Recording Area Annual Totals

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

Monday, 29 September 2014

Hunts Green attracts 3 STONECHATS...

Don Stone had 3 COMMON STONECHATS in this area yesterday (Sunday 28 September) but there was no sign of them when I looked this morning. Plenty of birds though, including a migrant Grey Wagtail, 2 male Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, 10 Linnet, a flock of 45 Stock Dove, 8 Meadow Pipit and a Red Admiral butterfly.

Monday, 15 September 2014

LINNET surprise

Yet another day of easterly winds, unusually warm, dry and partly cloudy...
Two House Martins flew west over CHAFFINCH HOUSE at around 0900 hours but otherwise, still extremely quiet on the garden front
Thanks to Steve Blake, I finally caught up with a COMMON STONECHAT in Hertfordshire today and after I finished my August Round-up of rarities for Birdwatching magazine, I made my way over to TYTTENHANGER GP....
The COMMON STONECHAT (a young male) was highly mobile and was commuting between the fenceposts along the east shore of the main birding pit and the hedgerow that borders the footpath. It did not allow close approach, the following shots being taken at distance...

Not much else of note other than a single migrant Meadow Pipit (see pic), Green Woodpecker, 7 Long-tailed Tits and a Common Chiffchaff, with 140+ Black-headed Gulls roosting on the pit, along with 1 adult Argenteus Herring and 7 Lesser Black-backed.

I then decided to walk the CHESS VALLEY - CHENIES harbouring a few House Sparrows, 4 Collared Doves, 2 Dunnocks and a singing Goldcrest. No sign of any chats in either the paddocks or ploughed fields but Red Kite and its youngster in trees by MOUNTWOOD FARM plus 3 Jays and a Green Woodpecker.

At the CRESTYL CRESSBEDS (SARRATT BOTTOM), Jay, Chaffinch, Green Woodpecker, 8 Moorhen, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail and a Grey Heron noted, with at least 1 WATER VOLE on the tributary. Both RING-NECKED PARAKEETS were once again in the tree by the lane and VALLEY FARM HORSE PADDOCKS added more Pied & Grey Wagtails, the usual LITTLE OWL, another Green Woodpecker and 4 remaining Barn Swallows. Most outstanding however was a flock of 135 LINNETS feeding either side of the access track to the farm - the largest flock I have seen in the Recording Area since I first moved here in April 1987. A large percentage were juveniles, indicating a bumper breeding season.....

The rest of the Valley was relatively quiet, although a HOBBY flying high east over MILL FARM MEADOWS was one of a very few seen this year in the area.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

What a summer for DABCHICKS (LITTLE GREBES)......

The light Northeasterly winds continued, with low grey cloud covering the Chiltern skies for much of the day. Continuing dry......
In NORTHALL VILLAGE, at least 230 Common Starling remained, and a Jay flew west, whilst vizmigging at IVINGHOE BEACON from 0830-1000 hours yielded extremely little, despite optimum conditions. A single COMMON REDSTART on GALLOWS HILL was the highlight, with just 1 House Martin west and the continuing flock of 90 Goldfinch; 3 Skylark and 15 Meadow Pipit also noted.
Not much to shout about at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT either - wildfowl counts producing 3 Mute Swans, 292 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Greylag Geese, 16 mallard, 4 Gadwall, 4 Common Teal, 2 Shoveler, 2 Moorhen and not a single Coot; Common Kestrel, 2 Stock Dove, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Great Tit, a singing Common Chiffchaff, Greenfinch and 10 Goldfinch completed the rollcall.
Over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) with Steve Blake and Mike Campbell, little in the way of fresh arrivals - 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL constituting the first of the autumn. On the wader front, a single DUNLIN was new, with 4 Ringed Plover, the 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, the COMMON GREENSHANK, 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT and around 400 Lapwing.

Still a lot of birds present as the water levels continue to drop, including 23 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 9 Sinensis Cormorant (including 4 still occupying nest space on the Drayton Bank), 3 Little Egret, 8 Grey Heron, 52 Mute Swan, the 2 Whooper Swans, 46 Greylag Geese, 2+ Shelduck, 220 Mallard, now 27 Eurasian Wigeon, 33 Gadwall, 415 Common Teal, 52 Shoveler, 24 Pochard, 31 Tufted Duck, 33 Moorhen, 400+ Coot, adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Common Tern, Grey Wagtail, just 1 Barn Swallow and 1 Greenfinch.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR additionally produced 5 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 12 Moorhen, 130 Coot and 4 Common Tern, but there was no sign of the 4 EGYPTIAN GEESE that MC and SB had seen on Wilstone just before I arrived.
Northwest of CHESHAM, HERBERT'S HOLE was clear of migrant chats - just 12 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, 3 Stock Doves, 40 Meadow Pipits and 1 Goldfinch of note; none at neighbouring PEDNOR BOTTOM either - just more Red Kite, Common Chiffchaff and 2 Greenfinch.
A dusk visit to SHARDELOES LAKE (OLD AMERSHAM) resulted in the largest local gathering of LITTLE GREBE I have ever seen - no less than 29 being counted on the lake - a new record. This follows an exceptional breeding season on the Misbourne - one pair still feeding 3 small young this evening.

Two Great Crested Grebes still present, as well as all 6 GREYLAG GEESE still, 44 Canada Geese, 6 Gadwall, 54 Coot, 4 Black-headed Gulls, Stock Dove, COMMON KINGFISHER, Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, Common Treecreeper and Common Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


A short clip of the Pednor NORTHERN WHEATEAR taken on the 8th September, the same day one was also present nearby at Herbert's Hole. I have now accumulated an exceptional total of 15 this year, 13 of which were in the Pednor area alone!!

Don Stone

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Rob Andrews had a juvenile COMMON CUCKOO at Shardeloes Lake this evening - a superb local record. Meanwhile, Don Stone located a NORTHERN WHEATEAR at Pednor Bottom on Monday.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Don Stone and I enjoyed this wonderful WHINCHAT duo on Friday (5 September) near Chesham, flycatching from hedgerows at Pednor Bottom. The area was alive with migrants, with at least 6 WILLOW WARBLERS, 2 Blackcap and a LESSER WHITETHROAT, while LITTLE OWL, 23 Red Kite and 8 Common Buzzard were also in the area.....

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Record flock of GREYLAG GEESE

During a visit to Shardeloes Lake this evening, I discovered this flock of 6 GREYLAG GEESE - the largest number ever recorded in the Amersham Recording Area (a single bird has been present with the resident Canada Geese on and off for the past 3 years now). There were also large numbers of Little Grebe present - perhaps 25 - another record and indicative of an excellent breeding season.

Other species noted included 2 Manadarin Duck, 2 pairs of Gadwall, 2 adult Great Crested Grebe, 4 surviving Mute Swan cygnets and a first-summer, Common Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, 6+ Common Chiffchaff and 5+ SPOTTED FLYCATCHER.