Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 31 July 2009

Another WHEATEAR - second of the autumn


Andy Radford discovered a juvenile NORTHERN WHEATEAR at 1700 hours and the bird was still present and showing well when I arrived from 1834-1854 hours. It was frequenting the large pile of tyres to the left of the public footpath as well as the tarmac area by the farm sheds and was scolding frequently. It represents the second record of this species in my Recording Area this autumn.

In the area by the farm reservoir, 8 Stock Doves, 3 male Greenfinches, 2 Linnets and a male Blackcap were noted. Red Kites were also very vocal, with two juveniles begging for food.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS increase; Barn Swallows have a good season and Butterflies Galore


After the odd rumble of thunder and isolated shower, the day was rather pleasant, with some good spells of sunshine giving rise to warm temperatures. The SW wind continued and was fairly brisk. I had planned to check on a number of raptor nests but that all went pear-shaped, when an adult summer Cattle Egret was located in West Berkshire. That bird was dipped on two occasions but two Garganey and a Mediterranean Gull salvaged the day.


I did the Chess Valley Walk from Chenies Bridge (TQ 017 987) to Valley Farm (TQ 026 992). Very quiet birdwise but notable for the number of Barn Swallows recorded.

*COMMON KESTRELS (pair busily feeding four noisy fledglings which are all on the wing)
RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE (adult in Mill Farm Meadow - unusual in July)
Green Woodpecker (3)
BARN SWALLOWS (2 hawking over Mill Farm Meadow, with a further 15 over the paddock immediately west of Valley Farm. Several juveniles from the two nests at the farm were queuing up along the fence to be fed by the parents. At least four nests in this small area successfully fledged young - an excellent year)
Wren (1 by Chenies Bottom Bridge)
Mistle Thrush (2 at Chenies Place)
COMMON WHITETHROAT (single juvenile in Frogmore Meadow)
Goldfinch (2)
Black-billed Magpie (2 adults; I also found a juvenile shot dead)
Long-tailed Tits (8 in Limeshill Wood)
MARSH TIT (1 scolding in Limeshill Wood at TQ 023 991)

Frogmore Meadow and the adjacent meadow were swarming with butterflies, with the wild flowers and weeds attracting incredible numbers including 600+ Large Whites, 74 Green-veined Whites, 44 Small Whites, 1 tatty Small Tortoiseshell, 11 COMMAS, 55 COMMON BLUES, 67 Peacocks, 330+ Meadow Browns, 55 Ringlets, 22 Small Heath, 65 Gatekeepers, 25 SMALL COPPERS (with egg-laying observed) and 14 PAINTED LADIES. A total of 13 species in one small area.

My walk was rudely interrupted at 1505 hours when Ken Moore and Roger Stansfield discovered a summer-plumaged Cattle Egret at Padworth Lane GP in neighbouring Berkshire - only the second county record and a species I have still to see in the county. I made my way back to the car, picked up Ray Scally and then finally got going at 1536. Just as I got to the M4, I received a call from Andy Horscroft giving me the good news that the bird had flown east and had been lost. I turned around and headed back.

SHARDELOES LAKE (1630-1730 hours)
(with Ray Scally)

Ray Scally is the Irish artist that has illustrated both Russell Slack's new book on Rare Birds and my forthcoming 2009 revision of the Ultimate Site Guide and he was keen to get some photographs of local Buckinghamshire birds. With no Cattle Egret to chase, I took him to Shardeloes, where many species show well. This afternoon's haul included -:

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (pair constantly feeding the three growing juveniles)
Little Grebes (7+ including the usual family group)
Grey Heron (1 juvenile)
Mute Swan (family party of 6 birds)
Canada Geese (69, including 59 just east of Kennel Farm)
GADWALL (2 eclipse birds at west end)
Tufted Duck (2)

Common Buzzard (moulting adult)
Red Kites (several including the two fledged juveniles)
Common Kestrel (first-summer male)
Stock Dove (6+)
BARN SWALLOW (juvenile hawking over cricket pitch)
House Martins (18)
Grey Wagtail (1)
Pied Wagtail (just 9 left on the cricket field)
*SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (now 5 showing well at the west end, flycatching in the sun from the Willows)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Another HOBBY

28/07 : HOBBY : Beacon Hill, Penn. At tree top level, caused panic amongst a group of Barn Swallows (Don Stone)

HOUSE SPARROW population holding up

Images by kind courtesy of Steve and Sue Gantlett/
As I write, a total of 43 HOUSE SPARROWS are taking advantage of the five well-stocked bird tables in my garden, including at least 17 juveniles. Although well down on the flock sizes of previous summers, this is still a healthy population. My resident pair successfully fledged two broods this year as usual and the village population in general is holding up very well.

