Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Up to 8 GOLDFINCHES present all morning in the garden, despite the constant rain.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Snow now finally gone

Well, the last of the snow has finally gone this morning but nevertheness, Little Chalfont is still very cold and wet - it has been sleeting all morning.

Goldfinches are still visiting the nyger whilst the SISKIN flock at Chesham Fishing Lakes has now increased to 21 birds. A flock of 6 Pied Wagtails at Halifax Flats in the village was noteworthy.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas from a very snowy Little Chalfont

Christmas Greetings from Little Chalfont and Coleshill (Lee Evans and Ashley Stow)
2009 has been the best ever birding year in the Amersham Recording Area

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

LESSER REDPOLL still present

The male and several first-winter LESSER REDPOLLS were still present in the garden today as the deep snow (which first fell last Thursday) started to melt and temperatures for the first time in a week rose above freezing.
Between Amersham and Beaconsfield, large numbers of birds are being killed on the road, mainly Redwings.

BRAMBLING numbers on the increase

19 December: The number of BRAMBLING roosting in Penn Wood has now increased to 50 with the onset of severe weather.

2 seen at the northern end of the paddock between 15:00 and 15:20 and 48 seen just west of The Penna (crosspaths) between 15:35 and 15:45. The ones near The Penna were using trees both sides of the rhododendron ride and, on the south side in the larch the Brambling were conveniently grouped separately from the Chaffinch.

Also noted: c100 Greenfinch at the roost area south end of the paddock.

Nothing seen at the holly roost area in the SE section of the wood. Most Redwing seem to have now moved on.

Additonally: 1 Lesser Redpoll at southern end of paddock. Bullfinch seen in two regular areas and heard in two other usual areas (three of these areas are adjacent to the main southern pathway and the other is at the east end of the rhododendron ride). Nuthatch calling in various places. (Kevin Holt)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

GREAT WHITE EGRET in the Misbourne

The GREAT WHITE EGRET moved from the Chess River Valley to the Misbourne Valley and was still present, showing well in the stream SE of Kennel Farm until at least 18 December. It roosted in trees by the railway line by Deep Mill Lane Pond most evenings but moved to Tringford Reservoir as severe weather moved in.

Up to 7 LITTLE EGRETS still remain in the area, and single BARN OWLS have been seen close to Latimer Bridge and by Hundridge Manor (Chris Pontin)

The severe weather has seen a serious upsurge in garden visitors, with a LESSER REDPOLL on 20th, up to 61 House Sparrows daily, numerous Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Dunnock, up to 3 MARSH TITS (moving widely throughout the village), several Jays, frequent Red Kites and Common Buzzard (the latter even eating my outdated potato saad and creamy coleslaw), up to 12 Common Blackbirds, 35 Redwings, several Fieldfare and an adult male Pied Wagtail.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Marked increase in GADWALLS

(1400-1600 hours)

Temperatures have plumetted with the cold NE winds making it feel quite raw. It was another fine day though, with prevailing blue skies after the mist had lifted.

Little Grebes (12)
Grey Heron (2)
Mute Swan (both adults and three surviving first-winters)
Mallard (5)
GADWALL (marked increase, with at least 27 birds present)
Tufted Duck (10 including 4 drakes)
Northern Pochard (1 drake present)
Coot (decrease; just 72 present)
Black-headed Gull (313)
Common Gull (2 adults)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 adult)

STOCK DOVE (high count of 42 birds on the stubble)
Common Buzzard (1)
Red Kite (2)
Common Kestrel (1 male)
Mistle Thrush (1)
Song Thrush (1)
Long-tailed Tits (8)

JACKDAW and ROOK mixed roost (I counted the Rooks and Jackdaws arriving to roost in Hundred Acres Wood from 1500 hours - 137 of the former and 378 of the latter)

Wren in garden

The WREN is a scarce visitor to my garden but today one spent 20 minutes with us, hoppingabout the ground. A single GOLDFINCH has also been present, along with 37 House Sparrows.

