Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 27 August 2010

High hopes for grounded migrants did not get borne out


With a light NE breeze blowing all night, coupled with overnight rain, I had high expectations for today. Once the rain cleared, it gave way to much drier conditions and blue sky and a ridge of high pressure prevailed for the rest of the daylight hours.

I spent all morning and afternoon searching my immediate local area for drift migrants - largely Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler - but failed to find any. Spotted Flycatchers were the highlight.......


Up to 3 Red Kites were repeatedly present today, drifting back and forth.over the garden.


A mobile and noisy tit flock moving quickly through the Latimer Conference Centre gardens included 5 Common Chiffchaff, a juvenile Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest in its numbers.

I was then alerted to a loud commotion taking place by 5 Jays and a Common Magpie. I went over to investigate and found a TAWNY OWL roosting against the tree trunk in a tall ivy-covered tree. It afforded crippling views and as I approached, the mobbing birds moved off and left it in peace.

Large numbers of hirundines were hawking over Great Water, including 36 House Martins, 20 Barn Swallows and 4 SAND MARTINS (scarce here), whilst the lake itself held 12 Mute Swans and 7 Tufted Ducks.

Both juvenile Common Buzzards in Lane Wood were very noisily following the parents around, whilst a further 6 Goldcrests were accompanying a Long-tailed Tit flock.


An immature Continental Cormorant (sinensis) stood in the dead tree at Latimer Bridge for at least 90 minutes and along the Chess in this vicinity was a further 25 feeding House Martins. A Common Whitethroat was also present by the river.

At Church Covert, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Common Chiffchaffs, 10 Woodpigeons and a charm of 11 Goldfinches were noted, with a male Common Pheasant, 48 Jackdaws and 2 Carrion Crows nearby. Another two young Common Buzzards were screaming from the wood thereabouts.

As I walked down towards a very sodden Mill Farm Meadow, Mistle Thrush and Bullfinch were encountered and at Frogmore Meadow, one juvenile Common Kestrel, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker and more Long-tailed Tits were seen. The small wood by Frogmore produced both Nuthatch and Common Treecreeper, along with a Blackcap, whilst at the Water Vole Watchpoint, a family party of 7 Mute Swans were encountered (one of the adults bearing a white ring inscribed 'T2L'.).

At the Crestyl Cressbeds, a further Nuthatch and 5 House Martins were noted, with Valley Farm hosting 5 House Sparrows,Red Kite, Stock Dove, 4 Pied Wagtails and another Goldcrest. The biggest surprise was 2 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS hunting from the wire fence to the west of the farm - the first to be recorded in the valley this year.

Once the sun had come out, good numbers of COMMON BLUE butterflies appeared and in Latimer village, both Wren and 3 Greenfinches were recorded.


The first-winter Great Crested Grebe remained from yesterday, with 8 Tufted Ducks, 3 Common Chiffchaffs and a juvenile Blackcap noted.


As I drove along the bottom road towards Chesham, I came upon the 5 Mute Swans in the middle of the road (the resident pair with their three offspring). I parked up and spent the next 25 minutes slowly walking the entire family back up to the footbridge, from where I could easily force them back into the river. Road users looked on bemused as I escorted all five birds waddling clumsily along the High Street. They had been forced to do so because of the waterfall.


Surely there had to be a Pied Flycatcher here? But no, there wasn't! Instead, still 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS in the Sallows at the far west end of the lake, and 5 Common Chiffchaffs.
Otherwise, the lake held 4 Great Crested Grebes (the pair with their single young and the first-winter), 5 Little Grebes, all 5 Mute Swans, 4 Grey Herons, 8 Gadwall (3 drakes), 3 female NORTHERN POCHARDS, Common Kestrel and most interestingly, a WATER RAIL, my first record here in August.

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