Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Monday, 30 April 2012


At Ley Hill today a COMMON CUCKOO was showing well sat in an Ash sapling for at least 10 mins and giving short bursts of song at the same time as a male Sparrow Hawk flew over. Nearby a Tawny Owl chick sat at the entrance of its nest, while all around Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in song.Earlier at Cowcroft Woods a pair of Nuthatches were busy at their nest.Moving on down the road at Bovingdon Brickworks there was at least one Lesser Whitethroat (maybe two), Common Whitethroat, two Willow Warblers, two Common Chiffchaffs and four Blackcaps (Don Stone)

At Chesham Fishing Lakes, Chris Pontin and I recorded a singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER - the first of the year; 28 Tufted Ducks present too (LGRE).

Saturday, 28 April 2012

HOBBY at Chesham Fishing Lakes

On the large lake late morning 2 SAND MARTINS were amongst 60 Swallows and 20 House Martins feeding low over the water. As I checked the the flock for more Sand Martins, most of the birds flew to one corner and gained height as a HOBBY came in from the eastern end, picked off a Swallow and left from where it came. The birds returned, but within minutes the manouvre was repeated as a female Sparrowhawk flew in and perched in a tree at the lakes edge for several minutes, the birds returning again once she left the area. Later a Kestrel flew over the far eastern end, It did'nt spook anything but already had prey in its talons.

Don Stone.

Monday, 23 April 2012

ROOKERY at Latimer Park finally located !


Temperatures struggled to make it into double figures and once noon had passed, rain returned with a vengeance and continued into darkness

After visiting Cambridgeshire and some nice singing Nightingales and then North Oxfordshire with an early migrant Dotterel, checked out a few South Bucks sites in the hope of seeing some grounded migrant waders.......


Very quiet with nothing new. The rollcall included 10 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Egyptian Goose, Coot with four tiny young, the drake Wigeon, 3 Teal, 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 12 Common Tern, 45 Barn Swallow and 55 Sand Martin


Two pairs of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS still on territory, with 6 Coot, 4 Teal (2 pairs), 4 Barn Swallow, Blackcap and 2 singing Common Chiffchaffs


Thanks to JT, located a 'new' ROOKERY of 31 active nests, 22 of which were unusually in tall conifers

Sunday, 22 April 2012

New Rookeries and nesting LAPWINGS; first WILLOW WARBLER too


More sunshine and showers, with less of the latter than in recent days. A recovery in temperature too - up to 13 degrees C when the sun was out. Wind was a light northerly.


Thanks to Chris Pontin, finally secured my first local WILLOW WARBLER of the year - a singing male in Willows on the island at the east end. Also 4 singing Common Chiffchaffs and up to 7 Blackcaps, with 3 House Martins over the Poplars.

Nesting wise, pair of Mute Swans on Pow Wow (with 2 more on the large lake), 2 pairs of Atlantic Canada on the island and 2 active Coot nests; Tufted Ducks numbered 21 with both Great Crested Grebes still prospecting around the island on the larger lake.

An immature CORMORANT on the larger lake was unusual, with 3 Wrens, pair of Long-tailed Tit and singing male REED BUNTING noted.


By far and away the most exciting find was of 5 active LAPWING nests in a recently tilled field, whilst a plethora of 'new' ROOKERIES was also greatly received - 18 nests opposite Sear's Farm, a further 13 nearby 200 yards further on and 30 on the left hand side at Pednor Bottom.

A Brown Hare was seen at Great Pednor, with a SWALLOW in BALLINGER COMMON


A LITTLE EGRET was near Bois Mill, whilst at Frogmore Meadows, 3 singing Common Chiffchaff, Jay, Blackcap, Song Thrush, a calling male Red-legged Partridge and a single SWALLOW was noted
At Chenies Bottom, the resident pair of Mute Swans was nesting by the bridge (female 'T2L'). A pair of Greenfinches was also displaying

Friday, 20 April 2012

Nothing to report

Rain, rain and more rain

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Raining cats and dogs


Well, ever since the government announced its hosepipe ban in the South East, it has done nothing but rain - rain, rain, rain. Most of the time it's freezing cold too - hardly weather for migrant warblers to be singing in

Anyway, after receiving several messages from Tring informing me of gross inactivity there, I decided to forego a visit and concentrated closer to home, primarily with the aim of adding Willow Warbler. That turned into a joke though, with constant downpours hampering any such attempts. I gave it up as a bad job.......


The only meaningful and productive birding carried out today, with 13 species recorded -:

MANDARIN DUCKS were breeding once again on the island, with 6 active Coot nests, 2 pairs of Atlantic Canadas and the Mute Swan nesting pair.

Otherwise both GREAT CRESTED GREBES noted again (and clearly not nesting yet, presumably abandoned their first attempt), 4 Little Grebes, 12 Tufted Duck, a female Mallard with 8 ducklings, all 9 Mute Swans (including the 7 first-summers), Grey Wagtail, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 singing male Song Thrushes, a male Blackcap and 3 migrant BARN SWALLOWS.

An adult Sinensis Cormorant was roosting and drying out its wings on the island whilst the Rookery now houses 22 active nests. Interestingly, the adult Rooks already have young in the nest as they were busy on the cricket field gathering beakfuls of earthworms and other grubs. 8 Woodpigeons were also feeding on the cricket lawn.