After a brief absence, CHAFFINCHES have returned, with 5 juveniles joining the adults at the tables.

Wren has been hit hard, presumably following last winter's two weeks of snow and ice, with very few sightings and Song Thrush still remains a great rarity.


Local photographer and very good friend Paul Keene obtained this beautiful image of the Shardeloes Lake family of LITTLE GREBES. It has been a tremendous year for this species locally.

Grebe families doing well

Today's images kindly provided by top bird photographer Mike Lawrence

A mainly overcast day occasionally broken by bright sunny periods. Wind remained from the Southwest with warm temperatures. There was no sign of yesterday's Common Scoter early on at Wilstone nor of the Whinchat at Beaconsfield. In fact, there was little to shout about so I concentrated on more survey work for my report. All three COMMON SHELDUCK were still present)


Grebe families doing well, as well as Coot and Spotted Flycatchers still present.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (pair tending to three young, with a second pair present. It was interesting to see how quickly two of the three juveniles have progressed, one being now quite well grown. The smallest one still kept very close to its mother and kept on repeatedly trying to scramble up on to her back. Each time the male caught a small silver fish (which was frequently) he wailed loudly and the juveniles noisily raced towards him)

LITTLE GREBES (pair feeding three young and like the GCG's, major discrepancies in development of individual babies; two further independent first-winters and two adults)

Continental Cormorant (sub-adult fishing)
Mute Swans (adult pair with four cygnets)
GADWALL (single female)
Coot (54)
Black-headed Gull (30 birds attracted to tractor ploughing adjacent field - 3 juveniles amongst them)

Red Kites (several attracted in to plough)
Stock Dove (4)
Grey Wagtail (1)
Blue Tit (family party including 7 juveniles)
Coal Tit (2)
Greenfinch (2)
Goldfinch (3)
Common Chiffchaff (1)

Monday, 27 July 2009

First WHINCHAT of the autumn

A juvenile WHINCHAT was present in Docks growing widely in the large Barley field just east of the A355 and north of the public footpath at SU 949 906 this morning, constituting the first record in the Amersham Recording Area and District this year (Dave Ferguson). Sadly, there was no sign of it in an exhaustive search this evening.

A Eurasian Sparrowhawk nest was located in Mount Wood (adults feeding at least two noisy chicks) whilst a pair of Moorhens was on a tiny, almost dried-up pond in the wood just NE of Wilton Park Farm at SU 950 903 (Lee G R Evans).

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Post=breeding SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS arrive in force


At least 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS arrived at Shardeloes Lake this afternoon, flycatching from the willows on the west and north side of the lake. At least one bird was a juvenile. These are the first records this year at the site and a typical early autumn phenomenon (Last year numbers built up to 15 birds in August).

On a much more serious note, we have lost one of our cygnet Mute Swans. Following a disastrous year locally when ten of our cygnets have died, another bird was killed today at Shardeloes, possibly by a dog.

The complete list of sightings this afternoon is thus -:

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (pair with three juveniles, one of which is outgrowing the other two; additional pair at west end)

LITTLE GREBES (adults still feeding the three small young, whilst the other two juveniles are independent now)

Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swans (pair with now just four cygnets)
Mallard (female with four recently fledged ducklings; another female with two larger young)
Tufted Duck (8 birds in total including four well grown young)
Coots (56+)

Red Kites (8+ including juveniles; after placing a roadkill Rabbit on the football pitch, I was amazed at how quickly the adult Kites swooped down for it and attempted to carry it whole away)

