My UK Year List - 2014

  • 117-118) GREAT WHITE EGRET and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Mary's Lake, Earls Barton GP, 9 January
  • 116) Barnacle Goose, Emberton Park, 9 January
  • 114-115) SMEW and Cetti's Warbler at Great Hardmead Lake, Amwell, 7 January
  • 113) Reed Bunting, Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 112) Tree Sparrow (32 birds), Tyttenhanger, 7 January
  • 111) Sparrowhawk, West Hyde, 7 January
  • 110) Mandarin Duck, Burnham Beeches NNR, 7 January
  • 100-109) Curlew, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Common Shelduck, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton, 6 January
  • 99) RUDDY SHELDUCK, Sidlesham Ferry, 6 January
  • 96-98) Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Rock Pipit in Shoreham Harbour
  • 95) Red-breasted Merganser, Widewater, 6 January
  • 94) GREY PHALAROPE, Hove Lagoon, 6 January
  • 93) Grey Partridge, Broom, 5 January
  • 92) Goosander, Woburn Lakes, 5 January
  • 91) Skylark, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 90) Yellowhammer, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 89) Corn Bunting, Totternhoe, 5 January
  • 88) Water Pipit, Wilstone, 5 January
  • 87) SABINE'S GULL, Weston Turville, 5 January
  • 86) Common Scoter, Brogborough, 4 January
  • 85) GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, Stewartby Lake, 4 January
  • 84) Red-legged Partridge, Hatch, 4 January
  • 83) Common Kestrel, Langford, 4 January
  • 82) GLOSSY IBIS, Frensham, 4 January
  • 81) Goldcrest, Frensham, 4 January
  • 80) Green Sandpiper, Lynsters, 3 January
  • 79) Stock Dove, Lynster's, 3 January
  • 78) Egyptian Goose, Lynsters Farm, 3 January
  • 77) Common Chiffchaff, Stockers Lake
  • 76) SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Stockers Lake
  • 75) Siskin, Stockers Lake
  • 74) Dunnock, Stockers Lake
  • 73) Ring-necked Parakeet, Stockers Lake
  • 72) Lesser Redpoll, Stockers Lake
  • 71) Coal Tit, Chaffinch House
  • 40-70: Nuthatch, Greylag Goose, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Common Redshank, Common Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, LITTLE STINT, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Wagtail, Goldeneye, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Marsh Tit, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Jay, Red-crested Pochard, Wren, Collared Dove (all at Tring Reservoirs), Brambling (Ivinghoe), Herring & Great Black-backed Gull, CATTLE EGRET (Briarhill Farm, Calvert) & Green Woodpecker
  • 1-39 all local, Chess River Valley & Shardeloes Estate: 1 January 2014: Chaffinch, Common Starling, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Common Magpie, Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Common Buzzard, Canada Goose, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Pochard, House Sparrow, Common Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Little Grebe, Common Gull, Red Kite, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, WOODCOCK, Treecreeper, Greenfinch and Water Rail

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Year Listing in the UK

Lee Evans has been Year-listing in the UK since 1977 and has achieved annual totals of over 300 species ever since. Although he has recorded in excess of 360 species on some nine occasions, his record stands at 386 species - achieved in 1996. Adrian Webb in Year 2000 recorded at least 378 species, making him by far the highest-listing individual to compare with Lee. In terms of Life Listing, Lee has recorded 577 species in Britain and Ireland and 853 species in the wider Western Palearctic region.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Story So Far - 258 species

