Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

EGYPTIAN GEESE breed literally yards from local Recording Area


There were a few light rain showers this morning but generally it was dry and warm. The heavy cloud cover eventually dissipated later in the afternoon. Wind was mainly light.

There was some minor wader passage during the morning, with a Eurasian Curlew and 2 Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits briefly at Tyttenhanger GP and an arrival of 3 Common Greenshanks at Wilstone. Steve Rodwell also had a very early migrant juvenile MARSH HARRIER fly south through Wilstone early afternoon


Thanks to a call from Dave Cleal, I discovered a new birding site this afternoon. There is a landscaped lake just south of the services that I had been previously unaware of and I was amazed to find a flock of 14 EGYPTIAN GEESE on there - an adult pair with 12 youngsters - literally just yards outside of my local Recording Area. One of the juveniles was a pale-headed variant. There was also a single Moorhen and a single female Tufted Duck on the lake, as well as a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Magpie and 8 juvenile Great Tits in the vicinity. No fewer than 13 Pied Wagtails were in the area (mostly juveniles), whilst a superb area of weeds and scrub held a large mixed flock of Greenfinches (45) and Goldfinches (18).

(with Kevin Holt)

This was my first visit to Shardeloes in nearly two months - and most satisfying was seeing a family of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS at the west end of the lake (two adults feeding three juveniles).

Great Crested Grebe (3 adults still present, with one of the adults still tending this year's sole surviving youngster - now well grown)
Little Grebe (pair at west end)
Grey Heron (3 juveniles)
Mute Swan (just the male present - and no sign of the female and 6 cygnets)
Atlantic Canada Geese (8)
MANDARIN (female present; KH had seen her accompanying two ducklings on 6 June)
Mallard (39 present, plus two females with tiny ducklings - 2 and 5 respectively)
GADWALL (female with 5 out of 8 surviving young)
Tufted Duck (female with 4 ducklings)
Coot (55 counted; two active nests still of second broods)
Common Kestrel (female on the cricket ground)
COMMON KINGFISHER (1 by the island)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Green Woodpecker (2)
Barn Swallow (22 hawking for insects over trees)
Common Treecreeper (family party)
Common Chiffchaff (5)
Great Tit (4 juveniles)
Long-tailed Tit (8)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER* (pair feeding 3 juveniles in Willows)
Nuthatch (1)
Goldfinch (adults feeding young)


Still 8 noisy Common Swifts in the vicinity of my house

Monday, 25 July 2011

WHINCHAT just out of area

Unbeknown to me, Peter Stevens had discovered a WHINCHAT at Springfield Quarry, Beaconsfield, last week - on 19 July. Dave Cleal also saw the bird and saw another one today - in exactly the same area.

As soon as I heard of it, I rushed over and after parking at Lillyfee Farm, quickly relocated it just 100 yards along the track consorting with a family party of 6 Common Whitethroats. It was favouring an area of rough weeds and nettles just left of the track, in the same area where all of the migrant Whinchats were found last autumn. It represented my first in the county this year.

Elsewhere in the quarry it was very quiet, with nothing present on the two scrapes. A flock of 31 ppost-breeding Lapwings were in the first field beyond the farm buildings.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Garden Visitors

The garden at Chaffinch House has been bustling with birds of late, particularly during the rain, with 32 House Sparrows, 7 Goldfinch, 5 Greenfinch and 7 Long-tailed Tits.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


LITTLE OWLS have successfully bred at Valley Farm, with 5 young fledged from the usual nest (see Marie Nott's superb images above).

There were also 5 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS in Chenies this morning. They spent ten minutes in the village before flying Sw towards Chorleywood

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mote Tetrad Work - SP 96 06 and SP 97 06 HOG LANE AND HOCKERIDGE/PANCAKE WOODS


Although the first half of the day was relatively bright and calm, the second half was dominated by increasing winds from the Southwest. A few sharp heavy rain showers also quickly swept through. This deepening front was responsible for pushing over 660 Cory's Shearwaters in front of it, moving west past the Runnel Stone at Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra (West Cornwall)......

With such conditions, I fully expected a wave of new waders in Rookery Pit South but the only arrivals landed after I had departed the site.........