Little Owl (juvenile by the cricket pitch)
Stock Dove

*SEDGE WARBLERS (increase up to 5 birds including juveniles in the sedge bed just before the Willow scrub begins)

*SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (at least 3 hawking for insects in the sunshine including one 'spotty' juvenile)


Lee Evans and Graham Smith

Friday, 24 July 2009

Distinct lack of Common Crossbills


A nice morning but then thick cloud, thunder and heavy rain moved in from the west bringing localised flooding for a couple of hours. Front moved quickly east leaving a bright evening but fresh SW winds

Today, I spent a lot of time trying to find Common Crossbill flocks, but failed again. The highlight was a party of 3 Red-crested Pochards at Tring.

SHARDELOES LAKE (1030-1105 hours)

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (pair with three babies still, with two additional adults)
LITTLE GREBE (pair with three very small young and another pair with two well grown young)
Continental Cormorant (sub-adult still drying its wings on island with another which flew in from the south)
Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swans (family party of 7 birds doing well)
Tufted Duck (7)
Coot (66)

Green Woodpecker (adult and two juveniles)
Barn Swallow (1 adult)
SAND MARTIN (1 adult)
Pied Wagtail (24 on the cricket pitch, mainly juveniles)
Song Thrush (1 feeding on the grass by the entrance gates)

PENN WOOD, COMMON WOOD, CHARCOAL GROVE and PENNHOUSE GROVE, as well as PUGH'S WOOD and BROOK WOOD - all woodlands in the Tylers Green area

Did a wide circuit of the various footpaths in a vain search for Common Crossbill flocks but completely drew a blank. I did however find several RED KITE nests, with a total of six juvenile birds being fed. Also, several RED ADMIRAL butterflies.


Again, no sign of the juvenile Common Cuckoo, but juvenile Moorhen on the tiny farm reservoir proving breeding. Four STOCK DOVE, 2 Linnets, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Barn Swallows and a male Blackcap, as well as 6 RED ADMIRALS and a PAINTED LADY.


Sadly, a freshly killed Badger on the northbound A413 at SP 899 009

Thursday, 23 July 2009

What A Good Year For The.......Butterflies

Although Elvis Costello sang about the Roses in October 1981, this year he could have re-released it about the butterflies. It has been a phenomenal year and today was no exception. Large Whites are absolutely everywhere and records of other species are going through the roof. The reason for this excess is the tremendously high temperatures experienced in the last week of June (temperatures in the 90's) which seems to have done wonders for the population.



Juvenile COMMON CUCKOOS are a rare sight nowadays, certainly in my Recording Area, so when Andy Radford found one this morning being fed by a Dunnock, I made every effort to get out and see it.

Sadly, even though I was only perhaps an hour behind Andy, I could not locate it anywhere.

What I did find though was an interesting farm reservoir hosting a single Moorhen.

Farmland species recorded included 2 Stock Doves, a Linnet, and confirmed breeding of Barn Swallow, Common Blackbird, Chaffinch and Blue Tit.

What was amazing was the incredible number of butterflies in the rough field behind (north of) the farm, including 400+ Large Whites, 15 Commas, 35 Peacocks, 40 Small Tortoiseshells, plenty of Small Heaths and many hundreds of Meadow Brown and Ringlets.


A juvenile COMMON CUCKOO was seen briefly perched on the large pile of tyres to the left of footpath adjacent to Penn Street Farm this morning (Andy Radford)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Sedge Warblers (Mike Lawrence)

Torrential rain fell for much of the morning and with seabirds and waders dropping in across the Midlands, I had high hopes for some good birding today. The wind was strong Southwesterly. The rain moved NE by early afternoon leaving overcast skies and temperatures of 16 degrees C.

(evening visit)

A red letter day for a whole host of reasons. Most importantly for more breeding successes, particularly of grebes, but also for Hobby and Sedge Warbler sightings - the latter representing the first for the year in the District.

GREAT CRESTED GREBES** (a record 9 birds noted. The original pair now has THREE stripy chicks in tow and all feeding well - the male coming in to feed them with small fish every few minutes - whilst an additional pair are present and incredibly a further adult with a very well grown and self-sufficient juvenile feeding at the extreme west end)

LITTLE GREBES** (the original pair were still feeding their two growing youngsters whilst another pair were feeding three tiny young. A further pair were also seen.

