some target birds, namely the long-staying Great White Egret, Pintail, Willow Tit, Red-crested Pochard and a few other species. I was half successful.....


Following up on some sightings by Don Stone and Dave Cleal of last week whilst I was away, I was particularly pleased, despite the attrocious weather conditions, to find the wintering flock of plovers east of Little Hundridge Lane (in SP 92 01). The birds are commuting between the large ploughed field immediately east of the lane and the grass fields west of Hundridge Manor and are in numbers not recorded in my area since at least 1987. The LAPWING flock numbers 112 birds whilst the EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS (in two distinct groups) total an astonishing 658 birds. This is an exceptional record, with both species being particularly scarce in my Recording Area. Full marks to Don for locating them.

Two Common Buzzards and 2 Red Kites were also present in the area.


Checked out a report of a pair of Ruddy Ducks and found that they were captive birds, the same lake also housing a drake Common Eider and a Coscoroba Swan. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest were of interest.

Nearby, just east of Haybinders House, a dead Badger was besides the A41 at SP 730 175


My first visit to this site this year and in heavy rain and viewing from the hide, highlight was a dapper adult drake PINTAIL to the left of the hide - my first in the county this year

Other wildfowl included an exceptional 185 Common Teal, with just 28 Eurasian Wigeon, 28 Tufted Duck, 8 Northern Pochard and 8 Common Goldeneye (2 adult drakes), whilst other species present included just 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swans, 6 Atlantic Canada Geese, 108 Coot, 34 Lapwing and a female Reed Bunting.

Just east of the reservoir, 20 noisy House Sparrows were in the garden of Cobblestone, Leckhampstead (SP 728 373


Pride of place went to the 6 GOOSANDERS (3 adult drakes, 3 adult females), with 41 Lapwings and 8 Common Gulls roosting on the islands.


No sign, in an exhaustive search (and in improving weather conditions) of the wintering adult Great White Egret but 5 Grey Herons prospecting and repairing nests on the island, 44 Mute Swans, 65 Common Teal, 85 Eurasian Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 28 Tufted Duck and 11 Northern Pochard.

Bumped into Rose & Mike Collard and Dave Parmenter and shortly later enjoyed excellent views of the apparent WILLOW TIT and 2 MARSH TITS at the Woodland Hide, very frequently visiting the freshly restocked feeders and birdtable. A Jay was also noted.

Visited both WILLEN LAKES and GAYHURST QUARRY (NORTH BUCKS LOCATIONS) but very little of note - 12 Common Goldeneye at the former and Stock Dove, 1 Little Egret, c300 Greylag Geese, 106 Mute Swans, 136 Mallard, 35 Wigeon, 20 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe, Green Woodpecker and a single Rob Norris at the latter. Again, no sign of the Great White Egret.

At STOKE GOLDINGTON nearby, still no Tree Sparrows - a species still to be recorded in Bucks in 2012. The feeders were fully topped up but just Chaffinch, Greenfinch (8) and Great and Blue Tits were visiting them. A Mistle Thrush was also in the village.


I checked the two lakes visible from the A 509, with 6 GOOSANDERS (2 adult drakes), 4 Mute Swans, 15 Tufted Duck, 24 Coot and 2 COMMON KINGFISHERS being noted.

Nearby, at Olney Water Meadows, there was no sign of the 22 Barnacle Geese seen recently - just 80 Atlantic Canada Geese.


Being in North Bucks, I decided to spend the remaining hours of daylight in North Bedfordshire, with the sole aim of finding Red-crested Pochard and Pintail......

Harrold-Odell lake was full of wildfowl including no less than 126 Mute Swans (including orange-ringed adults numbers '387' and '392'), 91 Atlantic Canada Geese, 89 Wigeon, 48 Mallard, 38 Gadwall, 44 Tufted Duck and 7 Great Crested Grebes. Highlight was another pair of GOOSANDERS. No Red-crested Pochards though.


On the Viaduct Pit at the west end (TL 004 587), I did not find the two drake Pintails of last Sunday but did find 2 adult drake RED-CRESTED POCHARDS. Feasting on the beet thrown out for them at the SW end were 3 EGYPTIAN GEESE, 2 Bar-headed Geese and a large number of Wigeon and Teal, whilst Mute Swan numbers here peaked at 36, with 73 on neighbouring Pit 5 and 15 more on additional pits. A few Shoveler were also seen.


The rain returned in the late afternoon so I decided to give up but was pleased to see a LITTLE EGRET on the roadside pits as I drove along the Kempston Bypass.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Neighboring rares in Oxfordshire and a gull-feast at Hedgerley


The fierce Northwesterly wind had dropped overnight and had moderated down to little more than a force 3. It was still cold though and very grey and overcast........

