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, 20 August 2012

TURNSTONE was a real bonus

Having been away at the Rutland Bird Fair since Thursday, I finally managed to get in some quality birding today, many birds seemingly on the move just now

Yesterday evening (Sunday 19 August), I joined Ashley Stowe, Alan Stevens and other local birders at SPADE OAK GRAVEL PIT, LITTLE MARLOW and was rewarded with excellent views of the juvenile TURNSTONE present throughout the day - only the second in the county this year and my first. It was very mobile, flying around frequently and calling regularly - and commuting between the end of the spit and bay nearer to the island. There was also a single Common Sandpiper present, whilst a GREEN SANDPIPER flew over.

The temperature at 1800 hours was an incredible 77 degrees F with a single EURASIAN WIGEON and 19 Argenteus HERRING GULLS somewhat out of sync with the conditions. The Bar-headed Goose was still present, 5 Common Teal, a male Sparrowhawk and much Common Kingfisher activity.

In the TRING AREA, Steve Rodwell had 8 WHIMBREL fly over last night whilst COMMON REDSTARTS were being seen all over the place, with up to 12 on Quainton Hills, 5 at Rowsham and 7 in the Ivinghoe Hills area.


Thankfully, temperatures cooled somewhat today - down to 70 degrees - with a little light rain this morning as well as a lot of cloud. Although the wind was light southwesterly, I was expecting a bit of a fall on the hills but it never quite materialised.

The IVINGHOE HILLS was therefore my first port of call - SR, Francis B and Chris also having the same idea. Walking the hedge-lines between Town Farm and the bottom of Incombe Hole produced no less than 7 COMMON REDSTARTS - including 4 adult males. Only one could be located in the Hole proper, with 3 migrant WILLOW WARBLERS also present and 3 Mistle Thrushes. Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, 6 Robin, 5 Common Whitethroat and 3 Common Chiffchaff were also noted but most interesting were the 5 COMMON RAVENS - presumably one of the local family parties. The juveniles were in immaculate flight condition whilst the adults were quite worn with the odd wing and tail feather missing.


Very quiet ! The female Tufted Duck was still with her 6 ducklings whilst the gull roost held 2 adult YELLOW-LEGGEDS and a single adult COMMON.


As I walked along the causeway between STARTOP'S and MARSWORTH at 1230, I heard the familiar call of a WHIMBREL and looked up to see it flying from the canal direction, up and over the causeway trees and out westwards over Startop's. Two COMMON SWIFTS were also seen.

Marsworth also held two successful nesting pairs of Great Crested Grebe, with one pair attending two small young and another one older young. This is in addition to the pair on Startop's with 3 young. There were also 48 Black-headed Gulls present whilst Startop's yielded the two juvenile BLACK TERNS and a pair of eclipse-plumaged Red-crested Pochards.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR was remarkably quiet with a mobile flock of 226 dredging Coot, 86 post-breeding Lapwings and 14 House Martins. Although I spent some time scanning the skies, just Sparrowhawk and 8+ Red Kites were noted.