Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 30 September 2011

WIGEON dipped !

Frustratingly, unbeknown to me, a single eclipse EURASIAN WIGEON was present at Shardeloes Lake all yesterday afternoon and evening - the first of this species to be recorded in the area this year.........

Despite being there bright and early this morning, it was nowhere to be found - just 8 Little Grebes, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 41 Coot, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatches, Common Treecreeper, Jay, Grey Wagtail and 2 Goldcrests; passage included 2 Skylarks and 1 Meadow Pipit

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Autumn Solstice is now upon us


High pressure bought 'Indian Summer' type conditions with light southerly winds, clear blue skies and temperatures peaking at 74 degrees fahrenheit. It was an ideal opportunity to be out in the field but frustratingly, very little was happening...........


Birding the Chess Valley today was very depressing. Gone were all of the sounds of summer - no Swallows, House Martins or warblers. In fact, there was very little to see.

At the Crestyl Cressbeds, a Little Egret, Grey Heron and 6 Moorhens were noted, whilst Jays were a hive of activity with 4 different birds being seen. Three different Common Chiffchaffs remained, whilst Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Red Kite, male Common Kestrel and single Meadow Pipit completed the list. What made it more depressing was the number of species I have failed to log in the Recording Area this year including Common Cuckoo, Hobby, Common Stonechat, Whinchat, Common Sandpiper and Osprey.


Moving on to Wilstone did not improve the mood. Trespassers have now taken to swimming in the reservoir rather than walking all over it. Add to that the massive disturbance caused by overflying hot air balloons, then you have it all.

Water was actually in very short supply and if the Indian Summer forecast materialises, Wilstone will be completely dry by the end of October !

Wildfowl were the main species of note with the two adult Whooper Swans still, 34 Mute Swans, 18 Gadwall, 346+ Common Teal, 38 Wigeon, the 6 PINTAIL, 84 Shoveler and 94 Pochards; 11 Little Egrets were still hanging out, as were the 3 HOBBIES and a Common Chiffchaff was in the East Hedgerow

Sunday, 18 September 2011

WHINCHAT at Penn Street

Andy Radford discovered a WHINCHAT this morning at Penn Street Farm - on wires by the small farm pond. This is the first in the Recording Area this year.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

WHEATEAR at last


For the first time in a week, the winds became light and from an easterly direction. As a result, there was much early morning passage overhead.....


Don Stone discovered 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on the freshly ploughed field behind Chenies Baptist Church on Thursday - the first of this species in my Recording Area this year. As such, I was out bright and early searching for them but with no luck.

Diurnal migration was much in evidence with 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS flying south, a number of Meadow Pipits and a constant passage of Barn Swallows and House Martins. A single RING-NECKED PARAKEET flew over Don and I heading back from Chenies Bottom..........

I moved across to the other side of the A404 and checked the Chorleywood Playing Fields where 40 Meadow Pipits, 15 Pied Wagtails, several Linnets, 63 Common Starlings, 8 Common Magpies and a single COMMON WHITETHROAT were noted.


Migrants in thick scrub north of the river included 5 LESSER WHITETHROATS and 5 Blackcaps, whilst a COMMON KINGFISHER was seen


Second time lucky! I returned to Chenies to join Don and his son watching a single juvenile NORTHERN WHEATEAR in the ploughed field behind the church. It was in exactly the same place as yesterday's three - about 40 yards from the lightning-struck tree - and was showing well (1430 hours)

The farmer was ploughing another field nearby where a gull flock attracted to it included 11 HERRING GULLS (2 juveniles) and 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.


No sign of yesterday's Whinchat nor Spotted Flycatcher...


Frustratingly, my afternoon visit coincided with that of a man walking 5 dogs across the main bund, quickly followed by another two youths! Birds were flying in every direction! Remonstrating with them had little affect.

Since my last visit last weekend, the Tuesday storm has bought down crashing one of the guano-covered Cormorant nesting trees on the Drayton Bank and a Black Poplar in the hide wood (blocking the main footpath),

After the disruption, little was to be found - the long-staying juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, just 2 Ringed Plovers, an adult HOBBY, the 2 WHOOPER SWANS, 38 Mute Swans, 11 Great Crested Grebes and 11 Little Egrets.

Two juvenile Common Buzzards went south, as did 30 or so Barn Swallows

Thursday, 15 September 2011

WHEATEARS in Chenies

I saw 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS and over 100 Meadow Pipit in the ploughed field behind Chenies Baptist church today. The Wheatears were in the area about 100 feet out from the dead tree in the hedge which is at right angles to the footpath which starts besides the Red Lion pub and runs along the edge of the ploughed field (per Don Stone). These are the first in the Recording Area this year.

Meanwhile, Chris Pontin noted 10 Gadwall on Chesham Pow Wow, and several Meadow Pipits in the Hill Farm area

Tuesday, 6 September 2011



A wild and windy day. In fact, the SW/West winds gusted up to 66 miles per hour in places and were often accompanied by periods of heavy rain.

