Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The first snow of winter

A dusting of snow fell overnight, whilst temperatures dropped again to -5 degrees. Shardeloes Lake was almost completely frozen over, with just the 5 Mute Swans, 3 Little Grebes and 66 Coots present, 7 adult Common Gulls and a 4th winter Argenteus Herring Gull standing on the ice and 1 Fieldfare

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Lowndes Park frozen over

The three LITTLE EGRETS were still present in the Chess Valley today, with 8 adult drake Northern Pochards on the Chesham Fishing Lakes. A dusting of snow fell overnight, with a heavy frost and for the first time this autumn, Lowndes Park was mostly frozen over.

The garden attracted Red Kite today, along with 10 Goldfinches or more but not much else of note.

Thursday, 25 November 2010



Both PIED WAGTAILS still in residence - the adult male and first-winter - constantly foraging beneath the bird tables on the lawn. One small Hedgehog still very active

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Chess Valley and its birds today


Heralding a week of somewhat wintry weather, I decided to do a full survey of the bird species currently residing in the Chess Valley. Other than Siskins and a few small groups of Redwing, there was no real hint of what is about to hit the country. It was another very overcast and grey day, with the wind in the North East and temperatures struggling to make double figures. Interestingly, the Chess had changed its course just east of Latimer Bridge and carved itself a new route.


I checked the section between the Chesham Sewage Farm east to the Crestyl Cressbeds at Sarratt. A total of 493 birds of 44 species was recorded -:

Little Grebe (1 on Great Water with a further 3 together just west of Chenies Bottom)
Grey Heron (2 noted including the first-year still feeding by the roadside just east of Bell Lane on Latimer Road)
LITTLE EGRET (the 4 wintering birds present - 1 east of Bois Mill, 2 in the region of Church Covert and another at the cressbed)
Mute Swan (19 in total including 3 on Bois Mill Pond - including a first-winter in the stream - 15 on Great Water and 1 by Chenies Bottom)
Atlantic Canada Geese (115 on Great Water)
Mallard (6 at Chenies Bottom)
Tufted Duck (23 on Great Water)
Common Buzzard (3)
Red Kite (1)
Common Kestrel (1 male)
Common Pheasant (3 males)
Moorhen (14 at Great Water and a further 13 in or around the cressbeds)
Coot (44 on Great Water)
Black-headed Gull (2 adults by Chenies Bottom)
Common Gull (adult flew over)

Woodpigeon (40 or so; very small numbers overall)
Eurasian Collared Dove (pair in Chenies Bottom)
COMMON KINGFISHER (1 on the river just west of the cressbeds)
Green Woodpecker (3)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Meadow Pipit (1 near Latimer Hall)
Pied Wagtail (2 by Latimer Hall)
Grey Wagtail (3)
Wren (8)
Dunnock (1 in song by the orchid reserve with 6 in total noted)
European Robin (15 in the valley, mainly close to the gardens)
*COMMON STONECHAT (the two wintering birds - pair- still present in Mill Farm meadow)
Song Thrush (2 in Church Covert and another nearer the cressbeds)
REDWING (5 by Latimer Hall and a further 7 elsewhere)
Mistle Thrush (3 by Latimer Hall)
Common Blackbird (10 including 5 in one hedgerow by the orchid reserve)
GOLDCREST (1 by Church Covert and 2 more in firs by the cressbed)
Great Tit (2 at Latimer Hall)
Blue Tit (5 at Latimer Hall and another at Ivy House)
Long-tailed Tit (8 near Church Covert)
Common Magpie (6 together)
Jay (3 - well scattered)
Jackdaw (55)
Carrion Crow (4)
Chaffinch (3 in Chenies Bottom village)
Goldfinch (25 by Latimer Hall)
Greenfinch (4)
SISKIN ( 3 birds by Latimer Hall)
Bullfinch (pair by orchid reserve as usual)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Garden Vistors at Chaffinch House

Mike Lawrence Images - top quality as usual.
Goldfinches have been daily visitors now for several months and number 10 or more on some days, whilst Long-tailed Tits (up to 8) and Coal Tits also turn up daily.

Late Hedgehog

A young Hedgehog was a surprise visitor to the garden today and Carmel fed it on some cat food. A Redwing also flew over as well as a GREY WAGTAIL.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

VELVET SCOTER and SLAVONIAN GREBE at nearby Broadwater


Another very dull and dreary day with intermittent patchy rain, grey overcast skies and temperatures peaking at 11 degrees C


Just outside the Recording Area - at Broadwater Sailing Club near West Hyde - the VELVET SCOTER continues its stay but there was no sign of yesterday's two SLAVONIAN GREBES, one of which Paul Lewis managed to capture on film (see above)

The first-winter drake VELVET SCOTER remains on site but is very difficult to locate, roaming far and wide over the complex. Paul Lewis again managed a record shot (published above by kind permission). It is best to view it from the Colne River footpath, along the West Shore.

