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

Saturday, 31 March 2012

DARK-BELLIED BRENT at Jubilee River, Taplow

Kevin Duncan relocated the Summerleaze Pit (Maidenhead) DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE this afternoon with Greylag Geese at Jubilee River Amerden (Marsh Lane) opp Taplow Lak

Thursday, 29 March 2012


29/3 14:30 : Lesser Spotted Woodpecker : Gerrards Cross. Calling and drumming from woodland bordering railway track backing onto large garden (Rob Andrews)

More ROOKERY surveying


Another glorious day with high pressure firmly established across the country. Afternoon temperatures reached 66 degrees F once more although the light breeze was now coming from a NE direction. Most migrating birds seem to be going straight through........


My first singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF of the year


The LITTLE OWL was in its favoured Pollarded Willow, with Common Buzzards displaying and a party of 3 Linnets over; also a pair of YELLOWHAMMERS coming down for a drink in the Chess


Finally caught up with the pair of MARSH TITS in the wood, the male in full song; also 8 singing Goldcrests, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Jays and a singing male Mistle Thrush


Most unusual was the presence of 9 Mute Swans, along with a pair of Greylag Geese, pair of Tufted Duck and 2 singing male Common Chiffchaffs.

Nearby along Northfield Road, a flock of 70 Linnets was in the large field just north of Tring Station


A single EURASIAN CURLEW was present on the main marsh at College for just over half an hour but then flew high NE (per Joan Thompson)


A dead Badger was besides the road at Cemetery Corner

Very quiet on Wilstone with 34 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, 12 Gadwall, 3 drake Wigeon, 11 Teal, 14 Shoveler, 240 Tufted Duck, 9 Pochard and the pair of OYSTERCATCHERS noted


In WEST WYCOMBE PARK (SU 833 936), 33 active nests, whilst at HAZEL GROVE, CLAYHILL (SU 833 909), a further 44. In trees opposite WESTSIDE FRUIT LTD FARM SHOP IN CLAY LANE, CLAYHILL, another 39 active nests. Lastly, 25 more nests just north of the M40 at WHEELER END.


No sign of the Little Ringed Plovers on site, just a single COMMON REDSHANK.

Also 14 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Egyptian Geese, 12 Gadwall, drake Wigeon, 12 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 2 COMMON SHELDUCK, 42 Tufted Duck, 31 Lapwing, 48 Herring Gulls, 4 singing Common Chiffchaffs and 3 singing male Blackcaps; also Brimstone butterflies on the wing.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


At Rammamere Heath this evening, 1 singing Willow Warbler (my favourite moment of spring is always hearing that cascadent song for the first time). Also of note there, the FC have cleared extensive areas of conifers between the Great Brickhill-Heath & Reach road and the current heath. This clearfell area is currently fenced off, but as the intention is to return it to heathland, hopefully it will develop as such over the next few years, and attract Woodlarks, Tree Pipits and the like. Such habitat is incredibly rare in Bucks as a whole, I think, so fingers crossed for the future.

At lunchtime, a quick recce with Simon Nichols turned up 2 Grey Partridge at Broughton Grounds, 1 Snipe & 4 Teal at Magna Park, and 1 LRP and 1 Green Sand at Willen Road excavations (Rob Hill)

Monday, 26 March 2012

More survey work on crests and Rooks......


The gorgeous summer-type weather continued today with a light SE breeze and wall-to-wall sunshine culminating in another top temperature of 66 degrees F.

Although most of the day was spent surveying, a brief visit to Tring Reservoirs finally pushed my tally through the 100 species barrier......


Spring is well and truly underway with bird song seemingly everywhere. The Brickpits were alive with activity and although I failed to find yesterday's Willow Warbler, no less than 8 Common Chiffchaffs were in full song. A nice male Blackcap was showing well too.

Otherwise, the site yielded Red Kite, 3 Green Woodpeckers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2+ Nuthatch, 2 Song Thrushes, 5 Common Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin pair, 2 Wrens, singing male Goldcrest, BULLFINCH and 6 Linnets. Butterflies on the wing included COMMA and Small Tortoiseshell.


That at Chessbury has now increased to 44 active nests whilst the colony besides the A413 just south of Great Missenden (at SU 905 996) now holds 15 nests. In the town centre by the church (SU 894 014), one tree holds 16 nests, whilst further north just before the A413 enters the Wendover Bypass, 29 active nests were counted at SU 873 066. A singing male Common Chiffchaff was also at the latter site.


Spent three hours surveying Coxgrove Wood, Smalldene Farm, both High and Low Scrubs, Upper Bacombe, Bacombe Warren and Bacombe Hill Nature Reserve. Although Dave Cleal and I found Firecrest in this area last year, my visit today resulted in a blank sweep. In fact, despite a massive area of suitable fir woodland covered, just 2 Goldcrests were found. A total of 5 singing male Common Chiffchaffs was noted, with 6 Nuthatches, 2 Jays, Common Treecreeper and a single MARSH TIT (High Scrubs). A pair of BULLFINCH was in 'Upper Verney' garden, with 18 Carrion Crows in one group in a neighbouring field.

Numerous butterflies were on the wing including Green-veined White, Peacock and 4 Brimstones.


Did a full and comprehensive survey of all of the southern part of the forest - beginning at 1330 hours and finishing just over two hours later. Perhaps it was the time of the day but it was real hard work. I managed to find just 5 FIRECRESTS (4 singing males), with 1 close to the Hale entrance gate on the main drove, two males in a usual area not far from the hide and a pair in a new area east of the fort. Steve Rodwell had fared much better yesterday, recording no less than 9 singing males.

GOLDCRESTS were far more numerous with no less than 11 singing males counted.

At the Keeper's Cottages at the Hale entrance, a gorgeous male BRAMBLING was in full song, with two more females with Chaffinches in the same area. SISKINS were seemingly everywhere and in constant display throughout the wood, whilst 2 COMMON CROSSBILLS flew over near Post 9.

Three Nuthatches, 9 Coal Tits, 2 MARSH TITS (singles at the Hale and another near 'Picket Piece') and a singing male BLACKCAP were also encountered, whilst a TAWNY OWL hooted in the warmth of the afternoon sun at 1503 hours. Lots of butterflies again, with 3 COMMAS, Small Tortoiseshell and up to 6 Brimstones.


