Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 26 February 2010

BRAMBLING roost numbers building up in Penn Wood and another GREAT CRESTED GREBE back on territory


A strong wind set in and consequently temperatures struggled to get higher than 7 degrees C. It did remain dry all day, and skies often cleared, but overall it was rather chilly.


A dead Badger was on the A404 at SU 967 969

(with Kevin Holt)

In very blustery conditions, most BRAMBLINGS roosted in the Holly trees with the Greenfinches and by 1700 hours, I had counted 36 flight in (Kevin had seen at least 45). Greenfinch numbers were well down with just 60 or so, whilst 1 Goldcrest was calling. A single RED KITE drifted over.

(with Chris Pontin)

A third GREAT CRESTED GREBE has returned to Chesham Fishing Lakes - a male on the smaller of the two lakes - with the pair still on the larger, along with 21 Tufted Ducks and 7 Northern Pochards. Chris had earlier seen the 24 LESSER REDPOLL and 20+ SISKIN.

Mallard had increased to 18 on Bois Mill Pond, whilst 2 LITTLE EGRETS were showing very well at Chenies Bottom bridge. A further LITTLE EGRET was feeding in the river by the scrap yard in Chesham.

ROBIN pair back in garden

I was delighted this morning to see the return of two EUROPEAN ROBINS, presumably a pair. In recent weeks they have been absent and I was fearful that the cold weather may have seen their demise. The terrific photograph above was taken by Mike Lawrence.


Between 3 and 5 LITTLE EGRETS still remain in the Chess River Valley, generally in the Church Covert area. The excellent photographs above were taken by Mike Lawrence.

Thursday, 25 February 2010



Temperatures held up well again today, hovering between 7 and 9 degrees C. It rained for most of the day and the wind remained in a southerly direction.


Both Continental Cormorants remained on the Bois Mill Pond and the 3 LITTLE EGRETS were west of Chenies Bottom

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

LESSER REDPOLLS at the Fishing Lakes


Another very cold day with a band of prolonged snow falling, accumulating in a few inches on the Chiltern Hills (eg, Ivinghoe Beacon). The temperature failed to rise above 2 degrees C and the NE wind was quite severe and biting.

LITTLE EGRETS today included one in a small pool just NW of Higher Dehnam Sewage Works (TQ 016 879) and at least four in the Chess Valley (one in the stream by Watercress Cottage and 3 west of Chenies Bottom).


A pair of adult GREAT CRESTED GREBES returned to their breeding haunt at Chesham Fishing Lakes on Tuesday 22 February (per Chris Pontin) and were still present today and showing well. Both were in almost full breeding attire.

Wildfowl included 1 adult Mute Swan, 19 Tufted Duck and 9 Northern Pochard (1 female), along with 1 Grey Heron and 12 Coot. A Continental Cormorant flew east.

Most significant was a flock of 24 LESSER REDPOLLS, the party containing some beautiful rosy-pink adult males.


A pair of GADWALL was present, along with a single adult Mute Swan, 6 Tufted Ducks and 6 Coot.


In addition to the resident pair of Mute Swans, 2 sub-adult Continental Cormorants were fishing.

Monday, 22 February 2010

SHOVELER surprise


Snow returned with a vengeance today and fell for most of the daylight hours. A light covering resulted. The biting NE wind increased during the day and temperatures never reached more than 2 degrees C.


Most striking was the return of LESSER REDPOLLS today to my garden Nyger feeders. From when they arrived mid-morning, 1-3 birds were still visiting at 1415 and had almost been a permanent fixture throughout. A male Pied Wagtail was also present on the lawn all day, feeding on bread of all things. He was joined by two Woodpigeons, whilst up to 8 Chaffinches and 30 House Sparrows were constantly present.

