Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

In Deep Freeze........

The last three days have seen heavy overnight frosts, with temperatures dropping down to as low as minus 8 degrees. As a result, many of the local waters have largely frozen over, certainly in part...
Yesterday afternoon, David Bilcock photographed a GREAT GREY SHRIKE in bushes adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, half way between Slapton and Grove Locks, near Whaddon Farm. There was no sign of it today unfortunately.
DB also had a flock of 5 GOOSANDERS on Marsworth Reservoir first thing this morning - all 5 spooking readily and quickly moving to Wilstone, before flying off south.
I did a full inventory later in the morning, the freezing conditions seeing a marked arrival of wildfowl, as well as an exceptional 85 Great Crested Grebes.....
On WILSTONE, 54 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Egret, 71 Sinensis Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 8 Grey Heron, 3 Mute Swan, just 1 Canada Goose, 36 Gadwall, 140 Shoveler (a year high), 340 Common Teal, 320 Wigeon, 170 Pochard, 377 Coot and 3 Common Goldeneye
At STARTOP'S END, 1 Mute Swan (4BED), 21 Canada Geese, 26 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 31 Pochard, 3 Shoveler and 198 Coot, with a few Redwing and Fieldfares feeding on the berries on the north bank and 12 House Sparrows in conifers by the Angler's Retreat and an additional 8 by the Wood Carving Studio.
Very little on MARSWORTH, other than the drake Gadwall, 5 Mute Swans (including pair 4ABK and 4ABL), 1 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 2 Teal, Water Rail and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
A flock of 83 Woodpigeon was roosting in trees at the back of TRING SEWAGE WORKS, with TRINGFORD adding 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 9 Grey Heron, the family party of 8 Mute Swans, 24 Teal, 18 Tufted Duck, 10 Pochard, 180 Coot, 84 Black-headed Gull, an adult Common Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, Goldfinch and several Common Blackbirds.

At least 124 Common Teal remained in PITSTONE QUARRY, but little else of note in there, while SHARDELOES LAKE was 90% frozen - 59 Coot, 8 Little Grebe, 19 Common Gull and Green Woodpecker being the highlights.

A few images from recent days.......drake Teal, Pied Wagtail in the garden, Robin, Redwing (lots around at moment) and Fieldfare...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chess Valley this week: a singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, GREAT CRESTED GREBE and 16 LAPWING, whilst BRAMBLING flock building up in Penn Wood

A WINTER WREN visited the garden early morning - a scarce visitor here
At COPPERKINS FARM, near Hyde Heath, 30 Fieldfare in the fields but no sign of Don's 40 or so Golden Plover again.
SHARDELOES LAKE was partially frozen at the island end, resulting in over 238 Black-headed and 8 Common Gulls standing on the ice. A first-winter SHOVELER was the first of the winter but the thrushes had largely moved on. At least 19 Little Grebe were still present, 3 Mute Swan, just 2 Canada Geese, 4 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and 38 Coot, whilst Sparrowhawk, 3 Redwing, 8 Red Kites and Grey Wagtail were all noted.

The Australian Black Swan continues to survive on LITTLE MISSENDEN POND, with House Sparrow numbers holding up with 2 by the church, 8 in front of Highmore Cottages and a further 8 in the roadside hedgerow just a little way further along the lane.

Nearby, DEEP MILL LANE POND held 4 Little Grebe, 20 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Coot and 8 Moorhen, but BANK'S POND and WARREN WATER (GREAT MISSENDEN) both remain largely dried up.
Not too much to find at HUNTS GREEN NATURE RESERVE - Red Kite, Song Thrush, male Yellowhammer, 3 Linnet, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Common Blackbird and a Chinese Water Deer being noteworthy. Two more Linnets were seen at BALLINGER MEADOW.

Trawling the PEDNOR BOTTOM area, a flock of 8 Redwing in the horse paddocks by PEDNOR GRANGE were the highlight, with 2 Mute Swans, 42 Canada Geese, Grey Heron and a Jay being seen at BURY LAKE. Neighbouring LOWNDES PARK LAKE in CHESHAM yielded the usual wildfowl although the fencing has clearly affected the Canada Geese - none other than the injured bird being present. Over 85 Black-headed Gulls counted included 2 metal-ringed individuals but just too difficult to get any details. Common Starling, Greenfinch, Goldcrest and Song Thrush all encountered in ST MARY'S CHURCHYARD.

All 3 Mute Swans were once again at CHESHAM MOOR (WATERSIDE), while CHESHAM FISHING LAKES harboured a single Great Crested Grebe, 14 Coot, 19 Tufted Duck and a single Pochard; a COMMON CHIFFCHAFF in full song at the POW WOW LAKE was unseasonal.
Continuing up the CHESS VALLEY, all 6 Mute Swans (family group) and 2 Coot were on BOIS MILL POND, with LATIMER'S GREAT WATER adding 4 more Mute Swans, 34 Coot, 14 Moorhen, 5 Tufted Duck and Grey Heron. The fields had been recently ploughed and had attracted a flock of 16 LAPWING, a Red-legged Partridge and several Stock Doves, while a COMMON KINGFISHER was perched in front of one of the buildings at LATIMER PLACE. A single Little Egret flew to roost, as did 2 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS.

TOOLEY'S CROFT WOOD yielded 2 Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard and a Jay.
Pleasantly mild but pretty windy
A flock of 13 Common Starlings were in WINCHMORE HILL, whilst PENN VILLAGE POND held 9 Moorhen and 63 Mallard, with 8 noisy House Sparrows in the evergreen opposite.

In PENN WOOD, depressing to once again find a Holly roost devoid of any Greenfinch - just 35 Redwing; Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, 7 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, 3 Common Buzzard, Red Kite and Jay all noted and at the Penna Rhododendron roost, just 25 Chaffinch but a December high 42 BRAMBLING roosted. At COMMON WOOD nearby, at least 32 Red Kite roosted.