Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 23 August 2013


A very quick response on my adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Shardeloes Lake...

Ringing Details below _;

Heringsmöwe                      Larus fuscus
Ring-Nr. :     Helgoland     4305061                    Farbring:      H851
Beringungsdaten:  12.07.2009    Helgoland / Düne                                         54  o 11  ' N     7  o 55 ' E
                            nicht flügge              Gruppengröße :
         bisherige Wiederfunde
  Datum       Beobachtungsort              Koordinaten (in Grad u. Min.)                           Finder
        23.07.2009  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Wischniewski
        01.08.2009  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Wischniewski
        07.08.2009  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Dierschke, J.
        22.11.2009  ESP - Madrid, Colmenar Viejo     40 39  N -3 43  E Farbring abgelesen             Gonzalez
        16.12.2009  ESP - Madrid, Pinto                 40 15  N -3 42  E Farbring abgelesen             Marchamalo
        05.01.2010  ESP - Madrid, Colmenar Viejo     40 39  N -3 43  E Farbring abgelesen             Juan
        02.05.2010  ESP - Madrid, Pinto                 40 15  N -3 42  E Farbring abgelesen             Gonzalez
        08.05.2010  ESP - Madrid, Pinto                 40 15  N -3 42  E Farbring abgelesen             Ruiz
        27.09.2010  GB - Surrey, Badshot Lea          51 14  N  0 45  E Farbring abgelesen             Duncan
        07.10.2010  GB - Gloucester, Bishop`s Cleeve 51 56  N -2  5  E Farbring abgelesen             Sanders
        11.10.2010  ESP - Coruna-Provinz, Valdovino 43 38  N -8  7  E Farbring abgelesen             Gutierrez
        03.06.2011  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Jachmann
        11.07.2011  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Dierschke, V.
        20.01.2012  ESP - Madrid, Pinto                 40 15  N -3 42  E Farbring abgelesen             Marchamalo
        25.01.2012  ESP - Madrid, Manzanares River 40 24  N -3 43  E Farbring abgelesen             Fernandez
        03.05.2012  Helgoland / Düne                   54 11  N  7 55  E Farbring abgelesen             Krug
        03.05.2013  GB - Buckinghamshire, Marlow    51 34  N  0 47  E Farbring abgelesen             Rose

        22.08.2013  GB - Buckinghamshire, Amersham 51 40  N  0 37  E Farbring abgelesen             Evans

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Shardeloes DABCHICK'S have done well but I fear for the juvenile Great Crested Grebes

At around 2200 hours last night, a band of rain reached the Chilterns and continued through the night until around 0700 hours this morning. It then remained cloudy but warm, a light SSE breeze gradually setting in. At times with the sun out, temperatures climbed to a very sultry 24 degrees C.
With such conditions overnight, I expected a considerable arrival of birds - especially those migrating down from further north in Britain. It turned out that there was not that much - but enough to make for a very enjoyable day.
I started the day at SHARDELOES LAKE, where the cricket pitch still held 14 Pied Wagtails and 2 juvenile Grey Wagtails. The first of 4 different Wrens was heard singing and as I reached the lake, the 2 COMMON KINGFISHERS were still noisily surveying the sluice. The lake held 92 Coot, Grey Heron, Sinensis Cormorant, 3 Gadwall and 2 adult Great Crested Grebes, the latter missing any of their three young. Little Grebes had seemingly had a good season with no less than 7 juveniles on show, from four separate pairs. A female Tufted Duck accompanied 7 well grown ducklings whilst most unexpected were 2 sleeping eclipsed-plumaged NORTHERN SHOVELERS. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull resting on a post in front of the island was bearing a Yellow ring inscribed ''H-851'' - hopefully I will get a trace on it later. A Common Treecreeper was the only other species noted.

