Recording Area Annual Totals

97 Species in 2013, 99 in 2012, 94 in 2011, 108 species were recorded in 2010;

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A pair of STONECHAT in Beaconsfield....

Highlights today (Tuesday 20 January) included this female BLACKCAP in my CHAFFINCH HOUSE garden in LITTLE CHALFONT - only the second winter record since 1987! Also 2 Bullfinches still visiting and the first 2 House Sparrows this year

Thanks to my good friend Don Stone, was able to add COMMON STONECHAT shortly later - a pair showing well in setaside adjacent to AMERSHAM ROAD in BEACONSFIELD (at SU 947 906); also a flock of 33 Meadow Pipits there

In RONALD ROAD, BEACONSFIELD opposite, a healthy population of at least 16 House Sparrows in gardens
Then, thanks to some very helpful advice from Adam Bassett, added 4 GREY PARTRIDGES - attracted to food at EMMETT'S FARM GAME CROP FIELDS in LITTLE MARLOW. A very attrictive area to birds with 4 Red-legged Partridges also noted, as well as 14 Stock Dove, 190 Fieldfare, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Greenfinch, 12 Chaffinch, 8 Red Kite and a further 20 House Sparrows around the FARM SHOP.
At SPADE OAK PIT nearby, 4 COMMON SHELDUCK on site, as well as a single injured Egyptian Goose, both Australian Black Swans, 6 Greylag Geese, 211 Teal, 126 Wigeon, 10 Shoveler, 72 Gadwall, 54 Pochard, an impressive 224 Tufted Duck, 46 Coot, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 38 Lapwing, 256 Black-headed Gull and 7 Redwing, whilst both Grey Heron and Sinensis Cormorant were both already nesting and displaying on the island.

Just south of MAIDENHEAD, BRAY LAKE held an incredible 452 Tufted Ducks, with 2 hybrid Tufted Duck/Pochards with them and the drake RING-NECKED DUCK pictured below. At least 90 Pochard, as well as 15 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 3 Great Crested Grebe and 8 Redwing

Monday, 19 January 2015

LITTLE EGRETS back at Bois Mill

At the meadow just east of BOIS MILL, 5 Little Egret were together today, sharing the brook with 2 Mute Swans; all 3 of the latter were still at CHESHAM WATERSIDE

Spent ages searching BERKHAMSTEAD GOLF COURSE & COMMON for both Lesser Redpoll and Siskin but failed in my quest - just Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit and 2 Jays - adjacent FRITHSDEN BEECHES adding Bullfinch (2), Common Buzzard, Nuthatch (2), Common Treecreeper (2), Jay (2), Redwing (26) and another Great Spotted Woodpecker
This herd of 47 Fallow Deer was opposite ASHRIDGE COLLEGE
A flock of 70 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER (and 2 Lapwing) were at WELL FARM, just SW of DAGNALL, whilst DOWN FARM near ALDBURY held 6 Yellowhammers and a Red Kite
No sign of any Grey Partridges around Horton Village but NE of SLAPTON BRIDGE, the GREAT GREY SHRIKE was still showing very well both sides of the Grand Union Canal just north of bridge 118 (see images below); a single Skylark and a few Redwings here too

At GUBBLECOTE, 68 Rook in the vicinity
While 3 Tree Sparrows have been at Long Marston and a drake Pintail at WILSTONE this weekend, all that was at the latter this afternoon were 1 Mute Swan, 377 Coot, 33 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Little Grebe, 270 Teal, 258 Wigeon, 36 Gadwall, 107 Tufted Duck, 120 Pochard, 130 Shoveler and the 3 female GOLDENEYE
At STARTOP'S END, 13 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Mute Swan, 93 Coot, 8 Teal, 13 Pochard, 22 Tufted Duck and the drake Gadwall, while on TRINGFORD, all 10 RED-CRESTED POCHARD remained, 188 Coot, 8 Mute Swans, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret and a Song Thrush. In the cow field at the back, a single Meadow Pipit with 4 Pied Wagtails.
A Grey Wagtail and Bullfinch by the SEWAGE WORKS, where both a Reeve's Muntjac and Wood Mouse had been run over

Last knockings at the MARSWORTH ROOST failed to reap the Barn owl (seen Saturday evening), but 71 CORN BUNTINGS roosted (pitiful total for midwinter), just 3 Common Starlings, 4 squealing Water Rails, Green Woodpecker, 6 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 12 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Chenies Bottom LITTLE OWLS enjoying some winter sunshine...