Following a call from Dave Hutchinson, arrived at Wilstone at 1545 hours - a flock of LITTLE GULLS had flown in on the southeasterly. Initially, 16 birds was present, but this soon increased to 20, including four adults in full breeding plumage and a single first-year. The remaining birds were a mixture of white-headed adults and third-years. This was my largest flock in quite a while at Wilstone and I immediately updated RBA and David Bilcock. Francis Buckle and Jack O'Neill soon turned up and the flock were still present when I departed (1615). According to Charlie Jackson, both he and Mike Wallen watched the flock get intimidated by a Lesser Black-backed Gull not long later and this forced them all to fly off strongly east towards Ivinghoe Beacon. Chaz then discovered a further single early evening.

Also on Wilstone Reservoir were 21 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Mute Swans, 15 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 2 drake Wigeon, 12 Shoveler, all 10 remaining Common Goldeneyes, 4 Little Egrets and the 2 OYSTERCATCHERS. A full breeding-plumaged adult Common Gull flew through.


New birds for me for 2012 included a pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and a splendid adult male WHITE WAGTAIL, both species joining the pair of RINGED PLOVER and the near summer-plumaged WATER PIPIT


Again, no sign of the Willow Warbler seen by Chris Pontin here on Friday, just 2 singing male Common Chiffchaffs and the resident pair of Common Kestrels


BRAMBLINGS were in fine fettle and making a cacophony of nasal sounds. At least 36 birds were still utilising the site for roosting, initially arriving in the tall fir trees at the west end of the main circuit before flighting down towards the Penna Rhododendrons to roost. Many of the males were in outstanding condition and the birds were feeding on seeds in the conifers.

Four COMMON CROSSBILLS were in the tall pines along the western perimeter trail including a female with a bulging lower mandible.

A male BLACKCAP was also noted, 4 different male Common Chiffchaffs, 8 singing male Goldcrests, Nuthatch, 6 Coal Tits and 3 singing male Song Thrushes.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Migrants pouring in

A SANDWICH TERN flew in to Bucks early morning as it departed Wilstone (Mike Wallen) whilst Jeff Bailey discovered a male RING OUZEL in Inkombe Hole, Steps Hill, late afternoon. The first WILLOW WARBLERS have been seen.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

2012 Crest Survey Part 1


Today was glorious through and through. After a very light frost overnight, the day dawned clear and bright and stayed very much like that for the rest of the day. There was a light westerly wind blowing and temperatures climbed to a very pleasant 12 degrees C.

I had reserved today for crest surveying and teamed up with Dave Cleal at Cliveden mid-morning. Despite much Cherry Laurel clearing being undertaken, we had a very successful first days outing, recording no less than 11 singing male FIRECRESTS and 13 Goldcrests........


Both Dave and I have been surveying the Cliveden Estate for some years now and with the Spring Solstice now upon us, I felt it time that we had a concerted effort to record numbers

Walking from south to north, we surveyed all suitable woodland, recording no less than 13 FIRECRESTS, of which 11 were singing males. Literally within minutes of us starting by the composting area, we had seen birds, with a pair affording outstanding views, the female observed extracting seeds from a small cone. This area held five birds, all in Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziessi, Atlas Cedar Cedrus atlantica and Holly.

A further 4 birds (3 males) were located in Norway Spruce Picea abies trees along the Woodland Workout Trim Trial Area adjacent to the Green Drive, then 3 singing males in the tall firs by Cliveden House itself and a further very confiding singing male in the Water Gardens

At the same time, exactly the same number of GOLDCRESTS were sighted (13), with 6 in the vicinity of Green Drive and 6 more within fairly close proximity of Cliveden House

The woodland/parkland habitat was particularly attractive to bird species with 16 Nuthatches recorded, 11 Common Treecreepers, 4 Jays, Song Thrush, 5 Coal Tits, 14 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, a calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, 3 SISKINS, a male Greenfinch, 6 pairs of Mistle Thrush and 8 Stock Doves. Three different singing male BLACKCAPS were also encountered but not a single Common Chiffchaff.

As we were just about to leave, a Red Kite flew overhead carrying a Grass Snake in its talons !

Next off we checked a couple of nearby woodland tracts - HEDSOR PARK and WOOLMAN'S WOOD in HEDSOR. The first was very unsuitable with extensive Cherry Laurel and Rhododendron growth - 4 migrant MEADOW PIPITS overhead being all that was noted.

At WOOLMAN'S WOOD (SU 915 865), where Dave and I had found Firecrest last autumn, none were located - just 2 singing male Goldcrests.

In trees almost opposite Hedsor Farmhouse, a male BRAMBLING was nasally 'sneezing', with at least two more in Larches within the wood. Other finches included 14 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch, 10+ SISKINS and 3+ LESSER REDPOLLS, whilst 2 Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Wren and Coal Tit were all recorded. A single COMMON CROSSBILL was heard but not seen.

Just yards into South Bucks west of the river Colne at TQ 044 883 (Denham), the roadside ROOKERY there held 14 active nests.


My only incursion into Hertfordshire today was a brief visit to Woodoaks Farm, where superb views were obtained of a beautiful adult male BLACK REDSTART around the barns and farm machinery at the north end of the complex - my third in the county in two days.


Just 1 SAND MARTIN was back at what is the best site for this species in the county, along with 11 migrant FIELDFARES that flew Northeast


Despite watching from 1800 to 1855 hours, there was no sign of the resident Barn Owl - just 1 hooting Tawny Owl and 4 Egyptian Geese

Monday, 19 March 2012

First LITTLE RINGED PLOVER of the year

Late afternoon at Willen Road GPs: 1 Green Sandpiper,1 Snipe, 15 plus pairs Lapwing. It looks as though this site is being filled back in so another MK site being lost.

Then at Gayhurst Quarry, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank and a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER; also on site still 200 plus Wigeon and a Grey Wagtail

Rob Norris

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Another 'ROCKIT'

Ted Reed found yet another SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT this morning - this one at Foxcote Reservoir (on the dam)

Meanwhile, lots more NORTHERN WHEATEARS arrived today (see John Foster's lovely shot of a male above) and the 2 adult MEDITERRANEAN GULLS were again at Spade Oak (Alan Stevens)

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Scandinavian Rock Pipit photographed at Startop's End Reservoir today (John Foster)


A band of rain crossed the region for the best part of three hours early morning eventually clearing away to leave a fine day. The wind remained in the Southwest and it was quite chilly early on, warming up during the afternoon.

