Compared to most recent years, when for example I recorded 165 species in the county in 2011, 187 in 2012 and 173 in 2013, this has been a particularly poor one with just 157 species recorded by mid December - one of my worst years on record


It's all over - 2012 has come to an end. I managed a total of 187 out of the 198 species recorded all told in Buckinghamshire - 94% of the total - probably my highest-ever annual tally.

The current record is 191 species achieved in 2006 and held jointly by both Rob Hill and Simon Nichols

Monday, 30 September 2013


On Sunday, Tim Watts had an adult BLACK-NECKED GREBE, 10 PINTAIL and a SPOTTED REDSHANK at Calvert Landfill, whilst the juvenile BLACK-NECKED GREBE was still present on the Sailing Lake

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Both LITTLE STINTS still at Manor Farm

Both LITTLE STINTS and RUFFS (pictured above) are still present at Manor Farm today

Sunday, 22 September 2013


One of the juvenile LITTLE STINTS that Rob Hill and I saw last night was still at Manor Farm this morning, on the southern mud bank.

Also singles of Ruff, Dunlin & LRP, 3 Green Sand, 1f Pintail, 72 Wigeon, a Wheatear on the stone wall, 2 Grey Wags over, and a modest southerly passage of Swallows (c40 birds in total).

Per Rob Hill

Friday, 20 September 2013

RUFF in North Bucks

20/9 11:00 : RUFF : Olney.
Very confiding bird. 200 yards downstream of Olney Mill. On gravel bar in the river and on grass banks, approaching to within ten yards.
Robert Norris

20/9 - 2 RUFF still at Manor Farm also

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

North Bucks today

Manor farm held 6 Species of Wader this morning , but no hoped for american dream yet !

the Male RUFF was still at the east end with the Lapwing , whilst 2 GREEN SANDPIPERS, Ringed Plover , Common Sandpiper and moulting DUNLIN were feeding along the southern shore of the main island

Little Egret and LBB Gull were the only other Highlights

Other than 30 or so House Martins and 20 Wigeon , Willen was very quiet with only 11 Lapwing in front of the hospice and the all too brief mud now vanished

Simon Nichols

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Beaconsfield WHINCHATS

14/9 16:00 : 3 WHINCHATS : Springfield Quarry.
close to the old farm track from Lillyfee Farm, often perching in what's left of the blackthorn at the far end.
Peter Stevens

Thursday, 12 September 2013

RUFF and BLACK TERN at Spade Oak

The juvenile BLACK TERN remained for a second day at Spade Oak Pit, whilst a juvenile RUFF paid a brief visit to the spit this morning; a WHINCHAT was again in Wing Park

Monday, 9 September 2013


A lot of rain fell today - in fact it was raining on and off throughout daylight hours. Winds were very light though and as expected, a few passage terns and waders were 'downed' in the conditions...
First off, one intrepid observer located and photographed a juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPER at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS), as it remained on view from the Drayton Bank Hide until at least 0800 hours. As soon as I heard it was there from DB and PR, I dashed over - joining both Francis Buckle and Jack O'Neill in the hide. Apparently, both Mike Campbell and Mig Wells had connected, but despite an exhaustive search of the reservoir, there was no further sign of it for us. A COMMON GREENSHANK was nice (photographed by Lucy Flower yesterday), whilst the juvenile LITTLE RINGED PLOVER had moved up to the mud in front of the hide. The Black-tailed Godwit that Dave Bilcock had seen at dawn had also moved on, whilst Mike Wallen had 4 Red Knot fly east early evening.

 Over on the SE shoreline and viewable from the jetty, the SPOTTED CRAKE was putting on a good performance, feeding out in the open for at least an hour late morning; all 4 WATER RAIL were there too, as well as the 2 dredging GARGANEY, 370 Common Teal, 3 Common Snipe, 58 Wigeon and 12 Little Egrets.
Also noted were the 4 HOBBY, the first-winter LITTLE GREBE, 41 Mute Swans, 37 Northern Pochard, 8 Common Tern and a migrant flock of 52 House Martins.
I then returned home to dry off (the heavens opened at the Spotted Crake) but as I recovered, Adam Bassett texted to say that 3 SANDWICH TERNS had flown through SPADE OAK GRAVEL PIT, LITTLE MARLOW (SOUTH BUCKS), one of which had doubled-back and returned to the spit. I made my way there and was very pleased to find it asleep with Black-headed Gulls at the very end of the spit and subsequently took a series of photographs (see below). It remained for the next hour - certainly long enough for Graham Smith to connect.

 Not much else of note though - the Bar-headed Goose with the plethora of Greylag and Atlantic Canada Geese, a single Little Egret, 4 Egyptian Geese and some Great Crested Grebe feeding young.

I spent the rest of the day at WORMWOOD SCRUBS LNR (CENTRAL LONDON) where David Lindo had discovered a juvenile Common Rosefinch on Saturday. The bird had been seen shortly before my arrival but despite grilling the hawthorns, Buddleia, Elder, Willow and Poplar scrub of the embankment for over two hours, I failed in my quest to relocate it - 8 Dunnocks, 6 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipit and 19 Ring-necked Parakeets being scant compensation!

A Dunnock in the Blackberry scrub

The London skyline from the Scrubs

Willen Lake North Basin

A wet visit to Willen North was very productive. Viewing from the North bank - All birds in front of the pagoda.