2010 UK Year List - LGRE

1) Little Grebe, Great Water, Bucks, 1 January;
2) Atlantic Great Cormorant (Sinensis), Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
3) Grey Heron, Chesham Fishing Lakes, Bucks, 1 January
4) Little Egret, Chess River Valley, Bucks, 1 January;
5) Mute Swan, Chesham, Bucks, 1 January;
6) Atlantic Canada Goose, Latimer, Bucks, 1 January;
7) Mallard, Chesham, Bucks, 1 January;
8) Gadwall, Shardeloes Lake, Bucks, 1 January;
9) Northern Pochard, Great Water, Bucks, 1 January;
10) Tufted Duck, Great Water, Bucks, 1 January;
11) Red Kite, Chesham, Bucks, 1 January;
12) Common Buzzard, M25 Junction 17, Herts, 1 January;
13) Common Kestrel, M25 Junction 17, Herts, 1 January;
14) Common Pheasant, Old Amersham, Bucks, 1 January;
15) Moorhen, Chenies Bottom, Bucks, 1 January;
16) Eurasian Coot, Great Water, Bucks, 1 January;
17) Lapwing, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
18) Common Redshank, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
19) Common Snipe, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
20) Black-headed Gull, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
21) Common Gull, Shardeloes Lake, Bucks, 1 January;
22) Woodpigeon, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
23) Stock Dove, Latimer Hall, Bucks, 1 January;
24) Eurasian Collared Dove, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
25) Tawny Owl, Brook Wood Penn, Bucks, 1 January;
26) Common Kingfisher, Chenies Bottom, Bucks, 1 January;
27) Ring-necked Parakeet, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
28) Green Woodpecker, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
29) Meadow Pipit, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
30) Pied Wagtail, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
31) Dunnock, Chenies Bottom, Bucks, 1 January;
32) European Robin, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
33) Common Stonechat, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
34) Song Thrush, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
35) Redwing, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
36) Mistle Thrush, Latimer Hall, Bucks, 1 January;
37) Fieldfare, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
38) Common Blackbird, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
39) Goldcrest, Penn Wood, Bucks, 1 January;
40) Great Tit, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
41) Coal Tit, Latimer Hall, Bucks, 1 January;
42) Blue Tit, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
43) Long-tailed Tit, Brook Wood Penn, Bucks, 1 January;
44) Nuthatch, Latimer Hall, Bucks, 1 January;
45) ASIATIC BROWN SHRIKE, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
46) Common Magpie, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
47) Jay, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
48) Jackdaw, Chenies, Bucks, 1 January;
49) Rook, Chesham, Bucks, 1 January;
50) Carrion Crow, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
51) Common Starling, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
52) House Sparrow, Chesham, Bucks, 1 January;
53) Chaffinch, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
54) Goldfinch, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 1 January;
55) Greenfinch, Latimer, Bucks, 1 January;
56) Bullfinch, Old Amersham, Bucks, 1 January
57) Green Sandpiper, East Hyde, Beds, 2 January
58) Common Teal, East Hyde, Beds, 2 January
59) Eurasian Sparrowhawk, East Hyde, Beds, 2 January;
60) Wren, East Hyde, Beds, 2 January;
61) Grey Wagtail, East Hyde, Beds, 2 January;
62) Great Northern Diver (2), Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
63) Great Crested Grebe, Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
64) Red-crested Pochard, Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
65) Greater Scaup, Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
66) Common Goldeneye, Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
67) Lesser Black-backed Gull, Brogborough Lake, Beds, 2 January;
68) Greylag Goose, Newport Pagnell, Bucks, 2 January;
69) Goosander, River Ouse at Newport Pagnell, Bucks, 2 January;
70) Wigeon, Newport Pagnell GP, Bucks, 2 January;
71) Yellowhammer, Little Linford Wood, Bucks, 2 January;
72) Common Treecreeper, Little Linford Wood, Bucks, 2 January;
73) Marsh Tit, Little Linford Wood, Bucks, 2 January;
74) RING-NECKED DUCK, Foxcote Reservoir, Bucks, 2 January;
75) Shoveler, Foxcote Reservoir, Bucks, 2 January;
76) European Herring Gull, Wilstone Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
77) Cetti’s Warbler, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
78) Reed Bunting, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
79) Corn Bunting, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
80) Water Rail, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
81) European Golden Plover, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January;
82) Eurasian Bittern, Marsworth Reservoir, Herts, 2 January
83) Peregrine, Aylesbury County Hall, Bucks, 3 January;
84) Whooper Swan, Nlackthorn Water Meadows, Oxon, 3 January;
85) Bewick’s Swan, Blackthorn Water Meadows, Oxon, 3 January;
86) Ruff (2), Blackthorn Water Meadows, Oxon, 3 January;
87) Great Black-backed Gull, Blackthorn Meadows, Oxon, 3 January;
88) Little Owl, A12 Billericay, Essex, 3 January;
89) Linnet, Abberton Reservoir, Essex, 3 January;
90) Smew (3 drakes), Abberton Reservoir, Essex, 3 January;
91) Woodcock, Marks Tey, Essex, 3 January;
92) Eurasian White-fronted Goose, Newport Pagnell, North Bucks, 4 January;
