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, 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