Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

At last - finally added HOBBY

Red Kites have benefitted from yet another spectacular breeding season in my area of South Buckinghamshire and at present, juveniles can be heard screaming all around. Mike Ilett obtained these outstanding images.

A cloudy day with occasional light spots of rain. Still largely warm, with temperatures average for early August at 68 degrees F. Light NW winds.

The harvesting of the crops is well underway now with fields being cut all around. Likewise, the eerie screaming cries of juvenile Red Kites and Common Buzzards can be heard all along the valley to the backdrop of the whine of the working combines.

Intent on trying to rack the 2010 Amersham Recording Area list up to 100 species, I spent much of the day walking the Chess Valley, hoping for either a Lesser Whitethroat or flyover Yellow Wagtail. The highlight was the finding of 2 HOBBIES - incredibly the first of the year (species 97). In any normal year, Hobbies would be breeding but not this year (3 pairs are just outside the periphery)....


At Latimer Great Water, the lake held 16 Mute Swans (including 1 cygnet), 6 Tufted Ducks and 33 Coots, whilst 3 adult Black-headed Gulls flew west and the Latimer Conference Centre grounds yielded Common Buzzard, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker and Robin.

A family group of 4 Common Magpies intriguingly held 3 individuals showing the bluish skin area behind the eye associated with Mauretanicus birds found in North Africa. All were juveniles and it appeared to be some effect of moult.

Walking down to Neptune Waterfall, a mixed tit flock harboured 5 Great, 3 Blue and 8 Long-taileds, whilst the section of river between the falls and Latimer Bridge yielded 2 Mute Swans, a female Mallard with 5 well grown young, a female Tufted Duck with 3 ducklings (and two other females and a female with three much older young), a single adult Little Grebe and 11 Coots (including 6 juveniles).

Latimer Village had Great Spotted Woodpecker and 6 European Barn Swallows and whilst counting the swirling flock of House Martins high above the village (45 in all), I came across 2 HOBBIES taking an active interest in them. In fact, they circled around for the best part of half an hour before finally drifting away over Flaunden Grove. Incredibly, these were the first Hobbies to be recorded in the Amersham Recording Area this year, most years several pairs nesting. Despite exhaustive searching, I did not locate any this summer between Amersham and Beaconsfield nor in the Cholesbury area. A single COMMON SWIFT was also noted.

Moving on and away from the grazing cattle by Latimer Bridge, the walk east to Church Covert turned up Greenfinch, Grey Heron, a male Common Pheasant and two pairs of Coot with young, whilst Church Covert held a Common Chiffchaff and I flushed an unidentified dark warbler up and away from sedges by the river. A number of BANDED DEMOISELLES were on the reeds by the side of the Chess.

With a backdrop of whining combine harvesters, the eerie cries of baby Red Kites and Common Buzzards echoed from the direction of Baldwin's Wood and once again I can report a tremendous breeding season for both species (the Chilterns population now fast approaching a staggering 900 birds) (see Mike Ilett's superb images above).

For the second year in succession, Mill Farm Meadow has hosted breeding Common Kestrels and this year just two juveniles have fledged (both waiting to be fed by the parents on the dead tree). Down by the river, a family party of 6 Greenfinches was drinking, whilst nearby where the horses had been grazing, a pair of Linnets and a family group of Pied Wagtails (two juveniles) were feeding. Five European Barn Swallows were circling overhead.

At Frogmore Meadows, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were encountered, with three juvenile Green seen in total. At the neighbouring Water Vole Watchpoint, a juvenile Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and a family group of 4 Atlantic Canada Geese was noted.

In the paddocks adjoining Valley Farm, an adult LITTLE OWL was feeding three fledged juveniles on the parched ground, clumsily bouncing about and snatching at passing butterflies and damselflies. The same fields held Green Woodpecker and a female Pied Wagtail busily gathering food and at the ford next door to the Crestyl Water Cress Farm, Dunnock and Common Whitethroat were in the tall weedy field.

As I walked along Holloway Lane back towards Chenies Village, I was enthralled by a family party of 5 BULLFINCHES feeding on Crab Apples in the hedgerow. The sounds being uttered by the juveniles was oddly reminiscent of the squeaky calls made by the juvenile Coots. A Song Thrush and juvenile Chaffinch were also seen.

No comments: