Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 31 December 2010

Penn Wood today

Chris Hazell has phoned to say that the 3 HAWFINCHES are still present this morning in Penn Wood, as are at least 3 MEALY REDPOLLS; also 1 WOODCOCK

There are still at least 260 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS roving between Chesham, Chesham Bois, Hyde Heath and Amersham, with a further flock of 66 in Great Missenden and smaller flocks in Prestwood. A flock of 18 remains in Wendover and over 117 at the school behind the Beacon Sports Centre at Beaconsfield.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

WAXWINGS regroup in Chesham and wintering HAWFINCH flock is located


The dense fog lingered throughout the morning but then cleared somewhat throughout the afternoon. Temperatures remained relatively mild (9 degrees C) and it was generally dry apart from a little drizzle.

I had an extremely enjoyable day, recording my largest local flock of BEWICK'S SWANS in many years, keeping tabs on the local WAXWINGS and having an exceptionally productive visit to Penn Wood........


Not being able to respond immediately to Dave Morris's call late yesterday afternoon, I drove out today as the thick fog started to clear to Harmondsworth Lane, where fortunately the herd of 18 BEWICK'S SWANS were still present in the field to the south of the road at SU 063 774. The flock contained three juveniles and were almost certainly the flock recorded at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent on Tuesday.

They had presumably become disoriented by the dense fog and had been attracted down by the 75 Atlantic Canada Geese already in the field. There were also 90 European Golden Plovers in the field, as well as 18 Fieldfares and at least 160 Eurasian Skylarks.


The local BOHEMIAN WAXWING feeding flock regrouped today with the greater chunk (115 birds) spending virtually all day commuting between the tall tree by Chesham Town Hall (in the main car park) and the four Rowan trees in the main town centre (along by the taxi rank). A much tinier breakaway group of 16 birds remained on the Pink Rowans in Stanley Hill Avenue (LGRE, Chris Pontin, Chris Hazell, et al). Further flocks in the general area included up to 84 in Morrison's Car Park in High Wycombe and 40 in Berkhamsted.


Following up on a report of a HAWFINCH on my pager, I was astounded to track down not 1 but 3 of these delightful birds in Penn Wood this afternoon - quite possibly at a site where they have been present for some time. They were feeding on the ground and perching in the tall trees surrounding Keepers Cottage at SU 908 957 and were typically vocal and fairly easy to locate. They were commuting between here and a number of scattered tall trees in the horse paddocks on the opposite side of the lane just east of Gravelly Way Stables.

Just as impressive were the large number of REDPOLLS in Penn Wood - difficult to accurately count but certainly in the region of over 240 birds. In amongst a flock of 75 LESSER REDPOLLS at the far east end by the church were at least 5 well-marked and frosty MEALY REDPOLLS, whilst several more were seen amongst a huge gathering of at least 170 birds along the main Rhododendron drive, 200 yards SW of The Penna.

Both species were new to the Amersham Recording District tally for 2010 and have clearly been present in Penn Wood for some period of time. I haven't personally checked the site since June.

Another species in numbers was WOODCOCK - I flushed five in all, including a roost of 3 in bracken not far from one of the main rides. Also, confirming the trend that FIRECRESTS are now resident in our woodlands, two were seen within yards of a summer breeding territory.

Also recorded during the two hours or so that I spent in the wood were the following -:

Red Kites (2 overhead)
Woodpigeon (22 feeding on Beechmast)
Meadow Pipit (1 flew over)
Eurasian Skylark (2 flew over)
Robin (2) (but no Wrens)
Common Blackbird (1) (but no Redwing roost)
GOLDCRESTS (excellent counts - at least 15 present in the Rhododendron thickets)
Blue, Coal (5), Great and Long-tailed Tits (17)
Common Treecreeper (5)
Nuthatch (2)
Greenfinch (62 at roost)
Chaffinch (very small numbers)
BRAMBLING (just 2 noted)
Jay (3) and Carrion Crow

Footnote: Hawfinch were once a regular winter visitor to the woodlands in the Recording Area, particularly in Little Chalfont and in Seer Green. With so many isolated pockets of woodland in the area, it is heartening to think that a small but stable population of this nomadic species is still surviving. I shall make further efforts to try and locate them next spring.

WAXWINGS in Chesham

A flock of 46 WAXWINGS were in Chesham town centre this morning, feeding on Rowans opposite M & Co clothes shop near the railway station (Chris Pontin et al)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Dense fog persists

At least 45 WAXWINGS remain in Amersham, visiting Tesco's car park again intermittently

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The thaw sets in


The big thaw arrived overnight. A band of heavy rain moved in from the west late yesterday evening, washing away much of the lying snow. As the front encroached ever eastwards, temperatures reached a balmy 8 degrees C - the warmest in over two weeks. As a consequence, dense fog replaced the rain and drizzle.


The WAXWING flock diminished in numbers with the weather change, with just 45 being seen today - mainly in the tall trees by Amersham railway station. Elsewhere, up to 140 were in High Wycombe and Hazlemere - perhaps part of the Amersham flock - and the 21 were again in Chalfont St Peter.


