Recording Area Annual Totals

93 Species so far in 2011 - January 2011 72 by March 21st - Common Chiffchaff 74 by March 28th - Wheatear & Meadow Pipit both added; 77 by April 5th 108 species were recorded in 2010; 92 by 4 September; 93 by 22 November

Monday, 27 April 2009

Singing WOOD WARBLER in Chorleywood

MONDAY 27 APRIL

A broad front moved in from the south overnight bringing light SSW winds and moderate rain throughout the day (until 1630 hours at least). Temperatures during the rain struggled to rise above 8 degrees centigrade.

BOXMOOR (TL 005 025) (1030 hours)

An overgrown area of scrub and Birch situated on old brick workings behind Gilberts and Aston Martin garage. A very vocal COMMON CUCKOO was showing extremely well (and present for its second day) - the first and perhaps only bird in my local recording area this year.

There were also 4 singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS, 4 Common Chiffchaffs, several Blackcaps and a single WILLOW WARBLER.

Resident birds included 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Wrens, 3 Dunnocks and 3 nesting pairs of Common Blackbird. Also Great Tit and 4 Woodpigeon pairs.

CHORLEYWOOD HOUSE ESTATE (HERTS)

Again, despite the rain, a singing WOOD WARBLER was occasionally showing just SW of Cattermole's Community Woodland late morning (at TQ 032 973) (present for its second day)

DIRECTIONS: from the A404 in Chorleywood, turn into the main entrance in Lady Ella Drive and continue past the Summer House and tennis courts to the parking place by Dell Wood. Walk west along the road towards the Montessori School and turn right over the stile and walk north past the Chorleywood Common Youth Football Club building for 100 yards to the entrance to the wood. There is an area of Bluebells within this part of the wood and this is the area in which the Wood Warbler is favouring. A mega bird for this area and only my second within walking distance of my house in 23 years.

Last week's OSPREY







Dave Bilcock obtained these excellent images of last week's Chenies OSPREY as it sat and roosted in one of the tall trees west of the bridge early morning.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

CHENIES OSPREY



Paul Keene obtained this beautiful image of the Osprey this morning as it perched in a flowering tree

OSPREY STILL PRESENT EARLY MORNING

The OSPREY at Chenies was there first thing this morning when I first saw it around 6.30 AM flying from Limes hill wood area towards Chenies bridge carrying a large fish. Lost to sight beyond the farm and a large willow.However walking up the footpath by Mill farm towards Latimer I relocated it in a dead tree not far up the path. It was a little precarious near the top of the tree, especially with the fish hanging vertically downwards. Suddenly it seemed to lose balance, flapped its wing and dropped the fish. It then flew to a nearby tree and made no attempt to retreive its fish which surprised me. After a while it flew hunting again towards Latimer bridge and then returned to below Chenies bridge where it again perched. It then hunted around that area before heading downstream towards Sarratt Bottom where I last saw it hovering and then closing its wings for a stoop at which point I lost it behind a tree.

As far as I know it was not seen after 0810 hours but could well still be in the area (Joan Thompson)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

OSPREY remains for a second day

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL

Another fabulously glorious summer's day, with temperatures reaching 21 degrees centigrade. Clear, bright and sunny throughout.

Took a call at 1500 hours from Mike Collard to say that the OSPREY that I had seen early yesterday morning was back at Chenies Bottom again. I rushed down there and five minutes later joined local nature lover Alison Etherington at the bridge. I scanned the Mill Farm Water Meadows and high over the River Chess, overflying Sarratt Bottom (Hertfordshire) was the OSPREY.

It slowly started drifting back westwards and after seven minutes had returned to the section of Chess immediately north of Chenies Place. As yesterday morning, it started hovering and for the next 20 minutes, it drifted back and forth over the water meadow. On one occasion, it plunged rapidly down to the river and submerged itself in the water, resurfacing with nothing.

I had contacted Dave Bilcock and Simon Nichols in the interim, as well as Rare Bird Alert, and at 1530 it flew and sat at the top of one of the tall trees in Chenies Place garden (interestingly, Alison had seen the bird early this morning, from 0715-0745, when at one stage it perched aloft the conifer in Dodd's Mill garden). Fortunately Dave arrived whilst the bird was still in the tree, as did Jeff Bailey (who had been watching it independently from the Chess Valley Walk from 1500 hours).