Northern Wheatears seemed to have arrived in good numbers overnight, my tally by the end of the day being 16. Tring Reservoirs saw an arrival of ROCK PIPITS.........


My first port of call was Norton Green where with Tony Hukin and another lad, we enjoyed good views of two male NORTHERN WHEATEARS and a female COMMON STONECHAT in scrub just south of the gypsy encampment. A migrant Song Thrush was also noted (with a resident bird singing nearby), as well as 15 Common Blackbirds, 3 Yellowhammers and a pair of Red-legged Partridges.


A pair of COMMON RAVENS were busy making plans for nesting whilst Rook nests censused included 42 active ones in Whitwell and a further 54 in the grounds of Kimpton Grange.


A single Little Egret and GREEN SANDPIPER was noted on the main river just south of the bridge


In drizzly conditions, the two male NORTHERN WHEATEARS were feeding together in the upper section of the paddocks.


After searching an area of farmland previously inhabited by the species, I was very pleased to find a pair of EURASIAN CURLEWS - my first in the county this year. The same field also held a pair of GREY PARTRIDGES and shortly later, a COMMON RAVEN flew in. The latter was then 'attacked' by a mob of Carrion Crows, forcing it to eventually fly off.


Not much to speak of, apart from a drake Goldeneye, 37 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a migrating flock of 120 Fieldfares. Four Sand Martins were present briefly.


I covered the area between the car park and Gallows Hill to the east, finding 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS in the sheep field just beyond the pens. One was a nice male and the other two females. A flock of 8 Meadow Pipits was also in the sheep field, and 15 Common Gulls.


Two more NORTHERN WHEATEARS, a male and a female, were discovered just SW of the main car park, with then a further 7 birds at the edge of the large fields and on Pitstone Hill proper 500 yards further on.

Skylarks were seemingly everywhere with no less than 60 encountered, including 25 singing males, with several Yellowhammers, a flock of 4 CORN BUNTINGS, a pair of Red-legged Partridges and a pair of Long-tailed Tits


At WILSTONE mid-afternoon, the DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE was on the bund, with 9 Eurasian Wigeon still present. As Dave Hutchinson and Lucy Flower walked towards the jetty in front of Ted Reed and myself, both the WATER PIPIT and SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT flew up calling from the reservoir edge and were watched in flight for several minutes. A single Meadow Pipit was also seen and a bit later, a party of 7 SAND MARTINS arrived, gradually moving from the jetty area to over by the hide.


The OYSTERCATCHER was still present on the mud and showing well, along with the Red-crested Pochard pair and 3 Wigeon. The Pied Wagtail flock still numbered 27, with 3 Grey Wagtails but it was the six pipits present that were causing all of the interest - all being seen from the hide.

Two birds were SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPITS in slightly different stages of moult, one having traces of summer plumage. Three more were Meadow Pipits (one quite scruffy and in moult) whilst every now and again, the WATER PIPIT would fly in from Wilstone after being flushed. The two ROCK PIPITS afforded a superb performance, feeding right in front of the hide, allowing John Foster, Dave Bilcock, Dave H and Lucy to obtain some quality pictures (see selection above) and Roy some lengthy video sequences. Both birds were different to the Wilstone Rock Pipit.

On neighbouring MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, the CETTI'S WARBLER released a few snatches of song

Frustratingly, half an hour after I departed the reservoirs, DB and others recorded a CURLEW on the bund in front of the hide at Wilstone

Friday, 16 March 2012

Little Marlow shines through the murk


A very grey and dreary day with very little brightness. Despite a SW wind, temperatures were pegged well back and struggled to reach 8 degrees C by mid afternoon. I expected little to be happening but was surprised, particularly by the first real rush of Northern Wheatears.....


Alan Stevens very kindly texted me early on to say that the SANDWICH TERN was still present. Having missed it yesterday, I was most keen to connect and after battling my way through the school traffic, eventually arrived on site at 0922 hours. The bird was still there and in Alan's 'scope ! I had a quick glance and then located it in my own. It was roosting in with the Black-headed and Common Gulls and was in full 'shaggy crested' summer plumage. It was my first of the year and a very welcome county year tick - this species can be particularly tricky to see locally each year. It remained in situ for about 15 minutes before the flock were rudely interrupted by two low-swooping Red Kites. It then flew with the entire mass but returned fairly quickly to the spit. About 20 minutes later, the episode was repeated by two Common Buzzards, and this time all of the gulls and the Sandwich Tern flew off high east at 1010 hours. It seemed to have gone.........

Other species encountered included 9 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Egyptian Geese, a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, 5 Eurasian Wigeon, 10 Common Teal, 16 Gadwall, 4 Northern Pochard, 12 Shoveler, 39 Lapwings, 57 Herring Gulls (virtually all first-years), 15 Red Kite and 12 migrant Redwings.


Had another check of the ROOKERY and found 54 nests active


Flushed with the success of the Sandwich Tern, I was hoping for something new at the reservoirs but it was deadly - nothing new whatsoever really.

On the mud at STARTOP'S END, the OYSTERCATCHER was having a bath at the water's edge, with 17 Pied Wagtails still there and the pair of Red-crested Pochards. MARSWORTH was relatively birdless - just 2 Mute Swans and 6 Great Crested Grebes.

Highlight at WILSTONE was finally connecting with the resident MARSH TIT - the bird showing well and calling frequently just by the entrance gate to the orchard. Seemingly new in was a singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF in the eastern hedgerow in the extreme SE corner.

Both the DARK-BELLIED BRENT and WATER PIPIT were still present, along with 27 Shoveler, a pair of Wigeon and 4 Little Egrets. A Common Treecreeper was in the Poplars in the SE corner.


