Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

REED BUNTING in the garden

A REED BUNTING visited Chaffinch House garden today at 1030 hours this morning and spent several minutes here eating the seed on the ground, the first record here this year and clearly a spring migrant. Sadly, it was not the hoped for Rustic !

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Breeding gets underway for many species and more migrants arrive


Talk about a topsy-turvy day in terms of weather. When I first started birding mid morning, the wind was in the west and the temperature was 9.5 degrees C. It was raining intermittently and activity was rather scant. Around lunchtime/early afternoon however, the wind switched to the SSW, the sun came out and temperatures recovered to 13.5 degrees C. Then, darkening clouds brought heavier rain, and between 1500 and 1900 hours, the temperature plummeted to a freezing 5 degrees C and the wind veered to a strong NNW.

Despite the conditions, I had a great day locally, with some nice finds and new additions - particularly Yellow Wagtail and House Martin - both firsts for the year.


I did a full inventory of the lower Chesham area, walking the trail from Watercress Cottage (SU 975 999), past the former Pow Wow Lake (SP 972 003), around the Chesham Fishing Lakes (SP 972 003), across to Hill Farm (SP 973 008) and back down to Milk Hall (SP 976 002).

GREAT CRESTED GREBES (both pairs present, the pair on the smaller lake now nesting)
CONTINENTAL CORMORANT (a near adult circled the fishing lakes)
Little Egret (none seen, looks as if the wintering population has now departed)
Mute Swan (single adult on Pow Wow Lake, the Waterside pair now deserted after heavy rain, a pair on Bois Mill Lake - not nesting - and three others east to Latimer Bridge)
Atlantic Canada Geese (pair on Pow Wow Lake, with 24 on Bois Mill Pond)
Mallard (5 drakes on the river, with 14 on the Fishing Lakes)
GADWALL (pair still present on Pow Wow Lake)
Tufted Duck (drake on Pow Wow Lake, with 16 - 9 drakes and 7 females - on the Fishing Lake)
Red Kite (3 in Hill Farm area)
Common Buzzard (nest found in Chessmount - SP 974 006)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (female circling overhead of the valley)
Common Pheasant (2 males near Hill Farm)
Moorhen (9 birds in total)
Coot (9 on the larger of the two Fishing Lakes, one with an injured left leg, with 6 on the smaller)
Woodpigeon (large feeding flocks in the Hill Farm area, one of 45 and the other of 322)
Eurasian Collared Dove (pair at Hill Farm)
*SAND MARTIN (1 high over the Fishing Lakes, the first in the Recording Area this year)
*EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW (pair hawking high above the Alders and Poplars by the Fishing Lake and a 'singing' male around the larger barn by Hill Farm - the first in the Recording Area this year)
Pied Wagtail (an adult male by the Pow Wow building)
Wren (2 singing males by Watercress Cottage, with another by the Fishing Lakes and 1 by Hill Farm)
Dunnock (pair displaying by Watercress Cottage, with two further singing males nearby, and further males in scrub by Cannon Mill Avenue and Hill Farm)
European Robin (just 1 singing male by the Fishing Lakes)
Song Thrush (1 in garden of cottage at corner of Holloway Lane)
Mistle Thrush (pair nesting in Chessmount Wood)
Common Blackbird (male by Watercress Cottage, with another in gardens on Cannon Mill Avenue)
*BLACKCAP (a singing male showing well by the smaller Fishing Lake, present in the area for over two weeks)
*COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (a marked arrival with two singing males within 40 yards of each other in scrub behind McMinn's Yard and a further male present along the Riverside Walk just beyond the Fishing Lakes)
GOLDCREST (a pair present in the tall evergreen in the garden of 85 Latimer Road, the male singing frequently)
Great Tit (singing males by Watercress Cottage, the Fishing Lakes and the Riverside Walk and 2 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Blue Tit (singing males by McMinn's Yard and Fishing Lakes with 7 at the feeders by Milk Hall)
Long-tailed Tit (pair along the Riverside Walk)
Common Magpie (pair nesting in the tall Evergreen in garden of 85 Latimer Road)
Western Jackdaw (nesting colony in terrace chimneys opposite Fishing Lakes involving 13 pairs, with a further pair on the chimney stack of Watercress Cottage)
Rook (the Rookery above Ivy House Farm now has 21 active nests)
Carrion Crow (1 by Hill Farm)
Common Starling (1 on chimneys in Latimer Road)
House Sparrow (2 pairs in scrub behind Cannon Mill Avenue)
Chaffinch (5 singing males/pairs in the Fishing Lakes/Riverside Walk area, with another by Hill Farm)
LINNET (2 birds flew over the barns at Hill Farm)
Goldfinch (5 birds noted)
Greenfinch (displaying male in gardens along Latimer Road)
YELLOWHAMMER (2 singing males in hedgerows by Hill Farm)

