Recording Area Annual Totals

93 Species so far in 2011 - January 2011 72 by March 21st - Common Chiffchaff 74 by March 28th - Wheatear & Meadow Pipit both added; 77 by April 5th 108 species were recorded in 2010; 92 by 4 September; 93 by 22 November

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.

Friday, 12 December 2014


This pair nested very late this year but despite this, 3 of the cygnets continue to do well (and an improvement on last year, when just one cygnet survived into this year). Female T2L was originally released here on 14th March 2009, 2099 days ago!

Otherwise, very quiet in the Chess Valley at present, although GADWALL numbers are holding up (20+) and Little Egrets number about 5

Monday, 8 December 2014


Last Friday, 15 BRAMBLING came in to roost with 53 Chaffinches in Penn Wood, my first here this winter

Monday, 1 December 2014

BLACK SWAN still resident

A cold, grey day with overcast skies and a freshening NW wind...
An afternoon's birding resulted in 49 species being recorded, including my first BITTERN of the winter..
BULLFINCH numbers in my CHAFFINCH HOUSE GARDEN have now increased to 5 - birds repeatedly visiting the Sunflower Hearts feeders

There was no sign of Don Stone's Golden Plover flock at LOWER WEEDONHILL FARM near Hyde Heath just 29 Common Starlings, 4 Jays, 3 Carrion Crows, Green Woodpecker (pictured), Common Blackbird, Red Kite, Goldfinch and 2 male Common Pheasants. Neighbouring PIPER'S WOOD added 8 Common Magpies.

At SHARDELOES LAKE, a reasonable checklist: 5 Mute Swans (both adults, the female with 2 cygnets and another first-year), just 2 Gadwall (pair), 3 Tufted Duck, 58 Coot, 14 Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, 148 Black-headed Gulls, 8 Common Gulls, a near-adult Argentatus Herring Gull (observed hunting down a Crayfish and devouring it), 2 COMMON KINGFISHER, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, 16 Long-tailed Tits, 9 Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Greenfinch, 11 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, 9 Goldfinch, 2 Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, 3 Mistle Thrush, 19 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, Song Thrush and several Stock Doves.

On the Misbourne pond as you enter LITTLE MISSENDEN HAMLET, the Australian Black Swan remains resident, with 8 Coot and 6 Moorhen on MULBERRY WOOD POND and 10 Moorhen, Tufted Duck, a pair of Gadwall and 2 Little Grebe on DEEP MILL LANE POND. In GREAT MISSENDEN, BANK'S POND held Little Grebe, 6 Coot and 4 Moorhen (with 6 Redwing over) but most concerning was the apparent drying up of the Misbourne at Warren Water.

I finished up at MARSWORTH RESERVOIR with Ian Williams, the wait until dusk being entertained by at least 1,400 Common Starlings coming in to roost. Not so good were the CORN BUNTING numbers (just 45), whilst Reed Bunting was represented by just one bird. The BITTERN (first seen by Steve Rodwell on Friday) appeared from the reedbed bang on cue at 1600 hours, with 3 WATER RAIL squealing, Grey Heron, 5 Redwing, 48 Shoveler and 4 Great Crested Grebe noted.