JT phoned me whilst I was at Wilstone to say that John Edwards had located a drake Ferruginous Duck at Broadwater. Being with Tufted Ducks, I fully expected it to be the drake both Joan and I recently enjoyed great views of at Bray GP near Maidenhead. Anyway, got there in about half an hour and eventually located it in the area of the first wooded island - in fact the former Little Egret roost-site. It had a 'perfect' body and rear end but when I saw the head and bill, I felt deflated. It was yet another 'Fudgie-hybrid', this time possibly with a Ring-necked Duck ! The head shape was 'naff' and the basal colour very dark with a hint of dark green but the bill was the nail in the coffin - it had a gleaming white 'ring' around the base of the bill and an extensive amount of white on a sky-blue on the upper mandible; it also had extensive black flanging to the nail. Presumably an escape.

Three GOOSANDER were on the lake (2 adult drakes), whilst at least 8 pairs of Black-headed Gull were utilising the tern rafts and a pair of Oystercatchers flew over calling. A single Common Chiffchaff was singing from the tall trees on the causeway.

Anyway, whilst updating the various news services, news came in that Dave Parmenter had found a SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT in South Bucks - at Spade Oak again ! A swift exodus followed........


Arrived back at Spade Oak at around 1245 hours, where I joined Adam Bassett and Bill Stacey (and latterly Graham Smith and Jackie Newcombe). The SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT was on the spit and skulking in some longer grass just where the spit meets the reedbed. It was loosely associating with a young male Pied Wagtail and two male Reed Buntings - most likley all migrant birds freshly arrived. Although difficult to see initially, the pipit eventually flew out on to the open spit and afforded some excellent views, latterly literally just beyond the sandy edge. It was moulting well towards spring plumage and already had a nice pale grey head and ear-coverts and salmon-pink underparts. The white orbital ring was there, with the white supercilium running between the lores and the eye. The breast was still heavily sullied and still quite densely streaked but with gleaming white undertail coverts and buffish wingbars. The upperparts were fairly concolorous, with the mantle and back quite olive-tinged (Water Pipit has a nice soft brown back and mantle). Another great bird to get in Bucks - I'm very lucky if I get one per year on average.

Also newly arrived was a singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF

Just as I was talking to Graham at 1322 hours, news came through of an AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Broom GP in Bedfordshire. I was off..........


Richard Bashford had discovered the Nearctic Teal on his lunchbreak and was still present on my arrival at 1530 hours. It was actually residing on a small reed-fringed pool to the east of Gypsy Lane, directly opposite the south end of the west pit on the opposite side of the road. It was showing well and consorting with 11 Common Teal. MJP, Pip, Jim Gurney, Martin Stevens, Lol Carman and Bob Chalkley were all present and the bird remained intermittently in view until at least 1600 hours.

NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL is a rare vagrant to Bedfordshire and this drake represents only the 8th county record - the previous were as follows -:

1) A drake at Radwell GP on late afternoon and evening 12 April 1987;
2) A drake visited Luton Hoo on 8 February 1995;
3) A drake remained at Dunstable Sewage Works from 2-16 April 1996;
4) A drake was present at Radwell's Viaduct Pit on 10-11 February 2002;
5) 2003 saw two records with a drake at Warren Villas on 12-13 January and another at Harrold-Odell Country Park on the last day of the year on 31 December; The latter remained on site until 4 January 2004;
7) Radwell Viaduct Pit attracted another drake on 15 February 2009.

This pit and the adjacent flashes also yielded a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK, 8 Shoveler and 2 Ringed Plover whilst PEACOCK'S LAKE produced a female-type GOOSANDER and the female RED-CRESTED POCHARD.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon 'dipping' and failing in my quest to find any more migrants

OCTAGON FARM held 225 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS but no Green Sandpipers

ROOKERY censusing found 58 active nests at Bedford Football Club, with an additional 19 by the nearby bypass roundabout, a grand total of 153 nests in the Stewartby area (12 by the landfill and 141 near Martin Green's house at the lake) and a further 33 nests at Brogborough village.

At MARSTON VALE, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was watched demolishing new nestboxes in the small plantation by the sewage treatment works compound. It was enlarging the holes by bashing all of the wood away and had done this on 5 of the newly erected boxes. Interestingly, as I went closer to inspect the damage, a female Great Spot flew out of one of the boxes so perhaps they were enlarging the holes to make way for roosting !

I then went down to BLOWS DOWNS PADDOCKS but could not find the two male Northern Wheatears seen earlier. Try again tomorrow

Thursday, 15 March 2012

First SANDWICH TERN of the year

15/3 13:30 : SANDWICH TERN : Little Marlow GP. First seen at 15:15 flying around the pit then settled on the spit allowing a few locals to see it. Alan Stevens

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

MEGA - First-ever RED-THROATED DIVER for College Lake


Well for most of the day, it was grey, overcast, dull and cool. There was little if any wind and visibility was poor over any sort of distance.. At around midday, the sun started to burn through and a lot of the low cloud started to clear - temperatures increased to about 10 degrees C and eventually the afternoon was quite pleasant, with bright sunshine and clearing skies.

Sometime in the early afternoon I received a call from Mike Collard informing me that Paul Reed had discovered a 'diver species' at College Lake BBOWT - most likely a RED-THROATED - a local mega. At the same time I was also being bombarded with news of rare birds all over the area, including a drake Garganey and 2 Pied Avocets at Amwell (per Barry Reed, Mike Ilett), a Common Stonechat at Batford (Darin Stanley) and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Caldecotte North (per Ted Reed). The diver was by far the most important and that is where I made a beeline for............


I arrived on site at about 1600 hours immediately connecting with the now confirmed RED-THROATED DIVER in the car park, courtesy of Simon Nicholl's telescope. The 13-mile journey had taken me over 45 minutes, mainly because it had coincided with school leaving time and BCC were undertaking numerous pothole repairs on the Wigginton road. I was particularly frustrated and anxious, as both JT and SN had warned me that the bird was flying around and seemingly trying to leave.

Anyhow, I was very lucky - the bird had stayed. I joined Jeff Bailey, JT and Anna Marett and together we all walked down to the reserve Octagon Hide, where Roy Hargreaves, Mike Collard and Dave Parmenter were getting much better views. I had also briefly seen the finder Paul Reed by the centre. I was just setting my 'scope up when yet again the bird took flight - and circled the pit three times gradually gaining height before flying back down again and splash-landing. The bird looked up occasionally as it circled round, perhaps peering in all directions to see how clear the sky was; it was still pretty misty to the north.

