Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Monday, 31 August 2009


Rob Andrews recorded a migrant SEDGE WARBLER at Shardeloes Lake on Sunday, whilst Graham Smith saw 2 adult SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS there today

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Friday ramble

This afternoon (Friday 28 August) my wife Lesley and I walked with our two oldest grandchildren along the top ride from Little Chalfont towards Chenies then down through the wood to Mill Farm, and back along the river to the Neptune falls before returning up through Westwood to Chessfield Park.

The main birds of note were a single HOBBY about 200m west of Chenies church and 14 Linnets about 200m west of Mill Farm (Stuart Wilson)


A quick afternoon visit to Shardeloes this afternoon produced the following

Passing the cricket pitches 6 Barn Swallows wheeled overhead often making low level sorties to pick up insects off the grass.

The lake held the usual variety of common species, 3 juv Great Crested Grebe with their parents nearby, 8 Little Grebe, 1Ad & 2 juv Mute Swan, 12 Black-headed Gulls. The Canada Geese (40+) seemed to be moving back in numbers to the lake after spending much of the summer along the River Misbourne by Kennet Farm.

Heading along the footpath on the southern edge of the lake. a Chiffchaff was feeding on insects in the hedgerow, I stopped to take a look and soon noticed something out of the corner of my eye, turning as quickly as I could I spotted a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER darting down to the ground and back in to the hedgerow where it sat in full view. It stayed still long enough for me to grab a few photos and then continued to "flycatch" around the hedgerow returning to a few favoured perching spots. It continued to feed from the bushes for over 30 minutes giving great views and was then joined by another, they really are fantastic birds to watch up close. Whilst watching the Flycatchers 2 Chiffchaffs and a juvenile Common Whitethroat made an appearance and a Common Buzzard flew over.

I attempted to try and digiscope the Spotted Flycatchers again but with there now being two it made it very difficult as they often broke off from feeding and chased each other round the bushes and out of sight. I waited patiently and eventually was extremely lucky to get them close together in the same bush, pulling my jacket hood over my head to shield the sun and to see what I was taking a photo of I suddenly could hear a loud humming getting louder and closer. Looking skywards and over the tree line an Avro Lancaster appeared shortly followed by a Spitfire and Hurricane, a very impressive sight to say the least, even better to have a scope handy to watch them cruise across the sky and out of sight. I believe they are a part of the RAF Battle of Britain memorial flight group. I wouldn't have mentioned it but the Lancaster does have a Rolls Royce MERLIN engine!By the time the Battle of Britain Flypast had finished the Flycatchers had vanished and it was time to head of home (Ashley Stowe)

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

NUTHATCH is surprise visitor

(increasing SW winds through the day with temperatures still high; a few thunder claps but little rain but heavy cloud predominating)

A young EDIBLE DORMOUSE was trapped overnight


A total of 21 BARN SWALLOWS hawking for insects. One pair were still feeding three young in the nest, the same nest in which five young had already fledged.


A NUTHATCH was an unexpected find, along with a juvenile BULLFINCH, a juvenile Common Buzzard, 3 House Martins and 5 Linnets.

Monday, 24 August 2009



SSE winds continued overnight but as the day progressed they veered more westerly so that by evening quite a fresh SW was blowing. Temperatures again held up high at around 22 degrees C with dark clouds occasionally sparking off the odd light shower.

Relatively quiet but an August Shoveler occurrence is unusual

Great Crested Grebes (the two adults were attending the smallest young whilst the elder was now independent; could not locate the third juvenile)
Little Grebes (11 present)
Mute Swans (family party still)
*SHOVELER (eclipse plumaged bird feeding with three Mallard)

Green Woodpecker (1)
Common Chiffchaffs (4)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Solitary Lapwing flies in


Another warm day, with SSW winds and predominantly clear blue skies. Passerine passage picked up a little today but most intriguing was an Aythya hybrid.