Having survived my eight days ''Round Britain Tour'' and feeling over the moon at connecting with my first-ever Little Auk in Buckinghamshire, I spent part of today birding in Oxfordshire, where two ''first-rate rarities'' were on offer in the form of a GREY PHALAROPE and an overwintering TEMMINCK'S STINT. On the way back, I stopped off to survey the landfill gulls at Hedgerley..........


The GREY PHALAROPE present since Friday was showing exceptionally well on Farmoor I, favouring the east bank and literally the section adjacent to the main car park. It was continuously covering a 200 yard stretch of reservoir, culminating in reaching the feather flotsam washing up against the 'pier'. It would then fly back and follow the same routine over and over again. the views were exceptional - down to just 10 yards - and an assortment of photographers were having a field day.

the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was also present on Farmoor I, as well as 25 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Little Grebes, whilst neighbouring Farmoor II held just 4 Common Goldeneye (2 drakes) and 15 Tufted Ducks; Cormorant, Coot and Pied Wagtail were recorded also


With Tar Lakes, this nature reserve is a 30 hectare site incorporating three lakes that are being managed by Smiths Bletchington for the benefit of wildlife. It is situated on Cogges Lane, accessed from the east end of Witney.

An unseasonal TEMMINCK'S STINT has been present here since its discovery on Saturday and today was showing well on the narrow strips of emergent vegetation at the north end of the lake. It was often bullied by a much larger male Pied Wagtail and was the only wader to be found at the site.

Also seen were Great Crested and Little Grebes, 8 Cormorant, 1 Common Shelduck, 59 Wigeon, 13 Common Teal, 11 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, 20 Tufted Duck, 6 Northern Pochard, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Common Treecreeper, 5 Redwing and 8 Long-tailed Tits.


What was presumably last winter's returning DIPPER was showing exceptionally well this afternoon on the River Windrush just downstream of the mill at New Mill, about 1.5 miles west of Witney.


This last week, refuse is being dumped at the west end of the landfill and this area can easily be overlooked from the isolated conifer plantation, 250 yards south of the M40 and adjacent to the footpath that runs down the western flank of the council site.

I pitched up at about 1400 hours to find several thousand gulls present - in fact over 4,500 birds. As they were feeding over the newly arrived rubbish, the views were very good and many birds were flighting to an adjacent sandy ridge to roost and preen. Most impressive was the presence of no less than 147 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS - a scarce species in my area.

I 'scoped back and forth and eventually located a selection of rare birds amongst the throng; a juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL was quickly followed by a very white, pale-based billed 2nd-winter ICELAND GULL, whilst of three different adult-type CASPIAN GULLS present was a green-ringed individual, presumably of Polish origin. There were also a large number of Herring Gulls present, many adult Argenteus now completely white-hooded in appearance, with 1,400 or more present including over half that number being juveniles. Perhaps just 20% were streak-hooded northern Argentatus. There were very few Lesser Black-backed Gulls present - just 37 - and not one Common Gull.

Just 3 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS were picked out - two first-winters and a third-winter - with the rest of the throng being made up of about 2,900 Black-headed Gulls.

Other scavenging species included 57 Red Kites and an array of corvids whilst 5 Linnets, 15 Chaffinches, 17 Pied Wagtails, Fieldfare and my first Bucks Meadow Pipit of the year was noted

Chris Hazell drove down and joined me at about 1600 hours and caught the tail-end of the flock before they were all frightened away from the tip by loud bird-scarers. He managed to see the Iceland Gull but everything else scattered

North Bucks birding today

The Little Auk's rather predictable demise meant that I had a day to wander around north Bucks, which I did, managing to see a few half decent birds.

At Foxcote, very little of note, other than 4 Pintail (3m 1f) and 15 Goldeneye. Seems to be fewer Wigeon here than in previous years.

At Backwood, I finally caught up with the CROSSBILLS, 10 of which were around Woburn GC clubhouse, with a further two near the game strip. The Chaffinch flock was very flighty, but there was at least 1 BRAMBLING amongst them. Also c25 Siskin.

At Emberton, 16 Goosander (10m 6f) were a splendid sight on such a small lake. Much better than seeing them at a distance on a choppy Willen south.

At Linford, the WILLOW TIT was showing well from the woodland hide, along with 2 Marsh Tits. The GREAT WHITE EGRET was seen today by others on site, and the usual pre-roost of Fieldfares contained about 350 birds. Best of all, a BITTERN flew across the lake at 4.45pm and went to roost at the edge of the reeds on the north shore, visible from the near hide.

The bund at Linford looks great at the moment, with all the vegetation cleared. Alan and the FoHESC have done an excellent job. Now all it needs is to be made twice as big! There were lots of ducks on site, especially Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Pochard. No Shoveler though.