(1300-1400 hours)

The lake is still at the highest water level I have ever seen it and consequently attracting excellent numbers of wildfowl. The footpath is also considerably muddy. I was delighted to see my first SHOVELER of the year in the area, a species with less than 5 records per year. The following species were sighted -:

Little Grebe (1, but there was no sign of the Great Crested Grebe)
Grey Heron (1)
Mute Swan (the resident pair and two of their offspring; the young male was not to be seen)
Atlantic Canada Goose (1)
MANDARIN DUCK (the pair still present, both roosting on the island)
Mallard (10)
GADWALL (high count of 48 birds)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (adult pair showing well - my first of the year in the Recording Area; a pair was seen on the Chess River Valley in early January)
Tufted Duck (29)
NORTHERN POCHARD (12 present, including 3 females)
Coot (42)
Moorhen (12, including 10 on the cricket field)
HERRING GULL (3 immatures)
Red Kite (2)
Common Kestrel (pair)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)


Two LESSER REDPOLLS were on the Nyger Seed feeders in the garden at 1210, the first time thaty have visited in a while.

Pied Wagtail

The snow returned with a vengeance this morning and what was forecast as heavy rain, actually fell as heavy snow. The male Pied Wagtail returned to the snow-covered lawn in my garden, along with two Woodpigeons and 8 Chaffinches.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

It's a beautiful day !


In stark contrast to yesterday, when it sleeted all day long, causing localised flooding, today was glorious, with blue sky throughout, winter sunshine and light southerly winds. Temperatures reached 8 degrees C.


Still at least 5 LITTLE EGRETS present, including 4 at Chenies Bottom, along with 2 Grey Herons and a Common Buzzard.

Great Water, Latimer, and Latimer Bridge yielded 1 Little Grebe, 10 Mute Swans, 3 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Mallard, 22 Tufted Duck, 5 Northern Pochard, 35 Moorhen, 78 Coot, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Mistle Thrush (singing male) and Greenfinch.

(Chris Pontin noted the Chesham GREEN SANDPIPER again on Monday)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010



There was a light frost overnight, followed by another cold day, temperatures peaking at 2 degrees C. Kent saw some substantial snow during the day (up to 32 cms) and the Chilterns also had a light covering by nightfall.


All 5 LITTLE EGRETS were still present, with two at Chesham Sewage Works and the three by Church Covert.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

GREAT CRESTED GREBE appears on Shardeloes Lake - first of the year


The wind veered from NE to northerly during the day and in doing so raised the temperature a bit, to 6 degrees C. It remained dry throughout and during the afternoon, the cloud melted away, leaving a clear blue sky. By nightfall, a frost was in prospect


Still 4 LITTLE EGRETS present, all just west of Chenies Bottom, with 3 Common Buzzards in display over Lane Wood (SU 990 987)


Yet another dead Badger, lying in the middle of the A404 just west of New Road at SU 944 962

A Common Kestrel was sat on the wire by Whielden Gate.


Checked out Penn Wood, particularly the Penna Monument ride, but with scant results - no Lesser Redpoll located and just 2 Goldcrests, 1 Wren, 8 Long-tailed Tits and 3 Muntjac Deer encountered. The Chaffinch roost at the west end numbered 48.

Most activity centred around the Holly roost at SU 916 957, where 147 GREENFINCHES were joined by 32 BRAMBLINGS, a few males now in nice attire.

(Dusk visit)

A noticeable arrival of water birds, with the first GREAT CRESTED GREBE of the year, 2 Little Grebes, 70 Coots, all 5 Mute Swans again (including three of last year's brood), 52 Atlantic Canada Geese, 8 Mallard, 20 Gadwall, 24 Tufted Duck and 16 Northern Pochard.

I also located a REED BUNTING roost at the far west end of the lake, numbering 5 birds.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Recent sightings from PENN WOOD

14 - Fri 5th, 15:30-17:00
c20 - Sat 6th, 14:30-17:00
15 - Sun 7th, 15:00-17:00

Note: two other birders reported c24 on Fri 5th at SE Corner holly roost, while I was checking elsewhere. So total for the day = c28.

c110 - Fri 5th, 15:30-17:00
c120 - Sat 6th, 14:30-17:00
c120 - Sun 7th, 15:00-17:00

Note: the other birders reported c150 on Fri 5th. So total for the day = c190

None found - Fri 5th, 15:30-17:00
c20 - Sat 6th, 14:30-17:00
37+ - Sun 7th, 15:00-17:00
Note: Both sightings were along the main southern pathway at holly and birch stand, approx 100 yards east of the south end of the fenced paddock area.