A couple of juvenile Grey Wagtails

A Rabbit having a munch

A plethora of Little Grebes and their young

One of two drake Gadwalls

Both sleeping Shovelers

The remaining pair of Gadwall

Tufted Duck family

And adult Lesser Black-backed Gull H851

 WILSTONE RESERVOIR is at last dropping in depth with the margins revealing more and more vegetation each day. As a result, there are now large numbers of waterfowl taking advantage. I did a full inventory -:
Great Crested Grebe: just 6 present but with one pair successfully raising 2 stripy young (see image).
Little Egret: at least 7 birds
Grey Heron: 4
Mute Swan: 42 counted
Eurasian Wigeon: single eclipse drake
Common Teal: an impressive 56
Shoveler: at least 26
Tufted Duck: 127 including a raft of 120
Northern Pochard: 10
Red-crested Pochard: single female
Coot: 555 including 535 dredging weed up from near the Drayton Bank Hide
Moorhen: 33
Lapwing: 96
Common Tern: 22
Migrants were few and far - just 35 House Martins flying through in one group
A Chinese Water Deer was feeding on the emergent vegetation
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR proved far more exciting with pride of place going to a juvenile PIED FLYCATCHER moving back and forth along the west bank of the reservoir. It was favouring this tallest tree in the hedgerow and kept between the two orange safety rings. It was loosely associating with a family party of 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS - a different party to at least 4 in Marsworth Wood - but was typically elusive and often favouring the sunnier farm side of the hedge from where to flycatch. It was present until at least late morning.
Another highlight was the finding of 3 EGYPTIAN GEESE on the mud of the SW shoreline - the first record at the reservoirs this year. They were roosting - taking it in turn to snooze (see images). The same stretch of mud also held two juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS - these two birds being earlier present on Wilstone in front of the hide.
Other species noted included 4 Great Crested Grebes (pair now with small young), the eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard, 123 Coot, 2 Mute Swans and COMMON KINGFISHER.
I expected IVINGHOE BEACON to have some migrants but other than 25 Barn Swallows and 2 Blackcaps, there was nothing. As usual, the post-breeding flock of Goldfinch and Linnet was in scrub just SSE of the trig point - the former numbering at least 370. The recently ploughed field below the main car park held 64 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
It was now time to check COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT and after liasing with volunteer warden Paul Reed, eventually located the 2 WHINCHATS which were inhabiting the isolated brambles and other bushes in the NW corner of the reserve, just north of the perimeter wire fence. This area also held 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS and a few Common Whitethroats, with 7 Common Chiffchaffs on that western flank of the reserve. I also connected with a male Bullfinch, whilst the second brood of Common Blue butterflies was particularly abundant with at least 70 being counted. A couple of COMMON RAVENS cronked overhead.
The juvenile RUFF was still present on the marsh but proving very elusive, with 4 Mute Swan and 3 COMMON SNIPE also of note. Tufted Ducks have had an excellent year with broods today of 11, 7, 1, 5 and 6 being counted from by the centre. Up to 35 Barn Swallows flew through to the south.

In amongst the 29 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the Deep Pit were a single 4th-winter Argenteus Herring Gull and near-adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (both photographed), whilst 4 drake Northern Pochard there were a surprise. No less than 7 juvenile Common Terns was still present on the raft. Atlantic Canada Geese numbered 34.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Chenies WHEATEARS video

Short clip of one the NORTHERN WHEATEARS that were present at Chenies Village yesterday  and the GREY WAGTAIL which appears daily around the pond at the Baptist church  (Don Stone)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


