Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Monday, 22 August 2011

Negative news on Redstart this evening


With a steady SSE breeze blowing and part-cloudy skies, I knew today was going to be special - it had that feel to it. Being bereft of any avian enjoyment since Friday, I was ready for action and committed a day to slogging the local patches - and furthermore Steve Rodwell was back and work and out of play.........


As the evening progressed, a thick band of darker cloud cover encroached from the south - a precursor of some seriously wet weather expected overnight. Despite an extensive search, there was no sign of the female Common Redstart - the only migrants apparent being 2 juvenile WILLOW WARBLERS, 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, a juvenile Blackcap and a Common Chiffchaff.

Of the residents, the female MANDARIN DUCK was still present - this evening venturing out on the grass to graze.....

Also 7 Little Grebes (4 juveniles) (but again no sign of any GCG's), the Mute Swan family (6 surviving cygnets), now 4 NORTHERN POCHARDS (female and 3 drakes), 3 Tufted Duck, Common Kestrel, pair of Stock Dove, 2 Common Magpies, Nuthatch, 3 Great Tits, 12 Long-tailed Tits, 15 Blue Tits, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest, 13 Goldfinch and COMMON KINGFISHER

If all goes to plan, tomorrow should be very exciting.........WATCH THIS SPACE

Wednesday, 17 August 2011



Another warm day with bright conditions being replaced by light rain early evening; winds remained light and variable.......

A juvenile Common Redstart had been present at Shardeloes Lake for at least 10 days prior to last week but today I saw a different female in very much the same area, first photographed by Richard Billyard yesterday..........

(with David T Cox)

A late afternoon visit yielded a new migrant COMMON REDSTART in the hedgerow bordering the lake - ranging up to 75 yards from the gate. The bird was a female and was showing well - flitting between the Oaks and the Willows and darting out on to the ground to feed when quiet. DTC had informed me of an image on the BBC website and this confirmed that Richard Billyard had photographed it yesterday.

Other migrants present included a single LESSER WHITETHROAT, 5 SEDGE WARBLERS (my first in the Recording Area this year), several Common Chiffchaffs and 2 juvenile SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS.

Meanwhile, the family party of Mute Swans had reappeared - all 8 birds, whilst of 8 Little Grebes noted, an adult was feeding two very recently fledged young. Coots numbered 76, with at least 8 babies still surviving. Two drake NORTHERN POCHARDS were fresh in.

Also noted were a female Gadwall, 3 Grey Herons, a juvenile Red Kite, 10 Blue Tits, 2 Goldcrests, a male Chaffinch, 11 Goldfinch, 3 Jays, 6 migrant Barn Swallows and an adult with juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Juvenile REDSTART still at Shardeloes

The long-staying juvenile COMMON REDSTART is still present at Shardeloes Lake today, as well as at least 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (per Wally Smith)

Chris Pontin also informs me of an adult COMMON TERN at Chesham Fishing Lakes briefly in July, as well as numerous pairs of Common Buzzard with young and a good number of juvenile Common Whitethroats in the Chess Valley

Another migrant SAND MARTIN


Still SW winds but much lighter in strength than yesterday. A few bright intervals but mainly cloudy - still warm though.........


To the north of Heath End, a flock of 11 Lapwings were being frisked by a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk


Single Great Crested Grebes were present on both lakes, with a pair of Mute Swans attending two cygnets and a pair of Common Buzzards feeding young on the edge of Chesham Bois Wood. Hirundines feeding over the large lake included only the second SAND MARTIN of the year in the Recording Area, 4 House Martins and 12 Barn Swallows; two Common Chiffchaffs were also noted and Western Reed Warblers numbered at least 4 including fledged juveniles.

A second pair of Mute Swans had two surviving cygnets on Pow Wow Lake.


Thankfully, unlike at other local sites, Tufted Ducks have done well at Neptune's Falls area as usual with a total of 17 ducklings/juveniles noted in the nursery - a single Little Grebe there too, pair of Mute Swans with 3 cygnets and 98 Atlantic Canada Geese.

On Great Water itself, 16 Mute Swans and 8 Tufted Ducks counted, a covey of 4 Red-legged Partridges, Common Kestrel and Green Woodpecker on the slope above and 70 House Martins overhead indicating an excellent breeding season. Most unusual was a flyover Eurasian Skylark - heading towards Chesham up the Chess Valley.

Two pairs of Stock Dover were also noted as well as a charm of 6 Goldfinch

Monday, 8 August 2011



A very autumnly feel to the weather today, with quite strong and cool NW winds and grey, overcast skies for much of the time.........

Another freshly killed Badger I am afraid - this time on the A404 at Hazlemere, by the plantation there at SU 897 958


Bank's Pond, to the south of Great Missendon, was completely dry whilst neighbouring Deep Mill Pond held just 8 Coot, 8 Moorhen and a female Tufted Duck.


In very blustery conditions, migrants included 44 House Martins and the first local SAND MARTIN of the autumn. There was no sign of the recent Common Redstart nor Spotted Flycatchers.

The 4 Great Crested Grebes were still present (juvenile now independently feeding), the 4 Dabchicks, 1 Grey Heron, 62 Coot (including 7 'new' babies fledged in recent days) and an adult Song Thrush still feeding young in a nest.


With an irruption occurring throughout Britain since the end of May it has taken me up to now to find this species in the Recording Area - a flock of 3 birds jipping noisily as they flew SW from Chilton's Wood, between Chennies and Chorleywood, at 0700 hours on Sunday morning

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Heavy rain grounds large wagtail flock

Some 35 Pied Wagtails were present on Chorleywood Cricket Ground at 0730 hours this morning

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Return passage well underway

My few local Common Swifts departed on 31 July this year, somewhat earlier than usual. A juvenile Barn Swallow flew south this evening over the house.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Migrants arriving including first COMMON REDSTART in years


A light easterly breeze blowing with some cloud but very warm temperatures - feeling very 'muggy' indeed at 81 degrees F

With over 15 COMMON REDSTARTS recorded in the county this year, it was perhaps inevitable that the Amersham Recording Area would see its first for many years this autumn. As such, Richard Birch discovered one at Shardeloes on Saturday......


The female/immature COMMON REDSTART was still present this morning, calling loudly from the small plantation that lies just to the left of the lake 80 yards beyond the first gate. The bird was very elusive and eventually flew up the slope and disappeared into the wood below Shardeloes House.

Also mid-morning, a juvenile PIED FLYCATCHER arrived in this same tiny stand of lakeside trees and showed well for about 15 minutes before too moving further up the slope and into the wood beneath Shardeloes House. It was present up to 1020 hours at least.

Further migrants came in the form of a bright juvenile WILLOW WARBLER and a party of 8 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, the latter all feeding from the tall Oak trees by the gate. A party of 3 Common Swifts flew through, as well as 8 Barn Swallows.

Little Grebes have bred locally, with two juveniles now accompanying two adults on the lake, with the 4 Great Crested Grebes on site and the continuing female MANDARIN DUCK

Also Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, juvenile Common Buzzard, Common Treecreeper and Bullfinch