Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lowndes Park Lake inventory

Another Indian Summer-like day with clear blue skies, long periods of sunshine and temperatures in the high 60's - wind light easterly too, gradually increasing by dark
At WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS), there had been a large increase in wildfowl - most notably in 14 PINTAILS - the highest number in many years. Also 270 Eurasian Wigeon, 460 Common Teal, 146 Shoveler, 21 Gadwall and 216 Northern Pochard, as well as the 45 Mute Swans (including adult '479'). and the two long-staying GARGANEYS.
Waders were poorly represented with just 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS remaining and 206 Lapwing, whilst 4 HOBBIES remain, 11 Little Egrets and 18 Sinensis Cormorants; a Jay was on the East Bank.
TRINGFORD RESERVOIR held all 7 Mute Swans (the 5 cygnets still surviving) whilst the 2 adult WHOOPER SWANS were quickly seen off by the cob Mute, while MARSWORTH held just 2 Great Crested Grebes.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR was still looking attractive in the SW corner and harboured 3 first-year LITTLE GREBES, 7 Great Crested Grebes (including the 4 juveniles), 172 Coot, 2 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 4 Teal, drake Gadwall, 63 Tufted Duck and 12 Moorhen. Sadly, this adult Great Crested Grebe was dead on the mud.
On my way home, an inventory of CHESHAM'S LOWNDES PARK revealed the presence of 298 Atlantic Canada Geese and 8 Muscovy Ducks.

A Moorhen sunning itself

A pretty Muscovite

.....and an excellent opportunity to photograph both first-year and adult Black-headed Gulls


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Just in the nick of time - HOBBY added

Seems like I am the only one posting on this group......idea was for more input....hay-ho
Summer seems to have returned with temperatures this afternoon reaching a balmy 24 degrees C. Light winds throughout and clear skies but thick fog over part of the area until mid morning....

 At home in the garden, 4 BULLFINCH visited the Sunflower Heart feeder for about 20 minutes around 0900 hours whilst over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING), a full inventory went like this........
Highlight was a party of 4 EURASIAN CURLEW and single BLACK-TAILED GODWIT that arrived noisily from the east at 1209, not that long after the fog had cleared. After a few flyarounds, they eventually came down on the Drayton bank and were still present after I had walked round to the hide from the jetty. I was able to take a large number of images (see immediately below) before they finally flew off strongly SSW at 1316. Bill Pegram, JT and Ken Simmons all connected.

Great Crested Grebe (15 - including the 2 juveniles)
Little Egret (10)
Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swan (45)
Greylag Geese (78)
Mallard (260)
Common Teal (535 - large increase)
Eurasian Wigeon (135 - increase)
Gadwall (29)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (4 present - 3 drakes and a female - my first of the autumn)
Northern Pochard (146)
Tufted Duck (not counted)
Red-crested Pochard (2, with both juveniles still surviving on Tringford too)
Red Kite (5)
Common Buzzard (6)
HOBBY (at least 3 still present)
WATER RAILS (8 along SE shore and another by the hide)
Coot (down to 501 birds)
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (still 4 juveniles present whilst an additional bird arrived with the Curlew)
COMMON GREENSHANK (long-stayer still present in Cemetery Corner)
Common Kingfisher (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Meadow Pipit (slight passage - 4 birds)
Grey Wagtail (4)
Mistle Thrush (2)
LESSER WHITETHROAT (3 - 2 in the East Hedgerow and another in the orchard)
Blackcap (male in the orchard)
Long-tailed Tit (roving flock of 16 in wood behind hide)
Chaffinch (light passage - 5 birds noted)
Bullfinch (pair in the orchard)

Just in the nick of time, HOBBY was added to my Recording Area Yearlist, with a family party of 4 birds hunting over the wood (Don Stone had 5); also Sparrowhawk, 11 Common Buzzard, 15 Red Kite and 28 Stock Doves, with 6 Barn Swallows through.