Once again, passage in the local area was slow - the highlights being a juvenile BLACK TERN and a deluge of grounded HOUSE MARTINS........


In a relative lull in the weather, I visited Wilstone from 1330-1600 hours. There were a few birders about, including Sue Rowe and Jeff Bailey.

At 1455 hours, a juvenile BLACK TERN arrived from the east and spent the next hour commuting between the jetty spit and the Cemetery Corner.

A total of 15 RINGED PLOVERS was roosting on the spit, amongst which were 5 smaller and darker adult TUNDRA RINGED PLOVERS.

Other than that, waders remained the same or less, with the juvenile male RUFF still, just the 1 COMMON GREENSHANK and the 3 Common Sandpipers.

Up to 5 COMMON SWIFTS were wheeling about, whilst an impressive 370 migrant HOUSE MARTINS were grounded by the weather, many of which were juveniles of the year indicating a superb breeding season for the species.

COMMON TERNS were back to two, after the adult I overlooked yesterday was joined by a juvenile.

All 3 HOBBIES were putting in a good performance too from the hide, both adults trying hard to train the single youngster to hunt and catch its own prey. They have taken to roosting in the tall Black Poplars to the right of the hide in recent days again.

Over 19 Little Egrets were still in the area (with 14 commuting to Tringford) whilst of the wildfowl, the two adult WHOOPER SWANS came over to Wilstone from Startop's to sleep on the central bund, Mute Swans were at 36, Common Teal at 135, Wigeon still at 5, Shoveler at 110 and Pochard at 85.

All 4 CHINESE WATER DEERS were out of the reedbed, the male revealing his sharp 'tusks'


Like Wilstone Reservoir, Shardeloes Lake was deluged by passage HOUSE MARTINS - 130 in fact, the highest number recorded in the Amersham area this year,

Little else of note other than an adult Great Crested Grebe, 8 Little Grebes, an immature Sinensis Cormorant roosting on the island, 14 Gadwall, 9 Northern Pochard, Common Kingfisher, 6 Red Kites, 6 Pied Wagtails and 2 Jays

Maybe tomorrow..........

Sunday, 4 September 2011

YELLOW WAGTAILS at Shardeloes (2nd day)


For the first part of the morning it was dry with leaden skies but just as midday approached, the heavens opened, giving way to just under three hours of torrential rain. As a result, there was localised flooding. Once the front had moved through, it was replaced by much fresher weather from the Northwest and largely clear skies........


The migrant flock of wagtails on the side pitch held 25 Pieds and 2 juvenile YELLOWS - the latter my first in the Recording Area this year (2 had been seen by Ed Griffiths yesterday); also 44 migrant House Martins present in the rain.


A total of 12 Pied Wagtails present


After the heavy rain had gone through, I decided to revisit Linford to try and get better views of the GREAT WHITE EGRET. Alan had refound it again this afternoon after it had flown off east at 0800 hours this morning. I arrived there at about 1730 hours in bright sunshine and excellent light conditions. The bird was showing very well - just roosting with 2 Grey Herons on the main bund. This time I could see the legs clearly - definitely no signs of any colour rings. In fact, at the upper part of the tibia, the legs were still quite pale. I could also see that the bird possessed long aigrettes, suggesting that it was an adult bird. The bill was bright orange-yellow, with lime green bare skin at the base and around the eye. It was still sat there preening at 1810 hours when I left.

Also present were a pair of Mute Swans with 7 cygnets, 8 Eurasian Wigeon, 7 Gadwall and 133 Lapwing whilst others had seen 2 GARGANEY and a Common Sandpiper.

Just as I was about to leave the perimeter Swans Way, I received a call from Dave Bilcock - there were 20 RED KNOTS at Wilstone Reservoir........


In virtually the time it took me to drive from Linford to Wilstone, the RED KNOT flock were present - feeding voraciously on the mud to the right of the Drayton Bank Hide (see Dave's two images above). However, at 1844 hours, Steve Rodwell, Roy Hargreaves and about 7 other local observers watched all 20 birds (all apparent juveniles) suddenly take flight and fly strongly NW into Buckinghamshire. Mike and Ted Wallen who arrived literally just minutes before me only just narrowly missed out whilst I was 9 minutes out of synch - blow it, yet another batch of good local birds missed. You really need to be there every hour of daylight in such conditions !

The Knot flock had been the highlight of a surprisingly quiet weekend at the reservoirs. The juvenile LITTLE STINT was still present whilst the RINGED PLOVER flock had now increased to 15 birds, including several of which showed characters of tundrae - the northern TUNDRA RINGED PLOVER (smaller and darker and much browner in appearance). A single juvenile RUFF and COMMON GREENSHANK were still present, as well as 3 Common Sandpipers, whilst Little Egret were back up to 22 and Mike W picked up a late COMMON SWIFT with the 40 or so Sand Martins and 120 House Martins over the central bank.

A further 6 COMMON SWIFTS were hawking over the causeway at Tringford Reservoir

The weather this week promises to be unsettled and quite changeable and should produce dividends at the reservoirs........