Recording Area Annual Totals

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

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.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

OSPREY still surviving

The juvenile OSPREY still present at Crestyl Water Cress Farm today, as well as the male BLACK REDSTART at Valley Farm

Also, one very late EDIBLE DORMOUSE still feeding in Chesham

Monday, 16 November 2009

Distressing Find

I was most distressed to find today that 'Avril' - a large male all-white cat that Carmel adopted - had killed 12 Edible Dormice in recent weeks in an outbuilding.

A total of 16 Eurasian Collared Doves visited Chaffinch House garden today, along with 32 House Sparrows, a Coal Tit, 14 Fieldfares and a charm of 6 Goldfinch. Chaffinch numbers are also on the increase.


The juvenile OSPREY returned to its favoured perch at Sarratt Bottom today sometime between 12:15 and 12:30 and was still there when I left at 13:30. There was no sign of it beforehand and it wasn't seen to arrive (at least not by me),but just over the border at Valley Farm (Herts), the male BLACK REDSTART showed well, if briefly, a couple of times on the roof and on the fences of the paddocks between 10:30 and 11:15. Also there, were a pair of COMMON STONECHAT.

1-2 Grey Wags commuting between the cress beds and the horse paddocks, a few Pied Wagtails and several Meadow Pipit.

On the Bucks side of the river, at least 2 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron and a pair of Common Buzzard and a couple of Red Kite were seen during the drive/walk around Sarratt itself. A few Redpoll were flying around but none close enough to be able to confidently identify the species, but I suspect that they were all Lessers (Bill Haines)

Sunday in the Chess Valley

Sunday 15 November: Ben Miller observations

* The OSPREY was perched up in its usual tree adjacent to Crestyl Water Cressbeds from at least 1:30 when I arrived to 2:30 this afternoon when it flew east - and I didn't see it again for the rest of the afternoon.

* The male BLACK REDSTART was still round Valley Farm (thanks for the directions yesterday)

* The pair of COMMON STONECHATS was still present in Mill Farm Meadow

* A WATER RAIL was calling from Church Covert

* At least 4 LITTLE EGRETS.

Friday, 13 November 2009

A real horror of a day with localised flooding - Osprey nowhere to be found, perhaps drowned

(1100-1600 hours)

It was not a day for Ospreys but more for Mallards. It rained very heavily for most of the day and subsequently much of the area became flooded and heavily sodden. Like a fool, I was out in it all day, and had agreed to help the BBC film the bird for a documentary. Of course that put paid to it and the bird did not show up all day - I searched all of its haunts.

In such conditions, there were few highlights -:

The adult male BLACK REDSTART was still present at Valley Farm

A single LITTLE EGRET was by the Pumping Station, with 18 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS again flighting to roost mid afternoon.

Three LITTLE OWLS were by Sarrattmill House and in the small copse in front of Bridge House, 3 RED KITES were around and a cracking male BULLFINCH

Tomorrow is not forecast to be any better

Thursday, 12 November 2009

And more from the OSPREY

Mike Collard has very kindly emailed me a few more images depicting our infamous Osprey - its ring details now confirming it as a bird born in Northern Scotland this summer (more details to follow)

'Redstarts' in the Chess Valley

Not the Valley farm male but a bird virtually identical - photographed last month by Dave Bilcock at Long Marston.
The Valley Farm is NOT the first record in the Chess Valley for 25 years as I have stated previously as unpublished data supplied to me by Little Chalfont birders Stuart and Lesley Wilson testify. They have seen both Common and Black Redstart in fields below Latimer Hall in the past five years.

Some great new shots of the OSPREY taken today by local wildlife photographer Paul Keene

Another great performance


A much milder day and a glorious morning, with bright sunshine and clear skies. By early afternoon, it had deterioted somewhat and a front moved in from the south bringing light rain and cloud.