Continental Cormorant (1 immature roosting on the island)
Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swans (family party of 7 birds)
Canada Geese (77)
Mallard (27)
Tufted Duck (4, plus a female with three juveniles)
Gadwall (2 females)
Northern Pochard (1 female)
Moorhen and Coot

RED KITES (much activity as one of the breeding pairs has fledged two young - much chasing and crying going on)

HOBBY (a superb adult flew in and chased a juvenile Sand Martin low over the water. After several rapid manouevres, the falcon eventually caught the martin and flew off with it in its talons)

Green Woodpecker (1)
Common Swift (32)
House Martin (25)
SAND MARTIN (1 juvenile, sadly taken by Hobby)
Pied Wagtail (15 on the cricket pitch, including 11 juveniles)
Carrion Crow (6 birds on the cricket pitch, mainly juveniles)
Goldfinch (8)
Blackcap (1)

**SEDGE WARBLERS (2 noisy juveniles in sedges along the edge of the lake just where the Willows begin at the west end. Both birds showed well when 'pished' and represent the first record in the Amersham District Recording Area this year)

Monday, 20 July 2009

Garden Visitors

Both RED KITE and EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK over the garden at 1400 hours; also House Sparrow families doing well with a flock of 38 birds now in situ.

Two 'new' juvenile Common Blackbirds are now with us (third brood this year), Dunnocks average out at 6 birds and Common Starlings remain constant at 67 individuals

Surprisingly, have not had any visiting Chaffinches in the past week and a half

Sunday, 19 July 2009

SAND MARTIN at last, plus earliest ever autumn LITTLE EGRETS


A day of heavy downpours and strong SW winds.

Two LITTLE EGRETS were the highlight as well as the first SAND MARTIN of the year in the district

Great Crested Grebe (two adults but no sign of female and young)
Little Grebe (2 adults and 1 juvenile)
Grey Heron (2 juveniles)
*LITTLE EGRETS (2 - an adult and a juvenile - initially feeding in the shallows by the island and then later feeding on the rushy edge at the far west end of the lake. These represent my first record at this location and my earliest autumn arrivals in my district. Dave Ferguson also saw both birds independently.
Mute Swans (nesting pair with their five cygnets)
Mallard (32)
GADWALL (pair at western end)
Tufted Duck (6)
Coot (73)

Red Kite (2)
Green Woodpecker (juvenile)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Common Swifts (36)
House Martins (large increase in heavy downpour involving at least 56 birds)
SAND MARTIN (1 with the above - first record in the Recording Area this year - 103rd species of 2009)
GREY WAGTAIL (adult and juvenile)

Saturday, 18 July 2009


(Although cloudy for much of the day, the rain did not arrive until the evening; still warm with temperatures reaching 20 degrees C)


21 COMMON SWIFTS including fledged juveniles wheeling around
Green Woodpecker (adult and juvenile by Bell Lane School)
Common Blackbird (female feeding two fledged young in Bell Lane School grounds)
House Sparrow (5 birds in Bell Lane)
Gatekeepers (several newly emerged examples)

WEST WOOD AND ENVIRONS (from SU 993 984 to SU 998 984)
Extensive mature woodland made up of mainly deciduous trees

Wren (3 territories)
European Robin (3)
MARSH TITS (pair with two fledged young near gate at SU 998 984)
Great Tit (family party of 6 birds)

Vast numbers of Large White butterflies over crop fields, perhaps 150+, as well as numerous Meadow Browns and Ringlets; also 1 fresh Red Admiral


There was no sign today of the COMMON SANDPIPER present here on 16-17 July (Stuart & Lesley Wilson)

Little Grebe (1 adult)
Tufted Duck (15 adults including single females accompanying 6 and 9 young respectively)
Coot (25+ including adults with two very small recently fledged young)
Moorhen (2 juveniles in stream)
GREY WAGTAIL (adult and juvenile on waterfall)
Wren (2 singing males)

Common Kestrel (female in Stony Lane Paddocks, Little Chalfont)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (male carrying juvenile House Sparrow flew across Elizabeth Avenue to feed juveniles in nest in garden)

