MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER
BIRDING THE CHESS VALLEY
After yesterday's rain (which lasted all day incidentally), the skies cleared overnight to leave a light frost. Blue skies then dominated proceedings, giving rise to the most glorious of late autumn days....
I decided to do a full inventory of the CHESS VALLEY, moving from east to west...
Ideally situated for those traversing the delights the Chess Valley has to offer - the Bedford Arms
CHENIES VILLAGE & ENVIRONS harboured a population of 30 House Sparrows (stable due to restoration of high beech hedgerows), as well as 16 Western Jackdaws, 2 Collared Dove, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Song Thrush (singing male), Jay, Goldcrest and 3 Redwing.
MOUNTWOOD FARM added Green Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Robin, Woodpigeon, 2 Carrion Crow and 2 Jackdaw, with the adjacent MOUNT WOOD producing 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Jay, Common Blackbird and a flyover Black-headed Gull.
At the CRESTYL WATERCRESS BEDS in SARRATT BOTTOM, the first of 5 wintering Little Egrets was seen, with 9 Mallard and 4 Moorhen on the cress and Common Blackbird, Wren (2), Dunnock and Robin in the hedgerow.
The aforementioned Black-headed Gull was a site-first for VALLEY FARM, the horsefields also harbouring 17 Woodpigeon, Common Blackbird, 2 Grey Heron, Red Kite, Moorhen, 12 Jackdaw, 3 Chaffinch, 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 Redwing, 2 Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and Dunnock. The male RING-NECKED PARAKEET was in its usual tree opposite the cressbeds (see images below).
Another Little Egret was to be found at FROGMORE MEADOWS, standing side-by-side by the Chess with a Grey Heron, whilst Common Pheasant, Common Magpie, Dunnock, Wren (3), Common Blackbird (3), Song Thrush and Bullfinch were also noted. MILL FARM MEADOWS adjacent yielded 3 more Little Egrets as well as Grey Heron, Common Buzzard, Goldfinch and Wren, while CHENIES BOTTOM hamlet added Red Kite, Common Kestrel, 3 Robin, 2 Wren, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, Jay, 2 Long-tailed Tits and a flyover RING-NECKED PARAKEET (Sarratt bird presumably).
Little of note at either CHURCH COVERT or NEPTUNES FALLS - LATIMER GREAT WATER continuing this theme. A 6th Chess Little Egret was at BOIS MILL whilst a shifty at CHESHAM SEWAGE WORKS revealed the presence of 1 Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, 8 Moorhen and 76 Black-headed Gulls; a male Common Kestrel was nearby.
Pretty quiet on CHESHAM FISHING LAKES with 1 Mute Swan, 12 Tufted Duck, 6 Moorhen and 28 Coot counted and SISKIN and COMMON KINGFISHER briefly flying through. A pair of COMMON KINGFISHERS was feeding on the tiny brook opposite the Gym Centre with MILLFIELDS harbouring a Song Thrush and 2 Moorhens; 4 Red Kites were circling overhead.
No less than 10 Moorhen were resident at CHESHAM MOOR (WATERSIDE), while this year's sole surviving Mute Swan cygnet was still keeping company with mum and dad.
Numerous Red Kites were patrolling the skies and fields in the OSTLER'S WOOD AREA, where 3 Common Buzzard, 57 Stock Dove, 170 Woodpigeon, 3 Jay, 2 Bullfinch and Mistle Thrush were all seen.