(0800-1600 hours)

Once again, the juvenile OSPREY was the main attraction with no less than 25 successful visitors today. It caught a Brown Trout at the Pumping Station at around 0825 hours and returned there for a second at around 1100 hours. It then went missing for a while but reappeared from Scrubbs Wood at 1225 before flying west along the Chess to its favourite perch. By 1230 hours, it was back once again in the dead tree opposite Sarratt Bottom and just east of Crestyl Water Cressbed Farm and sat there for the next 80 minutes. It was mobbed by two Common Magpies for a while, as well as by the odd Carrion Crow. Despite creeping close to its perch, I still failed to get the critical details of the blue ring. At 1350 hours it took flight and continued slowly east down the river disappearing eventually into Chorleywood. It did not appear again. Amongst its 25 admirers today were Mike Campbell, Mick Frosdick, Brendan Glynne, Roger Horton, Joan, Ken & Sophie Thompson, Steve Carter, Paul Lewis, Steve Blake and Paul Keene.

Our other star and some would say better looking bird - the gaudy male BLACK REDSTART - was also showing well and still favouring the barn and house roofs at Valley Farm, opposite the entrance to the cress bed.


I was twice accosted by residents today who were extremely disappointed by the behaviour and attitude of a few individuals who were very rude when asked what they were doing. I know most of these residents personally and would like to keep them all on side and would very much appreciate if people be courteous when approached. They are all, including the fishing bailiff and members of the syndicate, very interested in the Osprey and other wildlife in the valley and do appreciate being involved and equally like a good view of this majestic visitor. So, if approached, kindly let them have a view through the 'scope for a few seconds.

DIRECTIONS: Hertfordshire County Council very kindly responded to my plea today and removed the masonry and ceiling which had been fly-tipped last week so there is now ample space for 14 cars to park at the bottom of North Lane, accessed north of the A404 at Chorleywood, 1.2 miles west of Junction 18 of the M25. Take the public footpath NW for 1.2 miles to just beyond Sarratt Bottom village from where the Osprey is clearly visible when present (generally between 1100-1400 hours)

Systematic List

LITTLE EGRET (1 at the Cress Bed Farm)
Red Kite (at least 3 individuals around today)
Common Buzzard (1)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (3 different individuals noted)
Common Kestrel (1 male)
Black-headed Gull (flightline late afternoon to Broadwater involving at least 250 birds)
Woodpigeon (600+ still present today with many feeding on the heavily laden berry bushes)
Stock Dove (5)
LITTLE OWLS (three calling by Valley Farm)
RING-NECKED PARAKEET (18 flew south to roost at 1435)
Green Woodpecker (2 feeding together on grass slope SE of North Lane)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (2)
Eurasian Skylark (1 over)
Meadow Pipits (8 in area)
Pied Wagtail (2 at Valley Farm)
Grey Wagtail (3)
Song Thrush (1)
Redwing (43 at roost)
Common Blackbird (12 in valley, including 5 in the grounds of Sarrattmill House)
BLACKCAP (female in ivy at TQ 032 984 adjacent to footbridge)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (vocal individual in hedgerow just south of Sarratt Bottom village)
Coal Tit (1 in Sarratt Bottom)
Jackdaw (82 in Sarratt Bottom)
Rook (31 feeding with the above)
BULLFINCH (5 in Sarratt Bottom)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

More OSPREY images - Mike Collard

OSPREY does a star turn and Mike Collard finds the first Chess Valley BLACK REDSTART in over 25 years

Juvenile Osprey, Chess River Valley, Bucks/Herts, 21 October to 11 November at least (superb photographs taken today by Dave Bilcock)

Although continuing damp and dreary, temperatures recovered a little today with the onset of SSW winds. There were a few heavy rain showers too.


The juvenile OSPREY was around a lot today giving its best performances so far. I saw it on at least five occasions this morning, once from the house and then several times in the Latimer area. After hearing from Mike Collard, I decided to help him out and went out again late morning. As soon as I drove down North Hill at 1100 hours, I picked up the bird - it was sitting bold as brass on top of a fir tree just north of the Three Valleys Pumping Station compound at TQ 036 978 just SE of Sarrattmill Bridge. The views were absolutely 'crippling' - at 75 yards - and for the very first time I realised that the bird was ringed - a blue ring with white inscribed letters on its left leg and a metal BTO-type ring on its right leg. The bird continued to show well for eight minutes and then something took its eye.