An array of Common Buzzards were in the air including the very white individual photographed above

Many Red Kites also

This juvenile Linnet was hungry

....whilst this tree held both the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Stock Dove above

Friday, 20 September 2013


Don Stone and I saw this WHINCHAT in Chenies today, in the paddocks behind the Red Lion public house.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Shardeloes Lake on Saturday

My first visit in a while but 56 NORTHERN POCHARD on the lake was a surprise - the largest number I have seen this early in the autumn. Other duck present included a single TEAL, 26 GADWALL and 8 Tufted Duck, whilst the 3 Mute Swans, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 13 Little Grebes and 97 Coot were also noted. Otherwise, 40 Barn Swallows, 6 House Martins, Wren, 2 Common Chiffchaff, Jay, 3 Red Kite and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull were seen.

Pictures to be added

Now a COMMON STONECHAT at Heronsgate

Male Common Stonechat (Alan Reynolds)

In exactly the same fields as last week at Heronsgate, Paul Lewis and I had a first-year male COMMON STONECHAT - the first in my Recording Area this year. Paul also had 4 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on the plough

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Chats still present at Heronsgate

Paul Lewis confirmed the continuing presence of the 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS and 2 juvenile WHINCHATS at Heronsgate fields today...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


The unsettled nature of the weather continued today with long spells of rain at times and a lot of heavy cloud. Temperatures struggled to reach 13 degrees C whilst the wind direction was a brisk Northwesterly. The theme today was of more passage waders...........
The pair of BULLFINCH visited one of the birdtables in my LITTLE CHALFONT garden early morning, the first visit in a while.
My first visit to WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) today was from 0930-1230 hours - the highlight being the arrival of 3 'new' juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS and a splendid performance by up to 5 HOBBIES. Despite a long vigil, there was no confirmed sightings of the Spotted Crake all day - just 4 WATER RAILS causing identification problems, particularly the juveniles.
The roll call was thus -:
Great Crested Grebe (16 counted, including an adult feeding two stripy juveniles)
Little Grebe (first-winter still present by hide)
Sinensis Cormorant (37, including 1-2 juveniles in a late Drayton Bank nest)
Grey Heron (8 including one with a small Pike - see images below)

Little Egret (10)
Mute Swan (41)
Greylag Goose (68+)
Mallard (116)
Gadwall (increase to 21)
Shoveler (75)
Eurasian Wigeon (58)
Common Teal (370) (but no sign of 2 Garganey nor of any Pintail yet)
Northern Pochard (38)
Tufted Duck (121)
Red Kite (1)
Common Buzzard (4)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1)
HOBBY (5 mobbing a Common Buzzard at one instance, with a lot of practising from the two juveniles)

WATER RAIL (4 - 3 juveniles - all along SE shoreline)
Moorhen (51)
Coot (772)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (juvenile still present)
Lapwing (215)
COMMON GREENSHANK (still present and favouring 'crake' shore)
Common Snipe (5)
Black-headed Gull (300)
Common Tern (7)
Woodpigeon (75)
Stock Dove (1)
House Martin (15)
Pied Wagtail (13)
Wren (1)
Robin (1)
Goldcrest (1 behind hide)
Great Tit (2)
Having still not seen a Whinchat in Hertfordshire this year, I then set off for BEECH FARM/ELLENBROOK FIELDS, where I carried out a thorough search. Acres of suitable habitat but just no birds to be found - no redstarts, warblers or chats. All that was of note were 3 Green Woodpeckers, Common Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch and 2 Common Chiffchaffs.
After just conversing with Alan Reynolds re: King's Mead Whinchats, Steve Blake came up with a better option - Paul Lewis had just found 2 near HERONSGATE - just within my immediate Recording Area. A quick call to Paul revealed their exact location and after a swift walk, I eventually located both birds (juveniles) along the fenceline at TQ 026 947, just under a mile NW of Junction 17 of the M25. On the opposite side of the footpath (at TQ 031 946), 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS were together in the ploughed field. I successfully photographed all 5 birds (see below). Three Meadow Pipits were also in one of the meadows.

A picture of the area

I then returned to WILSTONE RESERVOIR from 1800-1930 hours where just 2 of the 4 juvenile RUFF discovered by JT and Jeff Bailey mid afternoon were still present left of the Drayton Bank Hide. This makes this autumn's total 9 individuals - the largest influx in over 20 years. I photographed both birds (below). A 5th juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWIT had also arrived, all 5 birds wading in shallow water in the NW corner. A YELLOW WAGTAIL was to the right of the hide, with 3 GREY WAGTAILS along the North Shore, whilst 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew east at dusk.

 Exciting times currently at the reservoirs. What will tomorrow bring?