Recording Area Annual Totals

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

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)

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