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

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Unprecedented county flock of LITTLE TERNS displaced by unseasonal weather


An unseasonal fast-moving depression tracked east across the country today bringing quite strong S/SE winds. It was also accompanied by a few short sharp showers. Clearly associated with this front were large numbers of terns, including Sandwich, Arctic, Black and Little - the latter appearing in an unprecedented number in Buckinghamshire..........


Not long after 1315 hours, Adam Bassett phoned me to say that a 'flock' of LITTLE TERNS had flown in, numbering at least 15 birds. Within minutes I was in the car and on the way. By the time I arrived some 17 minutes later, the figure had been revised to 19 (nineteen) - the largest single flock ever recorded in the county and certainly the largest inland flock that I have ever witnessed. The flock were showing very well and roosting on the spit - David Ferguson managing to photograph the entire group. It consisted of two very fresh juveniles, 13 yellow-billed adults and 4 wholly black-billed individuals which I couldn't decide whether they were adult winters or first-summers). They afforded superb views from the vegetated spit on the west bank and remained present until at least 1400 hours, often hunting in a pack at the east end.

I also discovered two very fresh juvenile LITTLE GULLS surface-feeding at the east end, whilst 17 Common Terns were present and a juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL amongst the spit-roosting Black-headed Gulls. Although the number of larger gulls on site was small, the roost did include 5 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS.

A COMMON GREENSHANK was also present, along with the female Egyptian Goose and surviving young and 5 Shoveler. Grey Wagtail, Common Kingfisher and 3 Nuthatches were also encountered.


Acting upon a call from Jeff Bailey, I headed north to Tring Reservoirs to check a windswept Startop's End Reservoir. Along with David Bilcock, we all logged 5 BLACK TERNS and a juvenile ARCTIC TERN. One of the adult BLACKS was still in very good 'nick' whilst two were fresh juveniles. No less than 15 Common Terns were present too - along with 8 COMMON SWIFTS. All 3 juvenile Great Crested Grebes were still surviving and being fed.

On neighbouring MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, another pair of Great Crested Grebes were attending a single youngster, with a juvenile Sparrowhawk seen and Mute Swan orange 681 remaining present with his partner.


All 4 juvenile Great Crested Grebes were alive, well and growing although there was no sign of either father. A single Little Grebe was also noted, whilst baby/juvenile Coots numbered 17. Green Woodpecker and juvenile Common Buzzard were also noted whilst migrants included 21 COMMON SWIFTS, 1 House Martin, 8 Common Chiffchaffs and the 9 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS.

Elsewhere in the county, Rob Norris had a single juvenile BLACK TERN at Willen Lake South Basin