It plunged at breathtaking speed almost vertically into the very shallow River Chess (perhaps no more than a foot or so deep) and then incredibly hit the water with a splash and then swam underwater using its wings to move forward. It grabbed a large fish (most likely a Brown Trout) with its talons, swam along another five feet or more, reached the surface and then took to the air, still clutching the fish. It was absolutely amazing to watch in the crystal-clear water. It then flew very low away to the east and disappeared out of view in some Evergreen trees behind the row of Black Poplars.

This set off a host of shreeking Ring-necked Parakeets and at 1118 hours, the OSPREY took to the air again, complete with fish, flew back towards me, over my head and back west down the Chess Valley. I phoned MC who was able to intercept it as it flew low NW over the valley a couple of minutes later.

It then continued further west past Mount Wood towards Chenies Bottom, where it presumably found a suitable perch and consumed its prize. I joined Mike and others in the search for it but was waylaid when Mike discovered a beautiful, bedazzling adult male BLACK REDSTART in the Valley Farm horse paddocks (more of that later).

Anyway at 1249 hours I relocated the OSPREY in Mount Wood; it flew from the west and alighted on one of its favourite roost perches opposite Sarratt Bottom village and behind the Cress Bed nursery at TQ 030 988. Once again it provided astounding views allowing Mike C and two local residents to enjoy it, as well as Luke Massey, Dave Bilcock and at least one other observer who arrived. It stood there preening and stretching for the best part of two hours, allowing Luke, Dave and Mike to take a large number of images.

I struggled in vain to accurately read the inscription on the blue ring but it was either ''Z15'' or ''E15''.

I spoke with the Fishing Bailiff on this section of the river and he had been aware of the bird's presence since last week. He told me that the Chess was well stocked with over 800 Trout, with a mixture of Brown and Rainbow. He also stated that the bird had been frequently visiting the Solsbridge Lane Fisheries and had taken a number of very prized Koi Carp. I explained to him that there was every possibility that the bird would overwinter now and could very well take a large number of fish over the period; I also informed him that the bird was ringed and that it was fully protected by law. He was more than happy to acknowledge its importance and very kindly pointed out that the Grey Herons and wintering Little Egrets also took their toll on the fish.

Anyway back to that other mega - the BLACK REDSTART. Mike Collard had briefly espied the bird as it flicked along the paddock fencing at 1220 hours. It then vanished but was relocated on the roof of the main Valley Farm adjacent at TQ 027 992 and continued to show there, mainly on the flat roof of the long barn alongside, intermittently over the next couple of hours. It was an absolutely stunning adult male and was the first record in the immediate Amersham Recording Area in a very long time indeed. Valley Farm is in Hertfordshire.

The notepad-fillers -:

Mute Swan (2 adults by the Sarrattmill Bridge)
WOODPIGEONS (an extraodinary flock of at least 850 birds in Limeshill Wood)
LITTLE OWL (2 calling from dead trees around Valley Farm)
RING-NECKED PARAKEETS (up to 18 in Poplars east of Sarrattmill Bridge)
FIELDFARE (flocks of 8 and 57 flew NW)
Redwing (2)
Mistle Thrush (2)
Jay (5)
BULLFINCH (4 in the Sarratt Bottom area)
SISKIN (singles heard in two locations)
LESSER REDPOLL (three separate singles noted)

Ring-necked Parakeet at Chenies Bottom

A single Ring-necked Parakeet was 'sqwacking' from the 'egret roosting tree' just downstream of the bridge this morning (per Mike Collard)

OSPREY fishing again this morning

The juvenile OSPREY remains present this morning, hunting Brown Trout (Salmo trutta fario) in the shallower sections of the River Chess. It fished as far west as Latimer Bridge before returning back eastwards and continued back towards the Cress Beds and Sarratt Bottom

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Afternoon Birding in the CHESS VALLEY


A very damp day with poor light conditions and cool temperatures (9 degrees C). No wind to speak of and intermittent light drizzle.


The juvenile OSPREY remains present, being seen on and off all morning and eventually flying off east early afternoon. It did NOT roost this evening and was not seen after 1330 hours.

