Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Monday, 8 December 2008


COMMON STONECHATS (Mike Lawrence) and FIELDFARE (Tim Watts)

Following a hard frost, the day was gloriously bright, clear and dry, with temperatures rising to no more than 4 degrees C.

Widmer End Lawn Tennis Club/Grange Farm Fields

At last, on my 6th attempt, I finally connected with Alan Petherbridges' wintering pair of COMMON STONECHATS. They were frequenting the tall grassy field behind Grange Farm at SU 884 959 and were showing extremely well.

The area also produced 2 RED KITES (feeding on the ground on earthworms in the large field opposite the tennis club), a Green Woodpecker, Wren, 2 Dunnocks, 2 European Robins, a Goldfinch, a pair of Bullfinches and a single Yellowhammer.

Common Wood Lane, Penn (in vicinity of Pugh's Wood) (SU 908 943)

A healthy number of Common Pheasants in area (40+); also 4 Magpies.

Winchmore Hill (Pennstreet Farm Wood) (SU 925 953)

This site, which held 7 active ROOK nests in the summer, held 62 roosting Rooks late afternoon. The hedgerow leading down to Tragoe's Plantation (at SU 927 953) held 3 SONG THRUSHES and at least 15 Common Blackbirds.

A single wintering Common Kestrel remains in Penn Street

Penn Wood Rhododendron Finch Roost (SU 917 959)

I arrived at the Monument Crossroads early (1445 hours) and watched incoming roosting finches arrive over the next half-hour, in clear, calm, crisp conditions. Overall, it was very poor and birds were not using the site as they had done in the previous two years. Apart from singles of Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay, roosting finches consisted of 115 Chaffinch, just 44 Greenfinch, 13 LESSER REDPOLL and just 7 BRAMBLINGS (6 males and a single female).I was somewhat concerned that management opeartions undertaken by The Woodland Trust may have had an affect on the roosting finches as areas of rhododendron has been extensively cleared from the main rides. There has also been extensive felling operations in the wood.

Although Rhododendron is a non-native plant which can spread through woodlands and shade out more native plant species, it is unrivalled in its attraction to roosting birds in winter, particularly finches and other small birds. THIS IS A VERY VALUABLE ASSET TO PENN WOOD. In the last two winters, Penn Wood has received internationally important numbers of wintering Bramblings, with the largest wintering flock in Britain. I am hoping that this winter's pitiful numbers is not related to the work carried out on this invasive plant.


Another heavy frost being slow to clear and penetrating all day in some areas. Clear, dry and cold.

Stoney Lane Pastures, Little Chalfont (TQ 004 980)

Two Mistle Thrushes and a FIELDFARE feeding amongst the cows.

Latimer House and Great Water (SU 995 988)
A thorough check of this part of the Chess River Valley during which time I had the opportunity and good fortune to meet two very keen local birdwatchers for the first time - Stuart and Lesley Wilson - who regularly walk their ten-year old dog along this section of the Chess and actually found the Purple Heron six days before I set out eyes on it and identified it.

With many of the smaller waters frozen over, this year's best wildfowl count to date on Great Water involved 16 Mute Swans, 123 Canada Geese, 4 EURASIAN WIGEON (1 drake - rare here), a single female COMMON TEAL (also rare), 75 Tufted Ducks and 10 NORTHERN POCHARDS (1 female). The lake also held 5 Little Grebes, 17 Moorhens and 33 Eurasian Coot.

The three wintering LITTLE EGRETS were again present, all roosting in trees east of Bois Mill, with Mistle Thrush (4), FIELDFARE (3), Wren (two singing), Meadow Pipit (3), Goldfinch and SISKIN (two singles overhead) all noted.

The undoubted highlight however was a pair of COMMON STONECHATS in weeds at the north edge of Great Water (at SU 996 987) which had apparently been present for a month.

Chaffinch House, Little Chalfont

Since I have uploaded three new feeders full of black and dried sunflower seeds, up to 8 COAL TITS have been taking advantage - the largest single number I have ever had feeding in the garden.

Shardeloes Lake (partly frozen)

A few more wildfowl than of late with 7 Tufted Ducks present (5 drakes) and 10 GADWALL (7 drakes), with 10 Little Grebes and a reduction in Coot down to just 66 birds. Large numbers of gulls resting on the ice included an adult Common, 250+ Black-headed and a juvenile argenteus Herring Gull.

A413 Amersham-Wendover Road

Two wintering Common Kestrels, with single females along the Great Missenden bypass and opposite the nursery at Cobblershill Lane. At Upper Wendoverdead Farm, 28 Jackdaws were noted.

Sadly, a BADGER was run over on the A413 just before dark near Havenfields at SP 891 022.

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