93) GREAT WHITE EGRET (2 birds), Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, 4 January;
94) Barn Owl, Linford NR, North Bucks, 4 January;
95) Pintail, Ibsley Water, Hampshire, 5 January;
96) Black-tailed Godwit, Ibsley Water, Hampshire, 5 January;
97) Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
98) Common Shelduck, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
99) Oystercatcher, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
100) Pied Avocet, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
101) Spotted Redshank, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
102) Eurasian Curlew, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
103) Bar-tailed Godwit, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
104) Grey Plover, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
105) Dunlin, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
106) Rock Pipit, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, 5 January;
107) Eurasian Skylark, Wallingford, Oxon, 6 January;
108) Jack Snipe, East Hyde, Herts, 8 January;
109) Grey Partridge, Lilley Manor Farm, Herts, 8 January;
110) Great Spotted Woodpecker, Penn Wood, Bucks, 9 January;
111) Common Crossbill, Penn Wood, Bucks, 9 January;
112) Lesser Redpoll, Penn Wood, Bucks, 9 January;
113) Brambling (83), Penn Wood, Bucks, 9 January;
114) Ruddy Duck, Stocker’s Lake, Herts, 10 January;
115) Mandarin Duck, Flitwick Sewage Treatment Works, Beds, 10 January;
116) Glaucous Gull (juvenile), Calvert Sailing Lake, Bucks, 10 January;
118) Caspian Gull (adult), Calvert Sailing Lake, Bucks, 10 January;
119) Yellow-legged Gull, Calvert Sailing Lake, Bucks, 10 January;
120) Common Chiffchaff, River Colne at Broadwater Sailing Club, Herts, 11 January;
121) Siberian Chiffchaff, River Colne at Broadwater Sailing Club, Herts, 11 January;
122) Siskin, Stockers Lake, Herts, 11 January;
123) Tree Sparrow, Tyttenhanger Farm, Herts, 11 January;
124) Red-legged Partridge, Tyttenhanger Farm, Herts, 11 January;
125) Egyptian Goose, Burnham Beeches NNR, Bucks, 13 January;
126) Pink-footed Goose, Radwell GP, Beds, 17 January;
127) Taiga Bean Goose (3), Radwell GP, Beds, 17 January;
128) Velvet Scoter (2 immature drakes), Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire, 17 January;
129) Red-breasted Merganser, William Girling Reservoir, London, 18 January;
130) Black-necked Grebe (24), William Girling Reservoir, London, 18 January
131) Black-throated Diver, William Girling Reservoir, London, 18 January;
132) Common Raven, Lewes, East Sussex, 21 January;
133) Tundra Bean Goose (7), Aston, Oxfordshire, 22 January;
134) ROSE-COLOURED STARLING, Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, 23 January;
135) BLACK-THROATED THRUSH, Newholm village, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
136) Red-throated Diver, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
137) Northern Gannet, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
138) Northern Fulmar, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
139) Common Guillemot, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
140) European Shag, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
141) Turnstone, Scalby Mills, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
142) Common Eider, Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
143) Long-tailed Duck (3), Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
144) Common Scoter, Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
145) Purple Sandpiper (24), Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
146) Ringed Plover, Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
147) Red Knot, Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
148) Razorbill, Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire, 24 January;
149) Pale-bellied Brent Goose (22), Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, 24 January;
150) Long-eared Owl (5), Bedfordshire, 25 January;
151) Slavonian Grebe, Rainham Marsh RSPB, London, 25 January;
152) RED-BREASTED GOOSE, Wallasea Island Wetland, Essex, 25 January;
153) Black Brant, Wallasea Island Wetland, Essex, 25 January;
154) Common Greenshank, Wallasea Island Wetland, Essex, 25 January;
155) Mediterranean Gull (3), Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 26 January;
156) RING-BILLED GULL, Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex, 29 January;
157) Northern Grey Shrike, Chislehampton, Oxfordshire, 29 January;
158) Water Pipit, Staines Moor, Middlesex, 30 January;
159) Common Sandpiper, Staines Reservoirs, Middlesex, 31 January;
160) Firecrest, Pryor’s Wood, Stevenage, Herts, 31 January;
161) Merlin, Sandon Area, Herts, 3 February;
162) Hooded Crow, Swinford, County Galway, EIRE, 6 February;
A835 Braemore Junction, Sutherland, 17 March;
163) Black Guillemot, Ballynakill Harbour, County Galway, EIRE, 6 February;
164) THAYER’S GULL, Ross Beach, County Galway, EIRE, 6 February;
165) Red-billed Chough, Fanad Head, County Donegal, EIRE, 7 February;
166) SMALL CANADA GOOSE (RICHARDSON’S), Raghley, County Sligo, EIRE, 7 February;
167) Green-winged Teal, Budds Farm Sewage Works, Hampshire, 11 February;
168) Marsh Harrier, Grove Ferry, Kent, 14 February;
169) Sanderling, Leysdown-on-Sea, Sheppey, Kent, 14 February;
170) Hen Harrier, Grove Ferry, Kent, 14 February;
171) DUSKY WARBLER, Lockwood Reservoir, London/Essex, 15 February;
172) Golden Pheasant, Barnham, Suffolk, 16 February;
173) Willow Tit, Thetford, Norfolk, 16 February;
174) Northern Goshawk, Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk, 16 February;