Third COMMON SANDPIPER of the autumn

A COMMON SANDPIPER was commuting between the island and fallen tree on the near bank at Shardeloes Lake today, whilst the female Mute swan was with 5 cygnets - the first sightings for several weeks; also 2 adult Common Chiffchaffs (Graham Smith)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

COMMON CROSSBILLS - record flock

In Chalfont St Giles today, a flock of 16 COMMON CROSSBILLS flew in, calling loudly, circled around the church a couple of times trying to land in Yew trees and then flew off south-west (Rob Andrews). This is the first record of this species in the area for a number of years but is part of a national invasion currently taking place right across the country.

At Oulton's Wood (TQ 026 975), north of the A505 and west of Chorleywood, an adult COMMON BUZZARD repeatedly hovered above the mown grass field (used by bootseller's every Sunday) in its search for small rodents. It was presumably feeding young in a nearby nest.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


This morning at about 11.30 there was a single COMMON SANDPIPER on the top of the Neptune Falls at Latimer.

There were also two adult and two young Common Kestrels in the field between Latimer House and the top fishing lake with the young still begging for food although able to fly very well.

There were several small families of Tufted Duck on the top fishing lake one with a crèche of 14 young.

Stuart & Lesley Wilson

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Late Afternoon rambling

Greenfinches were putting on a particularly good show at The Lee village green. These superb males were captured on film by Steve Gantlett (


A singing male YELLOWHAMMER was on the wires by 'Brunsgreen Cottage' at SP 901 062


Highlight in this very picturesque village was a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS with 2-3 fledged young in trees opposite the church (at SP 899 044) and adjacent to 'The Olde Cottage' garden, where possibly they bred. This rfepresents the 102nd species of the year.

There were also a pair of House Martins in the vicinity and on the village green by the 'Cock & Rabbit' public house, 5 Greenfinches were feeding (including a male feeding two juveniles)


A rare sight nowadays was that of an adult Song Thrush attempting to smash a snail on the road. Oh how I miss this species around the gardens these days!


This evening, a family group of 5 BARN SWALLOWS was feeding over the ripening corn, along with a single House Martin.

STARLINGS take advantage of 'Winnie's leftovers'

Carmel spoils our three cats and this afternoon she placed out on the lawn, numerous slices of processed chicken that they had all turned their noses up at. Within minutes, a flock of 62 COMMON STARLINGS converged, including 16 juveniles. This is by far the largest flock this year.

The post-breeding House Sparrow flock has now risen to 46 birds, with three 'new' juveniles fledged from our most recent nesting pair in the loft.

RED KITES are once again daily visitors to the garden, as well as up to 6 Dunnocks, the resident pair of Common Blackbirds, 8 Collared Doves, apair of Woodpigeons and a constant turnover of juvenile Blue Tits.

A male BLACKCAP was in song along Amersham Road (the A404) by the BP garage.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Further breeding successes - Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Common Kestrel and more Coots

It has been an excellent year for COOT in my Recording Area with at least 50 young fledged from at least 7 sites. These fabulous images here, depicting an adult feeding a very tiny infant, were obtained by Steve Gantlett (

A fresh wind, SW in direction, but bright and sunny and relatively warm. Strolled around my local patches and was delighted at further breeding successes: Great Crested Grebes have fledged two young, Little Grebes have young at two sites, 5 drake Ruddy Ducks are now on territory, Common Kestrels have fledged two young and Mute Swans have finally succeeded.

**RUDDY DUCKS (increase to 5 adult drakes, with a single at one locality, two together at another and two long-staying birds at another)


The water level continues to drop and this weekend's freshening winds has downed one of the decaying Poplar trees at the west end of the lake.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE* (3 adults now in attendance, perhaps one of the birds from Chesham; the resident pair has finally fledged young with two stripy infants riding on the female's back) Rob Andrews first recorded 3 adults on 28 June.