Female GARGANEY , feeding in the north east corner , close to the reeds - would have been seen from Pagoda shore.
2 Islandica BLACK TAILED GODWITS , feeding the whole length of the western edge
1 RUFF and 1 DUNLIN spending most of their time on the large mud spit.
1 GREENSHANK roosting with the gulls.
6 Snipe and 1 Green Sandpiper also present
in excess of 80 Teal and 40 Wigeon
1 COMMON TERN on the mud spit also 1 LBB with the small flock of BH Gulls

Simon Nichols

Friday, 6 September 2013


For today's images, click on my Birding Tring Reservoirs blog
Well the forecast was for a very heavy band of rain to move through the Chilterns throughout much of the day but apart from a brief spell of rain between 10 and 11 am, that was it. The wind was in the Southwest but fairly light; cloud predominated.
I started the day on CROXLEY COMMON MOOR (HERTS) but for the third time this week, I was not able to locate any Whinchats there (Geoff had seen 3 during the week). There was no sign of the 2 Common Redstarts either. In fact, very little of anything - a single migrant YELLOW WAGTAIL and a COMMON KINGFISHER being the highlights. I also photographed a Grey Heron by the canal.
With such a good forecast, I was expecting a decent fall at IVINGHOE BEACON (BUCKS) but despite walking the entire circuit, it was dire - far less present than what was about yesterday (eg, 6 Common Redstarts and a Whinchat). Just a single Lesser Whitethroat was located (in scrub just SE of the Beacon), 3 migrating Barn Swallows and the large Goldfinch mass (at least 270 birds) being harassed by a juvenile Sparrowhawk.
I then heard of Warren Claydon's early morning find and after hearing that Laurie Bryant was still watching it, made my way over to CALVERT BBOWT LAKE (NORTH BUCKS). Graham Smith, it transpired, had already been looking for some time without success, as had Tim Watts. I re-checked both ends and also drew a blank - just 3 Little Grebes, 16 Great Crested Grebes (including 3, 2, 2 and a single chick), 2 Sinensis Cormorants, 15 Tufted Duck and 15 Coot being seen. A family party of CETTI'S WARBLERS in front of the hide was novel, presumably proving that they had bred at the site (adult feeding mobile young). Anyhow, whilst watching them, Tim phoned to say that he had relocated the BLACK-NECKED GREBE on the SAILING LAKE opposite and within a few minutes, we were both watching it from the Yacht club. It was a juvenile and was now sitting amongst Coots after being forced out of the reedy margin by Great Crested Grebes. My first of the year in Bucks.

 The Sailing Lake also held 2 Little Grebes, a further 10 Great Crested Grebes and 76 Coot, whilst a party of 6 terns that dropped in included 5 Common (3 juvenile) and a juvenile ARCTIC TERN; at least 200 House Martins were over the SW corner of the lake.
Tim and I then visited GALLOWS BRIDGE BBOWT where from the hide, a Barn Swallow spectacle was to be had. Tim made a conservative estimate of 700 birds present and they were literally everywhere - including long lines of them, predominantly juveniles, resting on the fences. A single Sand Martin was also with them as well as at least 15 House Martins but when a HOBBY decided to dash in after one of them, the entire mass quickly dissipated and disappeared from view. The Hobby was unsuccessful and decided to roost on a fencepost (see images below).

 The pool in front of the hides held 2 Common Teal, whilst 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS visited briefly (both Warren and Tim recording 70 of the latter with the cattle in the main field); 2 Common Buzzards, a Red Kite and a Speckled Wood butterfly were also seen.
I then joined Ian Williams, Jeff Bailey and Mike Campbell at WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS), where the water level had dropped dramatically this past week. The site was looking excellent for waders.
There had been a large influx of wildfowl since my last visit in late August with 40 Mute Swans (including orange-ringed adult ''AFA''), 76 Greylag Geese, 11 Atlantic Canada Geese, 182 Mallard, 13 Gadwall, 37 Eurasian Wigeon, 76 Shoveler, 212 Common Teal, the 2 long-staying GARGANEY, 29 Northern Pochard and the MANDARIN DUCK, whilst other waterbirds taking advantage of the emergent vegetation included 12 Little Egrets, 6 Great Crested Grebe, a juvenile Little Grebe, 25 Moorhen and 743 Coot.
A juvenile RUFF was new in and showing well on the spit (the 5th this autumn so far), along with 202 Lapwings, a juvenile LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and 5 Common Snipe, whilst just 3 Common Terns remained, roosting with 43 Black-headed Gulls.

Otherwise, the 2 COMMON KINGFISHERS were in the NW corner adjacent to the overflow, a family party of 4 HOBBIES was noisily flying about and 16 House Martins flew over

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

And yet another Bucks WRYNECK....

Nick Smart photographed a WRYNECK yesterday afternoon in Downley, High Wycombe.....

DIRECTIONS: Find the Moor Lane nursery/playgroup in Downley (there is a small amount of parking there) and then you walk up the slope on to the common and keep to the left fork, and it was in the scrubby thistle patch in the middle of the common (almost opposite the white house), only about 100/150 yards up from the Moor Lane playgroup.

Manor Farm 1/9

Fem/juv COMMON REDSTART in the trees west of the farmhouse.

Two BLACK-TAILED GODWITS out on the water as were 3 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper and a single Little Grebe (Chris Gleadell)

Monday, 2 September 2013

First autumn WHINCHAT for Pump Lane

31/8 16:30 : Whinchat : Pump Lane, Marlow (Adam Bassett)

BLACK-WITS at Spade Oak

31/8 15:00 : 2 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS : Little Marlow GP.
wading of end of spit (per David Cox)