Rob Hill

Yippee - first RUDDY DUCKS in Bucks for two years

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

ICELAND GULL this evening

Steve Rodwell and Warren Claydon saw an ICELAND GULL in the Calvert roost this evening

Sunday, 8 January 2012

GOOSANDERS in West Bucks

I saw 11 GOOSANDERS this morning, 5 males and 6 females. Michael Hunt has reported 11 also, but 8 males and 3 females. Mine were not in Stowe Gardens, but on a small lake behind Stowe Castle, so possibly a different group. This suggests that there are at least 14 in the area (8 males, and 6 females)and maybe as many as 22 (Phil Tizzard)

Friday, 6 January 2012

North Bucks today

Broughton Grounds early today, 23 Grey Partridge (coveys of 17 and 6 ), 8 Red-legged Partridge, 100 plus Linnets, 50 plus Skylarks,

Willen lunchtime,Cettis Warbler, NW corner of North Lake, Common Redshank, on spit, Water Rail, in front of Hide, Little Egret,on island, 6 Common Snipe, left of Hide, Drake Goosander, South Lake, 5 Goldeneye,

South Lake, Pinkie the Pinkfoot near Bandstand and an injured near adult Yellow-legged Gull feeding with the ducks near the mini-golf park.

Rob Norris

Sunday, 1 January 2012



A considerably mild start to the year with temperatures reaching 13 degrees C. The day was mainly overcast with light rain for a time.

A total of 234 species was recorded in Britain and Ireland today, following last year's record total of 453 - a New Forest Dark-eyed Junco of 24 & 30 December being a belated addition.

As I had been partying for most of the night, my birding today was restricted to just local. I didn't start until 0930 hours so reaching 72 species by nightfall was reasonable I suppose (including 64 species in Bucks and 55 in Herts)..........


In the vicinity of the garden first thing noted House Sparrow (30), Common Magpie (2), Carrion Crow, Common Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove and Blue Tit


All 4 COMMON TEAL were still present on the lake (3 drakes), along with the Little Grebe and 2 Mute Swans. A pair of GREY WAGTAILS was on the river, whilst Mallard, Robin, Wren, Moorhen and Jackdaw were also seen. The first of several singing male Song Thrushes of the day was noted whilst a further pair of Mute Swans was on the Chess by Church Covert.

At LATIMER, a flock of 116 Atlantic Canada Geese was in the fields

BOIS MILL POND added a further pair of Mute Swans, as well as the regular adult Continental Cormorant (sinensis) perched aloft the island tree; Long-tailed Tits were by the brook

A quick circuit from WATERCRESS COTTAGE around to CHESHAM FISHING LAKES yielded 3 more singing male Song Thrushes, Dunnock, Wren, 4 Robins, Rooks (inspecting the nests), 14 Redwing, Grey Heron and 3 Red Kites. The lakes held 4 Mute Swans (2 first-years), 1 Canada Goose, 37 Mallard, 16 Tufted Ducks, 10 Coot, 6 Moorhens and 73 Black-headed Gulls, the latter commuting to the sewage works.


I had a quick check of the large stubble field in School Lane where the flock of wintering YELLOWHAMMERS were still present - 70 seen with little effort; also Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Common Pheasant

SHARDELOES LAKE was pretty dire, mainly because of serious disturbance from New Year ramblers, but it was nice to see all 8 Mute Swans together, before the cob clears them all off this spring. Up to 50 Fieldfares were also still in the area.


No New Years Day is complete for me without a visit to my main local patch and it gave me an excuse to do my first January count of the year as well as connecting with the major rares still left over from yesterday. Other than the wintering Water Pipit and a visiting Peregrine, it was a clean sheet.

I met up with my very good friend Darrel Bryant at Startop's and we birded the reservoirs together; I also saw both Roy and Ian as well as over 25 other regulars and visitors.

At STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the most celebrated local bird of 2011 was still present - the first-winter male SNOW BUNTING. Today it was showing as well as ever and was frequenting the north shoreline by the steps in the NW corner. Three Pied Wagtails were also in this vicinity.

Waterbird-wise we had 1 Little Grebe, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Mute Swans (3 first-years), 27 Atlantic Canada Geese (marked arrival of this species), 93 Mallard, 17 Wigeon, 15 Common Teal, 42 Gadwall, 53 Tufted Duck, 11 Pochard, 289 Coot and 13 Moorhens.

A scan of the roosting Black-headed Gull flock on the mud and islands produced the wintering adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL (just before it flew off west at 1030 hours) and 3 adult Common Gulls.

TRINGFORD RESERVOIR was pretty scant - the usual 2 Mute Swans, 54 Coot and a few ducks. By the fisherman's car park, 35 Fieldfares were flying down to the field to feed.

