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, 30 January 2013



A windy start to the day but dry and very mild (12 degrees C); later deterioated somewhat, with near gale force SW winds and driving rain

I did a little bit of local birding first thing before driving to East Sussex and dipping a Bonaparte's Gull for the third time in four days.....

Most pleasing was finding the two Eton Wick EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE feeding out on DORNEY COMMON (SOUTH BUCKS), 50 yards west of the flooded area - a single adult and first-winter. They were consorting with 52 Atlantic Canada Geese.

In the neighbouring ROUNDMOOR DITCH at ETON WICK (BERKS/BUCKS BORDER), a hive of activity within 90 yards of the bridge, with no less than 12 Collybita COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS feeding, as well as the well-marked and striking single tristis SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF that is wintering at the site and the similarly-plumaged and rather grey/green/white abietinus or abietinus-intergrade SCANDINAVIAN CHIFFCHAFF (this bird calls fairly frequently, uttering a contact call not dissimilar to Collybita). In addition, two female BLACKCAPS taking advantage of the fallen apples just 30 yards downstream of the bridge.

Following a report of a Whooper Swan at Dorney, trekked right round the back of the lake but found nothing and after a lot of effort, eventually located a flock of 31 Mute Swans in cereal crop near BARGE FARM at SU 908 801. No Whooper but an adult Mute Swan marked with a white ring 'K2B'; also a single juvenile 'Polish' Swan. Several Skylarks in full song too in the cereal.

Back at Dave Cleal's house in BURNHAM (SOUTH BUCKS), a nice female BLACKCAP and a Long-tailed Tit visiting his garden.

Fortunately for Dave, he left his Pompey tickets behind and had to return home. I carried on to EAST SUSSEX, where in a rain-lashed PRINCES PARK, EASTBOURNE, I spent six hours dipping an adult Bonaparte's Gull. Just 2 Turnstones and a Sparrowhawk enlightened this period, with the park also yielding 13 House Sparrows, Moorhen, Coot and Common Starling. Just 4 Black-headed Gulls visited the lake in all of this time, loosely associating with the 50 or so resident Argenteus Herring Gulls.