Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Wednesday, 27 April 2011



The wind veered more Northeasterly this morning and as a result, ARCTIC TERN passage began across the Midlands and East Anglia. It was very cold this morning but warmed up slightly this afternoon when the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly.


Two 'new' singing COMMON WHITETHROATS found this afternoon, both within 100 yards of each other close to the sharp bend at the north end of Flaunden Bottom (at TL 007 007). It has been an exceptional year for this species so far and looks set to be a record year in my Recording Area.

Monday, 18 April 2011

GREYLAG GOOSE at Chenies Bottom


High pressure still firmly in charge with the beautiful weather continuing, with clear blue skies, wall-to-wall sunshine and warm temperatures......


With yet another full moon overnight, I knew that there would be little evidence of migration and an early morning check round the site yielded nothing more than normal - in fact it was particularly quiet with virtually nothing of note seen


On to the Chess Valley and Chenies Bottom. Highlight here was a single GREYLAG GOOSE with the two pairs of Atlantic Canada Geese about 100 yards west of the bridge - a rare bird locally. On the wider stretch of water, a female Mallard was accompanying 5 ducklings, with a pair of Tufted Duck and 2 drake Mallards also present and 2 Moorhens.

The village has always been a good site for Greenfinch and today was no exception with three males displaying. The vicinity also produced Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Chaffinch and Common Starling, with a male Blackcap singing from the wood above the village. Bizarrely, a TAWNY OWL hooted from tall pines in Chenies Place.

Mill Farm Meadow yielded my first local COMMON WHITETHROAT of the year and in the adjacent Frogmore Meadow, three further males were encountered - remarkably early in such numbers.

The local pair of Common Kestrels were once again nesting in a favoured tree hole, with 3-4 male Blackcaps singing, two male Common Chiffchaffs and the small wood hosting Jay, Blue Tit, Stock Dove and Nuthatch. The spread of Bluebells was wonderful and again very early and even more pleasing were two singing male WILLOW WARBLERS in trees and Willows by the Water Vole Watchpoint - a scarce bird in the area in recent springs.

At the latter spot, a pair of Long-tailed Tits was also noted, with Song Thrushes carrying food to a nest and a Wren in full song; butterflies were on the wing including Orange Tip, Large White and Small White.


Another singing male Common Chiffchaff was in trees near Church Covert with the pair of GADWALL still frequenting the river just east of Bois Mill


All 3 baby Great Crested Grebes continue to grow and prosper on the smaller lake, with 36 Tufted Ducks on the larger lake, singing Greenfinch, the two regular Common Chiffchaffs, a female Grey Wagtail on the stream and 2 singing male Dunnocks. The male WESTERN REED WARBLER that Chris Pontin had found on Saturday had moved 25 yards to the middle reedbed.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


A single LITTLE EGRET was feeding in the Misbourne just west of Chalfont St Giles this morning, whilst Chris Pontin recorded 3 singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS in the Chess Valley at Frogmore Meadow, as well as a single male WILLOW WARBLER and the first WESTERN REED WARBLER of the year at Chesham Fishing Lakes. At the latter site, the family party of GREAT CRESTED GREBES continues to do well

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Female BLACKCAP in garden

At 1145 hours today, a female BLACKCAP visited one of my garden birdbaths to have a drink - a species rarely seen here at Chaffinch House

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

First wave of hirundines arrives in Chesham


A belt of rain moved through the area overnight and continued in to the morning. It eventually cleared away but leaden skies prevailed throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

I took advantage of the conditions and spent much of the day writing my 2011 Morocco/Western Sahara trip report but did manage a few hours in the field late afternoon......


A Long-tailed Tit in the front garden and 25 House Sparrows in the back; 2 Goldfinches on the Nyger still too.


In the small coppice opposite the farm (at SU 925 953), a male BLACKCAP and male Common Chiffchaff were singing, whilst the Rookery in this vicinity held a total of 24 active nests.


My first visit in quite a while. Species present in and around the lake included -:

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (3 birds, including a pair)

Little Grebe (1 whinnying)

Grey Heron (1)

Mute Swan (the regular pair, now nest-building)

Atlantic Canada Geese (24)

Mallard (6 drakes)


Tufted Duck (14)

Coot (24)

Red Kite (1)

Common Kestrel (1 male)

Rook (20 active nests)

Stock Dove (2)

Chaffinch (3 singing males)

Greenfinch (1 singing male)

Goldfinch (2)

Mistle Thrush (singing male)


Blue Tit (4)

Great Tit (singing male)

Long-tailed Tit (pair)

Song Thrush (2)


An influx of hirundines hawking over the area including 5 HOUSE MARTINS and 8 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS; also my first male WILLOW WARBLER of the year at the back of Pow Wow.

At least 7 singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS in the area, with a new male BLACKCAP by Pow Wow and another at the lakes

A pair of Mute Swans are present on Pow Wow, whilst a pair still resides on Lowndes Lake in central Chesham, with 14 Tufted Ducks on the larger lake

Most importantly, our pair of Great Crested Grebes now have three stripy small young

A few additional Rookeries include an additional 25 nests near Hollow Way Lane and 28 at The Vale colony

Monday, 4 April 2011

Chesham Fishing Lakes



Once again, no sign of Chris Pontin's Willow Warbler in the tall Poplars beside the larger lake but three different singing male Common Chiffchaffs (one by the causeway between the two lakes, one in the Willows at the lake edge and another in the tall trees bordering the Pow Wow Lake).

The two baby Great Crested Grebes were still doing well on the small lake, riding on mum's back, with two pairs of Atlantic Canada Geese now nesting on the islands; also 11 Tufted Ducks still in residence with songbirds represented by 6 Wrens, 2 Great Tits and a Chaffinch.

Just as I was about to leave the site, David Bilcock contacted me to say that Paul Reed had just watched a White-fronted Goose arrive at College, so off I went.....

Sunday, 3 April 2011

WILLOW WARBLER at Fishing Lakes

On Saturday, Chris Pontin located the first singing male WILLOW WARBLER of the year in the area - in the tall Poplars bordering the larger fishing lake. I failed to find it in the evening but did find one Canada Goose nest on the main island and two different male Common Chiffchaffs were singing.

The usual pair of Mute Swans are once again nesting at Waterside

Friday, 1 April 2011

GREAT CRESTED GREBES fledge two young



An evening visit revealed the staggering evidence that the pair of Great Crested Grebes on the smaller lake had successfully nested, with the female carrying two very tiny stripy young on her back. This was remarkable news and the earliest brood of Great Crested Grebes I had ever seen in Britain. The same pair nested early in spring 2011 but sadly lost the eggs after they were predated.

The lakes also held 18 Tufted Ducks (12 drakes) and 10 Coot, with a pair of COMMON KINGFISHERS in noisy courtship display and warblers represented by a singing male BLACKCAP, a 'new' male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF and a Goldcrest.