The bird put down back on the main pit and allowed closer scrutiny. To my surprise, it was an adult in near full breeding plumage, with an extensive deep red throat-line and some neat striping on the hindneck. Most of the head was pale grey too although the mantle, upperwings and sides were largely still in winter plumage, noticeably chequered. It dived frequently, staying down for 20 seconds or more, and also snorkelled (looking underwater for food). I did not see it perform a successful dive although it could of course have found some small prey. It swam from left to right, mainly at a distance of 100 yards, and was on constant alert. The odd Black-headed Gull harassed it.

Within no time at all, it was back in the air, and it repeated this routine on at least three occasions during the first hour I was present. Tempting it to enter Hertfordshire airspace, it never did and eventually I got tired of waiting. A few closer views were had when it landed a tad closer to the Octagon but it always remained relatively distant. Dave Hutchinson did well in getting both a shot in flight and on the deck (see attached) whilst Roy obtained a fair bit of video footage.

I left for a while to twitch Roy's Rock Pipit at Wilstone but whilst there, JT kindly rang to say that the bird now appeared to have more momentum about its efforts to leave and that I should quickly get back. I did just that and joined the 'new' observation team, including Ian Williams, Nik Maynard, Paul Moon, young Charlotte and of course, Anna and Joan. The bird was still in flight as I returned and within a few minutes had entered Hertfordshire airspace, crossing the B488 southeastwards towards Tring Station. This was at 1740 hours. By now, the bird was extremely high in the sky, and for a while it headed NE towards Ivinghoe Beacon and the escarpment. It then decided to head back for College again but instead of dropping height, it continued to gain and suddenly seemed to have intent on its mind. I lost it as it flew towards the sun but a sharp-eyed Charlotte quickly re-intercepted it. It was now making a direct beeline for the reservoirs and flew slightly south of west. We all kept on it as it flew very high, firstly over Startop's and Marsworth and then as it continued over Wilstone. I lost it from view at about 1747 hours, the bird seemingly continuing west on its journey, perhaps navigating towards the Severn Estuary as many displaced seabirds inland do. It had been a terrific few hours and well done to all those involved in the finding and access arranging.

It represents only the eighteenth record (32nd individual) of this species in Bucks and the first since November 2005 -:

1) One was shot near Aylesbury Station prior to 1910;
2) An adult was present on Spade Oak GP, Little Marlow, from 27th October to 7th November 1952;
3) One remained on the River Thames at Hurley from 11th-31st March 1970;
4) One was seen at Calvert on 13th-16th February and again on 22nd February 1976;
5) One remained at Wotton Underwood Lake from 5th-12th March 1978;
6) One visited Willen Lake on 14th March 1979;
7) Another was present at Willen from 7th-10th March 1980;
8) A third visited Willen on 7th February 1986;
9) A slightly oiled adult was present on Weston Turville Reservoir from 8th-10th December 1987 before being taken into care; it subsequently died;
10) A remarkable flock of 14 birds touchlanded at Willen Lake during sudden snowfalls on 2nd April 1989. Six remained overnight and flew off shortly after dawn on 3rd April, with a further two departing at 0900 hours;
11) A juvenile remained at Spade Oak GP from 16th December 1990 until 12th January 1991;
12) One was on Eleven Acre Lake at Stowe School on 20th January 1994;
13) A second bird was found at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on 2nd February 1994. It was oiled and taken to St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital at Haddenham;
14) An adult female was found on the bank of Weston Turville Reservoir on 14th March 1996. Despite being taken to St Tiggywinkles, it died on 15th;
15) A diver seen briefly on Taplow Lake on 11th November 1997 was presumably that Red-throated Diver found next day at nearby Bray GP, Maidenhead, in Berkshire;
16) One at Startop's End Reservoir on 22nd December 1997 swam into the Bucks partition of the reservoir;
17) An adult visited Spade Oak GP on 27th November 2005

As regards occurrences at Tring Reservoirs, only the 6th since 1958 -:

1) A male picked up disoriented in Hitchin on 29th November 1958 was released at Wilstone Reservoir on 30th where it was later found dead on 6th December;
2) One was found dead on Wilstone on 22nd November 1959;
3) One remained at Tringford Reservoir from 28th February to 3rd March 1962;
4) One visited Wilstone briefly on 28th April 1975;
5) One visited both Wilstone and Startop's on 22-23 December 1997

In addition to the RED-THROATED DIVER, College Lake also boasted another first today - a CETTI'S WARBLER. Showing well on occasions in the reed-filled ditch adjacent to the track to the Octagon Hide, the bird was still singing this evening.

Also present on the main marsh were 2 COMMON SHELDUCK, 7 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 10 Common Redshanks, the OYSTERCATCHER pair, 8 COMMON SNIPES and 2 RINGED PLOVERS, the latter my first in the county this year.


Over at Wilstone, I was very pleased to refind Roy's SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT of this morning. Just like then, the bird was closely associating with the long-staying WATER PIPIT, the two birds showing very well this evening on the concrete foreshore not far east of the main car park steps. When flushed, the two birds flew to near the jetty but soon returned. Jeff Bailey and a couple were also on hand to enjoy the spectacle. The two birds were like chalk and cheese, the Rock Pipit being much greyer on the upperparts with less of an eyestripe and much heavier sullied and striated underparts. The wintering Water Pipit was now in somewhat transitional plumage, the streaking now more sparten and the underparts much whiter. Some grey was coming through on the head and face, but the back was still a nice soft brown.

Otherwise, DARK-BELLIED BRENT was still in its favoured field and the immature drake Common Goldeneye was off of the jetty; no Sand Martins

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

HEN HARRIER bolsters list


A very grey day, with little wind and temperatures a lot lower than of late, presumably due to the lack of sunshine.

My main target bird of the day was HEN HARRIER but otherwise just general birding and searching for migrants. Not a bad day in the end.........


The male PEREGRINE was sat inside the chamber with the female standing on the roof adjacent


In the trees bordering the A41 just east of Waddesdon at SP 756 167, a total of 36 active ROOK nests. Nearby on the A41 at SP 717 177 (Westcott), yet another fresh Badger road kill


Following up on a call from Graham Smith, I arrived on site at about midday. I set my 'scope up in the car park and viewed westwards and after a relatively short time, intercepted the ringtail HEN HARRIER present for its third day quartering the setaside field at the far western flank of the reserve just beyond the main grass field. The bird flew back and forth several times, occasionally stooping down on to the ground.