BARN OWL delight

A BARN OWL flew across the Chesham to Great Missenden road by Hundridge Manor last night (per Chris Pontin) - the first record in the Recording Area for over a year.

Penn Wood update

Over the past week or so I found little increase in Brambling numbers and the Greenfinch and Redwing roosts had also remained fairly static. However, yesterday Thursday 10th, there was a difference.I found 12 BRAMBLING at the northern end of the paddock at 15:20 and then moved to the southern end where the Greenfinch flock numbered about 200 (at least 220 birds when Chaffinch included). By 15:40 I checked the "old" roost area just west of The Penna crossroads and found 15 further BRAMBLING. This, and neighbouring areas, have been infrequently used over the past two years.

So perhaps this is a sign of better things to come this winter? Or maybe not!

was unable to comfirm whether the Redwing roost at the Holly stands in the southeast corner of the wood still had c170-200 birds. When I arrived there at 16:05 a few were dropping to roost but no larger groups appeared and I heard no roost chattering as had previously occurred.

Along the full length of the main rhodedendron ride many parts have been severely cut back as part of general maintainence. This has resulted in several sections where the rhodendron now shows an open side to the pathway. This could discourage birds from roosting in previously favoured spots. There is also additional maintainence to some other paths, previously bordered by small birch or brambles.Kevin Holt

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Parakeets enjoying the sun


A pair of RING-NECKED PARAKEETS was enjoying the sunshine and taking up territory by a hole in a dead tree, 50 yards west of the Conference Centre.

The lake held 9 Mute Swans, 2 Little Grebes, 13 Tufted Ducks, 43 Coot and 17 Moorhens, whilst 123 Canada Geese were feeding in the field adjacent.

Just 1 LITTLE EGRET was east of Bois Mill, with the woodland surrounding Latimer Hall harbouring 2 Mistle Thrush, 9 Common Starlings, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 22 Redwings, 11 Goldfinch, 1 Song Thrush and a Nuthatch.

The 4 Mute Swans (2 adults and 2 first-winters) remain on Bois Mill Lake, with Chesham Fishing Lakes yielding the continuing Great Crested Grebe (the only wintering bird in the Recording Area), an adult Mute Swan, 11 Tufted Duck, just 1 drake Pochard, 34 Coot and a Song Thrush

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Very Quiet

Little of note of late in the 'valley', just 3-4 wintering LITTLE EGRETS - a single Song Thrush today in Flaunden and 15-20 Redwings still in Little Chalfont village.

Friday, 4 December 2009

'Ratty' is multiplying along the River Chess

James Hunter obtained these fabulous images of WATER VOLES.
The population of one of the UK's rarest mammals - the WATER VOLE - has increased dramatically along the River Chess, so much so that over 300 are now resident between Chesham and Chorleywood (results from a survey recently conducted by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust). This is a three-fold increase in two years and is a credit to the restoration work done by the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project.

Escaped American Mink have been controlled on this section of the river and bank-side vegetation has been dramatically restored providing a safe home for the voles.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

RED KITE visit in afternoon

A single RED KITE took an interest in the garden for a while, circling low for a few minutes and swooping low onto the lawn twice before flying off

Chaffinch House

Two inquisitive JAYS were a welcome visitor to the garden late morning, whilst other species present included 2 Coal Tits, 5 Dunnocks, 2 Common Blackbirds, a single Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinches, 36 House Sparrows and a continuing Woodpigeon.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sarratt Bottom

The adult male BLACK REDSTART was still present by Valley Farm today.

OSPREY details

The OSPREY last observed in the Chess River Valley on 21 November, was Osprey 1366501 left leg Blue with white mark 'MB' ringed on 27 July 2009 at a site on Loch Lomond, Stirlingshire. The nest contained a late brood and two young fledged (David Anderson, Conservation Manager, Forestry Commission Scotland, Cowal & Trossachs Forest District)

Monday, 30 November 2009

First frost of early winter

Very little to talk of birdwise but just looking out at 2330 hours, the first frost of the autumn.