Also seen were the following species -:

Great Crested Grebe (12)
Little Grebe (5)
Continental Sinensis Cormorant (27)
Mute Swan (5)
Greylag Goose (1)
Egyptian Goose (2)
Gadwall (7)
Shoveler (43)
Eurasian Wigeon (5)
Common Teal (15)
Northern Pochard (17)
Tufted Duck (337)
COMMON GOLDENEYE (9, including 3 drakes)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1)
Coot (248)
Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls
Woodpigeon and Collared Dove
Ring-necked Parakeet (6)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Wren, Dunnock & Robin
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (3 present, 1 by the west side and two behind the sailing club)
Goldcrest (2)
Long-tailed, Great & Blue Tits
Jay & Chaffinch
LESSER REDPOLL (8 near the car park)
SISKIN (roving flock of 43 birds by the Colne)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Large numbers of gulls gathering at Beaconsfield


The coldest night of the autumn thus far with several degrees of frost, Consequently, a calm clear start to the day, but in many areas, dense fog formed.

Initially, Allan Stewart, JT and I had planned to drive overnight for the South Devon Long-billed Dowitcher but when Dave Bilcock discovered a Dark-bellied Brent Goose in the Wilstone roost Sunday night, the plan was quickly reshuffled...

As it was, the DBBG had departed, as well as the dowitcher..........

(Permit access only)

Over 1,000 gulls present on the landfill including 2 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS, 68+ Great Black-backed Gulls, 250+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 500+ Herring Gulls (mostly Argentatus and a large proportion of juvenile birds) and 350 Black-headed Gulls.

Also 35 Red Kites, 1 GREEN SANDPIPER, 14 Lapwings, 2 EGYPTIAN GEESE, 2 Grey Herons, Green Woodpecker, 1 Song Thrush, 15 Fieldfare, 28 Common Starlings, Wren, 5 Skylark and 1 Reed Bunting.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

SPARROWHAWK kills Woodpigeon

Working from home this morning, I made careful notes of what was feeding in the garden at Chaffinch House. The Goldfinch charm on the Nyger still numbered 12 or more (sorry Kathleen), whilst House Sparrows were numbering around 15, with 1 male Common Blackbird on the apples and 7 Eurasian Collared Doves on the seed. The latter were joined by a Woodpigeon - and boy did he regret it - a female EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK crashing in and taking him. Photographer Ros Hurn had exactly the same experience recently in her garden nearby - the bird depicted above.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Just outside the Recording Area - VELVET SCOTER at Broadwater Sailing Lake


Did not bother to go out this morning after receiving so much abuse from certain quarters relating to my recent TV appearance and from the continuing fallout still being aired on the BirdGuides website. Had tried to address the subject in a candid interview with One-Show regular and wildlife enthusiast David Lindo but still the sniping continues unabated.

Anyway, JT eventually shook me out of the doldrums by informing me of a local mega just down the road - in the form of a VELVET SCOTER at Broadwater Sailing Pit in Middlesex..........

(Dry but cold and overcast)

Simon Buckingham had located the bird early afternoon and from 1330-1410 hours, I enjoyed some good views of it, as it dived and preened towards the north end, in amongst the vast hordes of Tufted Duck.

It was clearly a much larger bird than the accompanying Aythyas and was obviously an immature VELVET SCOTER. By the fact that it has some light yellow on the bill suggested it was a drake. Much of the belly was pale, indicating first-year, and apart from the overall dark brown plumage, it had a weak off-white ear covert patch behind the eye. The broad pure white secondary panel was seen well each time the bird preened.

Tufted Ducks were in abundance, with 602 logged, whilst other wildfowl present included 15 Gadwall, 6 Common Goldeneyes and a single Egyptian Goose.

Around the car parking area, Mick Frosdick and I enjoyed views of 8 LESSER REDPOLLS as they fed at the tops of the trees.

The bird is literally just 200 yards from both the Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire borders, frustratingly from the latter from my point of view as I still have not seen a Bucks Velvet Scoter. It is situated at TQ 043 896 and best viewed from the Colne riverbank footpath on the west side of the pit. Parking is limited but available at the end of the lane at TQ 048 890 from where one can walk across the muddy causeway west to the Colne footpath.


Four Egyptian Geese grazing near the barns.


All 3 wintering LITTLE EGRETS on site, two just east of Bois Mill and one near Chenies Bottom. A young Grey Heron was feeding on the grass verge of Latimer Road.

At the Fishing Lakes, no sign of the recent Great Crested Grebe, but COMMON KINGFISHER, 4 drake Northern Pochards, 5 Tufted Duck and 5 Coot.


Highlight this morning in the garden was a male SISKIN - my first of the autumn. Still up to 12 Goldfinches present on the Nyger seed.

Monday, 8 November 2010


On Thursday 4 November on a walk along the Chess Valley, a male COMMON STONECHAT was N of Mill Farm and E of Latimer and a pair 200 m further east past Paddock on foot path fence (Ernest Leahy)

LITTLE EGRETS starting to slowly build up

Firstly, SUNDAY 7 NOVEMBER Diary Notes

A fairly pleasant day in terms of weather, with fairly fresh easterly winds, some light showers but mainly bright conditions.


In the Chess Valley, 3 LITTLE EGRETS had returned by late afternoon, feeding together in the usual stream east of Bois Mill. There has been one bird present in the valley for nearly two months now.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


The garden is absolutely full of GOLDFINCHES - all fighting over the Nyger seed. Minimum of 10 at any given one time and large numbers of Blue, Coal and Great Tits 'stealing' the high energy tablets. Also, an almost albinistic very pale leucistic Collared Dove in the garden today and the first Common Blackbird in a while.