Monday, 16 April 2012

RING OUZELS-a-plenty


The only birdwatching I managed over the weekend was a quick twitch for Alan Gardiner's adult male PIED FLYCATCHER at FROGMORE LAKES, RADLETT late on Sunday afternoon. It was a cracking stunner and afforded tremendous views, Ian Williams obtaining an impressive array of images as it flitted from Willow to Willow just 80 yards along from the Hyde Lane car park footbridge (see my Hertfordshire Birding blog for images). Just 9 birders were there to savour the delights !

Today saw a heavy frost overnight in the Chilterns, followed by clear blue skies and sunshine. A cool northerly wind kept temperatures hovering around just 9 degrees C

On a local front first thing, the Red-legged Partridge pair was still in the field at the BELL LANE/LATIMER ROAD JUNCTION in LITTLE CHALFONT and 3 Tufted Ducks were in LOWNDES PARK, CHESHAM - my first ever there.


Joined Francis Buckle, Chris King, Peter Leigh, Mike Collard and many others at this 'in place' and enjoyed views of at least 9 continuing RING OUZELS feeding out on the slope just SE of the Beacon (possibly all 13 still present). This same area also held 8 WHEATEARS including a nice male GREENLANDER.

Attempting to see/hear a Lesser Whitethroat (Mike Wallen had seen one earlier), I walked the entire circuit but failed in my quest; 8 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS was noteworthy though


I then followed up on Dave Odell's messages and drove over to Pegsdon Hills (and to answer Paul Phillips' question, it is 19 miles between these two sites). Although it took an eternity, after sitting down on the ridge at the top of ''Chack Valley'' (the valley immediately south of the wood), eventually the RING OUZELS emerged from the scrub. A total of 11 birds finally appeared, the flock including 4 female/first-year males. I enjoyed superb views from above, the birds settling down to feed during a lapse in hillwalker activity. Not much else to report other than COMMON RAVENS and 2 MARSH TITS in the small thicket above the valley.


Next off, I took the opportunity of checking out some more ROOKERIES on route to Quainton Hills. Alongside the A418 at ASCOTT HOUSE, WING (SP 895 233), there were 5 active nests, with a further 27 near WINGRAVE CROSSROADS and 38 more just south of ROWSHAM. Further along the A418 in BIERTON, another 40 active nests in two clusters.

Driving NW along the Berryfields Road east of LOWER FARM, in the line of trees running NE of the road, another colony of 55 active nests. I then came upon a large number of Rookeries in the QUAINTON area, with 2 nests in tall pines at the start of DENHAM LANE at SP 751 200, 65 across the road at SP 753 197 and 20 by farm buildings at SP 744 210

A further 21 nests in the plantation at SP 740 227, 34 more SW of STONEHILL FARM at SP 758 221 and then a cluster of colonies along CARTERS LANE in the vicinity of QUAINTON DAIRY (SP 764 205), with 19, 17, 21 and 8 respectively. Then where the lane met the Whitchurch road at the T-junction (at SP 767 195), a further 7, 8, 13 and 8 nests in four loose colonies.

Between WHITCHURCH and AYLESBURY on the A413 saw more 'new' colonies, with 7 nests just south of WHITCHURCH (at SP 805 203) and 10 near WEEDON at the NEW ROAD JUNCTION at SP 808 177. Lastly, in AYLESBURY TOWN CENTRE, 4 nests (presumably relocating birds from the former Police Station site) in the tree by WEARDALE HOUSE opposite MILTON ROAD at SP 827 127.


Explored the area with Waddesdon birder Laurence Bryant and after eventually contacting Quainton Hills regulsr Tim Watts, managed to secure some birds on this mammothly extensive site. A first-summer male BLACK REDSTART was located at FULBROOK FARM, 8 RING OUZELS were feeding together on the 'humpy' field at the top of the West Slopes, 5 WHEATEARS were on the North Slope (including 2 bright GREENLANDERS) and a single Barn Swallow was noted.

We parked by the shop in the High Street in Quainton village and followed the marked footpath north across Simber Hill and cow-filled pasture fields to the transmitter and beyond. The ouzel field was just 100 yards NNW of the transmitter.

Once back in the car, I drove round to FULBROOK FARM (situated at SP 749 225 and enjoyed superb close views of the BLACK REDSTART, the bird singing from the fence and farm mavchinery. A flock of 42 FIELDFARES was by the disused railway line to the west and a dead BADGER was beside the quiet lane by the entrance to Hogshaw Hill Farm at SP 745 227.


Popped in this evening at 1930 hours but little going on in the cold conditions. The COMMON TERN flock numbered 81 individuals, with 12 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Little Grebe, 13 Mute Swans, 4 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 1 adult Black-headed Gull, 1 adult Common Gull, 15 Sand Martins and 12 Barn Swallows being noted.

Monday, 9 April 2012

First Hirundines


What a dreary Easter ! The wet theme continued today with rain virtually falling all day. The wind was in the southwest and temperatures were just slightly lower than average at 11 degrees C

This was my first full day's birding since last Tuesday so I was keen to make the most of it, visiting all three Home Counties in the process and adding a few 'year birds'.....


Both Great Crested Grebes were on the larger lake whilst an arrival of hirundines included 5 BARN SWALLOWS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS

For the past week, a pair of RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGES has been frequenting the fields bordering the lower Chesham Road either side of Bell Lane