SATURDAY 31 JULY
Well the last day of July was yet another hot day with some clear periods and a light SW wind. Some light rain had fallen during the early morning but that hardly made any affect on the scorched and parched grass. Thanks to Mike Collard and his tetrad atlassing, I was finally able to add COMMON QUAIL to my County Year List......
FULMER LAKE AND LOW FARM (SOUTH BUCKS)
Having not checked this site in a few months, thought I had better complete a summer census, despite most breeding birds now having departed.
The lake itself held 1 Mute Swan, 1 Atlantic Canada Goose, 14 Mallard, 33 Coot (including 3 juveniles), 8 Moorhen (including 4 juveniles), 1 Lapwing, 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Stock Doves and 1 European Barn Swallow, whilst the woodland edge yielded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Treecreeper, Common Chiffchaff, Common Blackbird, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Wren and Carrion Crow.
The undoubted highlight was an adult HOBBY (in heavy wing moult) which kept flying back and forth over the lake catching insects.
SPRINGFIELD QUARRY (SOUTH BUCKS)
Following up Dave Cleal's sightings of yesterday evening, I was delighted to confirm LITTLE RINGED PLOVER nesting at the site - a female feeding two very small juveniles - as well as COMMON RAVEN nesting - a pair attending two juveniles in the quarry.
Once again, 2 Common Buzzards, 6+ Red Kites and a myriad of large white-headed gulls were feeding on the newly laid rubbish, the latter containing at least 65 argenteus Herring Gulls (predominantly first-summers) and several YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS.
A Song Thrush was also seen.
LITTLE HAMPDEN HAMLET AND THE ICKNIELD WAY (BUCKS)
Whilst at Springfield Quarry, I received a message relating to a COMMON QUAIL near Little Hampden. As this was still a species I had not recorded in Bucks this year (dipped 4 so far), I made my way straight over. The grid reference provided was SP 862 023 but when I got there, this clearly was not the location. Fortunately, Neil Fletcher had phoned the record in and through RBA it was easy enough to raise him. He eventually managed to talk his way through the directions and at long, long last, I was finally able to add COMMON QUAIL to the Bucks Year List. It was repeatedly calling from a wheat field to the west of the Little Hampden road, 300 yards south of the church, from 1430-1500 hours and its exact location is at SP 863 003.
The same field also yielded Common Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge (pair), with 3 singing male Yellowhammers in the vicinity.
I then decided to explore the Icknield Way and walked from Little Hampden church (SP 861 035), north through Little Hampden Common wood, past Little Hampden Farm all the way to Dunsmore Old Farm (SP 859 050). This was largely mixed woodland, with both coniferous and deciduous growth.
Species recorded included GOLDCREST (2 family parties totalling 10 birds), MARSH TIT (pair by Hampden Farm), Coal Tit (3 family parties), Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren, Common Chiffchaff (1), Common Blackbird, Common Buzzard (4), Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, and Jay (3), as well as Comma and Red Admiral.
BURY LAKE, CHESHAM (BUCKS)
Little Grebes had successfully bred at this site (1 juveniles), with other species recorded including Mute Swan (pair), Atlantic Canada Goose (pair), Mallard (5), Tufted Duck (female), Coot and Moorhen