LITTLE GREBE* (6 adults noted; 1 pair at the east end feeding two fledged young)

Grey Heron (3)
Canada Geese (25)
Tufted Duck (2 pairs)
GADWALL (1 eclipse drake)
Coot (52 birds in total but with many 'newly' fledged young)
Moorhen (16)
Black-headed Gull (moulting adult over)

Red Kite (1)
Green Woodpecker
Common Swifts (8)
Pied Wagtail (8 on cricket pitch mainly juveniles)
Song Thrush (singing male)
Dunnock (singing male)
Wren (2 singing males)
WILLOW WARBLER (fresh juvenile in Willow scrub at west end)


Very quiet, with both adult GREAT CRESTED GREBES on larger of two pits (no sign of the other pair), 2 Grey Herons, 16 Coots (including 3 newly fledged juveniles) and female Tufted Duck.


Rabbit (86 feeding on grass)

*LITTLE GREBE (pair feeding two independent chicks just west of Latimer Bridge, with another pair on the main lake)

MUTE SWANS (following this year's disastrous season when all ten cygnets from Chesham died after drwoning as they plunged over the weirs, I am pleased to see an adult with three well-growen cygnets on the River Chess east of Latimer Bridge)

TUFTED DUCKS* (further breeding success with females with 11 and 2 small ducklings on Great Water and a female with 5 older chicks near the weir; 24 additional birds noted)

Common Kestrels (2 juveniles resting below Latimer Conference Centre)
Stock Dove (pair)
Green Woodpecker (juvenile)


Green Woodpecker (adult feeding on verge)

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Brief visit to Shardeloes Lake this morning

Two juvenile GREY WAGTAILS on the cricket pitch with 11 juvenile Pied Wagtails; also 2 juvenile GREY WAGTAILS on small waterfall near boathouse.

Another birder reported adult & juvenile LITTLE OWL in Elderberry bush bordering artificial cricket pitch - flushed by jogger.

2 Little Grebes with 1 juvenile
Party of 8 swallows over cricket pitch

Few Marbled Whites, Orange Tip, Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshell and Small Copper

Graham Smith

Saturday, 11 July 2009


Chris Pontin discovered and photographed a juvenile NORTHERN WHEATEAR on the access road to Hill Farm, Chesham, on Thursday evening - the first record in the Amersham Recording Area for many years (and the 101st species this year). Unfortunately I was away in Northern Scotland but there was no sign of it there yesterday morning when I searched.

A single male YELLOWHAMMER was singing from the hedgerow opposite the chicken pen, with 1-2 RED KITES, a pair of Collared Doves and at least 5 COMMA butterflies noted (see Stuart Read's image above)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

More Survey Work and still no Spotted Flycatchers


Determined to find Spotted Flycatchers in my Recording Area, I ventured out again fully surveying many areas I had not previously censused this summer. Alas I drew a blank but highlights included several new Yellowhammer locations, proof of breeding Coal Tit in new areas and an unexpected large flock of godwits courtesy of Gareth Luscombe.

Once again it was a day of heavy showers and warm sunshine. The wind was more northerly.


Common Kestrel (pair feeding young in outbuilding in Burton's Wood)
BARN SWALLOW (2 hunting over fields north of Cross Lanes Farm, with a separate pair breeding in an outbuilding near Burton's Wood)
Dunnock (2 singing males in gardens)
Common Blackbird (7 in gardens including fledged young)
Magpie (pair)
Jay (family party of 4 birds in small wood at TQ 004 958)
Goldfinch (1)
LINNET (pair - a scarce species locally)
House Sparrows (pair breeding in southernmost garden)
*YELLOWHAMMER (confirmed breeding; female feeding young in nest in hedgerow bordering the lane at TQ 005 961 with two additional singing males in fields, with one just east of Burton's Wood)

A large selection of butterflies including 21 MARBLED WHITES and numerous Meadow Brown and Ringlet.


Little of note other than Goldfinch.

An extensive wood with both deciduous and coniferous trees; quite dense and bordered by grazing fields.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (4 individuals including juveniles)
Carrion Crow (several family parties; at least 6 juveniles)
Common Blackbird (15)
Blue Tit (4 family parties)
COAL TIT (proven breeding; adults feeding 4 young)
Great Tit (3 family parties)
Long-tailed Tit (family party of 7 birds)
Wren (9 territories)


Nothing other than 26 Common Blackbirds, including numerous young, and a single pair of Collared Doves.