Earlier today, I had spent a lot of time searching for a putative DUSKY WARBLER that had been calling frequently but not showing in an area of bramble and scrub just outside the Recording Area near Beaconsfield. I shall have another look tomorrow morning.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


The adult male BLACK REDSTART was still at Valley Farm today (per Jan Hein van Steenis)

Penn Wood and environs

In Penn Wood, at 15:15, there were c60 Greenfinch with a few Chaffinch and 1 BRAMBLING around the southeastern holly roost area. At the southern area of the paddock there were c120 Greenfinch with 3 BRAMBLING and again a few Chaffinch. At the northern end of the paddock, at 15:45, Greenfinch numbered around 20, Chaffinch about 20 and 12 definite BRAMBLING counted. So that was 16 Brambling in total. It was possible that there was movement between areas, but the total ties in well with my sightings during the past week or so.

By 15:55, I was counting Red Kite at the Brook Wood roost near Penn Bottom. There were 6 circling over the wood when I arrived and over the next twenty minutes I checked in a further 13, all from the Winchmore Hill direction (actually slighlty south of). Then, at 16:25, I turned to check the wood again and saw many rising in the dark just ahead of a rain shower. 22 birds all rose up together and moved slowly back over the hill towards the fields and woods below Winchmore Hill. (Kevin Holt)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

KINGFISHER highlight


A raw day, with the wind veering ENE and temperatures dropping further. It remained dry during daylight hours but became wet as darkness fell. I spent the day surveying locally.


There was no sign of yesterday's Great White Egret in the Chess Valley. Richard Tomlin searched too.

LITTLE EGRETS (3 together just east of Bois Mill and 2 more at Church Covert)
Mute Swans (4 adults just east of Bois Mill and a further individual on Bois Mill Lake)

Great Water and environs

Little Grebe (1)
Mute Swans (13)
Tufted Duck (9)
Redwing (11)

Chesham Sewage Works Pond (SU 979 997)

Little Grebe (1)
Tufted Duck (10)
Rookery (44 nests)
FIELDFARE (22 just west of Ivy House Farm)
House Sparrows (8 by Ivy House Farm)

Chesham Fishing Lakes

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (still present)
Mute Swan (1 adult)
Mallard (12)
Tufted Duck (12)
Coot (48 - 44 + 4)

Chesham Pow Wow Lake

Little Grebes (2)
Mallard (10)
No Gadwall


Little Grebe (10)
Mute Swans (pair and two remaining/surviving first-winters)
Tufted Duck (1 drake)
Coot (92)
COMMON KINGFISHER (showing very well fishing in the shallow and very clear stream adjacent to the cricket field)
Stock Dove (15 on stubble)
FIELDFARES (15 in bushes at edge of lake)
Redwing (4 with the above)
Jackdaws (flock of 190 on stubble)


Little Grebes (3)
Mallard (4)
Coot (8)
Moorhen (4)
Rook (26 nests at SU 905 998)

BLACK REDSTART still present

Hooray. On my second visit to the site, caught up with the adult male BLACK REDSTART still at Valley Farm in Sarratt Bottom between 15.40 & 16.00 on fencing near the 2 silver/ Blue horse Boxes at the rear of the farm. was loosely associating with 1m COMMON STONECHAT also on site. obtained juicy views of the wintering Black Bedstart in glorious plumage. A real stunning example of a male Black Redstart. Also 2 LITTLE EGRETS in trees by the water cress beds. No sign of the Osprey but made zero effort on trying to locate it, if still there (Darin Stanley)

Friday, 27 November 2009

GREAT WHITE EGRET in the Chess Valley

One GREAT WHITE EGRET. At 10.45 it flew up river and passed very close to us on the drive that goes down from near the entrance to Latimer House. It was large, deep chested and gave us very clear views of its black feet. It did not appear to settle in the valley and disappeared in the direction of Chesham.