I walked the section from Amerden Lane to Dorney Reach, where the highlight was the continuing flock of 15 EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and the two EURASIAN BITTERNS.....

Otherwise the Thames section held 7 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Grebes, Grey Heron, 14 Mute Swans, 9 Egyptian Geese, 117 Greylag Geese, 128 Atlantic Canada Geese, 43 Mallard, 36 Eurasian Wigeon, 27 Gadwall, 228 Tufted Duck, 37 Northern Pochard, 1 drake Common Goldeneye and a WATER RAIL.

The hedgerows and surrounding farmland held 28+ Fieldfares, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 9 Common Magpies, Jay and 2 Reed Buntings.

Monday, 27 December 2010


Over 200 WAXWINGS remain in the Amersham Recording Area, with 45 again in Tesco's Supermarket car park, up to 193 in the Pink Rowan along Stanley Hill Avenue and 21 in Glebe Road, Chalfont St Peter

Sunday, 26 December 2010


At 1340 hours, two adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS flew over the house - the first record of this species in the Recording Area in 2010



Another ssvere frost overnight with no change in the lying snow. A day of sunshine led to a very slight thaw in places.

WAXWINGS definitely favour the Pink Rowan trees as today the huge roving flock in Amersham spent most of the day in the heavily laden shrub halfway along Stanley Hill Avenue. There were at least 200 birds. Smaller parties continuously broke away, with the peak count in Amersham's Tesco supermarket car park today of 34 birds. A flock of 27 spent some time in my garden, mainly interested in drinking the fresh water I am continuously having to change each day.

There are still large numbers of thrushes all over town and a BULLFINCH and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were a pleasant surprise in the Rowan on Stanley Hill Avenue.

After meeting briefly with Ian Williams's son in Hemel Hempstead, was very pleased to see a further 44 WAXWINGS in Berkhamstead - present for at least their fourth day - commuting up and down the High Street.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Down at Tesco's Supermarket

It was good to get some shots of WAXWINGS down at Tescos this afternoon. Also nice to see 6 different types of Thrush feeding from the same tree.
I managed to get some close-ups of birds manipulating berries before swallowing them. In the past I have taken photos of Waxwings manipulating berries with their bifurcated tongues but it was interesting to see both Redwings and song Thrushes also turning the berries with their tongues too. I assume they must make sure they swallow the berries the right way round but they waste a lot of food in the process (Paul Keene).

Christmas Day Garden Tick and WAXWING flock still in village


Firstly, I would just like to say Merry Christmas to all subscribers of the local news forums and a Happy, Prosperous and Bird-filled New Year to all of you

I have not ventured far today for obvious reasons but my local WAXWINGS are still present - at least 120 birds still - commuting between Old Amersham Tesco's Supermarket car park, the two Rowan trees in White Lion Road and gardens along Elizabeth Avenue in my village - Little Chalfont.

With still eight inches of lying encrusted snow, my well-stocked garden has been a hive of activity all morning with a surprise new Garden Tick - a first-winter COMMON GULL - arguing with 2 Rooks and 3 Red Kites over a half-eaten chicken pizza I threw out on the lawn. Common Magpies are frequently dropping in and out, as are the two resident Jays, along with 30 Common Starlings, the two SONG THRUSHES that now seem to have become permanent fixtures, 8 FIELDFARES, 3 REDWINGS, at least 15 Common Blackbirds, the male Robin and at least 10 Goldfinches.

The sole MARSH TIT comes in when it is quiet, as does the 1-2 Coal Tits, but a procession of hungry Blue and Great Tits are ever present until the last hour of dusk. The House Sparrow flock has remained stable at 34 birds

Friday, 24 December 2010

At last - the Tesco's berry shrub attracts the WAXWINGS


The lying snow in the Chiltern district is now a week old and apart from the main roads, little has thawed in the interim seven days. The easterly wind dropped today though but it still remained cold and grey.

WAXWINGS continue to be the main theme ornithologically wise, with our region now almost on the northerly limit of the influx.

After 200 birds were reported from Western Road, Tring, earlier in the day, Ian Williams, Dave Bilcock and myself tried to relocate them this afternoon but failed to find the big flock - but 24 were eventually tracked down, with 3 by the Cemetery and a further 21 in Christchurch Road.

Meanwhile, over in neighbouring Wendover town, a flock of 38 were affording crippling views, commuting between the tall Birch in 62A Lionel Way and the remaining Pink Rowan berries in the front garden of number 62 (Lionel Way is a turning off the main Aylesbury road about 600 yards from the roundabout).

At very long last (and after dipping on the previous flock in the village), the berry-laden shrub in Old Amersham Tesco's supermarket car park has finally yielded the expected flock of WAXWINGS - an exceptional 168 commuting between the perimeter trees and the Fieldfare and Common Blackbird full shrub despite the presence of even larger numbers of last-minute Christmas shoppers. They remained present until at least 1520 hours, indicating that they will roost in the vicinity.