SP 96 06 HOG LANE FARM AND ENVIRONS (BUCKS) (continuing tetrad work)

Another bird-rich tetrad, with a broad diversity of habitats. A total of 23 species encountered -:

Red Kite (pair nesting)
Common Kestrel (1 in the vicinity of Short Heath Farm)
Woodpigeon (present and nesting)
Collared Dove (pair visiting spilt seed at Johns Lane Farm)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 present at 'The House in the Wood')
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting opposite Hog Lane Farm, with 3 pairs and fledged young at Johns Lane Farm)
Pied Wagtail (pair with single juvenile feeding by horses in Willow Wood stable fields with another pair still feeding young in barn roof at Johns Lane Farm)
Robin (pair feeding young along Hog Lane, with another at Holly Bank)
Wren (pair at 'Owl Meadow')
Common Blackbird (juvenile in one of the small coppices)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male in garden of Willow Wood Barn and adult with young near Willow Wood)
Great Tit (1 by Hog Lane)
Blue Tit (3 by Hog Lane)
*Common Treecreeper (family party of 5 birds on the perimeter of Highfield House)
Rook (68 feeding with other corvids in vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Carrion Crow (20 birds feeding in the vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Common Magpie (5 in vicinity of Johns Lane Farm)
Jackdaw (55 in vicinity of manure heaps at Johns Lane Farm)
House Sparrow (colony of 15 birds at Johns Lane Farm)
Chaffinch (pair feeding fledged young at 'Owl Meadow' and another family at 'The House in the Wood')
Greenfinch (singing male near Highfield House, with further males at Hog Lane Farm and Little Paddock)
Goldfinch (pair in garden of Old Farm Cottage and another at Little Paddock)
BULLFINCH (family party of 5 birds in grounds of Highfield House with perhaps the same drinking at a roadside pool in Northchurch Lane adjacent to 'The House in the Wood')
Comma Butterfly (1 along Hog Lane)


These woods belong to the Royal Forestry Society and are being managed for timber production, wildlife and amenity. They have been replanted with a variety of ornamental and forest trees and in many areas, the evergreen conifers are 'nursing' groups of Beech, Oak or Cherry. In all, 20 species are represented, including several Larch and Fir. The site has long been a traditional haunt of the Edible Dormouse and in recent years, Firecrests have colonised. An exhaustive search this afternoon yielded just 19 species.

Common Pheasant (1 male)
Woodpigeon (20+ pairs)
Carrion Crow (adults with fledged young)
Wren (8 separate territories, two pairs feeding fledged young)
Dunnock (just 1 pair located)
Robin (four pairs in Hockeridge Wood)
Common Blackbird (three different pairs)
Song Thrush (singing male in Pancake Wood and just one nesting pair in Hockeridge)
Blackcap (just 1 singing male)
Goldcrest (total of 11 singing males/family groups)
FIRECREST* (frustratingly, too late for recording singing males, as core area devoid of birds - elsewhere in wood, just one transient family group located, probably numbering 6 birds)
Blue & Great Tit (in noisy family parties)
Coal Tit (2 family groups)
MARSH TIT (single scolding bird noted in Hockeridge Wood)
Long-tailed Tit (family party)
Chaffinch (5 singing males)
BULLFINCH (family group at north end)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011




Another glorious day weatherwise, with long sunny periods, warm temperatures and no wind. Having been busy all weekend, I took advantage of the sunshine to do some butterflying - and in particular, for searching for PURPLE EMPERORS, my favourite British butterfly. I was not disappointed...........Avian highlights included a few returning waders, including a WOOD SANDPIPER....


In Wingrave Road, I came across a breeding colony of Common Swifts - some 8 adults entering a hole in the guttering at number 8, alomost opposite The Pheasant public house.


There was no sign of yesterday's adult Wood Sandpiper, seen by both Paul Reed and David Bilcock. In fact, there were much fewer waders present than of late, with no sign of the family party of 4 Oystercatchers.

A quick inventory check revealed the presence of 3 Mute Swans (the pair with just one surviving cygnet still), 1 Greylag Goose, 113 Atlantic Canada Geese, 1 female Common Teal, 11 Tufted Duck, two family groups of Moorhen (1 with 5 chicks and another with 3 chicks), 4 Common Redshank, 15 Lapwing (including 9 young of varying ages), 4 Little Ringed Plovers (2 pairs), 1 Black-headed Gull, 14 Common Terns and several Western Reed Warblers.


Once again, absolutely no sign of either adult Peregrine in the nest chamber or anywhere else on the building.


