Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 25 June 2010

New colony of HOUSE MARTINS located, another WESTERN REED WARBLER found and ORCHIDS galore and a DARK GREEN FRITILLARY

The Flauden and Latimer Study Area

Another gorgeous day with wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures in the afternoon reaching 84 degrees fahrenheit. It was time again to check the breeding successes of birds in the valley and amongst the many highlights was the discovery of a new colony of nesting HOUSE MARTINS.....


In addition to my own House Sparrows, several pairs were present in Pavilion Way, with further birds (4) at 65 Elizabeth Avenue and in Chenies Avenue (2 pairs at one end and breeding confirmed at number 35). A singing male Greenfinch was also present in gardens in Chenies Avenue, as well as a singing male Dunnock.


At Latimer Park, the HOUSE MARTIN colony numbered at least 8 pairs, with NUTHATCHES noted in the wooded garden there.

Between Neptune Falls and the bridge, wildfowl were as noted - 2 Mute Swans, female Mallard with 8 ducklings, 6 Tufted Ducks plus a female with 7 ducklings (my first brood of the year), a pair of Coot with 4 small young and a single Little Grebe.

In Latimer Village (at TQ 003 988), I was most excited at the discovery of a new colony of HOUSE MARTINS - 10 active nests in total - and under the eaves of 'The Village House'. Quite well grown young were present in at least three of the nests.

Gardens in the village also yielded Coal Tit and confirmed breeding of Robin, Great Tit and Goldfinch. There was also a single pair of European Barn Swallows breeding.

Great Water held just 1 Little Grebe, 13 Mute Swans, 11 Atlantic Canada Geese, 11 Tufted Duck and 24 adult Coot, whilst around the Conference Centre grounds were both breeding Stock Dove and Mistle Thrush, a pair of Common Starlings and a feeding pair of European Barn Swallows. Butterflies included my first 3 MARBLED WHITES of the year, numerous Meadow Browns and the first of 2 Common Blues in the valley.

Church Covert Reserve yielded both a singing male GARDEN WARBLER, COMMON CHIFFCHAFF and a singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER (the latter in the clump of reeds on the river by the crossing point), with a pair of Mute Swans and the first of many Banded Demoiselle damselflies. Two different male Wrens were on territory and Common Blackbirds were breeding. Nearby, a male COMMON WHITETHROAT was singing from the hedgerow by the isolated clump of trees and a male REED BUNTING singing from by the river.

In the Mill Farm Chalets area, Small Tortoiseshell and Privet Moth were encountered.

Walking further east to Frogmore Meadows, a singing male Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Red Kite were recorded. There was a good display of ORCHIDS, with 15 COMMON SPOTTED spikes and a total of 107 SOUTHERN MARSH spikes by the river. COMMON WHITETHROATS have done very well on the reserve with three separate broods being attended and a further singing male up on the slope above. There was also a noisy NUTHATCH family moving through, a pair of displaying LINNETS over, some LARGE SKIPPERS and a calling male RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE in the Mill Farm Meadow.

I then took the footpath from Baldwin's Wood to Flaunden Bottom. Baldwin's Wood held 2 singing male Blackcaps, a family of COAL TITS, a singing male Dunnock and Common Chiffchaff and post-breeding roaming flock of Long-tailed Tits. There were also a pair of Jays and as I walked much further in the wood, another family of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits and 3-4 MARSH TITS. Both Robin and Wren were typically present and 2 tall spike COMMON SPOTTED ORCHIDS were besides the main bridlepath.

Flaunden Grove produced Song Thrush and butterflies in the form of a DARK GREEN FRITILLARY (my first record here), numerous Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns, whilst the fields and hedgerows in the Observatory Area held 2+ YELLOWHAMMERS and a singing male EURASIAN SKYLARK.

At Flaunden Bottom, 400 yards north of the village, a pair of Stock Doves were by the road and a new singing male YELLOWHAMMER just north of the Asheridge Road at TL 005 003

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