The day started fine and dry, with long clear spells and winter sunshine. It then clouded over from the Northwest with the wind increasing....
A day of TARGET BIRDING with my first visit to HOGBACK WOOD in BEACONSFIELD, where a single FIRECREST is wintering as usual. It took a long time to locate but was eventually pinned down to the Holly clump just as you enter the woodland and the Leylandii and conifer trees in Woodfield Road adjacent. It was associating with a single Goldcrest. Also noted were 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, both Green & Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Song Thrush (singing male), 10 Blue Tit, 6 Great Tit, Coal Tit, Jay, 2 Common Magpie, Red Kite and a flyover Greenfinch.
Moving on to CASTLEMAN'S FARM, to the south of Beaconsfield, EGYPTIAN GEESE numbered 98 in the chicken fields, with 15+ Red Kite in the area and 4 Moorhen and a Pied Wagtail.
At BURNHAM BEECHES NNR, a total of 11 MANDARIN DUCK was present on the Upper Pond (6 drakes), with Red Kite, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and a singing Coal Tit also encountered. Not too far away at BLACK PARK COUNTRY PARK LAKE, a further 21 MANDARIN DUCK were counted - 11 drakes in this colony. The lake also held 2 Mute Swan, 4 Atlantic Canada Geese, 6 Mallard, 17 Tufted Duck, 3 Northern Pochard, 4 Moorhen and 26 Coot, with Nuthatch, Coal Tit and up to 8 Great Tits feeding around the periphery of the car park.
Despite being so windy, I managed to still locate most of the long-staying 'rares' on STAINES RESERVOIRS' NORTH BASIN, including the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, 3 BLACK-NECKED GREBES and WATER PIPIT, whilst 249 Tufted Duck (mostly drake) were impressive, 24 Common Goldeneye, a drake Shoveler, 125 Wigeon and Green Woodpecker all noted too.
In the CHESS VALLEY, a single Little Egret was roosting east of CHENIES BOTTOM BRIDGE, with 2 more on one of the ditches south of CHURCH COVERT. The LITTLE OWL pair were enjoying the afternoon sun on the usual pollarded Willow tree, with an adult Argenteus Herring Gull resting on LATIMER GREAT WATER being a rare visitor there (unusual numbers have recently been roosting at Stocker's Lake, Rickmansworth). Fifteen days into the New Year, I was very pleased to finally connect with a MISTLE THRUSH - LATIMER PLACE virtually a guaranteed stakeout for this species.
Last off I visited the roost at PENN WOOD SSSI but in very windy conditions it was very poor. Just a single BRAMBLING roosted in the Penna Rhododendrons (along with 55 Chaffinches), with a further 20 Chaffinches in a 'new' roost in Rhododendrons at the east end of the wood. Otherwise, just Red Kite, Goldcrest and Coal Tit logged, with the nearby roost wood yielding 23 of the former.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

In Deep Freeze........

The last three days have seen heavy overnight frosts, with temperatures dropping down to as low as minus 8 degrees. As a result, many of the local waters have largely frozen over, certainly in part...
Yesterday afternoon, David Bilcock photographed a GREAT GREY SHRIKE in bushes adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, half way between Slapton and Grove Locks, near Whaddon Farm. There was no sign of it today unfortunately.
DB also had a flock of 5 GOOSANDERS on Marsworth Reservoir first thing this morning - all 5 spooking readily and quickly moving to Wilstone, before flying off south.
I did a full inventory later in the morning, the freezing conditions seeing a marked arrival of wildfowl, as well as an exceptional 85 Great Crested Grebes.....
On WILSTONE, 54 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Egret, 71 Sinensis Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 8 Grey Heron, 3 Mute Swan, just 1 Canada Goose, 36 Gadwall, 140 Shoveler (a year high), 340 Common Teal, 320 Wigeon, 170 Pochard, 377 Coot and 3 Common Goldeneye
At STARTOP'S END, 1 Mute Swan (4BED), 21 Canada Geese, 26 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 31 Pochard, 3 Shoveler and 198 Coot, with a few Redwing and Fieldfares feeding on the berries on the north bank and 12 House Sparrows in conifers by the Angler's Retreat and an additional 8 by the Wood Carving Studio.
Very little on MARSWORTH, other than the drake Gadwall, 5 Mute Swans (including pair 4ABK and 4ABL), 1 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 2 Teal, Water Rail and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
A flock of 83 Woodpigeon was roosting in trees at the back of TRING SEWAGE WORKS, with TRINGFORD adding 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 9 Grey Heron, the family party of 8 Mute Swans, 24 Teal, 18 Tufted Duck, 10 Pochard, 180 Coot, 84 Black-headed Gull, an adult Common Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, Goldfinch and several Common Blackbirds.