BADGERS (the sett along the bridleway near Hill Farm was active)
MUNTJAC (a stag was feeding by Watercress Cottage)

Monday, 29 March 2010

COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS starting to arrive


A band of rain moved steadily up from the south leaving a dark, dull and very gloomy day. Although not heavy rain, it was enough to stifle any sort of migration.

Being otherwise occupied by a certain Mediterranean Kestrel and Swifts over Sunday, I was unable to get to Marlow, where a pair of Garganey had spent the day. As suspected, they departed overnight.


Reloaded the garden feeders, with two Goldfinch on the Nyger and 25 House Sparrows present all day. Two RED KITES overhead for some time.


No sign of the Great Crested Grebe pair but two Dabchick new in and together.
Grey Herons (two - an adult and first-year)
Dramatic fall in wildfowl numbers with just 4 Gadwall and 16 Tufted Duck remaining and cob Mute Swan 'pushing around' his three offspring from 2009.
Coot (just 46)
Common Kestrel - female and male seen in area
Stock Dove calling
GREY WAGTAIL (male by lake, briefly in song)
Song Thrush (2 singing males)
REDWING (8 by Misbourne)
Wren (6 different territories)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (2 - singing males at the west end of the lake in Sallows and another by the Misbourne 250 yards further west)
Blue Tit (much activity, with perhaps 10 birds noted)
Goldfinch (5)
REED BUNTING (singing male in reed vegetation 250 yards west along the Misbourne from the lake)

Monday, 22 March 2010

No sign of the Firecrest at Shardeloes Lake


Migrants have come flooding in over the last few days as the wind continues to blow from the south, including some rarer birds in between, namely a Purple Heron and Pallid Swift in South Wales, several Hoopoes, a female Rustic Bunting in Hampshire, a male Little Bittern in Sussex and an influx of early Alpine Swifts.

Now back in the area, I spent the day scouring the local wetland sites in search of incoming migrants, whilst diverting for an Alpine Swift in London late morning........

The main bird of the day was EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW, with a surprising number of birds so early in March......

Sadly, a BADGER I enjoyed seeing only just over a week ago was killed last night on the A404, just east of Stoney Lane in Little Chalfont at TQ 005 978. I also found another one dead on Northfield Road, NE of Tring Station, at SP 950 127.

(1730 hours until dusk)

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (pair still present but no sign of any Dabchicks)
Grey Heron (three adults on island)
Mute Swan (adult pair now nesting with three of last year's offspring still present and feeding together)
Atlantic Canada Geese (6)
Mallard (6)
GADWALL (high spring count of 42 birds)
Tufted Duck (34 present)
Coot (62)

Song Thrush (3 singing males)
Common Blackbird (2)
FIELDFARE (migrant flock of 84 birds)
REDWING (7 in with the above flock)
COMMON TREECREEPER (pair together on Pollarded Willow tree)
Long-tailed Tits (9)
GOLDCREST (2 at the far west end of the Willows but no sign of the Firecrest seen last week)
Wren (3 singing males)
Dunnock (singing male)
REED BUNTING (singing male)
JACKDAWS (massive noisy roost again, numbering at least 894 birds)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Lesser Spots, Firecrests and Badgers


The warmest day of the year so far with afternoon temperatures reaching 14 degrees C. A moderate westerly wind and dry and bright. More and more migrants arriving on the South Coast, particularly Northern Wheatears, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts; several Ospreys too.