175) Hawfinch, Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk, 16 February;
176) Red-necked Grebe, Whitlingham Great Broad, Norfolk, 16 February;
177) Bohemian Waxwing (18), Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk, 16 February;
178) Rough-legged Buzzard, Thorpe Marshes, Norfolk, 16 February;
179) Snow Bunting, Salthouse Beach, Norfolk, 16 February;
180) COMMON CRANE, Southease, East Sussex, 18 February
181) GREATER SNOW GOOSE, Holme, Norfolk, 24 February;
182) Bearded Tit, Tirchwell RSPB, Norfolk, 24 February;
183) Twite (40), Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, 24 February;
184) Mealy Redpoll, Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, 24 February;
185) Shore Lark (16), Holkham Gap, Norfolk, 24 February;
186) Black Redstart, West Runton, Norfolk, 24 February;
187) Short-eared Owl, Haddiscoe Island, Norfolk, 24 February;
188) Kittiwake, Sennen Cove, Cornwall, 28 February;
189) CATTLE EGRET (2 birds), Sennen Penrose Farm, Cornwall, 28 February;
190) Blackcap, Morrab Gardens, Penzance, Cornwall, 28 February;
191) LESSER SCAUP, Colliford Lake, Cornwall, 28 February;
192) Eurasian Spoonbill (5), River Lynher, Cornwall, 28 February;
193) LITTLE BUNTING, Sconner, River Lynher, Cornwall, 28 February;
194) Dipper, Buckfastleigh, Devon, 1 March;
195) Cirl Bunting (5), Broadsands Beach car park, Devon, 1 March;
196) SURF SCOTER, Dawlish Warren, Devon, 1 March;
197) Woodlark, Exminster village, Devon, 1 March;
198) Whimbrel, River Otter, Buddleigh Salterton, Devon, 1 March;
199) Dartford Warbler, Aylesbeare Common, Devon, 1 March;
200) Garganey, Amwell NR, Herts, 4 March;
201) Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hockley Woods, Essex, 6 March;
202) BUFFLEHEAD, Langton Herring, Dorset, 7 March;
203) BLACK KITE, Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Powys, 7 March;
204) BONAPARTE’S GULL River Taff, Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, 10 March;
205) AMERICAN WIGEON, Caerlaverock WWT, D & G, 16 March;
206) Greenland White-fronted Goose (166 birds), Loch Ken, 16 March;
207) Black Grouse, Tulloch Moor, Speyside, 17 March;
208) Capercaillie, Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey, Speyside, 17 March;
209) Crested Tit, Loch an Eilean, Speyside, 17 March;
210) Golden Eagle, Gruinard, Highland, 18 March;
211) Rock Dove, Laide & Achgarve villages, Gruinard, Highland, 18 March;
212) KING EIDER, Roseisle, Burghead Bay, Moray, 18 March;
213) Scottish Parrot Crossbill, Abernethy Forest, Speyside, 19 March;
214) Red Grouse, Tomintoul, Speyside, 19 March;
215) Ptarmigan, Glenshee, Aberdeenshire, 19 March;
216) Iceland Gull, Ayr, Ayrshire, 19 March;
217) Sand Martin, Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 20 March;
218) EURASIAN HOOPOE, Langton Herring, Dorset, 20 March;
219) GLOSSY IBIS (3), Ham Walls RSPB, Somerset, 20 March;
220) Northern Wheatear, Ivinghoe Hills NR, Bucks, 21 March;
221) European Barn Swallow, College Lake BBOWT, Bucks, 22 March;
222) Stone Curlew, Foxhole Heath, Suffolk, 24 March;
223) ALPINE SWIFT, Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk, 24 March;
224) Little Ringed Plover, Little Marlow GP, Bucks, 26 March;
225) Willow Warbler, Little Marlow GP, Bucks, 26 March;
226) Ring Ouzel, Blows Downs, Bedfordshire, 26 March;
227) White Wagtail, Octogon Farm, Willington, Bedfordshire, 26 March;
228) Common Tern, Startop’s End Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 27 March;
229) PENDULINE TIT (3), Dungeness ARC, Kent, 27 March;
230) Sandwich Tern, Dungeness Beach, Kent, 27 March;
231) TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL, The Lodge RSPB, Sandy, Bedfordshire, 28 March;
232) PALLID SWIFT, Kessingland, Suffolk, 28 March;
233) LESSER KESTREL, Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk, 28 March;
234) Yellow Wagtail, Willows Farm Pool, Tyttenhanger, Herts, 30 March;
235) House Martin, Little Marlow GP, Bucks, 30 March;
236) KENTISH PLOVER, Shellness, Kent, 3 April;
237) FERRUGINOUS DUCK, Holmethorpe Sand Pits, Surrey, 4 April;
238) Common Redstart, Batford, Herts, 6 April;
239) Osprey, Stewartby, Bedfordshire, 7 April;
240) Arctic Tern, Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 7 April;
241) BLACK-WINGED STILT, Rainham Marsh RSPB, London, 8 April;
242) Sedge Warbler, Stockers Lake, Herts, 9 April;
243) LADY AMHERST’S PHEASANT, Greensand Ridge, Bedfordshire, 11 April;
244) Common Whitethroat, College Lake BBOWT, Bucks, 12 April;
245) Little Gull (3), Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 12 April;
245) Western Reed Warbler, Amwell NR, Herts, 14 April;
246) Lesser Whitethroat, Croxley Common Moor, Herts, 16 April;
247) Hobby, Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, 20 April;
248) Common Swift, Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, 20 April;
249) Grasshopper Warbler, Marsworth Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 21 April;
250) Whinchat, Marsh Boldon, Oxfordshire, 21 April;
251) Common Nightingale, Willington Pits, Bedfordshire, 21 April;
252) European Turtle Dove, Woodoaks Farm, Maple Cross, Herts, 23 April
253) WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT, Welney WWT, Norfolk, 24 April;
253b) Continental Limosa Black-tailed Godwit, Welney WWT, Norfolk, 24 April’
254) Black Tern, Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts, 25 April;
255) Garden Warbler, Ivinghoe Hills NR, Bucks, 25 April;
256) Dotterel (9), Preston Candover, Hampshire, 27 April;
257) Common Cuckoo, Linford NR, North Bucks, 28 April;
258) IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Walderslade Woods, Kent, 30 April


