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

Monday, 16 April 2012

RING OUZELS-a-plenty


The only birdwatching I managed over the weekend was a quick twitch for Alan Gardiner's adult male PIED FLYCATCHER at FROGMORE LAKES, RADLETT late on Sunday afternoon. It was a cracking stunner and afforded tremendous views, Ian Williams obtaining an impressive array of images as it flitted from Willow to Willow just 80 yards along from the Hyde Lane car park footbridge (see my Hertfordshire Birding blog for images). Just 9 birders were there to savour the delights !

Today saw a heavy frost overnight in the Chilterns, followed by clear blue skies and sunshine. A cool northerly wind kept temperatures hovering around just 9 degrees C

On a local front first thing, the Red-legged Partridge pair was still in the field at the BELL LANE/LATIMER ROAD JUNCTION in LITTLE CHALFONT and 3 Tufted Ducks were in LOWNDES PARK, CHESHAM - my first ever there.


Joined Francis Buckle, Chris King, Peter Leigh, Mike Collard and many others at this 'in place' and enjoyed views of at least 9 continuing RING OUZELS feeding out on the slope just SE of the Beacon (possibly all 13 still present). This same area also held 8 WHEATEARS including a nice male GREENLANDER.

Attempting to see/hear a Lesser Whitethroat (Mike Wallen had seen one earlier), I walked the entire circuit but failed in my quest; 8 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS was noteworthy though


I then followed up on Dave Odell's messages and drove over to Pegsdon Hills (and to answer Paul Phillips' question, it is 19 miles between these two sites). Although it took an eternity, after sitting down on the ridge at the top of ''Chack Valley'' (the valley immediately south of the wood), eventually the RING OUZELS emerged from the scrub. A total of 11 birds finally appeared, the flock including 4 female/first-year males. I enjoyed superb views from above, the birds settling down to feed during a lapse in hillwalker activity. Not much else to report other than COMMON RAVENS and 2 MARSH TITS in the small thicket above the valley.


Next off, I took the opportunity of checking out some more ROOKERIES on route to Quainton Hills. Alongside the A418 at ASCOTT HOUSE, WING (SP 895 233), there were 5 active nests, with a further 27 near WINGRAVE CROSSROADS and 38 more just south of ROWSHAM. Further along the A418 in BIERTON, another 40 active nests in two clusters.

Driving NW along the Berryfields Road east of LOWER FARM, in the line of trees running NE of the road, another colony of 55 active nests. I then came upon a large number of Rookeries in the QUAINTON area, with 2 nests in tall pines at the start of DENHAM LANE at SP 751 200, 65 across the road at SP 753 197 and 20 by farm buildings at SP 744 210

A further 21 nests in the plantation at SP 740 227, 34 more SW of STONEHILL FARM at SP 758 221 and then a cluster of colonies along CARTERS LANE in the vicinity of QUAINTON DAIRY (SP 764 205), with 19, 17, 21 and 8 respectively. Then where the lane met the Whitchurch road at the T-junction (at SP 767 195), a further 7, 8, 13 and 8 nests in four loose colonies.

Between WHITCHURCH and AYLESBURY on the A413 saw more 'new' colonies, with 7 nests just south of WHITCHURCH (at SP 805 203) and 10 near WEEDON at the NEW ROAD JUNCTION at SP 808 177. Lastly, in AYLESBURY TOWN CENTRE, 4 nests (presumably relocating birds from the former Police Station site) in the tree by WEARDALE HOUSE opposite MILTON ROAD at SP 827 127.


Explored the area with Waddesdon birder Laurence Bryant and after eventually contacting Quainton Hills regulsr Tim Watts, managed to secure some birds on this mammothly extensive site. A first-summer male BLACK REDSTART was located at FULBROOK FARM, 8 RING OUZELS were feeding together on the 'humpy' field at the top of the West Slopes, 5 WHEATEARS were on the North Slope (including 2 bright GREENLANDERS) and a single Barn Swallow was noted.

We parked by the shop in the High Street in Quainton village and followed the marked footpath north across Simber Hill and cow-filled pasture fields to the transmitter and beyond. The ouzel field was just 100 yards NNW of the transmitter.

Once back in the car, I drove round to FULBROOK FARM (situated at SP 749 225 and enjoyed superb close views of the BLACK REDSTART, the bird singing from the fence and farm mavchinery. A flock of 42 FIELDFARES was by the disused railway line to the west and a dead BADGER was beside the quiet lane by the entrance to Hogshaw Hill Farm at SP 745 227.


Popped in this evening at 1930 hours but little going on in the cold conditions. The COMMON TERN flock numbered 81 individuals, with 12 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Little Grebe, 13 Mute Swans, 4 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 1 adult Black-headed Gull, 1 adult Common Gull, 15 Sand Martins and 12 Barn Swallows being noted.