I walked from Chalfont Mill in Mill Lane (SU 986 941) to Lower Bottom House Farm (SU 983 954). The footpath straddles a narrow stretch of woodland and follows the course of the Misbourne.

Moorhen (2 fledged juveniles by the Mill Lane ford)
Common Buzzard (1 over)
Green Woodpecker (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (pair feeding noisy young in nest)
Carrion Crow (adult feeding two youngsters)
Pied Wagtail (1 adult)
Barn Swallows (8 feeding over field by Lower Bottom House Farm)
Song Thrush (singing male by Misbourne Farm)
Common Blackbird (18)
Mistle Thrush (party of 8 birds)
Dunnock (4)
Common Starling (15)
Blackcap (singing male in gardens by ford)
COAL TIT (adults with young in wood)
Linnet (3)
*YELLOWHAMMER (singing male near Bow Wood)


A further singing male YELLOWHAMMER just north of the farm; a singing SKYLARK there too.

An extensive area of dense woodland

Common Blackbird (22)
European Robin (7 territories)
Wren (11 territories)
COAL TIT (successful breeding; family party)
Blue Tit (9 family parties)
Great Tit (5 family parties)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Additional Breeding Records

At the end of June I had Little Grebe with at least 2 young on the lower of the fishing lakes at Latimer farm.

Also in the second half of June I had a family of Marsh Tits (including young) in West Wood about 200yards east of the sports field.

I have not had any Spotted Flycatchers this year.

Stuart Wilson

Tufted Ducks do well in the Chess Valley

In addition to two adult adult drake RUDDY DUCKS I checked on today, I was delighted to find 16 recently fledged duckling Tufted Ducks closely accompanying their parents.


The five baby Barn Swallows have now successfully fledged the nest at McMinn's, whilst nearby, 3 male YELLOWHAMMERS were singing from hedgerows by Hill Farm.

A second BEE ORCHID was located, with 24 PYRAMMIDAL ORCHIDS in Hodd's Wood Meadow (Chris Pontin)

A single adult RED KITE in wing moult drifted slowly over my garden at 1100 hours (LGRE)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Common Sandpiper becomes the 100th species of 2009

With the first six months of the year now passed, the total number of species recorded in the Amersham Recording Area stands at 100 species of which 66 are breeding.

1) Little Grebe (breeding; probably 7 pairs)
2) Great Crested Grebe (3 pairs breeding)
3) Sinensis Cormorant (wintered)
4) LITTLE EGRET (up to 7 birds was recorded 1 January until late April)
5) Grey Heron (frequent visitor but not breeding; nearest heronry at Stocker's Lake)
6) Mute Swan (3+ pairs breeding; all failed thus far)
7) Atlantic Canada Goose (breeding)
8) Mandarin Duck (possibly breeding)
9) Mallard (breeding)
10) GADWALL (successfully bred following record number of wintering birds)
11) NORTHERN SHOVELER (several winter records)
12) EURASIAN WIGEON (a few winter records)
13) Common Teal (present from January-March in small numbers)
14) NORTHERN POCHARD (has probably bred but no young recorded yet)
15) Tufted Duck (breeding)
16) RUDDY DUCK (at least 4 adult drakes recorded April-June)
17) OSPREY (3 spring migrants including two long-staying individuals)
18) RED KITE (breeding, with in excess of 21 pairs)
19) Common Buzzard (breeding; 25+ pairs)
20) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (breeding)
21) Common Kestrel (breeding)
22) HOBBY (breeding; 3 records thus far)
23) Red-legged Partridge (breeding)
24) Common Pheasant (breeding)
25) WATER RAIL (2 noted in January)
26) Moorhen (breeding)
27) Eurasian Coot (breeding)
28) EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER (few winter records)
29) Lapwing (few in winter)
30) GREEN SANDPIPER (1 in January)
31) COMMON SANDPIPER (adult in early July)
32) Common Snipe (exceptional winter for this species)
33) WOODCOCK (noted in January-February)
34) Black-headed Gull (frequent visitor)
35) Common Gull (record numbers in winter period)
36) Herring Gull (scarce winter visitor)
37) Lesser Black-backed Gull (small numbers)
38) Great Black-backed Gull (scarce visitor)