The Kent male photographed by Marc Heath


Another warm day, with clear skies and light SW winds. Also another day out with Mick Frosdick. Our target bird today – an IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF in North Kent….


We arrived on site at 1030 hours and after a 300 yard walk through the woodland belt to the clearing on the other side, walked out into warm late morning sunshine to find the bird – a singing male IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – showing well. It was singing fairly repeatedly not that far away from two male Common Chiffchaff territories and was a classic rendition of the song uttered by birds in NW spain. In terms of appearance, it was pretty much standard, with pale orange-brown leg colour, largely yellow plumage colouration, yellow supercilium, yellow thighs and pale bill. The diagnostic Wood Warbler-like call note was uttered on several occasions but it did mimic Common Chiffchaff on occasions, although not exactly and in a rather subdued fashion. There was some yellow on the underwing coverts, with a green rump and rather dark lores.

The Walderslade singing male Iberian Chiffchaff in North Kent, superbly photographed by Ian Hardy. Note the yellow in the supercilium, in the underparts and along the flanks, and the extensive pink on the lower mandible. The pale legs are not obvious in these two shots.


A Dark-bellied Brent Goose was visible on the River Thames, whilst the reserve held Common Tern, many Common Swifts, House Martins, Sand Martins and two singing male Common Whitethroats.


No sign of Darin’s Whinchat but 18 Common Swifts, Green Woodpecker, a Common Whitethroat and 2 rattling male Lesser Whitethroats.


Made up for my earlier dip by connecting with two gorgeous male WHINCHATS feeding on the common land at Norton Green. They were associating with a flock of brightly plumaged GREENLAND WHEATEARS – 14 in total. A male Common Whitethroat was in song.

Walking down the lane towards the Common, mainly in the task of seeing GARDEN WARBLER (a male was quickly seen), I found a singing male Western Reed Warbler in reeds around the small pond opposite Oakapple Cottage,


The Great Crested Grebes were still attending the two young, whilst two Coot nests were active and a Mallard was with 8 ducklings. Four House Martins were overhead, with a male Reed Bunting in song and the first WESTERN REED WARBLERS back on territory.


A Song Thrush was in full song in the entrance wood whilst the reedbed held Western Reed Warblers and at least 1 Cetti’s Warbler. Common Swifts numbered 138 birds, with 63 House Martins and 106 Barn Swallows.

On the breeding front, 16 Great Crested Grebes entertained two active nests and the female Red-crested Pochard was accompanying 7 ducklings (Vicky Duxbury had initially seen 9 on 28 April).


A late evening visit resulted in 12 Great Crested Grebes, 13 Mute Swans, 3 drake Shoveler, 12 Gadwall, 5 Northern Pochard, 3 Greylag Geese, 8 HOBBIES, 114 Common Terns, 70 House Martins and 243 Common Swifts.

I was chatting with both Steve Rodwell and Dave Bilcock at the top of the steps when a BAR-TAILED GODWIT appeared at 1928 hours and flew strongly north overhead. It was probably a female as it had no evidence of reddish colouration. An excellent record.

So that was it – April 2010 over and a further 23 species added to my Year List. Many migrants were now ‘under the belt’ and the graph below illustrates my progress through the first four months of the year. The respective totals being 160, 193, 235 and 258.

ROE DEER in village


A first record for me in the village was of two stag ROE DEER rutting at 0800 hours in the cereal fields alongside the Latimer Road.

Bucks TREE SPARROW at last.......and COMMON CUCKOO


Another glorious day and with freshening SSW/SSE winds, superb for scarcities arriving, particularly on the coasts. The southerly element in the wind rather than yesterday's westerly really made it feel warm and very pleasant and with long spells of sunshine following a particularly grey morning, it was a particularly rewarding day.

I concentrated on local survey work for much of the morning before venturing north into North Bucks and later Bedfordshire. The highlight of the day was the locating of a TREE SPARROW colony, as well as finally nailing COMMON CUCKOO and some mega-views of reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER..........


House Sparrows are now feeding nestlings whilst the early nesting pair of Common Blackbirds is feeding its sole surviving youngster. Green-veined White butterflies in the garden, as well as 2 Goldfinches still visiting the Nyger.

Nearby, House Sparrows are also nesting at three other households in my road and another pair is utilising the ivy at 102 Elizabeth Avenue.

In Chenies Avenue, nesting birds included a pair of Goldfinches and a pair of Long-tailed Tits.

At dusk, two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew south to roost at 2015 hours.

WEST WOOD, LITTLE CHALFONT (from SU 996 982 to TQ 004 983)

This section of mainly coniferous woodland held three pairs of nesting Common Blackbirds and two singing male Chaffinches, as well as 3 pair of Wren and two of European Robin.


More deciduous than coniferous trees and therefore more productive for breeding species - highlight was the finding of a COMMON BUZZARD active nest, with two different singing male BLACKCAPS, 2 pairs of Long-tailed Tit (a pair by the Stony Lane car park and another by the clearing further east), a singing male SONG THRUSH, single singing male Chaffinch and Wren and nesting Common Blackbird (2 pairs), Blue Tit (1 pair) and Common Magpie. The sunlit glades in the wood were carpeted with large numbers of flowering Bluebells.