The four of us watched in awe as it suddenly took flight from its perch and made a beeline for the river. At considerable speed it hit the water and within a short space of time, resurfaced with a large fish in its talons. At this point, a Common Buzzard and male Common Kestrel took an interest and chased the Osprey. The latter spiralled slowly upward and then began thermalling, circling the meadows for some 15 minutes before drifting off eastwards towards Sarrattmill Bridge. During this time, it traversed back and forth from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire. DB kept with the bird following it with his 'scope and after a long time in the air presumably searching for a suitable place in which to devour his prize, it slowly started to drift back towards Chenies Bottom. Suddenly at 1608 hours, it spied somewhere suitable and like a bullet, swept back its wings and dived down in to Limeshill Wood (Herts) (TQ 022 993).

In all, the bird was on view for a period of an hour and eight minutes, offering us all some magnificent views. JT arrived shortly later, closely followed by IW and MCo, but I have not heard if the bird reappeared.

Another major coo was the presence of two singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS - another rare visitor in my parish. One male was on the Mill Farm Water Meadows and another by Church Covert reserve to the west.

Two BARN SWALLOWS flew west, as did a single HOUSE MARTIN, whilst 6 different COMMON BUZZARDS were sighted and 3 Grey Herons.

A beautiful male GREY WAGTAIL was by the bridge, with a pair of Long-tailed Tits nestbuilding in Dodd's Mill garden and several House Sparrows in the hedgerows in the hamlet.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE OSPREY

Leave the M25 at Junction 18 and follow NW through Chorleywood towards Amersham. After just over two miles, take Latimer Road (signposted Chesham) on the right. Drive carefully through Chenies village and as you traverse the sharp bends and drop down the incline, veer off right safely at the bottom. Continue down for 50 yards and park sensibly and courteously at the side of the road. The Osprey moves between the area just to the west of the bridge and over the meadows and river to the right.

OSPREY - AT LAST




Not today's bird but that which was present in the Chess River Valley, close to Latimer Bridge from 25-29 March 2009. It was superbly captured on film by ace photographer Mike Wallen on 28 March and was the first of three different individuals to grace the valley with their presence in spring 2009.
As I was driving east along Latimer Road at 0715 hours this morning, my attention was drawn to a large raptor 'hovering' over the wider section of the River Chess at Chenies Bottom, just behind the row of cottages at TQ 013 987. Its unique flight silhouette immediately raised my suspicions of OSPREY as it banked sideways and the distinct front-arch of the wings at the carpals quickly confirmed my initial thoughts. It repeatedly hung in the air, hovering at about 25 metres along the short stretch of relatively wide water.

I drove into Chenies Bottom and parked close to the bridge where the bird afforded excellent views. It had an obvious gorget of dark brown streaks across the white breast and was very white on the underparts and on the underwing-coverts. The carpal patches were blackish and stood out, as did the dark line running back from the eye to the nape and the white head and crown. As I stood and watched it from the bridge, it seemed to have its eyes on me, and was reluctant to plunge.

It cumbersomely flew on heavy wings, with a laboured flight, the upperparts being very uniform dark brown, and it flew very short distances each time before resuming a new place to hover. I got a great look at its head, with its pale eye standing out with the 'scope view and faint streaking on the forehead. There was a little light wear/damage in one of the wings but otherwise it was immaculately plumaged.

I quickly contacted Dave Bilcock, knowing that he would be on this very same road not long after, and of course Simon Nichols (who very kindly got the news out via email) and both Joan Thompson and Mike Collard. I kept with the bird for just under 15 minutes but had to leave at 0727 hours, at this time the Osprey was being repeatedly harassed by 3 (Western) Jackdaws (which it dwarfed in size). It was still on view flying over Hill Farm as I drove away but was not located when DB did an extensive search of the valley at around midday.

Having missed out on the long-staying bird in the valley earlier this spring and another that flew over Amersham a few weeks later, I was absolutely delighted with my find and although it is a species which has appeared perhaps eight times in the 22 years I have lived in the parish, I have never been in the right place at the right time to see one. Three in one spring is incredible and testimony to the remarkable recovery this predominantly Scandinavian species is now enjoying in this country. The breeding population in Britain is now in the region of 180 pairs, with up to 6 pairs nesting in England and at least one pair in Wales (Lee G R Evans)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

PENN WOOD ROOST

At Penn Wood, the Brambling count for yesterday was 60. Today it was 71.Unlike previous checks, today at the area in the north end of the fenced paddock, between 18:30 and 18:45 there were only 2 chaffinch and a blackbird - no brambling.

At the roost area in the southern corner of the wood it was also quiet, apart from the regular song thrush, until 18:55 when a few brambling arived. Then, at 19:00, suddenly there were 71 brambling in two flocks (more or less 35 in one flock and 36 in the othr). By 19:10 they had spread amongst various trees and by 19:15, most had roosted.