39) Stock Dove (breeding)
40) Woodpigeon (breeding)
41) Eurasian Collared Dove (breeding)
42) EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE (single singing male in June)
43) COMMON CUCKOO (single record in June)
44) Tawny Owl (breeding)
45) Little Owl (bred successfully)
46) Common Swift (breeding)
47) Common Kingfisher (breeding)
48) Ring-necked Parakeet (1-2 in winter)
49) Green Woodpecker (breeding)
50) Great Spotted Woodpecker (breeding)
51) Eurasian Skylark (breeding)
52) Barn Swallow (breeding)
53) House Martin (breeding)
54) Meadow Pipit (winter visitor)
55) Pied Wagtail (breeding)
56) Grey Wagtail (breeding)
57) Wren (breeding)
58) Dunnock (breeding)
59) European Robin (breeding)
60) COMMON STONECHAT (6 birds overwintered)
61) Song Thrush (breeding)
62) Redwing (overwintered)
63) Mistle Thrush (breeding)
64) Fieldfare (overwintered)
65) Common Blackbird (breeding)
66) GARDEN WARBLER (4+ singing males in June)
67) Blackcap (breeding)
69) Common Whitethroat (8+ singing males)
70) WESTERN REED WARBLER (3 singing males)
71) Willow Warbler (5 singing males)
72) WOOD WARBLER (singing male in May)
73) Common Chiffchaff (breeding)
74) Goldcrest (breeding)
75) FIRECREST (breeding)
76) Great Tit (breeding)
77) Coal Tit (breeding)
78) Blue Tit (breeding)
79) MARSH TIT (very scarce with just 1 pair breeding)
80) Long-tailed Tit (breeding)
81) Nuthatch (breeding)
82) Common Treecreeper (breeding)
83) Magpie (breeding)
84) Jay (breeding)
85) Jackdaw (breeding)
86) Rook (breeding)
87) Carrion Crow (breeding)
88) COMMON RAVEN (odd record in winter)
89) Common Starling (breeding)
90) House Sparrow (breeding)
91) Chaffinch (breeding)
92) BRAMBLING (very poor winter counts in Penn Wood)
93) Linnet (breeding in very small numbers)
94) LESSER REDPOLL (a few in winter)
95) Goldfinch (breeding)
96) Greenfinch (breeding)
97) SISKIN (winter visitor)
98) BULLFINCH (breeding)
99) REED BUNTING (1 singing male)
100) Yellowhammer (5 singing males)

Returning wader bonus and Common Swifts already heading south


Following what was an exceptionally hot last week of June, today saw a return to more normal summer temperatures but with occasional torrential downpours associated with fresh SW winds. With return wader passage in full swing (see yesterday's entries on my Tring Reservoir's blogsite), it was somewhat thrilling (on a very local basis) to find a COMMON SANDPIPER this evening at Shardeloes Lake - a species with less than one record annually.

SHARDELOES LAKE (1915-2115 hours)

Highlights included the first COMMON SANDPIPER in the Recording Area this year, successful breeding of Pied Wagtail and a large passage of COMMON SWIFT.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (1 adult feeding)
Little Grebe (2 adults)
Grey Heron (3)
Canada Geese (11)
Mallard (13)
Tufted Duck (8)
Red Kite (1)
Common Buzzard (1)
Coot (43 including 12 fledged juveniles)
Moorhen (9 including 1 fledged juvenile)
**COMMON SANDPIPER (early returning adult roosting on branch on island)

Stock Dove (pair)
Green Woodpecker (2)
*Pied Wagtail (successful breeding; pair feeding 5 juveniles on cricket pitch)
*COMMON SWIFTS (gathering of at least 66 birds over lake - presumably early returning adults. A similar passage was noted in Essex today)
Barn Swallow (2 adults)
House Martin (8)
Goldfinch (3 including one noisy youngster)
Carrion Crow (successful breeding; pair feeding two fledged young)
*REED BUNTING (singing male; no evidence of breeding this year)