A small crowd of observers were standing on the causeway overlooking MARSWORTH RESERVOIR reedbed and thanks to Roy, I was able to see both JACK and COMMON SNIPE huddled in a roost up against the reedbed (the mud is rapidly disappearing). Most unexpectedly, 2 JACK SNIPES was present - both violently 'bobbing' - as well as 3 COMMON SNIPES.

The reservoir held 5 Great Crested Grebes and 33 Shoveler, with both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker and 2 Grey Wagtails in the area.

Although we (and everybody else it seems) failed to locate the wintering Water Pipit, it was pleasing to find that the first-winter DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE had survived into the New Year - still mixing with the 73 Greylag Geese and 29 Atlantic Canada Geese in the roadside fields to the east of the reservoir.

A half-hearted check of the water harboured 8 Great Crested Grebes, the continuing Little Grebe, just 5 Mute Swans, 240 Wigeon, 330 Common Teal, 53 Shoveler, 77 Tufted Duck, 97 Pochard and best of all, the 7 COMMON GOLDENEYES in one group (two adult drakes).

Additional fare included a single LITTLE EGRET, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 11 Common Blackbirds in the Orchard area and the flock of 54 Linnets by the Drayton Hide


Moving on to Wendover Hale, it was very nice to bump into Simon Gardner's wife Lynsey and her friend and putting a face to those that kindly tipped me off about the COMMON CROSSBILL flock. Being limited in time today, I stayed around just long enough to see a single flock of 16 birds - all still favouring the cone crop in the stand of conifers by the turnaround, seemingly 700 yards from the access gate at Forestry Cottages. An adult male put on a great show for us, perched out in the open at the top of the tree for 15 minutes or more. John Foster got some nice shots (see above).

I was also very pleased to find a MARSH TIT by the Forestry Cottages, whilst Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 9 Coal Tits, Great Tit and 7 Goldcrests were also noted.


Following up from Mike Wallen's post, both resident pair of PEREGRINES were showing well at the Council Buildings and displaying.


At least 25 House Sparrows counted in the hamlet, with 2 Collared Doves and 6 Red Kites also.


Spent over 90 minutes searching for both Hen Harrier and Merlin but to no avail - only raptors being seen were Common Kestrel, 3 Common Buzzards and 8 Red Kites.

COMMON RAVENS were good value as usual with at least 8 individuals seen, as well as 12 Stock Doves in one flock, a flyover flock of 125 European Golden Plovers, numerous Common Starling and Fieldfare and 23 Eurasian Skylarks.

LINNETS were fairly abundant with a single flock numbering 190 birds.


Being a Sunday and the landfill closed, gull numbers were pretty low. Despite that, there was still a good variety, including a probable adult CASPIAN GULL, 2 adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS, 5 Great Black-backed Gulls, 132 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 31 Herring Gulls (predominantly Argentatus) and an adult Common Gull. Most surprising was the number of laridophiles on site including Ian Lewington, Warren Claydon, Steve Rodwell and Jon Holt.

In addition to the pre-roosting gulls, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Cormorant, 26 Mallard, 27 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, 3 Pochard and 32 Coot were counted.


Continuing north and east, I eventually reached Caldecotte Lakes. The long-staying juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER that I had initially found at Stewartby Lake in November was still present and showing well from the bypass. It was at the northern end of the South Lake.

There was an impressive gull roost here, including 7 adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS, whilst waterbirds counted included 28 Great Crested Grebes (largest number in Bucks?), 23 Mute Swans, 18 Canada Geese and 54 roosting Cormorants; also 128 Coot and 22 Tufted Ducks.


Thanks to Simon Nichols, I was able to make a hasty retreat to Willen North Basin where I quickly connected with the beautiful adult drake SMEW - presumably the bird from Caldecotte and present for five days. It was swimming with dabbling ducks to the east of the spit.

With light fading fast, I undertook a full count of both the North and South Basins resulting in totals of just 21 Great Crested Grebes, 58 roosting Cormorants, an impressive 144 Mute Swans (including 133 on the South Basin), 70 Canada Geese, 28 Greylag Geese, 86 Mallard, 40 Gadwall, 66 Teal, 193 Wigeon, 16 Shoveler, just 38 Tufted Duck, 17 Pochard, 8 Common Goldeneye, NO Goosander, 517 Coot and 397 Lapwings.


As dusk approached, I visited Linford in the hope of counting the egrets roosting. As it was, I arrived too late and they had all disappeared into thick cover. Interestingly, Linford's Great White Egret was intercepted by Neil Wright at Brogborough Lake this morning, constituting the very FIRST record for Bedfordshire. It remained on view for just 3 minutes before heading back in the direction of Milton Keynes.

I counted 54 Mute Swans on Linford but did not see a single Barn or Short-eared Owl along Swans Way as darkness fell......