11 Little Egrets
5 Red Legged Partridge at bottom of the bean field at the western end of Great Water.
2 Red Kites
1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk
1 Common Buzzard
2 Common Pheasants
about 150 Canada Geese

Stuart and Lesley Williams

Penn Wood - The Map

ACCESS POINTS: via the A404 opposite Beamond End; by the War Memorial at the south end of Penn Street; at the Tylers Green Gate on the SE side or at the bottom of the dip just east of Keeper's Cottage at the south end

Drop in temperatures see a rise in roosting finch numbers


After weeks of warm air being pushed up from the Azores and further south, today saw a marked decrease in temperature, with afternoon struggling to reach 9 degrees C. It was a pleasant day though, with long clear periods and a near full moon at dusk. Wind was very light WSW.


The number of roosting BRAMBLINGS had dramatically increased, with 26 'in' by 1530, all roosting with Chaffinches at the western end of the main Rhododendron ride at SU 915 957. Chaffinch numbers had well increased too, with 85 roosting (43 with the Bramblings, 40 in Evergreens to the south of the 'paddock' and 1 with the Greenfinches). The main Greenfinch roost in the Holly trees held 84 birds this evening (at SU 918 957), again my highest count this autumn.

REDWINGS were exceptionally abundant, with a large roost of some 170 birds in the Rhododendron thickets at the south end, and a further 150 in the Holly trees and Copper Beech trees 200 yards south of the Penna.

Three Goldcrest were noted this afternoon, along with 2 Nuthatches, 2 Coal Tits and a pair of Bullfinch.

Nearby (with Peter Stevens), a total of at least 30 RED KITES roosted (although all were virtually in before 1600 hours, much earlier than normal) as well as 4 COMMON BUZZARDS. A RED FOX barked just as it was getting dark.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wintering Rarities

The two FIRECRESTS are still present in Hogback Wood, Beaconsfield, and the adult male BLACK REDSTART is still frequenting the barns at Valley Farm, Sarratt Bottom.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


I checked out the Penn Wood roost this evening and it was very disappointing (the Eurasian Sparrowhawk was patrolling again)

By 1530 hours, just 4 BRAMBLINGS had arrived (two males, two females), along with 63 Greenfinches, just 13 Chaffinches and 120 Redwings.

Nearby, 51 RED KITE flew in to roost, scrambling together on fir branches in the strong SW wind. Most interesting was the fact that Redwings were now utilising the kite roost with large numbers flighting in to land alongside them before disappearing into the dense areas closer to the trunk. I guess they use the kites as some form of safety - weird - particularly as Common Buzzards also share the roost.


Eight birds were present on Saturday (21 November) in the stream just east of Bois Mill

House Sparrows enjoying re-stocking of food

I re-stocked all of the garden feeders and within minutes the garden was full of House Sparrows - 38 in total

Friday, 20 November 2009

Impressive gathering of STOCK DOVE


Unlike Cumbria where unprecedented rainfall wreaked havoc and heavy flooding overnight, the warm, wet front moved north and east by mid morning leaving a clear, mild and very pleasant afternoon. The strong SW wind overnight slackened right off during the day allowing me at last to connect with the Rainham Serins. The afternoon was spent in the Chess Valley where once again I could not locate the Osprey - maybe it has now finally gone. The undoubted highlight was an exceptional gathering of Stock Dove.


LITTLE EGRETS (8 in the valley today including 4 together just east of Bois Mill, 3 in the Chenies Church Covert area and 1 at the Cress Farm)

Moorhen (5 in the small pond adjacent to the Cricketers Pub in Sarratt village - new wintering site)

*STOCK DOVE (a flock of 205 birds feeding together in Latimer Park at SU 992 994 - similar numbers have now been in residence for over a month now and may well stay to overwinter)

MEADOW PIPIT (15 in paddock fields north of Valley Farm)

Long-tailed Tits (17 by Latimer Road)
Coal Tit (2 by Latimer Road)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Dramatic rise in LITTLE EGRET numbers and record RED KITE roost for District


The unsettled weather continues with strong SW winds, bright periods and very sodden ground conditions underfoot. Once again, I could find no sign of the juvenile Osprey today, nor of the adult male Black Redstart. Highlight was a dramatic rise in Little Egret numbers and some excellent roost counts in Penn Wood and environs.