In an extensive search of the area and nearby sites, no sign of Richard Birch's pair of European Turtle Doves from last Friday. Warren Claydon also failed during a search over the weekend. If my bad luck continues throughout July, 2011 could go down as my first year with a complete blank on this species within the county - a sad show indeed and representative of the stark decline and situation this once common farmland species is really in.


By mid morning, the sun was radiating heat and the temperature had risen to nearly 70 degrees F - it was time to visit Finemere. I met up with local butterfly expert Steve Croxford and nature photographer Martin Parr and enjoyed an excellent hour or so of butterfly entertainment along the main drove up to 140 yards beyond the private parking area. The stars of course were the PURPLE EMPERORS - up to 7 on the wing today. Martin cheated a little bit - by relocating a major food source on to the track inside the wood - and within a short time indeed attracting two somewhat worn-winged males down (perhaps individuals attacked by birds). The views were spectacular - down to a few feet - allowing Martin to take over 250 photographs. They remained at the food source for at least an hour, with different more mobile individuals (including a single female) being seen flitting high in the Oak canopies and along the ride.

A WHITE ADMIRAL was also seen, as well as 5 SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES, along with 2 PURPLE HAIRSTREAKS, 7 MARBLED WHITES, large numbers of Ringlets, Large White, Green-veined White, Small White, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper (40+), Small Skipper, Comma (3), Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell.

Avian highlights included no less than 8 BULLFINCHES (two single pairs and then two pairs together - all 'budding'), 2+ MARSH TITS, Common Buzzard carrying prey, Common Chiffchaffs, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, male Yellowhammer, Blackcap, Nuthatch and a large mixed flock of Long-tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tit.

(Note: Finemere Wood is a premier site for Purple Emperor in Buckinghamshire but this year has been eclipsed by Rushbeds Wood BBOWT, Brill, where up to 15 have been showing daily)


Sadly, another dead Badger - this time on the A418 north of Wingrave Cross Roads at cSP 860 203.


Another prime butterfly wood and again very productive today. Along one of the side rides was one mobile male pristine-conditioned and presumably newly-emerged PURPLE EMPEROR, no less than 9 SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES and 3 WHITE ADMIRALS, along with good numbers of many of the commoner butterflies.


I arrived at Chicksands Wood shortly after 1400 hours, at the same time as Letchworth butterfly fan Dave Blofield. It was more Crossbills than butterflies that I had driven all the way over for, but despite walking all round, drew yet another blank on the former - my 8th dip now. Dave and I walked the main drove SW from the parking space (at TL 106 411) and soon came upon a stunningly confiding female PURPLE EMPEROR on the main track, just 30 yards along from the Obelisk (at TL 104 406). She was in immaculate condition and sat on the track just yards from us for 12 minutes before flying off and into the wood. Dave got some nice photographs. A second individual, this time a male, was seen 400 yards further on, along a track off to the left after a further 75 yards. This was in flight and highly mobile.

Just 1 WHITE ADMIRAL was seen along the main drove, and 3 different SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARIES, along with 9 Commas, 2 Red Admiral, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, 15 Marbled Whites, large numbers of Ringlets, Meadow Brown, 40+ Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and in the usual bramble scrub adjacent to the Henry John Robert Osborn monument at TL 097 395, 4 well-showing WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAKS - my first of the year.

In the heat of the mid-afternoon, birdlife was scant, frustratingly Common Crossbills. No sign of any Spotted Flycatchers either, but Common Buzzard with food and Jay - as well as Southern Hawker and Ruddy Darter.

As MJP proclaimed only yesterday, the two vast Poppy fields at TL 104 441 are resplendent and well worth photographinge (just west of the parking spot on the Haynes Church End road).

(1600-1645 hours)

Two WOOD SANDPIPERS in our region in the first few days of July is very unusual and early so despite missing yesterday's College Lake bird, I was more than pleased to make up for it by seeing the Rookery adult, now present for its third day. It was feeding along the edge of the closest island on the right hand side of the complex viewing from the Jackdaw Bridge side. Newly arrived were two spanking adult summer-plumaged ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS.