Other raptors present included up to 7 Red Kites, 5 Common Buzzards and 3 Common Kestrels, whilst the surrounding farmland yielded a pair of Red-legged Partridges, 136 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVERS, 66 Stock Doves in three flocks, 225 Linnets, 117 Fieldfares and 8 Brown Hares.

Two COMMON RAVENS were in the area and seemingly gathering nest material as well as two separate pairs of EURASIAN CURLEW. Singing Skylarks abounded, perhaps as many as 15 birds in total.


I spent the rest of the afternoon birding the Tring area and walking some areas that I rarely check. This resulted in the logging of two new House Sparrow sites and a number of other records of common birds.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR was still supporting yesterday's OYSTERCATCHER on the west shore, with both LITTLE EGRETS still in courtship and active Grey Heron nests now up to 8 on Drayton Bank.

The DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE was still present in the East Fields consorting with 40 Greylags, with 2 Mute Swans still there and another two in the fields. Great Crested Grebes had climbed to a very healthy 29 birds, with a single Dabchick also present in the SE corner. Wildfowl numbers were still in decline with just 7 Wigeon now, 52 Common Teal, 12 Gadwall, 13 Shoveler and 97 Tufted Duck; 3 female COMMON GOLDENEYE too.

At LITTLE TRING FARM, a pair of House Sparrows was noted with a further 10 individuals in the back gardens of houses that back on to the Canal close to the flour mill at SP 924 128.

TRINGFORD RESERVOIR itself harboured 2 Mute Swans, 2 Teal, 7 Gadwalls and 24 Tufted Duck, with two pairs of nesting Stock Dove in the wood and my first Tring BLACKCAP of the year - a male - feeding in one of the ivy-clad trees close to the back entrance. A Song Thrush was by the pumping station and 3 pairs of Common Blackbird and a pair of Collared Dove in the vicinity of Manor Farm in LITTLE TRING.

I joined Sally Douglas on the causeway at MARSWORTH RESERVOIR and we did very well over the next hour or so. The singing male Goldcrest was still present in the wood, with 8 Great Crested Grebes on the reservoir, 7 Shoveler, 2 Jays and 2 Fieldfares.

I glanced over to the expanse of mud on STARTOP'S END and watched a party of 7 small waders arrive - they were 5 winter-plumaged DUNLINS and a pair of RINGED PLOVER. Sally fired off a number of shots (see above). There was also a substantial arrival of Pied Wagtails on the mud numbering 27 birds, as well as 17 Linnets, whilst SD located 2 Meadow Pipits - my first of the year.

There was not much left on the reservoir proper - just 5 Mute Swans, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Wigeon and the regular pair of Red-crested Pochards.

I nipped back over to WILSTONE to do the gull roost - nothing rare but 998 Black-headed including a partial leucistic adult, 21 Commons, a 3rd-winter and juvenile argenteus Herring and 7 Lesser Black-backed.

I then returned to MARSWORTH and again with Sally's help, finally connected with my first local COMMON KINGFISHER of the year. A total of 47 CORN BUNTINGS flew in to roost (28 + 3 + 3 + 13) and the BARN OWL appeared from its roost at 1803 hours. A first-year Sparrowhawk also dashed across the reedbed towards dusk


A WOODCOCK attracted to my car headlights flew straight at me and collided, breaking its neck

Monday, 12 March 2012

Another KITTIWAKE at Calvert

At 1015 hours tonight, over four hours after it got dark, Steve Rodwell posted a message on the Bucks Bird Club website informing of an adult KITTIWAKE that he and another Calvert regular saw roost this evening (along with the regular 2nd-winter ICELAND GULL). I had not heard of the sighting prior to its posting.

Not that far away, the ringtail HEN HARRIER was still present at Gallows Bridge this morning.

Dissemination of rare bird news in the county has sadly taken a step backwards in many cases, with Calvert in particular being a lost cause. The argument put forward is that the majority of birds are found just prior to dark and are not worth putting it out. Each to his own I suppose....

FERRUGONIUS DUCK overnights it and then gets spooked and disappears

Located the female-type FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Linford Lake at 8.20am in a small group of Pochard and Tufted Duck, from the Far Hide near the far bank by corner of lake near the mill. Observed for 5 minutes when the whole group was spooked. Unable to see in which direction it flew. Spent a further 30 minutes without success. Went to the Near Hide to search but without success again! Also present 2 Common Redshanks and 2 Oystercatchers (Mal McGar)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Today's HEN HARRIER pix

The Hen Harrier at Gallowsbridge was very active this morning. I managed to get off some shots as it came past the hides. I've uploaded them here:

John O'Dyer

North Bucks today

A few sightings from the north today.

Concrete Cows: one of the 3 regular Bancroft Stream Little Egrets was in the Paddock behind the "cows" as i drove past.

Emerson Valley 1 Buzzard over heading north Furzton Lake 10 Greylags was the only thing of note CMK I know its 15 days too early , but thought i would check ! 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 singing Skylark

Willen Lake North 1 REDSHANK, 12 Goldeneyes , 2 Goosander (Pair), 6 Teal , 2 Stock Doves Honda Garage on H5 A kettle of 6 Common Buzzards over the H5 heading towards Broughton Gravel Pits alongside M1 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS , 4 Teal

Linford (13:00) As well as the afore mentioned FERRUGINOUS DUCK by Heron Island ( or weird Aythya as it was then ) , Andy Harding and I counted a minimum of 8 Little Egrets and 20 Grey Herons, good numbers of Pochard , Tufted Duck and Wigeon remain, 1 Buzzard was soaring over the reserve.

Linford (17:45 - 18:15) The FERRUGINOUS DUCKwas showing well behind the bund , feeding with Pochard and Tufted Duck , 1 BARN OWL was sitiing in the entrance hole of the right hand Owl box , a distant CETTIS WARBLER was holding territory on the far bank.