There was a shoot on so unsurprisingly few birds to see. There was no sign of any Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebes or many wildfowl.

Little Grebe (8)
GADWALL (just 1 drake)
Tufted Duck (1 female)
Common Kestrel (1 male, with an additional first-year male on wires on Rectory Hill, Amersham)
Black-headed Gull (230)
Common Gull (16)
Coot (98)
Common Blackbird (1 first-winter male)
Redwing (1)


LITTLE EGRETS* (13 recorded, the highest number this winter; 8 roosting together just east of Bois Mill, four between Latimer and Chenies Bridges and 1 in the Crestyl Cress Beds area)
Mallard (8 in floodwater opposite Crestyl Cress Farm)
Common Buzzard (2)
Common Kestrel (3)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1 male)
Woodpigeon (850+ still present in Limeshill Wood)
STOCK DOVE (11 in flight near Valley Farm)
Common Kingfisher (1)
Song Thrush (male in song by the cress beds)
Redwing (60+)
Dunnock (5 in Mill Farm Meadow)
COMMON STONECHAT (the mobile pair once again in Mill Farm Meadow)
SISKIN (2 in flight over the cress beds)
*COMMON RAVEN (1 vocal individual moving between Great Water and Beechengrove Wood)


A single Sparrowhawk was 'spooking' the finches as they were arriving to roost and as such kept them in view until near 1600 hours when most dropped down to roost.

It was my best roost of the autumn with a total of 72 Greenfinches, 11 Chaffinches and 8 BRAMBLINGS (mostly females) along with 160+ Redwings. A Goldcrest was also present in the Holly.


A staggering number of raptors to roost this evening, including the largest RED KITE roost I have found outside of the Wycombe and Stokenchurch area. From around 1605 hours, an absolute minimum of 54 RED KITES flew in and 8 COMMON BUZZARDS and because a farmer in his tractor was still cutting/massacreing a hedgerow close to their usual trees, they all chose to bed down in neighbouring Brook Wood. This figure is all the more important as many of the traditional roosts are not being used at the moment, presumably because it is still so relatively mild.


Steve Carter obtained this shot of the OSPREY at the weekend. The bird was ringed as a nestling at Loch Lomond (Clyde) in July of this year.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Penn Wood BRAMBLING roost

Yesterday and today I checked the BRAMBLING roosts in Penn Wood after a break of a week or so.

Tue 17/11, 15:30 - 16:30 10 Brambling likely.Birds very active and flighty and hard to keep track of tree to tree. All noted in area around southern end of fenced paddock.

Wed 18/11, 15:00 - 16:30 10 Brambling confirmed.But probably a few more. Today's cloud and drizzle seemed to keep thebirds together although there was movement from the southern end of paddock to the northern end, where I caught up with the definite 10 in one tree. Chaffinch and Greenfinch numbers still small, mainly in a couple of groups of 20 - 30 (Kevin Holt)

OSPREY again in its favoured tree

Have just been told that Martin J Smith saw the OSPREY today (no times given) in its usual tree at Crestyl Cress Beds.
If you do see this bird (pictured above by Mike Collard), kindly keep me informed on or by phone on 07881 906629.

A dreary day

A very dreary day being very overcast with intermittent drizzle and interludes of heavier rain pulses. There was no sign of the juvenile Osprey fledged in Clyde in July.


A GREAT CRESTED GREBE was a new arrival, as was a first-winter Little Grebe.

The adult Mute Swan was still there, along with 12 Tufted Ducks, 8 Northern Pochards and 44 Coot


Four LITTLE EGRETS still: two on the river just east of Bois Mill and another two just west of Mill Farm at Chenies Bottom.

Two adult Mute Swans at Bois Mill and a further adult on the river west of Mill Farm.

A mixed flock of 58 REDWING and 43 FIELDFARE flew west, whilst a single Eurasian Collared Dove roosted in the tall evergreen by Mill Farm Barns.