TUESDAY 2 DECEMBER 2008
A bitingly cold day and after a clear, frosty start, heavy cloud soon moved in from the west bringing a period of sleet and rain. This moved away to the east after a short while leaving a cold, crisp afternoon.
DORNEY ROWING LAKES
The juvenile COMMON SCOTER was showing exceptionally well at 900m on the Return Lake. It was resting and preening for some time close to the far shore and then resumed diving, successfully finding food on at least five occasions. Whilst diving, it frequently resurfaced less than 30 yards away and by sheltering up against the first cabin beyond the bridge, was able to obtain some outstanding views. The fact that it has an extensive white belly and underparts suggests that it is a juvenile, whilst otherwise much of its plumage is uniform dark sooty brown, with contrasting whitish cheeks, throat and sides of neck. The bill was all-dark with an obvious pink gape when eating.
Excellent views were also obtained of 30 Fieldfares feeding on berries by the car park, and Grey Wagtail.
HICKNAHAM FARM IN LITTLEWORTH COMMON
On the pond along the access road to Hicknaham Farm and in the muddy field adjacent to Bristles Wood (SU 935 867) (almost opposite the Jolly Woodman public house) is the largest flock of MALLARD that I have ever encountered in Buckinghamshire - I click-counted 1,315 birds, almost all being pure rather than being influenced by farm breeding. This huge flock also attracted 3 RED KITES, which were flying low over their heads and spooking small groups which were occasionally flying up.
HEDGERLEY TIP (SU 960 895)
Gull numbers were well down with just 553 click-counted, including 309 Lesser Black-backed, 231 Herring (a large proportion of which were northern Argentatus) and 13 Great Black-backed Gulls. Corvids were well represented with 143 Carrion Crows in attendance, 86 Jackdaws and 355 Rooks, whilst the Common Starling flock totalled 657.
RED KITES as usual were everywhere, with 23 circling over the 'new' rubbish hole together at one time and 12 scattered in trees surrounding Hyde Farm. Two individuals were wing-tagged, both YELLOW on left wing and numbers '9' and '13' - does anyone know their history?
Five Redwings were also in the Hyde Farm fields, as well as 1 Fieldfare and a Pied Wagtail.
HILLMOTT'S FARM WOOD (SU 963 885)
A further 4 RED KITES were tree-roosting, with 55 Common Pheasants, 3 Redwing and a Fieldfare in adjoining farmland, with 4 Wrens, 18 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 3 Goldcrests, Jay and 2 Robins in the woodland belt itself.
TYLERS GREEN VILLAGE POND (SU 907 934)
A total of 40 Mallards (25 drakes), 2 Moorhens (adult and first-winter) and 10 adult Black-headed Gulls.
HOLMER GREEN (SU 910 966)
In the sheep fields north of the A404, COMMON GULL numbers had increased to a new record of 112 adults. The same field also held 62 Common Starlings.
At least 500 Woodpigeons still remained in the crop field south of Whielden Lane (A404) at SU 933 960.
Very quiet apart from 8 GADWALL