I went 'peckering' today, as well as chasing up a few more local species.


A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was drumming and calling from the woodland, 150 yards west of the hut. A pair bred at this site last summer, fledging three young in June. There are two main trees it was favouring to feed, both completely 'potholed'.

At least 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also noted, along with Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 5 Common Buzzards, frequent overflying Red Kites, 4 Nuthatch, 2 singing male Common Treecreeper, 7 Redwing, 1 SISKIN and 2 Jays.

Resident birds included Dunnock (1 singing male), European Robin (5), Common Blackbird (3 males), Chaffinch (2 singing males, plus 5 feeding birds), Goldfinch, Wren (4), Coal Tit (singing male), Blue Tit (9), Great Tit (6) and Long-tailed Tit. House Sparrows were present in the village.


The 36 Eurasian Wigeon were still present on the main lake, along with 9 Tufted Duck, 3 Northern Pochard and 8 Coot, whilst the marsh held 7 Shoveler. No Garganey as yet and Common Teal seem to have departed.


The warmer weather was certainly conducive to FIRECREST with 3 separate birds (two singing males and a female) seen very easily in the shrubs and Holly trees backing on to the Cliveden Housing complex along Green Drive at SU 913 843. I enjoyed fabulous views as the males dropped down from the canopy to investigate. My first of the year.

The area also yielded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper (singing male) and Coal Tit (singing male).


GREAT CRESTED GREBES included a pair on each lake, whilst the larger of the two lakes held just 10 Coot, a drake Pochard and 8 Tufted Duck.

The singing male Goldcrest was still present in the ivy along the riverside walk (with a female nearby), with Grey Wagtail, a male Coal Tit, 2 Long-tailed Tits and a displaying Greenfinch also noted. Chris Pontin noted a singing male BLACKCAP earlier in the day.

Driving back along the A404 between Chorleywood and Little Chalfont, two different BADGERS were seen in two minutes (at 2329 and 2331 hours) - one near the Garden Centre at TQ 024 977 and another closer to my village at TQ 007 978.

Goshawks fail to perform, despite excellent weather conditions


A beautiful day, with temperatures reaching 9.5 degrees C. Spent the entire day in Buckinghamshire, attempting to clean up on a few species I was still missing from the year, with a few brief forays in to Herts during the morning.


In ideal weather conditions, did a 2-hour stint looking for the resident pair of Northern Goshawks but no joy. A male EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK was seen, along with at least 8 COMMON BUZZARDS and 3 RED KITES.

A flock of 10 SISKINS flew over Walk Wood, whilst resident species included Stock Dove (2 birds), Chaffinch (2 singing males on territory), Blue Tit (3 singing males), Wren (singing male), European Robin (1), Common Blackbird (1), Goldfinch, Dunnock (2 singing males), Long-tailed Tit (4) and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The fields to the west of Chenies Farm held a singing male EURASIAN SKYLARK - the first local bird of the year.


Two more singing male EURASIAN SKYLARKS either side of Green Street, a flock of 186 Woodpigeons and a Linnet over.


A total of 5 House Sparrows in the gardens along Lodge Lane (TQ 005 965) and 3 Greenfinches by Lodge Farm.

Friday, 12 March 2010

SISKIN flock


Although the wind veered to the north today, it felt much more warmer than of late, and was a very pleasant and bright day. Temperatures managed to climb to 8 degrees C.