I then took a stroll aorund the southern and western areas of the wood listening to to the dusk chorus - which included chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap, as well as a single Tawny Owl hooting from a holly stand near the south corner.

Between 20:00 and 20:30 there were six, possibly seven, Tawny Owl calling. The one in Penn Wood, another in nearby Common Wood and the others in adjacent Charcoal Grove, where I had good views of one the Owls moving through the trees about 70 yards from me (Kevin Holt)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

BRAMBLINGS GALORE

WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL

The day started dry and clear, and fairly mild. As it wore on, the wind freshened up from the Southeast and cloud moved in forming overcast skies. Temperatures steadily increased, peaking at 17 degrees C. Such conditions are excellent for passerine migration and should provide us with our first haul of Ring Ouzel and other related migrants during the next few days. Osprey and Marsh Harrier migration should also pick up.

PENN WOOD (BUCKS)

Joined local birder Kevin Holt this evening at Penn Wood and by 1900 hours recorded a staggering total of 88 BRAMBLINGS flighting into roost in a Holly plantation - remarkable considering my best winter count at this site this year was just 19 birds. As usual, the birds were extremely vocal and filling the evening air with their nasal calls. The adult males were absolutely gorgeous in full black-hooded summer finery - sheer magic.

Just 3 Greenfinches roosted, with 3 SISKINS feeding nearby.

A RED KITE drifted over, whilst Kevin kindly showed me 1 of the 5 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS the wood now holds. A single Common Chiffchaff was also encountered.

Nearby at WINCHMORE HILL (opposite Pennstreet Farm at SU 925 953), the ROOKERY now holds 34 active nests.

BELL LANE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)

A singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was noted in trees opposite the Entertainer Warehouse at SU 984 982. Two singing male Robins were also in the same area.

Penn Wood BRAMBLINGS

Sunday 12th, c85 BRAMBLING in the southern roost area of Penn Wood.

Monday 13th, c45 in total (12 at the north end of the fenced paddock and c33 at the southern area, with no obvious transfers of area. Most birds in the south area came from the east or south-east.) Seems likely that there are tranches of birds moving through. I will try to check most days this week.

Also Tawny Owl now beimg heard at dusk from both Penn Wood and nearby Common Wood. They have been very quiet recently! (Kevin Holt)

Friday, 10 April 2009

THURSDAY 9 APRIL

CHESHAM (McMINN's YARD)

The first 2009 WILLOW WARBLER for the Amersham District - a singing male - was showing well early morning, along with a singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF and a COAL TIT.

Up to 3 BARN SWALLOWS passed through during the morning, whilst RED KITE and COMMON BUZZARD were overhead almost constantly (per Chris).

Thursday, 9 April 2009

CBC Amersham District - Phase One - LGRE

WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2009

Overnight rain dropped in a host of new migrants, including an Osprey, Whimbrel and 3 Yellow Wagtails. A fresh westerly wind dominated the weather all day but it did stay dry and bright and temperatures still managed to climb as high as 17.5 degrees C.

Adam Bassett texted me at 0930 hours informing me of a WHIMBREL on the spit at Little Marlow GP - a good year tick. I set off. No sooner had I got in the car than Simon rang - Darren Oakley-Martin (of the RSPB) had taken a call from an Amersham resident informing him of an OSPREY flying overhead. I immediately diverted to the Chess River Valley then the Ingrebourne Valley but to no avail - the Osprey had flown. And then conversely - Adam rang at 1010 hours just as I was pulling off the M40 to say that the Whimbrel had just been flushed by a Sparrowhawk and had flown off noisily westwards.....and into oblivion. Oh well, just my luck lately, but thanks guys for the instant dissemination of news..

This was the second OSPREY to be seen in the Amersham District this spring, following a bird that spent three days in the Chess River Valley two weeks ago.

CHESHAM VALE (BUCKS)

I discovered a new local ROOKERY this afternoon, consisting of an impressive 27 active nests at the south end of the coppice at SP 965 034.

CHESHAM WATERSIDE (SP 965 008)

For the second year running, a pair of Mute Swans is nesting 20 yards downstream of the small bridge. The female is currently incubating 7 eggs.