Other news - Andy had 2 Red Crested Pochard on Dovecote (Private) and a lady by the name of Janet had a PEREGRINE feeding on a Black Headed Gull at Campbell Park on Thursday , the Willow Tit was reported from the Tree hide again today at Linford.

Chris Coppock had a GREEN SANDPIPER at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve (SSNR).

Simon Nichols

Apparent FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Linford today

A female-type FERRUGINOUS DUCK was found by Andy Harding at about 1330 hours at Linford Nature Reserve, and then seen by Simon Nichols shortly later. The bird was skulking beneath overhanging vegetation and was associating with a small group of Northern Pochards. It remained on site until dusk. Please note that this reserve is permit only

Elsewhere, both HEN HARRIER and MERLIN were still present at Gallows Bridge this evening, whilst Alan Stevens saw both ICELAND and MEDITERRANEAN GULL at Spade Oak this evening


Most surprising bird this morning was a TREE SPARROW associating with Reed Buntings in the South-West corner of North Lake (near the fallen down tree)

Best of the rest - Water Rail near inlet, Little Egret on Island, Kingfisher - South Lake, 10 Goldeneye (9 south, 1 north) (per Rob Norris)

HEN HARRIER back at Gallows Bridge

A ringtail HEN HARRIER seen six times up to 1102 and at one time flew between hides phographed by j odwyer (per Michael Hunt)

Also, JACK SNIPE at College Lake BBOWT for second day (per Joan Thompson)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012



Although the day started overcast, grey and cold, it soon brightened up and temperatures eventually recovered to 10 degrees C


Four COMMON CROSSBILLS were still present in the well-stocked coniferous trees in Baldwin's Wood, along with Coal Tit, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Jays, 11 SISKINS and 3 calling Tawny Owls

Five Little Egrets were on the Chess, with 1 Little Grebe, 5 COMMON TEAL, male Pied Wagtail, pair of Grey Wagtail and singing male Greenfinch.

A first-year Mute Swan had collided with overhead wires and died.

Basking in the sunshine were a pair of LITTLE OWLS in a pollarded Willow


The GREAT CRESTED GREBE pair were back once more on the smaller lake with an unpaired male on the larger lake; also 4 Mute Swans (2 first-years), 14 Tufted Duck, 1 female Northern Pochard and 3 pairs of Reed Buntings.


No less than 4 WATER RAILS were taking advantage of the shallow water, ideal feeding conditions for them; 4 Moorhens were also in the vicinity


A total of 17 active nests in the Rookery at SU 926 954, with a Stock Dove nearby


A TAWNY OWL was making the most of the afternoon sun whilst roosting finches included 2 LESSER REDPOLL, a female BULLFINCH, 194 Greenfinches (in the Holly Roost) and 76 BRAMBLINGS (Rhododendron Penna Roost), many of the latter now in full spring plumage and wheezing nasally and loudly.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Gull ringing recoveries from today

......and that was quick

Ringed LBBG today is a bird ringed as a 4th calendar male at Maasvlakte, Zuid-Holland (The Netherlands) on 10 May 2011 (per Hans Keijser) and the orange-rd ringed juvenile argenteus Herring Gull (AW1T) was ringed in Essex at Pitsea Landfill last year

Winter returns with a vengeance


Sunday saw winter return with a vengeance. Although rain is very much welcomed, Sunday saw rain from dawn until just before dusk and latterly, with a change in the wind direction, a period of wet snow fell. Today continued the winter theme, with near gale force Northwesterlies making birding very unpleasant indeed - it was absolutely freezing.....

I couldn't bear too much being in the field today but was very pleased to connect with Roy's STONECHAT - the first of the year in the area


The Silk Mill Way Park ROOKERY held 19 active nests


I arrived at WILSTONE at 0900 hours and after a little poke about, finally connected with the migrant male COMMON STONECHAT on the Cemetery Corner fenceline, just 40 yards in along from the yellow corner bar gate. Roy Hargreaves had found it on his early morning walk round - my first in the county this year. Although it spent a lot of time on the ground, presumably eeking out grubs, it afforded smashing views once on the fence. As Roy said earlier, a predictable location.........

The DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE was nearby on the East Fields with the Greylag and Atlantic Canada Geese, as well as the 2 Mute Swans, whilst the WATER PIPIT was near the jetty. A Skylark was also singing from the cereal fields

On the reservoir, wildfowl included 4 Mute Swans, 55 Common Teal, 21 Wigeon, 14 Gadwall, 9 Shoveler, 97 Tufted Duck, 56 Pochard, 3 Common Goldeneye and the redhead SMEW, along with 21 Great Crested Grebes, just 1 Lapwing, 31 Cormorants (with 7 active nests), 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and another migrant adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL that flew NNW. I could not find the 2 Pintails that Roy had seen earlier.

The hide wood produced 3 territorial male Winter Wrens singing within a 50 yard stretch and a singing male Goldcrest, with 54 Woodpigeons feeding in the field west of the car park

I then did a thorough check of TRINGFORD RESERVOIR woodland, yielding 15 active Rook nests, my first local JAY of the year, Carrion Crow, 2 Common Magpies, 4 Robins, 2 Wrens, pair of Dunnocks, 4 Great Tit, 36 Jackdaw, 5 Goldfinch, a male SISKIN and a male Common Kestrel. The adjacent flour mill held 44 Feral Pigeons.

TRING SEWAGE FARM produced a nice female BULLFINCH, a singing male Greenfinch and a pair of Mistle Thrushes, as well as a Green Woodpecker.

Not much to shout about on STARTOP'S END but plenty of superb habitat - 99 Coot, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Wigeon and the pair of Red-crested Pochards being logged. MARSWORTH had just 9 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Shovelers


Pitstone Business Park following the heavy rain is looking good but no Ringed Plovers or waders there today, with a pair of Common Kestrels hunting by the roundabout.

Very quiet at College apart from the OYSTERCATCHER pair and 4 Common Redshanks, 5 Shoveler and a Sparrowhawk


A dead Common Buzzard noted


A good showing of gulls today with the 2nd-winter ICELAND GULL and first-winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL Rook nests now up to 44


I spent the rest of the day at Spade Oak, sifting through the gulls. Six other local birders also turned up. It was a massive gull roost but because of the strong NW wind, most hunched up together on the spit.