Also COMMON RAVEN on 7th flying high, heading south, calling and quick right flip then left flip, then carried on (per Kevin Holt)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

GREEN SANDPIPER still present

The GREEN SANDPIPER and 3 LITTLE EGRETS still present today at Crestyl Watercress Beds, Sarratt Bottom (per Jeff Bailey)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


This is the Recording Area covered by this website, traversing both Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire

A wet day but nevertheless very rewarding - a comprehensive study of SHARDELOES ESTATE


Overnight, a warm front moved in from the west, pushing the cold weather back towards the continent. The cold, crisp, clear weather was replaced by a band of rain, which continued all morning. I made the most of the wet weather by writing and as a consequence, was able to see what was visiting the garden feeders.


Despite the rain, a nice selection of garden visitors, including a FIELDFARE, a male Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinches and an adult male and first-winter male PIED WAGTAIL on the lawn.

At least 35 House Sparrows were in residence, along with 4 Common Blackbirds, 6 Eurasian Collared Doves, a Woodpigeon, 3 Blue Tits and 6 Chaffinches.


The rain started to peter out early afternoon so I went over to Shardeloes Estate to do a full inventory of the birdlife present, checking out the main lake and walking to Model Farm, Mop End and fully covering Wheatley Wood. A total of 2,187 individuals of 42 different species were encountered, the highlights being a pair of Mandarin Ducks, my first Bucks Red-legged Partridge of the year and some excellent Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting counts.

The main lake was still partly frozen

Little Grebe and Mute Swan (no sign of either species)

Grey Heron (1)
*MANDARIN DUCK (pair at the west end of main lake)
Mallard (13)
NORTHERN POCHARD (7 present - 5 adult drakes and two females)
Tufted Duck (12)
RED KITES (4 including 2 perched by one of the pheasant pens)
Common Buzzard (1)
Common Kestrel (1 adult male)
Red-legged Partridge (1)
Common Pheasant (330)
Moorhen (14)
Coot (major increase to 73 birds - see graph)
Black-headed Gull (214)
COMMON GULL (high count of 46 birds roosting on the ice)
HERRING GULL (adult and 3rd-winter Argenteus feeding an a dead fish on the ice - scarce on the lake)

Stock Dove (male calling and displaying)
Woodpigeon (112 near lake and a further 766 by Summerville Wood)
Wren (just 2, both by the lake)
Dunnock (2 in the Model Farm maize/game strips)
European Robin (1 in the Lodge garden)
SONG THRUSH (3 feeding in leaf litter below the line of Beech trees at the start of the footpath to Mop End)
REDWING (just 1 noted)
FIELDFARE (flock of 15 near Model Farm)
Common Blackbird (3)
GOLDCREST (excellent views of a vocal individual in bushes by the main lake)
Great Tit (5, including males in song)
Blue Tit (4)
Long-tailed Tit (10)
COMMON TREECREEPER (2 in scrub by main lake)
Common Magpie (14)
Jay (4)
Jackdaw (340, with the large roost in Wheatley Wood)
Rook (12)
Carrion Crow (16)
Chaffinch (30 in the Model Farm game strips)
LINNET (24 in one flock in Model Farm game strips)
Goldfinch (5)
Greenfinch (1)
REED BUNTING (2 birds at the far west end of the main lake and a further 13 in the Model Farm game strips)
*YELLOWHAMMER (an impressive 42 birds in the Model Farm game strips)

PIED WAGTAILS at Chaffinch House

Still raining and now 2 PIED WAGTAILS feeding on the lawn - an adult male and a first-winter male - a record; also beautiful male GREENFINCH on sunflower seed feeder


Much garden activity today highlighted by the presence of a single FIELDFARE.
HOUSE SPARROWS numbered 37, with 5 Common Blackbirds, 1 Woodpigeon, 6 Eurasian Collared Doves, 6 Dunnocks, 3 Blue Tits and 2 GOLDFINCHES.