At one undisclosed locality, two adult drake RUDDY DUCKS spent the best part of half an hour displaying to a Great Crested Grebe. Weird!

(afternoon visit)

Great Crested Grebes (all 5 birds still present and doing well)
Little Grebes (9)
Mute Swans (family group of 6 birds doing well)
GADWALL (pair present at west end)
Tufted Ducks (9)
LAPWING (adult present in neighbouring field)
Red Kites (moulting adult)

Common Chiffchaffs (4+)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (just 1 adult in the Willows)
Long-tailed Tits (8)
Greenfinch (14 together including several juveniles)

Monday, 17 August 2009

COMMON RAVEN just outside area


A beautiful day with moderate to fresh warm SSW winds, clear blue skies and temperatures reaching 23 degrees C. I decided to bird South Bucks today searching several farmland sites and then Dorney Rowing Lakes........
Although just outside the Amersham Recording Area, the sites listed below are all just 1-2 miles south of Beaconsfield and the M40


After directions and details were finally forthcoming, I spent time checking the gamebird feeding trays near Hillmotts Farm and Hyde Farm. Red-legged Partridges were absolutely everywhere, with many small 'poults' running around - along with many young Common Pheasants.

RED KITES numbered 34 on and around Hedgerley Landfill.


After spending 90 minutes or more scanning from the raised bund overlooking the overgrown gravel pits east of Over's Farm and the farmland therein, I failed in my quest of locating the 3 Common Ravens that had been seen in this area in recent days. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of large raptors in this area, with RED KITES absolutely everywhere. The farmer at Castleman's was ploughing his fields and spraying them with manure which in turn, attracted the kites from every quarter. I was staggered by the number of juveniles - 13 in total - indicating yet another booming breeding season. Adults numbered at least 30 - many in ragged and very worn plumage - and many diving down on to the soil in search of prey and food.

Common Buzzards were also abundant, with what appeared to be two nesting pairs from Dipple Wood - adults feeding two juveniles in both cases - and a pair of Common Kestrels feeding two young.

Large numbers of Carrion Crows (44+) were also in the area, Dipple Wood also harbouring Great Spotted Woodpecker and Wren.


I was delighted to find 35 HOUSE SPARROWS roosting in the hedgerow bordering the eastern boundary of the farm as well as two separate families of Barn Swallow - three juveniles in each.

At the tiny farm pond opposite (at SU 924 877), Moorhens have successfully bred, with 3 juveniles fledged.

OVER'S FARM (SU 925 886)

Linnets bred successfully, with an adult feeding two young.


I returned back to the farmland south of the M40 and at 1640 hours, I eventually located an adult COMMON RAVEN feeding in the overgrown gravel pit. It soon flew and went directly towards Mill Wood and Wooburn Green. It was in primary moult with at least one full feather missing on its left wing.


There were 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS in the Willows west of the lake at Shardeloes and probably 2-3 more on the far side of the lake feeding behind willows, although views of latter were too brief to be 100% sure weren't flycatching warblers.
Also c.20 Common Chiffchaffs with several singletons along edge of lake and party of 10+ west of lake, often indulging in flycatching. Also of note were 29 pied wagtails on cricket field (Wally Smith)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

RUDDY DUCKS now number 6 birds

A total of 6 adult drake RUDDY DUCKS are now to be seen in my Recording Area. With any luck, we have some hidden females.

CHESS RIVER VALLEY (incorporating Great Water - SU 995 987 - and Mill Farm - TQ 013 987)

Little Grebes (single juvenile being fed by parents on Great Water; 4 birds further east on river)
Mute Swans (13)
Tufted Duck (single females with 7, 9 and 6 young respectively)
Common Kestrel (very confiding juvenile on fenceposts by Latimer Hall)
Barn Swallows (5)
House Martins (5 around Mill Farm chalets)
Mistle Thrushes (8 by Mill Farm)


In a ploughed field south of the A404 0.75 miles east of Little Chalfont, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (5 adults, 1 3rd-summer and 3 juveniles) and 43 Jackdaws were feeding.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


The fourth NORTHERN WHEATEAR of the autumn was this evening along the edge of the cornfield at Puttenham Place Farm (SU 912 938) (Carole & Roy Carbow)

RUDDY DUCKS emerge at dusk


A glorious day, with clear blue skies and wall-to-wall sunshine, the temperature reaching 24 degrees C mid-afternoon. Wind was very light WNW.


