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

Saturday, 18 May 2013

You just cannot afford to go to sleep these days

The TUNDRA RINGED PLOVER in the lower two shots


You just cannot afford to get any sleep with this game. After losing two night's sleep in succession, today due to a certain DUSKY THRUSH in Margate Cemetery, I returned home at 0900 hours to get some sleep. No sooner had I got under the sheets than Jason Ward texted with news of a Wood Sandpiper at Amwell Nature Reservoir, a species I still had not seen in Hertfordshire this year..

I jumped up, got dressed and drove over there, but after just half an hour, the Wood Sandpiper had departed and I dipped - solace being achieved in a singing male GARDEN WARBLER and a single male LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (other species on tap being 3 Common Redshanks, 40+ Black-headed Gulls on rafts, 8+ Common Terns, 100+ Common Swifts, Sedge Warbler and calling COMMON CUCKOO and CETTI'S WARBLER)

Feeling terribly knackered by this time, I again returned home to get some sleep. This time I recharged the phone downstairs which was a grave mistake. By 4pm, a succession of local birders had been frantically trying to contact me after Alan Stephens had discovered two TEMMINCK'S STINTS at Spade Oak Gravel Pits. My own fault of course.

Anyway, waking at 1830 hours, I checked the mobile and learnt of my mistakes. Graham Smith kindly filled me in. I was at SPADE OAK within 17 minutes and to my horror, the gathered crowd had just lost the two birds. Nightmare! I continued on to the east side of the pit and by a miracle, relocated both birds after they had been disturbed by a Red Fox. They then flew back towards the spit and continued to show reasonably well until at least 1930 hours, enabling me to get a series of record shots of the two birds. Both were in full breeding plumage and were accompanying a single TUNDRA RINGED PLOVER. Also noted were 6 Common Shelducks, 27 Egyptian Geese, 73 Argenteus Herring Gulls and 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

On the way home, driving through BEACONSFIELD (on the A355), I was saddened to see a dead Badger by the entrance to ROSECOPSE BARN.