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

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Fulbrook Farm REDSTARTS and a welcome RUFF

Temperatures struggled to reach 17 degrees C today as a WNW wind blew across the Chilterns Region. There were a few odd showers, with cloud predominating until clearing late in the evening.
At TRINGFORD RESERVOIR, a COMMON GREENSHANK remained for a third day, probing the mud at the far west end (see images), as did 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS and a COMMON SANDPIPER. All 7 Mute Swans were together, whilst Tufted Ducks were accompanied by at least 17 young. Before I entered the woodland, a Common Kestrel flew towards Tringford Farm, and once in the wood, 2 Stock Doves were calling and a party of 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were feeding in the canopy. From the hide, 1-2 COMMON KINGFISHERS, 5 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 16 Moorhen, 53 Coot and 40 Black-headed Gulls were noted. Butterflies by the overflow dam included 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Small White and a Small Blue - the latter a rarity at the reservoirs.
Across the road on STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the juvenile DUNLIN was still showing very well along the north shore (for its 7th day); also noted were 2 Mute Swans, 1 Little Egret, 3 Shoveler, 77 Greylag Geese, 18 Common Terns (8 juveniles) and a Grey Wagtail, whilst on MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, at least 6 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were in the wood and tall Poplars behind the reedbed, 3 Common Chiffchaff, a migrant juvenile WILLOW WARBLER, Wren family party, 3 Sand Martin and 8 House Martin.

For Images, see my Birding Tring Reservoirs blog
After some sound advice from Tim Watts, I then travelled over to FULBROOK FARM at the north end of QUAINTON HILLS. Although it took me a long time, mainly because they were so elusive, I eventually managed to photograph all four individual birds present in the hedgerows east of the farm - 3 males and 1 female-type.

The first bird - female-type - just along the first hedgerow beyond the gate

A cracking adult male where the two hedgerows meet

Another adult male between the first hedgerow and second

And a third male in the first hedgerow and fairly close to the road

 COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT was very quiet apart from a single juvenile Common Redshank so I then headed home to SHARDELOES LAKE. The cricket pitch held 13 Pied Wagtails (3 family parties), with the Misbourne alongside two noisy COMMON KINGFISHERS.
All 3 Great Crested Grebe youngsters were surviving (one of which was now fishing independently) as well as the sole Mute Swan cygnet. A single SINENSIS CORMORANT was lurking in the shallows with female Tufted Ducks accompanying 6, 7 and 3 young respectively; just a pair of Gadwall were seen - and no young. Migrants included 3 Common Chiffchaffs and 2 House Martins, with a local family party of 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS in the Willows. Coots numbered 116 and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Whilst at Shardeloes, news came via John Gearing of a RUFF at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT - the first in the county this year. Failing to get it properly checked out via the usual channels, I had to race back there - arriving just after 1640 hours. After a few scans, I quickly relocated it - a fresh juvenile of the year - feeding in long vegetation on the spit of the westernmost island. Although very distant from the Information Centre, I managed a number of record shots presented below. A most satisfying end to the day. At least 6 more juvenile Common Terns had fledged since my visit last week, culminating in at least 24 young for the site this year - an excellent result considering the poor start.