Phase 1 of a complete inventory of the avifauna of the Amersham District 2009 took place today starting with the SE corner TQ 00 97 and 01 97

LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS) (East End)

Eurasian Collared Doves (7 pairs)
Common Blackbird (5)
HOUSE SPARROW (35 at Chaffinch House, with 2 at The Hawthorns, 96 Elizabeth Avenue)
Chaffinch (9 singing males)
Goldfinch (pair at 99 Elizabeth Avenue, with 2 in coppice on Amersham Way)
Greenfinch (4 displaying males in Church Grove area)
Blue Tit (8 singing males)
Great Tit (singing male in coppice on Amersham Way)
Long-tailed Tit (pair nesting in hedgerow at 148 Elizabeth Avenue)
Common Starlings (7 in gardens north of Amersham Road)

OLD HANGING WOOD (TQ 010 975)

COMMON BUZZARD (pair nesting)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
European Robin (single pair nesting by railway embankment with further male)
Wren (1 singing male)
Common Blackbird (1 male)
Chaffinch (3 singing males)
Blue Tit (3 singing males)
Healthy population of Rabbits

EURASIAN SKYLARK (singing male south of railway over arable)

LODGE COPSE (TQ 008 973)

Common Kestrel (female south of Lodge Farm)
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (female)
Green Woodpecker (1)
Goldcrest (singing male)
Blue Tit (5 singing males)
Common Blackbird (2 singing males)

CROSSLANE WOOD (TQ 007 958)

COMMON BUZZARD (pair nesting)

CARPENTER'S WOOD (TQ 017 966)

Carpenter's Wood is an ancient semi-natural woodland site and is made up of three transects - Hillas Wood, Whitelands Wood and the larger Carpenters Wood. The area is designated a County Wildlife Site and falls within the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within the Metropolitan Green Belt. Most of the mature trees are Beech and are around 150 years old, whilst also naturally occurring is Oak, Ash, Cherry and Hornbeam and Hillas Wood Larch. This ancient wood is home to several specialised plants such as Wood Melch, Coralroot Bittercress and Wood Sanicle and is carpeted in April and early May with English Bluebells. An active Badger's sett was observed.

Bird species noted included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch (2 singing males), Robin, 8 Blue Tits and a singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF.

HALSEY'S WOOD (TQ 016 973)

Green Woodpecker (1)
Woodpigeon (8)
Common Blackbird (3)
European Robin (2 singing males)
Carrion Crow (2 pairs)
Great Tit (4)
Long-tailed Tits (pair)
Chaffinch (3 singing males)

A single EURASIAN SKYLARK was singing over farmland at TQ 014 978.

CORNER WOOD (TQ 017 980)

Singles of Wren, Robin, Chaffinch and Blue Tit in trees surrounding the pond.

The undoubted highlight was a singing male YELLOWHAMMER - my first in the District in 2009 - in a thin line of small trees north of the A404 at TQ 007 979.

BARN SWALLOWS new in

Three BARN SWALLOWS arrived at Hill Farm, Chesham, today (8 April) (Chris) - the first of the year

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

ROE DEER surprise

Two ROE DEER were present in the field just east of Bois Mill early this morning - a rare visitor to the Chess River Valley. At nearby McMinn's Yard, a male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was in song, with both RED KITE and Common Buzzard overhead (LGRE)

Monday, 6 April 2009

SHARDELOES TODAY







I am hoping Gadwall will breed at Shardeloes Lake this spring, with at least 4 pairs still on site today


MONDAY 6 APRIL

My first real opportunity at local birding in over three and a half weeks. The day started off fine and fairly calm, with predominantly clear blue skies and a light SE wind. Cloud then slowly moved in from the west and the wind increased and veered to the SW.

SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS) (Evening visit)

Great Crested Grebe (male feeding)
Little Grebe (3 pairs; much whinnying display)
Mute Swans (resident pair, plus 3 first-years from last year's nest)
Canada Geese (28)
Mallard (8)
GADWALL (4 pairs)
Tufted Duck (22, several pairs noisily displaying)
NORTHERN POCHARD (1 pair)
Coot (just 26 including three birds sat on nests)
Moorhen (12)

Common Kestrel (1 male)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker (1-2)
Stock Dove (pair)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male on arable field by entrance)
Grey Wagtail (male)
Wren (3 singing males)
Song Thrush (2 singing males)
Common Blackbird (2 singing males)
BLACKCAP (singing male in ivy-clad trees)
Great Tit (nesting activity from 1 pair)
Long-tailed Tit (1+ pair)
Rook (23 nests now in use)
Chaffinch (singing male)
Goldfinch (singing male)

OLD AMERSHAM (BUCKS)

A total of 24 pairs of (Western) Jackdaws on chimneys.

TODAY'S SIGHTINGS

LEE COMMON: 2 COMMON RAVENS over west at 12-20pm.

LATIMER: 2 HOUSE MARTINS, 1 Little & 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Tufted Ducks, 4 Skylarks, 4 Lapwings & 4 Common Buzzards.

Also 2 Lapwings near HYDE HEATH

Don Stone.