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, 2 May 2013

Another glorious day - FIRECREST treat

An impressive day for FIRECRESTS.......


Another glorious day, with sunshine and blue skies prevailing, a light SE breeze and temperatures as high as 18 degrees C. Beautiful....

Following an early morning call from Graham Smith, my first destination of the day was WESTON TURVILLE RESERVOIR, where eventually (early afternoon), Mike Collard and I heard the GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling from Willows 50 yards to the left of the Susan Cowdy Hide.

Also here was a single showy singing male SEDGE WARBLER and a more secretive WESTERN REED WARBLER, as well as the striking partially albino male Reed Bunting. A Sparrowhawk circled.

An amazing looking emberiza - white rump and uppertail coverts, white head, white in the wing - stunning

Around by PERCH COTTAGE, the pair of FIRECRESTS were again showing well, with Nuthatch, Coal Tits (pair displaying with the male doing his quivering flight action), Stock Dove and Jackdaw noted.

In the sunshine, an excellent array of butterflies on the wing with HOLLY BLUE, 3 Orange-Tips, 4 Peacock, COMMA, Large Whites and Green-veined Whites.

Nearby, a Little Grebe was sat on a nest (see below).

Between WINCHMORE BOTTOM and PENN STREET at LAUREL LODGE, the Rookery was now in full swing with 26 active nests.

Several hours spent in PENN WOOD, instigated by an earlier visit by Pete Stevens, produced COMMON CUCKOO and 5 singing male FIRECRESTS, the latter all within a relatively small area - within a 100 yard stretch at the south end of the cattle paddock along the avenue that runs south to north towards the Penna Monument track. Furthermore, just 1 singing Goldcrest was located.

Other warblers present included just 1 Common Chiffchaff and 4 male Blackcaps but I failed to find Pete's Garden Warbler, nor was there any sight nor sound of Willow Warbler. Also noted were Woodpigeon (a pair nesting in Rhododendron scrub), Wren (6 territories), Robin, Common Blackbird (4), Song Thrush (pair), Chaffinch (4 singing males), Common Treecreeper (2), Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, BULLFINCH (2 pairs), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (3) and singing male Mistle Thrush.

Again, butterflies were very much in evidence, with 3+ COMMAS seen and a number of Peacocks.

Back in the CHESS VALLEY, 3 LITTLE EGRETS were present (at Latimer Bridge, Church Covert NR and at Mill Farm Water Meadows), with 3 COMMON WHITETHROATS in the latter meadow, 3 singing Blackcaps, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a female Common Kestrel at her nest hole.

A single Common Chiffchaff was singing within the 'Bluebell Wood', which incidentally was in full bloom (see pix below), with large numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White butterflies nearby