LITTLE EGRETS (an adult feeding in the stream south of Limeshill Wood and then later at the Cress Beds with two further birds feeding at dusk west of Chenies Bridge. Interestingly, the latter two flew off east to roost at 1647 hours in almost total darkness)

Grey Heron (3 at the Cress Beds)
Mute Swan (2 adults just north of Sarratt Mill House)
Red Kite (3)
Common Buzzard (1)
Common Kestrel (a male at the cress beds and another at the Three Valleys Pumping Station just SW of North Lane)
Moorhen (33 between Sarratt Mill House and the stone bridge)
Black-headed Gull (large numbers flighting south towards Broadwater GP)
HERRING GULL (25+ with the above)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (35+ with the above)
Woodpigeon (28 in one gathering)
TAWNY OWL (one hooting from the SE corner of Baldwin's Wood towards dusk)
RING-NECKED PARAKEET (2 by Sarratt Mill House)
Green Woodpecker (3)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (3)
Meadow Pipit (1 in flight near Sarratt Mill House)
Grey Wagtail (3)
Wren (5 territories)
European Robin (2 by Bridge Cottage and at least 6 more in valley)
Song Thrush (2)
REDWING (26 roosting in evergreen trees south of Sarrattmill Bridge at TQ 037 976)
Mistle Thrush (3 including a male in full song)
FIELDFARE (4 near Sarratt Mill House)
Common Blackbird (7 noted including 3 by Mill Farm Barns)
Long-tailed Tits (22 in total in 3 feeding flocks)
COMMON TREECREEPER (1 in trees just north of Sarratt Mill House - a scarce species in the valley)
Common Magpie (6)
Jay (3)
Chaffinch (18 at roost in evergreen trees south of Sarrattmill Bridge)
SISKIN (1 by the cress beds)
LESSER REDPOLL (1 by the stone bridge)
BULLFINCH (1 in Sarratt Bottom)

OSPREY putting on a good show

The OSPREY is still present today; this morning it commuted between Little Chalfont village and Great Water and this afternoon was back again in the Chess River Valley, roosting just east of Chenies Bottom village. It later returned to Mount Wood before flying east into Chorleywood

OSPREY all set to overwinter

After a four-day sojourn, I arrived back mid-afternoon to a call from Anna and JT. They had just found the OSPREY perching high in a dead tree in the Chess Valley.

Unloading Carmel's suit-cases as quick as I could, and briefly greeting the cats, I raced over and joined the two girls. The OSPREY was still there and showing well - providing me with the most prolonged views I had ever had of it and enabling me at last to confidently age it as a juvenile.

It looks as though this may well be its roosting site - and it sat in this dead tree at the west end of Mount Wood, NE of Chenies, until dark (at TQ 026 987)

DIRECTIONS: At the west end of Chorleywood, turn in to North Lane and continue for half a mile to the bottom of the valley just NE of Sarrattmill Bridge. Take the public footpath NW to the end of the lane and then walk a further 250 yards through the cow field to view NW from the bridge over the river.

A total of 5 LITTLE EGRETS flew to roost, as did a local record of 8 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS (there have been a remarkable 18 in recent days).

A WATER RAIL skulked along the east bank of the Chess, there was 1 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Coot and a LITTLE OWL at dusk. A male TAWNY OWL also hooted at dusk

Two flocks of REDWING totalling 34 birds were also seen

Belated report - Coleshill 6/11

Another interesting morning whilst working in the garden at Coleshill.

Before I started the endless task of raking the leaves up at the property I work and live at I had a quick scout around the grounds and found the following-

