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

Friday, 10 January 2014

In search of that GLOSSY IBIS........

Being probably the only keen Buckinghamshire lister that still hasn't seen a Glossy Ibis in the county, I returned again to the west of the county in the hope of relocating the Bicester juvenile in the Upper Ray Meadows. Alas, I had no joy......
It was a nice day, with no rain until 4pm, pretty mild and a moderate wind.
At WHITEHOUSE FARM (SP 653 198), the resident House Sparrow population remained healthy at 28 individuals, with Common Magpie, Robin and Great Tit also in the vicinity.
At UPPER RAY MEADOWS WEST, where the river was in very full flood, masses of birds were present, including a whopping 3,300 LAPWING (my highest count locally in over 10 years), 298 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER and vast numbers of gulls, both small and large white-headeds (for example, 272 Lesser Black-backs, 156 Herring, 31 Great Black-backed). There were also a lot of winter thrushes in the area - at least 280 Fieldfare and 240 Redwing feeding in the wet field immediately NNE of Whitehouse Farm. A lot of Common Starlings too - 190 - as well as a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE, 2 Reed Bunting and 80 Common Teal. Despite a lot of searching, I could not locate any Ruff (at least 33 having been seen in this area recently, perhaps commuting back and forth to Otmoor).

Lapwings in profusion - the largest numbers I have seen in Bucks for over 10 years

and a large flock of Golden Plovers

I searched the floods as far west as the county border at PIDDINGTON, but apart from hundreds of gulls and Rooks rebuilding their nests, nothing was found. At OAKAPPLE FARM near MARSH GIBBON (SP 65 22), another 350 Common Starlings, 200 Fieldfare and 100 Redwing and near GRENDON UNDERWOOD at DUNMEAD FARM (SP 67 21), a single flock of 1,300 Common Starlings, 2 Common Magpies and another large flock of Fieldfare and Redwing. A further 110 Fieldfare was counted at THREE BRIDGE MILL.
The CATTLE EGRET was showing very well at BRIARHILL FARM and I managed to better my previous images of the bird (see below) mainly by cheating and enticing it over.........

I tried to entice the Cattle Egret over with some earthworms but although quite curious

...he never quite plucked up the courage to come down...

......and eventually flew back to rejoin the cattle

Sitting in the hide at FOXCOTE RESERVOIR from 1245-1350 hours yielded the redhead SMEW (frustratingly feeding on the far side underneath the vegetated eaves and very distant), an impressive 13 Common Goldeneye (6 drakes), 12 Cormorant, 3 Mute Swans, 11 Common Teal, 16 Gadwall, 305 Wigeon, 12 Pochard, 31 Tufted Duck, 8 Great Crested Grebe and 215 Coot.

This redhead SMEW was very distant, hugging the far edge of the reservoir and fishing the shallows

A good number of Common Goldeneye (13)

....and an adult Sinensis Cormorant

House Sparrows numbered 14 in BUCKLAND COMMON (SP 91 07), with numerous Robins singing in the area and 1 Song Thrush, with a gathering of 23 Carrion Crows at WICK FARM, HASLOE (HERTS) and a Common Buzzard (but again no Linnets).

Back in the CHESS VALLEY late afternoon, both pairs of Mute Swans at BOIS MILL LAKE and CHURCH COVERT respectively and 5 LITTLE EGRETS in the CHENIES BOTTOM area fishing.