Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

More SPOTTED FLYS, first LESSER WHITETHROAT of year and baby GREBES doing well


The last day of May started off rather chilly and overcast (with the odd light shower) but as the day progressed, a ridge of high pressure moved in from the Southeast bringing clear skies, sunshine and increasing temperatures. As such, it was a very pleasant evening.

Apart from a brief excursion to Bedfordshire, most of my time was spent locally, where I was delighted to see more SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS and an abundance of HOUSE SPARROWS.......


Thanks to Joan Thompson, I was able to add some very important local sightings to my immediate Recording Area.

In Church Lane, as you approach Sarratt from Church End, I was very pleased to find two nesting pairs of HOUSE MARTINS under the eaves of number 46, a nesting pair of Goldfinches and 5 pairs of House Sparrows in the vicinity of number 26 (TL 043 990).

In nearby Dawes Lane, another colony of House Sparrows were located in the dense hedgerow by number 13

Dawes Common (at TL 036 993) is a tiny but diverse woodland tract with Oak, Birch, Cherry, Hornbeam and Rowan growing within it, whilst several open areas have grass, bracken and remnant gorse and are retained for their flora and insect interest. JT had been surveying this tract as part of her tetrad atlas work and had discovered a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER - a very scarce bird in my Recording Area these days. Imagine my delight at finding not just one but four birds in the wood (two separate pairs) - this location once being a regular haunt of this species. Excellent views were obtained, the birds being particularly vocal, at one stage the male investigating an old dilapitated nestbox.

Breeding was further proved for Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Treecreeper (several young birds being fed), Mistle Thrush, Common Blackbird, Wren, European Robin, Blue Tit, Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap. A pair of Jays was also present, whilst the adjacent field held 17 Woodpigeons and 3 Common Swifts flying overhead..

Sarratt was a haven for House Sparrows, with more breeding pairs located in Doumer Drive and more birds in the main village - in fact, the final total was of 74 birds (37 breeding pairs). A further 5 pairs were noted in neighbouring Chipperfield village.


A garden in Green Lane, Bovingdon, held a further nesting pair of Goldfinches whilst Bovingdon overgrown clay pits at TL 006 027 produced a breeding pair of LESSER WHITETHROATS - my first in the local area in 2011 (it transpired that Joan had seen a singing male at Chenies Bottom during the week - the first record this year). I was also very pleased to prove WILLOW WARBLER breeding - an adult carrying a beakful of insect food - another very scarce bird in the area, with further sightings including Common Whitethroat (singing male), Common Chiffchaff (singing male), Song Thrush (2 singing males), Blackcap (4+), Long-tailed Tit (family group), Blue Tit (family group), Common Blackbird, Chaffinch and Red Kite.


A singing male Common Chiffchaff was at the Maple Hill junction of Ley Hill Common whilst Botley village produced yet more House Sparrows - a colony of at least 8 birds in the thick hedgerow adjoining Joiners Close. The village also yielded a chimney nesting pair of Jackdaws, a singing Dunnock and 3 singing male Chaffinches.


More House Sparrows were located on White Hill (in SE Chesham), in gardens opposite the Leisure Centre, with Bury Pond (at SP 958 015) harbouring the regular pair of Mute Swans and breeding Moorhens and Coots. A Stock Dove was with 57 Woodpigeons feeding in fields opposite but there was no sign whatsoever of the Lapwing pair (possibly flooded out by yesterday's deluge). In the Chessbury Road housing estate (SP 956 012), there was just 1 pair of chimney-nesting Common Starlings.

At Waterside, concerning was the fact that the nesting pair of Mute Swans and single cygnet had completely disappeared without trace leaving just last year's first-year female at the bridge. Both nesting pair of Moorhens had fared well, with one pair tending four chicks and the other two. A pair of Common Starlings was on one of the houses opposite and a male Greenfinch was in full song.

All three Great Crested Grebe chicks were doing very well on the smaller fishing lake - all well advancing towards juvenile plumage. Meanwhile, 23 Tufted Ducks were present on the larger lake.

No comments: