Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 28 June 2013

Breaking News: GREY HERONS breeding in the Chess Valley for the first time in decades

Chris Pontin 'phoned me on Wednesday to say that he had just found a pair of nesting GREY HERONS on Pow Wow Lake - the first instance of its kind in the Chess Valley in over 50 years. He had also found a single GREAT CRESTED GREBE on the larger of the two fishing lakes. I arranged to meet him yesterday and saw with my own eyes the active nest - presumably a pair forced out of the ever-burgeoning population in nearby Stockers Lake, Rickmansworth......

The nest high up in a Weeping Willow - the female incubating

Chris and I found 3 more spikes of COMMON SPOTTED ORCHID too

Both pairs of ATLANTIC CANADA GEESE have done well again...

....and this brazen young MUNTJAC DEER taking advantage of some newly-cut grass

And the Chess Valley was visited by yet another OSPREY this year - fourth individual thus far - another individual bearing a dark blue ring - the bird being seen later by John Edwards flying SW over Chalfont St Peter

Monday, 24 June 2013

SHARDELOES COOTS bucking the trend - and breeding grebes and MANDARINS too; WATER RAILS with young and more ORCHIDS



Following an initial cool start, the first stages of an Azorean high arrived after lunch pushing temperatures up and slackening off the westerly wind

At SHARDELOES LAKE, the undoubted highlight was the confirmation of breeding WATER RAILS at the west end - a pair feeding 3 very small black baby rails. The adults were very vocal and noisy, the group all keeping deep within the tall sedges. This is the first time I have ever confirmed breeding in the Recording Area.

Lots of other breeding activity taking place with the Mute Swan pair still with one surviving cygnet, the pair of GREAT CRESTED GREBES secretly and carefully taking care of two small stripy young, 24 recently (or fairly recently) fledged Coot young (from a total of 86 birds) and a female MANDARIN DUCK accompanying 6 growing young.

Otherwise, a single SINENSIS CORMORANT roosting in the Willows, 1 Grey Heron, 76 Atlantic Canada Geese (including over 40 young), 15 Mallard, 15 Tufted Duck, 6 GADWALL, 3 Red Kites, 4 Moorhen, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 12 Common Swifts, 8 House Martins, 5 singing male Blackcaps, 2 singing male Common Chiffchaffs, 5 Wren, 16 Goldfinch, 2 juvenile Pied Wagtails and 3 broods of Blue Tits.

More interesting fare included the singing male REED BUNTING still, a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS 90 yards west of the lake and a singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER in sedges at the west end. I also noted my first Meadow Brown butterfly of the year.


Two juvenile PIED WAGTAILS

Lots of Yellow Flag flowering in the Sedge beds, this particular area harbouring breeding Water Rail and singing Reed Bunting and Western Reed Warbler

My first Meadow Brown butterfly of the year

Lots of Lambs and Sheep having a playful time in the nettles

The Mute Swan pair and cygnet...

.....and 15 summering Tufted Ducks

At MILL FARM and FROGMORE MEADOWS in the CHESS VALLEY, a beautiful array of ORCHIDS on display including 26 spikes of HEATH SPOTTED and 84 of SOUTHERN MARSH; also 46 Jackdaws, 6+ Common Whitethroats (including a family party) and 3 singing male GARDEN WARBLERS - my first in the Recording Area this summer.



Also, one family of Barn Swallows already fledged

I then whizzed down to SPADE OAK GRAVEL PIT (LITTLE MARLOW) to connect with Adam Bassett's WOOD SANDPIPER - a nice adult still in breeding plumage. Although distant, the bird was showing well on the extreme NE end of the spit, often within yards of the family group of Red Foxes playfully jostling for position in the same area. Other waders present included three very noisy and bickering adult OYSTERCATCHERS, 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS and numerous Lapwing, whilst 3 Common Teals (2 drakes) were unseasonal.

A quick visit to HOMEFIELD WOOD secured MILITARY ORCHID for the year - 38 spikes in all - as well as 260+ COMMON SPOTTED, 2 calling TAWNY OWLS and a pair of BULLFINCHES

For photos for this section, browse my Buckinghamshire Birdin g blog