In the grass field adjacent (east of Stony Lane), two different singing male EURASIAN SKYLARKS were present, whilst in the clearing between Walk Wood and Coney Wood, firstly a female and then a singing male YELLOWHAMMER were recorded.


Breeding birds included Common Blackbird (1 pair), Wren (3 pairs), Great Tit (1 pair), Long-tailed Tit (1 pair) and European Robin (1 pair).


A total of 5 Coots was present on the wider section of Chess west of the village bridge whilst the pair of Greenfinch were still present around Mill Farm House. One pair of GOLDCRESTS remain in the tall firs in the garden immediately west of Chenies Place.


A pair of SONG THRUSHES was busy feeding young at the extreme south end of Limeshill Wood, with a pair of STOCK DOVE and a single Jay also noted in the wood. Again, the wood was heavily carpeted in flowering Bluebells.

A singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was in the scrub bordering the footpath, as was a male Blackcap, whilst the Recording Area's first COMMON WHITETHROAT of the year was a displaying male in the hedgerow that borders the reserve.


From the Water Vole Viewpoint (TQ 023 988) to Valley Farm (TQ 027 992) and the Crestyl Watercress Farm (TQ 028 989), the highlight was a crippling LITTLE OWL that Carmel located. The bird sat just 15 yards away in a Willow beside the boardwalk and afforded outstanding views for several minutes before it undulated away and landed in a neighbouring pollarded Willow.

The pair of COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS were still present around the Watchpoint, along with a singing male Blackcap, a Dunnock and two singing male Wrens, whilst nearby a pair of Long-tailed Tits was nesting.

At Valley Farm, a pair of EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS was on territory.


A party of 6 Common Magpies was feeding together on the grassy sloping field above Holloway Lane, with a NUTHATCH calling from the laneside trees.


The village held a singing male Mistle Thrush and Blackcap and male GOLDCREST at 'The Lodge' by the green. Two different male Dunnocks were in song, with two pairs of Eurasian Collared Dove and a pair of Goldfinch by the horse paddocks.


Halsey's Wood held Green Woodpecker, Common Blackbird (1 pair), Great Tit (1 pair), Long-tailed Tit (nesting pair), Dunnock (nesting pair) and a singing male Blackcap whilst the hedgerow bordering the footpath yielded a singing male YELLOWHAMMER.


A full inventory revealed the presence of 38 birds of just eight different species and a substantial active Badger's sett in Hillas Wood. Most impressive were 5 singing male SONG THRUSHES, with a nesting pair of Stock Dove. Present were Green Woodpecker (yaffling male), Great Spotted Woodpecker (nesting pair), Wren (4 pairs), European Robin (3 pairs), Great Tit (1 pair) and Blue Tit (6 pairs). Not one warbler was recorded, nor Nuthatch or Common Blackbird, and considering the size of the woodland, a very poor overall yield..


This wood is situated immediately north of the Metropolitan railway and lies to the south of the Amersham road and is half a mile east of Little Chalfont village. A full inventory today revealed a nesting pair of COMMON BUZZARDS along with European Robin (2 pairs), Common Blackbird (1 pair), Long-tailed Tit (2 pairs), Great Tit (3 pairs), Blue Tit (5 pairs) and Wren (4 pairs).

A pair of YELLOWHAMMER was in the hedgerow bordering the Amersham road, with a further singing male in the scattered trees in the hedgerow running north on the north side of the road.


The pair of GREAT CRESTED GREBES on the smaller of the two lakes has two fledged, small stripy young, sheltering on the back of the mother. They fledged on Saturday and are one of the earliest nesting pairs I have known. The other pair were still present on the larger lake whilst nearby, a pair of European Barn Swallows have returned to McMinn's Yard.


After finishing off local survey work, I decided to drive north to explore the far north of the county and to try and fill in a few missing gaps in my 2010 Bucks Year List. Linford is renown for its variety of warblers and today was no exception. In the warm sunshine of the early afternoon, 10 species of warbler were recorded including a reeling male GRASSHOPPER WARBLER showing well at the edge of the field bordering the hedgerow 100 yards from the main car park, a rattling male LESSER WHITETHROAT close to the car park, at least 9 singing male WESTERN REED WARBLERS, 7 singing male SEDGE WARBLERS, 4 Blackcaps, 6 singing male GARDEN WARBLERS, a single male COMMON WHITETHROAT, 2 male WILLOW WARBLERS and 3 singing male Common Chiffchaffs.

There were also a male Song Thrush, male Greenfinch, pair of Long-tailed Tits and several Reed Buntings, whilst the lake yielded 4 Common Terns, 8 House Martins, several Barn Swallows and 5 active LITTLE EGRET nests.

There was an excellent crop of butterflies including Small and Green-veined Whites, 9 Orange-Tips, 17 Peacock and 33 Speckled Woods.


