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

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Is it cold or what?


I cannot believe how cold it is out in the field at the moment. Although the air temperature is hovering around freezing, the strong easterly wind is making it feel like minus 15 degrees - it is bitter. I could only take short dosages before having to give in.

Anyhow, I was not prepared to let MEDITERRANEAN GULL beat me and after three days-in-a-row, it was time to revisit SPADE OAK PIT (LITTLE MARLOW) in another attempt at the pre-roost.

Also braving the elements were Marlow regulars Malcolm and John Bowman and his two Norfolk Terriers Lollie & Flo.

The gulls started arriving from about 1520 hours and today were hanging about the closest part of the spit. As a result, they were much easier to work through - but boy was it cold. Common Gulls quickly increased to about 600 birds, with Black-headeds similar in number - large white-headed gulls were in very short supply. At 1610, John suddenly exclaimed ''Have a look at this gull in my 'scope Lee'' and there it was - an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL in virtually full breeding plumage just right of the spit. It had a small amount of white on the forehead but other than that, had acquired a full black hood, striking white eye-lids and bright red bill - a classic - and such good views too. I was well pleased. It bathed and preened for several minutes before joining the main throng of Common Gulls to roost. It was the same bird that Adam Bassett had found late yesterday afternoon.

Other species noted included 4 Common Snipe, a very showy male COMMON KINGFISHER, all 8 NORTHERN PINTAILS (on the main island), 144 Gadwall, 211 Wigeon, just 1 Common Shelduck and 275 Lapwing.