Highlights were the same 2nd-winter ICELAND GULL (which remained from 1500-1720 hours at least) and two different adult MEDITERRANEAN GULLS, one virtually in full breeding plumage. The Iceland Gull afforded me my best views since I first found it, the bill base being extensively pale pink. The eye is completely dark, with the tail noticeably white and unmarked, a lot of biscuit chequering in the upper wing coverts, some grey in the mantle, dirty brown lower breast and pink legs.

No less than 1,900 Black-headed Gulls roosted, 1,700 Common Gulls, just 75 Herring Gulls (mostly immature), just 15 Lesser Black-backed and 1 first-year Great Black-backed.

Three COMMON SHELDUCK were present (2 drakes), 3 Egyptian Geese, 17 Gadwall and 11 Shoveler, plus a lot of COMMON KINGFISHER activity

Sunday, 4 March 2012

WHOOPER SWAN clawed back and BARNACLE GEESE at last


Well the day dawned wet and grey with light rain falling up until mid morning. It then cleared away to the east, leaving a bright, sunny day. The wind was moderate SW and temperatures hovered at around 9 degrees C. Towards evening, the wind switched to a much colder NW - heralding a major belt of rain to arrive next day

I did some more local target birding today, biggest disappointment missing an early Sand Martin in Bedfordshire.....


Nothing happening, just 13 large white-headed gulls on site and no tipping.....


A single migrant Eurasian Curlew was on site (per Alan Stevens) but there was no sign of yesterday's Ringed Plover. Nesting birds included 23 pairs of Grey Heron and an identical number of Sinensis Cormorants, with 17 Wigeon, 14 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 104 Lapwings, Grey Wagtail and Common Kingfisher also noted. A male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was in song in the NW corner (but apparently a wintering bird).


A pair of EURASIAN CURLEWS showing well on marsh besides the entrance track


An adult WHOOPER SWAN was with 5 adult Mute Swans in a cereal crop at SP 682 271, south of the Padbury Brook, presumably the same bird seen by Warren and SR in February and of course that relocated by Tim Watts. I am assuming this bird has been present here all winter as it is in exactly the same place I have seen it in at least 5 recent winters. My 120th species in the county this year though, so very pleased to connect with it.

A large flock of 200 Fieldfares were also in the vicinity of Briarfields Farm.


My first look at this site this year and it is in reasonable condition for migrants and waders. Highlight was the presence of 3 LITTLE EGRETS, with 54 Greylag Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 3 Gadwall, 8 Common Teal, 3 Eurasian Wigeon, 5 Pochard, a pair of Lapwing, 4 BULLFINCH and a singing male Reed Bunting making up the list.

In Hillesden Church End hamlet, a pair of Greenfinch, 9 House Sparrows and a singing male Goldcrest were recorded

At Fir Tree Cottage and College Farm (SP 670 294), 3 more pairs of resident House Sparrows

Besides the road in trees at the entrance to Lenborough Farm and Hillesden (SP 675 301), 37 active Rook nests.


At least a single pair of House Sparrows resident in the village.


On the A421 100 yards before the Nash turning, an active Rookery containing 18 nests opposite the layby at SP 787 322.


A pair of OYSTERCATCHERS showing well and displaying on the bund and a pair of COMMON TREECREEPERS in the wood; very quiet otherwise


A nice Common Kingfisher fishing by the weir and 23 non-naturalised BARNACLE GEESE in with the Canada Geese on the meadows. Additionally, 10 scattered Rook nests in the vicinity at about SP 896 510.

Nearby, a dead BADGER on the A 509 SE of Sherington at LITTLE END at SP 897 454


An impressive active ROOKERY at SP 925 388, besides the northbound M1, containing no less than 77 nests - the location seemingly in BEDFORDSHIRE


A very brief incursion into Beds where there was no sign of Johnny Lynch's earlier Sand Martin now that the weather had cleared and brightened up. Very little in fact.


Checking some well known ROOKERY sites, I found 3 active nests in trees besides the B 488 east of Cheddington Station at SP 924 184 and a further 17 nests in the grounds of The Old Rectory nearby (SP 921 181)


I then spent the rest of the day at Tring, doing my first full inventory of the month.......

WILSTONE RESERVOIR held the first-winter DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE, 4 LITTLE EGRETS, a flock of 8 COMMON GOLDENEYES (including the adult drake, first-year drake and 6 female-types) and the continuing redhead SMEW as well as 6 Mute Swans, 98 Atlantic Canada Geese, 77 Greylag Geese, 19 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Gadwall, 18 Shoveler, just 55 Teal (huge decrease), 17 Wigeon, 38 Pochard but an increase to 175 Tufted Ducks, 368 Coots and 331 Black-headed Gulls.

Little to count on STARTOP'S END other than 5 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Wigeon, whilst on MARSWORTH Great Crested Grebe numbered 11, with 6 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, Green Woodpecker, the male Eurasian Sparrowhawk at dusk, 2 Reed Buntings and 8 Chaffinch to roost.

A GREEN SANDPIPER flew over calling and at 1755 hours, the resident BARN OWL emerged from the nestbox and hunted over the rough meadow north of the sewage farm into darkness.

Friday, 2 March 2012

First RINGED PLOVER of year

At Spade Oak Gravel Pit, Little Marlow, today

Calvert WHOOPER SWAN relocated

Hillesden; adult WHOOPER SWAN with 5 Mute Swans in valley bottom by Padbury Brook/ 5 Goosander/4 Little Egret/21 Teal/ 2 Snipe/2 Meadow Pipits/Raven. Calvert BBOWT; 2nd W ICELAND GULL in afternoon roost but distracted by unsavoury Gallows Bridge Farm: 2 Curlews, from size of bills think a pair/ Peregrine/ 47 Lapwing/ Raven (Tim Watts)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

News from the west of the county today

Two pairs of Curlews with possibly a singleton along with a pair of Grey Partridges, a Merlin and a Short-eared Owl were enjoying the warm, sunny weather at Gallows Bridge. In addition there were numerous Red Kites and Buzzards, 4 Ravens, 15 Fieldfares, several Kestrels and 10 or so Skylarks.

At Calvert BBOWT the immature Iceland Gull was showing quite well but at a distance from the top hide. Its two-tone bill showed very clear (Ken Earnshaw)