The supply of berry-laden bushes is now very quickly being depleted

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Coldest place in Britain !

Chesham recorded an overnight temperature of 19.6 degrees C on Sunday evening making it the coldest place in Britain on national statistics. Tragically, hundreds of birds are dying as they are unable to survive the temperatures and cannot find food.

Monday, 20 December 2010

WOODCOCK surprise

A WOODCOCK was a very unusual visitor to the garden today - sitting in nearly a foot of snow. It had come in for the salt deposits and represented my first in the area in a long time

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Deep snow

Yesterday afternoon saw the heaviest snowfall to befall the Recording Area for at least 25 years - a foot of snow fell in just three hours causing gridlock on the roads (including the adjacent M25). Twenty-four hours later and little has changed - most roads in the area impassable.

Unable to leave the area by car, I checked the valley on foot today but few birds around - MARSH TIT and BULLFINCH on Bell Lane being the highlight. The garden held 9 Goldfinches.

Monday, 13 December 2010

No Waxwings

After all of the excitement of yesterday, back to the normal daily sightings. Both Paul Keene and myself searched the Chesham Vale and Amersham District for the Waxwings but drew a complete blank. A very brief incursion indeed.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


I was doing my WeBs count at Shardeloes this morning when the flock flew over. They were already just past me when I noticed them flying through just above tree level and I immediately thought 'Goosander'! Shardeloes tick!! and a repeat of the 6 I had over College Lake yesterday. When I got my bins on them though the bird at the back of the flock had a nice rusty breast band and I realised it was a drake RED-BREASTED MERGANSER! In a state of disbelief and panic (Shardeloes is not the seabird hotspot of Bucks!) as the flock was heading away up river I quickly flicked onto the others to see at least two others with brown on the breast and another looking more contrasty than the other two. They were starting to disappear behind trees by now, the other two birds just looking grey with obvious white patches on the secondaries. I ran up the slope but lost them behind taller trees further up the river. Probably one of the last species I would've expected to see here.

Also present today was a Little Egret just downstream from the weir, 8 Little Grebes, 12 Pochard and 12 Gadwall (Rob Andrews)


What an amazing morning in Amersham - firstly Rob Andrews recorded the first ever RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS in the area - a party of 6 birds including 4 drakes that flew over Shardeloes Lake along the Misbourne Valley at 1137 hours and then Stuart and Lesley Wilson discovered a flock of 18 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in the two Pink Sorbus trees by the Industrial Estate in White Lion Road. I searched exhaustively for the flock later with Chris Hazell but found just 24 FIELDFARE and 8 REDWINGS on various shrubs in the town

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Both SONG THRUSH still present at Chaffinch House

The two SONG THRUSHES are still in residence - the longest stay of this species in the garden since records first began in 1987.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Up to 30 WAXWINGS in Holtspur - but very mobile and intermittent


A temporary weekend thaw in proceedings is taking place with temperatures rising to a heady 4 degrees C and melting much of the lying snow. The warmer weather did bring very misty conditions though and later light rain.

WAXWINGS continue to be the main theme, even though the first-winter SANDERLING remains at Dorney Return Lakes, with the flock at Holtspur seemingly increasing.........

This morning, Beaconsfield birders Peter Stevens and Wally Smith have counted up to 30 birds, intermingling with the Common Starlings and commuting between the five Rowan trees in Beacon Close and the Hawthorn hedgerow berries adjacent to the field of the Beacon Sports Centre in Holtspur Way. The same berries are also attracting up to 20 Redwings, a Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush and numerous Common Blackbirds. The Waxwings though are highly mobile and very erratic in their appearances here.

For example, Chris Hazell and I and at least 20 others searched from early afternoon through to 1500 hours and there was NO SIGN of them whatsoever - not here or in neighbouring parts of Beaconsfield. The berry crop is ample though and is sufficient to keep them there for several days.

SONG THRUSH still present - and JAYS

Jays (Mike Lawrence)
Another bustling day in the garden with the SONG THRUSH still present (5th day) and the 2 JAYS repeatedly stealing the nuts off of the tray. There are also 2 Woodpigeons, 4 Chaffinches, numerous Goldfinches, the resident Robin and a myriad of Blue, Coal and Great Tits.
As I type, a second SONG THRUSH has arrived, joining three Common Blackbirds eating the berries on the thawed ground. Chaffinches are eating the berries too.

Friday, 3 December 2010

WAXWINGS just outside the area

A flock of 20 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS is in Beaconsfield for a second day, in trees behind the Holtspur Sports Centre, with a further 3 at Wycombe Marsh.

SONG THRUSH present for its third day

With the continuing snow, the SONG THRUSH remains present in the garden, hopping about the lawn in search of apples.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Two JAYS have been resident in the garden since the snow first arrived and have 'stolen' all of the nuts I placed in the tray and the 100 or so I spilt on the ground. Along with the Common Magpies, they cram about four nuts in their beaks at once and fly off with them.
Two Woodpigeons have also been resident in the garden