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

Monday, 29 April 2013

WOOD WARBLER at Spade Oak 20 April

I made an early(ish) start this morning and was out the door at 6:30am. It was only 0.5 degrees, so when I arrived at LMGP, I had full winter gear on! There was partial mist over the lake, though this was quickly disappearing, but it was obvious that nothing much of note was present – just 3 Common Terns and a single LRP. I decided to do a circuit, finding nothing on the meadows, but there were plenty of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers singing. In the SE corner, a Garden Warbler in sub song was new for the year, showing itself in a patch of ivy. A Sedge Warbler singing in the same area an hour later was silent at this time and the obvious influx of Whitethroats seen by others later (I didn’t have any) were also silent – it was probably too cold for them!

At about 7:30am, as I passed the small wooden bridge on the NE side, I stopped in my tracks as a familiar trilling song coming from the hawthorn hedge just in front of me alerted me to a WOOD WARBLER! Then nothing for the next minute or so, so I began to think I’d imagined it. Then it sang again – phew! but then stopped. It gave its lovely trilling song about 5 or 6 times over the next 10 minutes from the same patch of hawthorn hedge about 20 yards in front of me, but I couldn’t see anything except a Blackcap. Then I saw it emerge from the back of the branches at the top of the hedge, a lovely clean-looking phyllosc, with primrose yellow throat, face and super and clean white lower breast and underparts. Having now heard the bird singing and seen it, I decided to text the news out. I took my eyes off it and sadly and disappointingly never saw or heard it again – I’ve no idea in which direction it went. It was still cold, but beginning to warm up, so I hoped that it was feeding up and might start singing again in warmer weather, but it appears to have moved straight through.

A very unexpected patch tick – might get Whitethroat for the year tomorrow.

Adam Bassett