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

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

TREE PIPIT on Steps Hill and good numbers of Orchids and DARK GREEN FRITILLARIES

Temperatures were much lower than of recent days with a cool NE wind blowing, although did still peak at 72 degrees F. There was a lot more cloud too and a fresher feel in general.
Within the CHESS VALLEY, Beautiful Demoiselles were emerging in abundance, with quite a few Small Tortoiseshells on the wing too; WESTERN REED WARBLERS have bred successfully at CHESHAM FISHING LAKES and the Grey Herons are still incubating. A male BULLFINCH was the first in my LITTLE CHALFONT garden in a while, feasting as usual on the white sunflower hearts on the birdtable, whilst the 18-strong Common Swift flock now included several screaming juveniles of the year.
To make the most of the heat, I spent another day butterflying - this time concentrating on DARK GREEN FRITILLARIES on the IVINGHOE HILLS. Despite counting over 40, I failed to photograph any but whilst scaling the side of Steps Hill in search of them, a TREE PIPIT flew over me calling, heading away towards Incombe Hole. Intriguingly, a singing male had been reported in this area only recently - so possibly breeding. Lots and lots of butterflies on the wing, including 35 Marbled White, 8 Small Tortoiseshell, 150 Ringlet, 15 Small Heath, 2 Brimstone and 50 Meadow Brown, whilst a pair of BULLFINCH were in Top Scrub, 10+ Meadow Pipits in breeding groups, a jangling male CORN BUNTING at the base of Steps Hill and pair of Yellowhammers.

On neighbouring DOWN FARM CEREAL FIELDS, the COMMON QUAIL was still calling and 3 CORN BUNTINGS were still marking out their territories.