Otherwise 52 Lapwings (flock of post-breeding adults and at least 9 juveniles wandering about), an adult Oystercatcher, several Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Redshank and a Little Egret. Also female Northern Pochard with single young, female Red-crested Pochard with single young and both Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe with young; one pair of Mute Swans with 5 cygnets and at least 17 juvenile Black-headed Gulls within the colony. Grisly was watching an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (one of the nesting pair) attack and kill a baby Moorhen and later devour it.

Both Western Reed Warblers and Common Whitethroats were feeding fledged young.


Although late in the day and fairly overcast, it was still very warm and in the wild flower-rich meadow immediately north and adjacent to the car park was highly productive for butterflies. No less than 10 DARK GREEN FRITILLARIES were seen (mainly nectaring on the purple flowering heads), 20 or more Marbled Whites, several Commas, both Small and Large Skippers and my first PAINTED LADY of the year. One further DARK GREEN FRITILLARY was seen in the usual meadow with the wooden bench 250 yards down along the footpath.


Thanks to Peter Stevens, I was able to locate the rest of the COMMON SHELDUCK family this evening - all 13 birds (including 11 surviving juveniles) on the largest of the three pools to the NE of the quarry buildings and offices just beyond the tall pines (see map). This is a record family gathering in my Recording Area and replicates an identikit family group that Chris Heard observed at Queen Mother Reservoir in Berkshire this evening. Interestingly, both family parties were accompanied by the fathers - at one time all of the males flying off to moult in Holland post-breeding.

Also tonight, the wader pools held 3 adult GREEN SANDPIPERS and an adult LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, whilst the female Lapwing with her two chicks was joined by 32 post-breeding adults of the species.

Further breeding success came from the isolated Oak-nesting Common Kestrel family - 3 juveniles fledging today - with Pied Wagtails feeding young at the cement complex and 11 Skylarks being seen on the meadow. The 63 Common Starlings roosted again in the row of tall pines.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Mammoth Breeding Success

Peter Stevens found this creche of 13 baby COMMON SHELDUCKS at Springfield, 11 more than I saw yesterday at the site. This is the closest successful breeding has ever taken place in my Recording Area - the site being just SW of Beaconsfield

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Just outside the Recording Area - Beaconsfield


Another glorious day with temperatures climbing back up into the high 70's fahrenheit; long clear periods with long spells of sunshine.


Some nice local breeding successes, sadly just outside the Amersham Recording Area. Very pleased to confirm local breeding of COMMON SHELDUCKS - with a pair accompanying two well-grown juveniles on the largest of the pools.. Generally locally, all of the young are quickly taken by predators, so this was great to see.

Next off, another pair of HOBBIES nesting, the second pair I have located in the past week. A juvenile Sand Martin was taken into the nest, as well as a juvenile Common Starling

And LAPWINGS - two pairs breeding, with one adult now accompanying two tiny babies on the small reed-fringed pool

SAND MARTINS have had a great year, with at least 60 juveniles on the wing this evening and many still being fed in the burrows - about 460 birds counted in total.

Otherwise, 17+ Stock Doves, Common Kestrel, 14 Common Swifts (scarce at this site), a singing Skylarks and 63 Common Starlings at pre-roost



A very pleasant day with clearing skies and warm sunshine. No wind to speak of and dry. I spent the day doing more local tetrad work.....


I returned to the SP 94 06 tetrad to fill in a few gaps, concentrating on the area to the west of the common. A few new species and some tremendous meadows for butterflies; also an extensive young Christmas tree plantation. With three new species, total now 29....

Common Pheasant (male calling from fields behind Hawridge Place)
Green Woodpecker (in fields near Hawridge Place)
Pied Wagtail (pair at Hawridge Place)
Wren (singing male by new plantation)
Robin (family party at Hawridge Place)
Common Blackbird (pair feeding young at Hawridge Place)
Common Chiffchaff (male singing from treeline bordering new plantation)
Coal Tit (one in pines by Hawridge Place access road)
Great Tit (1 by Hawridge Place)
Common Magpie (adult and two juveniles near Hawridge Place and another family group in young plantation)
Chaffinch (nesting at Hawridge Place)
Yellowhammer (male singing from stunted pines in young plantation)

Several large meadows full of wild flowers where butterflies were particularly abundant including 300+ Meadow Browns, 75 Ringlets, numerous Small Heaths and 25 Marbled Whites.


Predominantly farmland with gardens either side of Chesham Road, Bellingdon Farm, Hilltop Farm but little else in the way of habitation. Like the neighbouring square, rich in grassland meadows. 21 species recorded.....

