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

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Today's MONTAGU'S HARRIER at Dorney - more meat to the bone

As it had stopped raining I thought I would have a look at Dorney Common for Jim's Wheatear of yesterday (I still haven't seen one this autumn believe it or not). I wandered up to the Pec pool which was alive with hirundines but no Pec. After about 30 minutes I walked back to the car and drove back across the common turning into Boveney Rd.

I had just come past the last house, when I noticed a small group of corvids mobbing a much paler bird,just 50 yds infont of me, crossing the road west to east. My heart took a leap as I slammed the brakes on (for once nobody behind me) and grabbed my binoculars. I could hardly believe it but I was already guessing it was a male MONTAHU'S HARRIER even before I got my bins on it.

The first thing that stuck me was the obvious white rump contrasting with the slightly darker grey of the back and the light flight,coupled with the overall light grey colouring and the little line of black secondaries; they struck me more than the black wing tips. It was constantly mobbed by several Jackdaws and a Crow but hardly altered its course as it ploughed on towards the trees along the Roundmoor Ditch. It had to rise to fly above them it then dropped the other side out of sight. I can't now remember too much about the underwing I was just aware of how it held it's wings in a V but I did get an impression of a mauve/brown color within the underwing plumage. My whole view was from behind the bird and I had it in view for a max of 30 seconds but a fantastic bird and certainly a highlight of my recent birding experiances (DAVE CLEAL).