A pleasing sight of 23 Starlings perched together in the top of a now leaf bare Horse Chestnut started the morning off, they were chattering and clicking quietly amongst themselves with the odd whistle thrown in for good measure. A good group of Finches that I accidentally flushed from a row of wild Rose bushes contained roughly 18+ Greenfinches and 16+ Goldfinches which circled up and in to some of the nearby trees, this gave me the chance to see what they were feeding on and found that some of the larger hips had softened up and contained some large seeds in, some of seeds in the biggest hips were almost as big as sunflower hearts which must be attracting them, there's about 25 of these large Rose bushes and still plenty of hips on them. 2 Jays were soon the next on the list as they squabbled over Acorns in a nearby Oak followed shortly by 2 Resident Mistle Thrushes which were 'rattling away' at each other. So by 8:30 a mini orchestra of bird song and calls are simmering away soon to be joined by 20 or so Redwing high up in a Horse Chestnut and adding their 'tsseep' calls to the mix. During this time a Blackbird has hopped across the lawn in front of me 'tutting' as it disappears in to the bottom of a bush. It was at this time that I realised I should've started work and before I got a rollicking headed off armed with my rake ready to take on the piles of fallen leaves, tedious to say the least but a good chance to observe nature as it unfolds.

At 9:00 a Green Woodpecker can be heard calling from the garden next door and a quick peer through the hedge finds it sat on the rear lawn with 2 Pied wagtails bobbing across the grass a few metres away from it, the leaf raking is now not such a mundane job, okay it is but I'm getting a few fringe benefits along the way and as long as I don't get caught whipping my bins out from beneath my coat every time I hear or see something I'll be fine.

The resident Robin has now joined me and is sitting on the wheelbarrow handle with it's head tilted towards the ground as I clear the leaves, it's watching for the slightest movement before darting down and grabbing a worm and returning to the wheelbarrow handle. It's very tame but won't come to my hand to feed yet, I'm hoping that by Christmas I will have trained him up and then I can get some good photos for this years Christmas cards.

It was very grey and overcast when I'd started but by 9:30 a few spots of blue sky could now be seen poking through the clouds and the wind had dropped completely, a Grey Heron gave me a shock as it called from overhead, it continued west probably heading for the local village pond. Not long after 5 Siskin then passed over heading North calling as they went and shortly after a Magpie flew over. During this time the Starlings, Finches & Thrushes were still calling but getting louder, I'm not sure if this is to do with ambient sound from traffic and human activity but it seemed to happen just a the roads became busier. It got to a point where they seemed to be trying to outdo each other and I stopped to listen just as a flock of about 150 maybe more Redwings appeared overhead. They started circling round and seemed to pick up some of our Redwings that have been in the garden for a week or so from the nearby trees, Finches then took to the air and the noise was incredible and seemed that each and every one of them was calling. They circled round a couple of times separating into smaller groups with birds going off in different directions, I wondered if a predator was in the area but there wasn't anything in the sky except hundreds of Redwing & Finches. The Redwing circled round 4 or 5 times before forming a loose flock and heading off north leaving 20 or so Redwing to settle back in the tops of the trees, presumably the same birds that have been in the garden for awhile. It's great to see spectacles like that and a real sign of 'visible migration' on a small scale.

Over the next hour or so I'd seen 2 Nuthatch, Bl & Grt Tit, 12 Chaffinch, 1 Black-h Gull heading south, only my 2nd sighting of Ring-necked Parakeet in the area as 2 flew over from the east and headed west, 1 Red Kite, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker and heard 2 Goldcrests. By 10:45 the Robin had acquired a friend and both were watching me from the garden wall, a few worms that were unearthed made a tasty treat and as they weren't fighting I presume that they are a pair.

The skies were now quite clear and mainly blue and whilst gazing in to the distance I noticed a large group of birds heading towards me from the south, a quick scan with the bins showed that they were Wood Pigeons and quite a few of them. Within a minute or so they were approaching overhead but difficult to count as they were widely separated and a best estimate would be somewhere in the region of 200-225 birds which flew over heading north. As there is a lot of Wood Pigeon migration at the moment It seemed a bit strange to see them heading in that direction rather than south, I don't think they are local as I only seem to see handfuls rather than flocks of 25 upwards. An added bonus was finding a Tawny Owl pellet in the garden to add to the 2 I've found recently near local woodland. So it was quite an interesting morning despite the fact the Oak trees still haven't shed their leaves yet and so I've got it all to do again!!!

Ashley Stowe

Friday, 6 November 2009

No sign of the Osprey by early afternoon



Checked the Chess River Valley in its entirety between Chesham Sewage Farm and Chorleywood and up until 1215 hours, there was no sign whatsoever of our late-staying perhaps even over-wintering Osprey. Wind was in the NW with dry and fairly clear conditions. At least seven observers searching.