Following up recent sightings, I was absolutely delighted to find a colony of TREE SPARROWS in the village, lying just south of the county boundary with Northamptonshire. These birds were my first in the county this year and were on territory along Dag Lane. Eight birds were noted in total with a pair territorial in an ivy-covered tree 60 yards south of the church and the remainder in and around the garden of number 6 that borders the village (utilising the peanut feeder and the nestboxes) at SP 834 491.

The footpath south of Church Lane and the church also yielded several European Barn Swallows and supported Common Starling (1 pair), Goldfinch and Greenfinch. House Sparrows were nesting at Church Farm.


Flushed with success, I decided to explore the Castlethorpe area in the hope of locating more Tree Sparrows but despite an exhaustive search, failed in my quest. The only birds of note were Yellowhammers, several singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS and a pair of Red-legged Partridges at New Buildings Farm.

Sadly, a dead Badger was near Longland's Wood at SP 830 469.


I returned to Linford after receiving a call from Paul Moon that he had heard a COMMON CUCKOO - a species I was really struggling with this year. Following his directions, I quickly located the bird - a calling male - in Willows and trees bordering the north side of the reserve.

At Haversham Weir (SP 839 437), two COMMON SANDPIPERS were present, whilst in this vicinity and the north side of the reserve, 36 Mute Swans, COMMON SWIFT, 9 House Martins, 3 further male WESTERN REED WARBLERS, 2 SEDGE and 2 CETTI'S WARBLERS.


In 'Scrapyard Corner', Jim Gurney's EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVES were still present today, with the beautiful purring male affording excellent views as it perched on the telegraph wires viewable from the raised mounds. The area in which this pair has once again taken up territory is fully protected from disturbance and an extremely suitable site for breeding.

A male LESSER WHITETHROAT was 'rattling' nearby.


The drake GARGANEY remains present on Lagoon 9 whilst up to 11 HOBBIES were overflying the Poplars and railway of Rookery Pit and a male COMMON CUCKOO flew from the allotments to Lagoon 4. A few COMMON SWIFTS were overhead, along with an overall increase in HOUSE MARTINS, whilst one of the 9 reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS on the reserve afforded exceptional views to Neil Wright and myself in the vicinity of the pylon. A wealth of other warblers present included 2 of the 8 CETTI'S WARBLERS and Western Reed, Sedge and Willow.


Neil and I visited Brogborough late afternoon and were surprised to see how well the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was showing at the west end of the lake from the viewpoint. The reason soon became apparent - the bird was in serious distress. It had somehow swallowed a fishing line and had it entangled around its beak, green weed hanging from it. It repeatedly attempted to wash it off but obviously failed and after dipping its head in the water for a long period, eventually settled down and tried to rest. It closed its eyes and rested for 45 minutes or more whilst Darren Oakley-Martin very kindly tried to raise the RSPCA for a rescue. The RSPCA could not command a rescue boat unfortunately, certainly not until tomorrow morning, and we had to reluctantly leave the bird. It did perk up later and started fishing and diving but was always unsuccessful. It did seem quite strong.

The non-breeding flock of 21 Great Crested Grebes was still present and another calling male COMMON CUCKOO was recorded.

As I drove back towards home, a dead BARN OWL was lying in the central carriageway of the southbound M1 at Junction 10 - the Luton Airport turnoff.

DOTTEREL tripping........


Delivered some prestige cars today along the South Coast. Driving back, stopped off in Hampshire for a trip of DOTTEREL........


A trip of 9 DOTTERELS - Was very lucky to see these birds with Steve Mansfield today and from what I could ascertain, SIX birds were FEMALES, with 5 in full plumage and one in transitional, whilst the remaining three were males. They were feeding and resting in a bean field east of Preston Candover village on the south side of the road to Bradley at SU 620 418.

Adult Dotterels partially moult into breeding plumage between early March and mid May with the complete moult attained by the time they breed from the last week of May. During this spring period, a variable number of new feathers come through in the crown, on the mantle, in the scapulars, across the wing-coverts and tertials and of course the chest feathers.

Juveniles retain their old feathers much longer and many in June still appear to be largely in non-breeding plumage - some juveniles replace a few breast and belly feathers but the flight feathers remain very worn, bleached and abraded.

A female Northern Wheatear was also present in the field


The highlight of this evening's visit was a female MARSH HARRIER flying back and forth over the Wilstone reedbed at 1930 hours - my first in the county this year - along with 10 Mute Swans (6 first-summers), a female Common Teal, two drake and a pair of Shoveler, 7 Northern Pochard, 82 Common Terns and 15 Common Swifts.

Wasted trip to Essex


Grey skies prevailed with a fresh SW wind blowing, whilst temperatures struggled to reach 14 degrees C. An abortive trip for a putative male Red-backed Shrike wasted the morning......


The loft House Sparrows now have chirping young in the nest.


Mick Frosdick and I drove over to near Chelmsford where a male Red-backed Shrike had been reported early morning. It was most likely a singing male Common Whitethroat.

The abortive trip produced several singing male Common Whitethroats in the river valley, a few Blackcaps and a typically elusive reeling male GRASSHOPPER WARBLER.


The female Ruddy Shelduck and Common Shelduck were both present, along with a Little Ringed Plover and a single Ringed Plover on the main birding pit.