Woodpigeon (nesting in 'Cockwood' garden and commonly encountered elsewhere in square)
Green Woodpecker (1 in the large meadow)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting at Bloomfield Farm)
Eurasian Skylark (singing male in meadow north of Chesham Road)
Wren (pair at 'The Cottage' garden, male at Bloomfield Farm and a nesting pair in the narrow strip of trees bordering the meadow)
Robin (pair feeding young in gardens along Ramscote Lane)
Common Blackbird (pair nesting at Bellingdon Farm, another at Betony Cottage on Chesham Road, 3 more singing males in neighbouring gardens and another nesting pair at Harvest View in Ramscote Lane)
Blackcap (single pair near meadow)
Common Chiffchaff (pair feeding young near meadow)
Common Whitethroat (singing male in overgrown scrub along Chesham Road adjacent to 'Amberley')
Blue Tit (at The Cottage)
Great Tit (at feeders at Bellingdon Farm)
Carrion Crow (4 in the meadows)
Jackdaw (88 birds including juveniles feeding in Animal Farm fields SE of Hawridge Lane)
Common Magpie (6 in livestock fields at Animal Farm)
Chaffinch (present in gardens along Chesham Road)
Goldfinch (in gardens along Chesham Road)
Greenfinch (singing male in firs behind 'The Hollies' on Chesham Road, with another in gardens along Ramscote Lane)
Linnet (3 flew over the large meadow)
BULLFINCH (pair along Chesham Road
House Sparrow (8 birds, both adults and juveniles, in area of overgrown habitat along Chesham Road; the colony had nested in the thick hedgerow at 'Amberley')

Yet another very rural tetrad dominated by farmland and rich grassy meadows - total of 17 species

Woodpigeon (breeding and roosting in both Chesham Lodge Wood and plantation by Mill Farm)
Green Woodpecker (1 in Chesham Lodge Wood)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (in garden of The Old Farmhouse)
Carrion Crow (adults and single juvenile in meadow)
European Barn Swallow (pair nesting at Glebe Farm)
Robin (pair nesting at The Old Farmhouse)
Common Blackbird (pair present at 'The Glebe House' and at 'Glebe Farm' and in Haddens Plantation)
Song Thrush (singing male in wood behind Chesham Lodge)
Blackcap (male at Glebe Farm and a singing male at Hadden's Plantation)
Common Whitethroat (pair in field and scrub opposite The Old Farmhouse, with another feeding fledged young by main road)
Blue Tit (family party at Glebe Farm, with several on the feeders at The New Farmhouse)
Great Tit (visiting the feeders at The New Farmhouse)
House Sparrow (pair nesting at The Old Farmhouse)
Chaffinch (singing male in Chesham Lodge Wood with breeding proved in Hill Farm Wood)
Greenfinch (in 'Old Forge' garden and nearby by main road)
Linnet (3 in hedgerow in large meadow and another by Hadden's Plantation)
YELLOWHAMMER (singing male around The Glebe House, another in cereal crops by main Wigginton road)

One rich meadow held over 120 Marbled White butterflies

More open countryside and arable farmland but with two tracts of woodland; 16 species

EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (active nesting pair in Hadden's Plantation with relatively small young in nest)
TAWNY OWL (pair with four fledged young in Hadden's Plantation)
Carrion Crow (pair feeding young on lawn at Short Heath House)
Wren (pair by Nut Hazel Cross Farm and another singing male by Chesham Road)
Robin (pair feeding young in Hadden's Plantation, another pair by Bucks Water Board and a further pair in Hirst Wood)
Common Blackbird (fledged young and adults on lawn of Bucks Water Board)
Song Thrush (singing male opposite Hadden's Plantation)
Common Chiffchaff (singing male along the Chesham Road)
Goldcrest (male in scrub opposite Hadden's Plantation)
Blue Tit (in gardens opposite Hirst Wood)
Great Tit (1 by Bucks Water Board)
Coal Tit (in Hirst Wood)
House Sparrow (colony of nesting birds - 3 pairs - at 'Wayflower House')
Linnet (1 in hedgerow near St Mary's Church in Hawridge)
BULLFINCH (pair in scrub along the Chesham Road)
Yellowhammer (singing male by Bucks Water Board building and another on barn opposite Wayflower; a further singing male opposite St Mary's Church)