At least 124 Common Teal remained in PITSTONE QUARRY, but little else of note in there, while SHARDELOES LAKE was 90% frozen - 59 Coot, 8 Little Grebe, 19 Common Gull and Green Woodpecker being the highlights.

A few images from recent days.......drake Teal, Pied Wagtail in the garden, Robin, Redwing (lots around at moment) and Fieldfare...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chess Valley this week: a singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, GREAT CRESTED GREBE and 16 LAPWING, whilst BRAMBLING flock building up in Penn Wood

A WINTER WREN visited the garden early morning - a scarce visitor here
At COPPERKINS FARM, near Hyde Heath, 30 Fieldfare in the fields but no sign of Don's 40 or so Golden Plover again.
SHARDELOES LAKE was partially frozen at the island end, resulting in over 238 Black-headed and 8 Common Gulls standing on the ice. A first-winter SHOVELER was the first of the winter but the thrushes had largely moved on. At least 19 Little Grebe were still present, 3 Mute Swan, just 2 Canada Geese, 4 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and 38 Coot, whilst Sparrowhawk, 3 Redwing, 8 Red Kites and Grey Wagtail were all noted.

The Australian Black Swan continues to survive on LITTLE MISSENDEN POND, with House Sparrow numbers holding up with 2 by the church, 8 in front of Highmore Cottages and a further 8 in the roadside hedgerow just a little way further along the lane.

Nearby, DEEP MILL LANE POND held 4 Little Grebe, 20 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Coot and 8 Moorhen, but BANK'S POND and WARREN WATER (GREAT MISSENDEN) both remain largely dried up.
Not too much to find at HUNTS GREEN NATURE RESERVE - Red Kite, Song Thrush, male Yellowhammer, 3 Linnet, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Common Blackbird and a Chinese Water Deer being noteworthy. Two more Linnets were seen at BALLINGER MEADOW.

Trawling the PEDNOR BOTTOM area, a flock of 8 Redwing in the horse paddocks by PEDNOR GRANGE were the highlight, with 2 Mute Swans, 42 Canada Geese, Grey Heron and a Jay being seen at BURY LAKE. Neighbouring LOWNDES PARK LAKE in CHESHAM yielded the usual wildfowl although the fencing has clearly affected the Canada Geese - none other than the injured bird being present. Over 85 Black-headed Gulls counted included 2 metal-ringed individuals but just too difficult to get any details. Common Starling, Greenfinch, Goldcrest and Song Thrush all encountered in ST MARY'S CHURCHYARD.

All 3 Mute Swans were once again at CHESHAM MOOR (WATERSIDE), while CHESHAM FISHING LAKES harboured a single Great Crested Grebe, 14 Coot, 19 Tufted Duck and a single Pochard; a COMMON CHIFFCHAFF in full song at the POW WOW LAKE was unseasonal.
Continuing up the CHESS VALLEY, all 6 Mute Swans (family group) and 2 Coot were on BOIS MILL POND, with LATIMER'S GREAT WATER adding 4 more Mute Swans, 34 Coot, 14 Moorhen, 5 Tufted Duck and Grey Heron. The fields had been recently ploughed and had attracted a flock of 16 LAPWING, a Red-legged Partridge and several Stock Doves, while a COMMON KINGFISHER was perched in front of one of the buildings at LATIMER PLACE. A single Little Egret flew to roost, as did 2 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS.

TOOLEY'S CROFT WOOD yielded 2 Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard and a Jay.
Pleasantly mild but pretty windy
A flock of 13 Common Starlings were in WINCHMORE HILL, whilst PENN VILLAGE POND held 9 Moorhen and 63 Mallard, with 8 noisy House Sparrows in the evergreen opposite.

In PENN WOOD, depressing to once again find a Holly roost devoid of any Greenfinch - just 35 Redwing; Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, 7 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, 3 Common Buzzard, Red Kite and Jay all noted and at the Penna Rhododendron roost, just 25 Chaffinch but a December high 42 BRAMBLING roosted. At COMMON WOOD nearby, at least 32 Red Kite roosted.