Another busy day in the garden, with numerous juvenile Great, Blue and Coal Tits early on, and several juvenile Robins. Collared Doves peaked at 17 mid-afternoon, with the House Sparrow flock still holding up well at 34.

SHARDELOES LAKE (2000-2030 hours)

Great Crested Grebes (family group doing well)
Little Grebes (8+ including all of the juveniles)
Mute Swans (family group of 6 doing fine)
Canada Geese (24 including juveniles)
Tufted Duck (female with 5 small young; eclipse drake)
RUDDY DUCK (2 adult drakes again present this evening)

Green Woodpecker (2)
Barn Swallow (1 hawking for insects over the Pavillion Field)
Common Chiffchaffs (3 in Willows)
Long-tailed Tits (8)

Sunday, 9 August 2009

First recorded MARSH HARRIER for Recording Area

At 1100 hours late morning, a MARSH HARRIER spent 20 minutes flying low over Chesham Bois, before eventually drifting off south. This represents the FIRST record for the Recording Area (Roger Bibby)

Beautiful day leads to rare raptor passage over area including a first record

An OSPREY flew slowly east over Don Stone's garden in Lee Common at 0900 hours - the first this autumn and the FOURTH this year !

Saturday, 8 August 2009


Andy Radford discovered another NORTHERN WHEATEAR this morning in fields near Pennstreet Farm

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

2009 has been a bumper season for our local COMMON KESTREL population with five chicks fledged successfully from two nests a mile apart in the Chess River Valley. Mike Lawrence captured the playful antics of one such family on film (see above).

First HERRING GULL of the autumn period

Following up Andy Radford's earlier report, a visit to Pennstreet Farm revealed the presence of a 3rd-summer Argenteus HERRING GULL in recently ploughed fields just east of Penn Street hamlet at SU 925 960. It was consorting with a small group of 8 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and represents the first 'autumn' record of this species in my immediate Recording Area.

The fields also held 68 Woodpigeons and 5 Linnets (including juveniles)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Exceptional HOUSE MARTIN passage at Shardeloes Lake


A warm wet front arrived from the south overnight bringing intermittent rain, overcast grey skies and surprisingly warm temperatures. I was hoping for an arrival of waders at Tring but as usual this failed to materialise but it was a good day for House Martin passage.


The garden feeders held the first pair of Greenfinches for a few weeks, and several Long-tailed Tits that passed through late morning.


GREAT CRESTED GREBE (just the breeding pair present now, still busily feeding the three juveniles)
Little Grebe (6 adults present, with one pair feeding the three juveniles and the two independent young birds still present)
Mute Swans (family party of 6 birds)
Tufted Duck (female with five recently fledged ducklings)
Coot (66)
Lesser Black-backed Gulls (7 flew high west up the Misbourne Valley)

Red Kites (the shrill, wailing calls of begging juvenile Red Kites could be heard all around)

COMMON SWIFTS (25 through, all heading South)
*HOUSE MARTINS (at least 115 birds flying low over the cricket pitches and the adjoining fields indicating a strong passage)
Barn Swallow (1 adult hawking for insects over the cricket field)
Common Chiffchaff (2 juveniles)
WILLOW WARBLER (1 juvenile in the Willows)
Goldfinch (5 feeding on the cricket pitch)

Male GREENFINCH on the feeder

A beautiful pair of GREENFINCHES visited the Sunflower seed feeder at midday, the first to visit in several weeks.
The last 8 COMMON SWIFTS departed on 2 August