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, 3 February 2013

Third time lucky


Despite a light overnight frost, the wind quickly freshened from the West bringing cloudy, damp and dreary conditions. Temperatures were originally in the region of 3.5 degrees C but later recovered to about 7 degrees C.

Just Target Birding today - initially in North Bucks and then back to East Sussex...........

After Alan Nelson's find yesterday, I headed up the M1 to TONGWELL LAKE (NORTH BUCKS), where 7 of us enjoyed some superb views of the first-winter SLAVONIAN GREBE in the NW corner mid-morning (accessed from Wedgewood Avenue). The bird was preening a fair bit and had obvious pale lores and a pale tip to the bill. Usual wildfowl fare there, including Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Mallard, as well as a Green Woodpecker.

Not far away at LINFORD NATURE RESERVE (NORTH BUCKS), the WILLOW TIT was very quickly locating, mobbing with other small birds a resting Sparrowhawk close to the Woodland Hide. Its nasal scolding was highly distinctive and far-carrying. I was then treated to excellent views of it as it repeatedly visited the feeders, often in accompaniment with up to 4 MARSH TITS and several Great and Blue Tits. I also saw LESSER REDPOLL and SISKIN, whilst the Lake itself held 6 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Mute Swans, 48 Teal, 138 Wigeon, 43 Tufted Duck and 6 Pochard. There was no sign of the recent Pintails.

Driving back down the M1 into BEDFORDSHIRE, a RED KITE was floating NW of STEPPINGLY.

After two costly dips, I finally connected with the adult BONAPARTE'S GULL today on Princes Park Lake, Eastbourne - the bird being present from 1000 hours until dusk. It was performing admirably, often down to just a few yards, and attracted some 20 or so observers throughout the afternoon, several of whom were obtaining excellent photographs. Princes Park ticks for me included an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL and an adult KITTIWAKE, whilst 1 of the Turnstones was there again.

John King, Richard Fairbank, Jake Everitt, Pete Brown and myself then visited SOUTHEASE BRIDGE where the DARK-BREASTED TYPE BARN OWL afforded an excellent performance from 1635 hours; also 1 ordinary BARN OWL and over 100 Fieldfares.