The following species were encountered -:

Little Grebe (1 first-winter on Great Water)
Grey Heron (7)
LITTLE EGRET (the wintering four: three in the Mill Farm area and another east of Bois Mill)
Mute Swans (14 on Great Water)
Tufted Duck (13 on Great Water)
Common Buzzard (2)
Red Kite (4)
Common Kestrel (2 males)
Woodpigeon (226 over in one large flock but probably local birds moving feeding areas; no obvious passage particularly)
Stock Dove (6 in Chorleywood)
Green Woodpecker (2 at Latimer Place)
Eurasian Skylark (1 south over Sarratt Bottom)
Pied Wagtail (2 in Stony Lane paddocks including an adult male)
COMMON STONECHAT (the wintering pair showing well in Mill Farm Water Meadows)
Long-tailed Tit (8 at Latimer Place)
Coal Tit (1 in Stony Lane)

Chaffinch House early morning

31 Common Starlings, 27 House Sparrows, 19 Collared Doves and once again, WOODPIGEONS streaming over in large flocks.

Sally Douglas took these local photographs in recent days: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch and Red Fox


At least two male FIRECRESTS remain in Hogback Wood, Beaconsfield, but it is likely that there are more present as Mike Collard saw a much duller bird elsewhere in the wood during this past week (Lee Evans)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

'Bonfire Night' - big increase in NORTHERN POCHARDS


Another rather winter-like day, with cool NW winds and the occasional shower. Rather slow and uneventful although picked up later when I discovered a new Red Kite roost. Also large influx of Northern Pochards.


Little Grebe (1)
Grey Heron (1)
Mute Swans (2 adults on Pow Wow with another on the main fishing lake)
Atlantic Canada Goose (1)
Mallard (12)
GADWALL (there were 5 - 4 drakes - on the Pow Wow Lake - an important wintering site for this species)
NORTHERN POCHARD (very dramatic local increase with 21 birds present)
Tufted Duck (18)
Coot (42 on the main fishing lake, 4 on the smaller of the two and four more on the Pow-Wow Lake)
Moorhen (12 on Pow Wow and 5 on the Fishing Lakes)
Song Thrush (1 by the river)
GOLDCREST (vocal female showing well in Ivy by road - very scarce of late)
Jackdaws (a surprising number of birds back on territory on the chimney pots)
Jay (1)
Goldfinch (8)
SISKIN (1 flew over calling at the Fishing Lake causeway)

Red Fox (a fairly manky vixen running around the Fishing Lake)


The long-staying OSPREY was present again today, seen perched and then flying west from Sarrattmill Bridge at TQ 035 980 (per Anna Marett). I searched for it but did not see it.

Grey Heron (4)
LITTLE EGRETS (all four birds visible today and feeding together on the river 200 yards east of Bois Mill - a favoured feeding locality in winter)
Mute Swans (20 present including a newly arrived first-winter)
Atlantic Canada Geese (155 feeding together in fields but no sign of the lone Greylag)
Mallard (27)
Tufted Duck (5)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (single adult over)

Green Woodpecker (1)
REDWING (just 1 noted - in tree by Latimer Place)
*FIELDFARE (flock of 17 went south)
Jay (3)
MARSH TIT (vocal individual in bushes 50 yards from Neptune Falls)


Discovered a new local RED KITE roost containing 13 individuals - one crying bird flew in almost as it was dark

PENN WOOD (with Kevin Holt)

Kevin has recorded 3 BRAMBLINGS in the finch roosts in the past few days, with a single tonight at the south end of the South Paddock. I did not see it as I arrived too late and only noted a handful of the 35 roosting Chaffinch and 20 or so Greenfinch. Two GOLDCRESTS were noteworthy as were 41 REDWINGS, the latter roosting in the wood.

As dusk approached, a Muntjac Deer barked and up to 5 territorial TAWNY OWLS started calling (one seen briefly in silhouette as it moved between trees). One bird was in Penn Wood and the others in tall Copper Beech trees in Charcoal Grove opposite at SP 920 955.