The heat returned to the South today with temperatures climbing to a peak of 25 degrees C during the afternoon. The winds remained light and the skies cleared.
Although I got to COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT fairly swiftly, both the two ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS and juvenile RUFF had disappeared by the time I arrived (Mike & Rose had seen them just 10 minutes previously). Highlight for me was an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL with 21 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the main lake. Very little else of note: the 5 Mute Swans, just 1 female Tufted Duck and 1 well grown youngster and 5 remaining Common Terns.
The RESERVOIRS were equally devoid of action with nothing worth mentioning - STARTOP'S END yielding 87 Greylag Geese, 5 Common Terns and a Sparrowhawk.
Don Stone then 'phoned me whilst I was in Hemel Hempstead; he had found 2 NORTHERN WHEATEARS in CHENIES VILLAGE, a mile from my home. I had not seen one in the Recording Area this year so was very pleased to connect with both as they fed in the horse paddocks early afternoon (see images). A migrant SPOTTED FLYCATCHER was also in a neighbouring hedgerow, as well as 3 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS in the village. An impressive 35 House Sparrows were in residence at the farm buildings at TQ 019 983, where a calling Japanese Quail caused us some identification headaches at first.

 I then got confirmation of a juvenile WOODCHAT SHRIKE in NORTHAMPTONSHIRE at Harrington Airfield just NNE of Langport - the first record there in over 150 years! It performed impeccably........

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Shardeloes Lake today

For Images other than Amersham Area, browse Birding Tring Reservoirs and Buckinghamshire Birding

Temperatures struggled to reach 17 degrees C today as a WNW wind blew across the Chilterns Region. There were a few odd showers, with cloud predominating until clearing late in the evening.
At TRINGFORD RESERVOIR, a COMMON GREENSHANK remained for a third day, probing the mud at the far west end (see images), as did 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS and a COMMON SANDPIPER. All 7 Mute Swans were together, whilst Tufted Ducks were accompanied by at least 17 young. Before I entered the woodland, a Common Kestrel flew towards Tringford Farm, and once in the wood, 2 Stock Doves were calling and a party of 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were feeding in the canopy. From the hide, 1-2 COMMON KINGFISHERS, 5 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 16 Moorhen, 53 Coot and 40 Black-headed Gulls were noted. Butterflies by the overflow dam included 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Small White and a Small Blue - the latter a rarity at the reservoirs.
Across the road on STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the juvenile DUNLIN was still showing very well along the north shore (for its 7th day); also noted were 2 Mute Swans, 1 Little Egret, 3 Shoveler, 77 Greylag Geese, 18 Common Terns (8 juveniles) and a Grey Wagtail, whilst on MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, at least 6 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were in the wood and tall Poplars behind the reedbed, 3 Common Chiffchaff, a migrant juvenile WILLOW WARBLER, Wren family party, 3 Sand Martin and 8 House Martin.
After some sound advice from Tim Watts, I then travelled over to FULBROOK FARM at the north end of QUAINTON HILLS. Although it took me a long time, mainly because they were so elusive, I eventually managed to photograph all four individual birds present in the hedgerows east of the farm - 3 males and 1 female-type.
COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT was very quiet apart from a single juvenile Common Redshank so I then headed home to SHARDELOES LAKE. The cricket pitch held 13 Pied Wagtails (3 family parties), with the Misbourne alongside two noisy COMMON KINGFISHERS.

All 3 Great Crested Grebe youngsters were surviving (one of which was now fishing independently) as well as the sole Mute Swan cygnet. A single SINENSIS CORMORANT was lurking in the shallows with female Tufted Ducks accompanying 6, 7 and 3 young respectively; just a pair of Gadwall were seen - and no young. Migrants included 3 Common Chiffchaffs and 2 House Martins, with a local family party of 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS in the Willows. Coots numbered 116 and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Great Crested Grebes and all 3 youngsters

Tufted Duck family

Spotted Flycatchers in Willows

 Whilst at Shardeloes, news came via John Gearing of a RUFF at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT - the first in the county this year. Failing to get it properly checked out via the usual channels, I had to race back there - arriving just after 1640 hours. After a few scans, I quickly relocated it - a fresh juvenile of the year - feeding in long vegetation on the spit of the westernmost island. Although very distant from the Information Centre, I managed a number of record shots presented below. A most satisfying end to the day. At least 6 more juvenile Common Terns had fledged since my visit last week, culminating in at least 24 young for the site this year - an excellent result considering the poor start.