Two LITTLE EGRETS remain, whilst on Bois Mill Lake today were 13 NORTHERN POCHARD, 4 Tufted Duck and the continuing pair of Mute Swans (LGRE)

In Walk Wood, the 30 or so SISKINS remain for at least their third day (Chris Pontin)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Displaying LAPWINGS


Slightly warmer than of late but hardly spring weather. Still little in the way of migration. Another bright day, and dry.


The most exciting find today was that of a displaying pair of LAPWINGS on the new workings of the planned Chiltern Hills Golf Course west of Green Lane, between Great Greenstreet Farm and the northern outskirts of Chorleywood (at TQ 025 967) - the 81st species of the year. The area also held a female Common Kestrel and four ROE DEER were grazing at dusk.


Three LITTLE EGRETS remain

Monday, 8 March 2010

First CHIFFCHAFF of 2010


Another glorious morning following an overnight frost. Eventually cloud arrived from the east, although temperatures remained stable at 6 degrees C.


Little Grebe (adult in full breeding finery)
LITTLE EGRETS (2 birds feeding in shallow pool opposite Watercress Cottage)
Grey Heron (1 with the egrets)
Tufted Duck (5 on Pow Wow Lake)
GADWALL (pair still on Pow Wow Lake)
Song Thrush (1)
Wren (1)
Blue Tit (male in song)
Robin (2 singing males)
Long-tailed Tits (pair)
Chaffinch (2 singing males)
RING-NECKED PARAKEET (one present in tall Poplars for five minutes) (per Chris Pontin)


GREAT CRESTED GREBE (male still present on smaller lake)
Mute Swan (adult pair) (pair also returned to Waterside)
Atlantic Canada Goose (pair)
Mallard (12)
Tufted Duck (5)
Coot (8)
Red Kites (2 overhead)
Jackdaws (35 in noisy group, with 5 pairs utilising chimneys on neighbouring houses)
Dunnock (1)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (singing male present for its second day - per Chris Pontin - the first in the Recording Area this year)
Goldcrest (1)
Coal Tit (singing male)
Chaffinch (2 singing males)
Greenfinch (singing male)


Some 23 ROOK nests are now being utilised and prepared for the coming season, whilst a pair of Long-tailed Tits and 6 House Sparrows were in the hedgerow bordering the farmhouse.


On Bois Mill Pond, the pair of Mute Swans, 15 Atlantic Canada Geese and a drake Tufted Duck were present, with another Mute Swan just east of Bois Mill, a pair by Latimer Bridge and another by Church Covert Reserve.


GREAT CRESTED GREBE (pair present and in courtship display)
CONTINENTAL CORMORANT (immature fishing)
Mute Swans (adult pair and three of last year's offspring still present)
Atlantic Canada Geese (14)
Mallard (14)
GADWALL (34 present)
Tufted Duck (36 present - highest count this winter)
NORTHERN POCHARD (4 drakes present)
Coot (66)
Moorhen (14)
Red Kite (2)
Common Buzzard (1)
Stock Dove (5)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Song Thrush (singing male on island)
Great Tit (8 together in one noisy group)
Long-tailed Tit (2)
Western Jackdaw (330 in roost; the location of the roost has moved from the Larches in Wheatley Wood to the southern fringe of High Wood)

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Well, after the initial burst of activity in the sunshine, the Goshawks have not performed subsequently (generally because of the weather) but the Continental Cormorant (Bois Mill Lake) and 3 LITTLE EGRETS are all still present.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

GOSHAWKS taking full advantage of the glorious, spring-like weather

One of the local pairs of NORTHERN GOSHAWK was displaying this morning, making the most of the clear blue skies, sunshine, light winds and temperatures of 10.5 degrees C (per Stuart & Lesley Wilson). From now until the third week of March, both Sparrowhawk and the resident Goshawks will display when weather conditions are suitable.

The local COMMON RAVENS were also very active today.