Two Green-veined White butterflies visited the garden, whilst a stroll along Elizabeth Avenue revealed the presence of breeding House Sparrows at number 102, breeding Goldfinches nearby and male Greenfinch and 4 Long-tailed Tits in Chenies Avenue.

In the vicinity of Stoney Lane, a single EURASIAN SKYLARK was in full song, as well as 2 Chaffinches, Common Blackbird and a male Blackcap.

In Walk Wood, large numbers of Bluebells were in flower, whilst Long-tailed Tit (2 pairs), Song Thrush (singing male), Wren, Chaffinch, Common Blackbird (2 pairs), Blue Tit (pair), Common Magpie, Common Buzzard and Yellowhammer (pair) were all recorded. A further Skylark was in song in the field behind.


Moving on to Chenies Bottom hamlet, the woodland bordering Greathouse Farm yielded Long-tailed Tit (pair), Common Blackbird, Blue Tit, European Robin (singing male) and Wren (3 males), whilst the Chess produced 4 Coots and Mill Farm House a singing male Greenfinch.


A pair of Song Thrush were feeding young in the nest in the wooded area whilst the main meadow held singing Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap and COMMON WHITETHROAT (my first locally this year). A pair of Stock Doves was also present, as well as Jay, whilst the woodland here was also carpeted in Bluebells.

At the Water Vole Watchpoint, further Common Chiffchaffs were encountered, as well as Wren, Dunnock. Blackcap and Long-tailed Tit and as we ventured further along the wooden boardwalk, Carmel espied a beautiful LITTLE OWL perched low in a riverine shrub affording the most crippling of views. It sat there for a full five minutes before flying off - awesome.

At Valley Farm, Barn Swallows were in attendance, and as we walked back towards Chenies village, 6 Common Magpies, Nuthatch, male Mistle Thrush and Blackcap were noted. A singing male Goldcrest was in the front garden Yew of The Lodge by the village green.

I then walked from the village towards Carpenter's Wood recording more Dunnocks (4 including a nesting pair), Goldfinch (2 pairs), Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, male Blackcap, a singing male Yellowhammer and a Green Woodpecker.


Did a full inventory of the site but it was poor - 5 singing male Song Thrushes, Green Woodpecker, 6 pairs of Blue Tit, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit and a pair of Stock Dove; there was also an active Badger's sett.


Railway Wood yielded Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and Common Buzzard, whilst yet another singing male Yellowhammer was noted in the cereal fields. Walking back to the A404, Long-tailed and Blue Tits were nesting in the hedgerow and trees by the footpath and by the road itself, a pair of Yellowhammers were breeding in the hedge there.

As I walked home, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over the village at 8.15pm.

BLACK TERNS and the North Bucks BEWICK'S SWAN moves to Beds

The juvenile BEWICK'S SWAN which had moved from Gayhurst to Broom (Steve Blain) and today's two BLACK TERNS at Wilstone (David Bilcock)

Heavy rain fell all morning before it cleared away leaving a hot dry afternoon with temperatures climbing to 22 degrees C. It was a busy day on the local birding front.


A brilliant day for tern passage with a whopping 125 Common Terns on view and two summer-plumaged adult BLACK TERNS - my first of the year and the only two all year at Wilstone (254).

There were also 150 Common Swifts present over the reservoir, with 3 HOBBIES perched in Black Poplars near the hide, 3 Common Buzzards, a Common Sandpiper and in the private gardens in Drayton Beauchamp, 3 Common Chiffchaff, a singing Goldcrest, Blackcaps, an Orange Tip butterfly and a WEASEL.


A very quick visit to Top Scrub where GARDEN WARBLER was added to the Year List (255)


Moving NE into Bedfordshire, Brogborough Lake produced 6 Common Terns, 27 Great Crested Grebes (in one large raft) and a host of singing warblers including Sedge, Blackcap, Willow and Common Chiffchaff. Two Black Terns had flown east just before I arrived........


Arriving at 1540 hours, UI was very pleased to intercept the two breeding-plumaged BLACK TERNS - loosely flying around the centre with 10 Common Terns. A single HOBBY was feeding distantly over the Rookery Poplars.


Teamed up briefly with Mike Ilett where the juvenile BEWICK'S SWAN I had previously seen at Gayhurst in North Bucks was now with 29 Mute Swans at Broom Peacock's Lake (see Steve Blain's images above). There was also Oystercatcher, 18 Common Terns and Sand Martin.


My first Beds DUNLIN of the year - 3 adults in summer plumage - along with Oystercatcher, Ringed and Little Ringed Plover, Common Redshank, Lapwing and 8 Common Terns.


A flock of 125 Linnets in setaside fields just north of the village.


A repeat visit in the evening - Warren Claydon was just departing. New in during the afternoon were 26 ARCTIC TERNS with at least 183 terns present in total. There were also an impressive 125 Barn Swallows whilst the male WOOD WARBLER was again singing from the private ornamental lake in Drayton Beauchamp.


Two LITTLE GULLS were present towards dusk - an adult winter and a first-year - as well as 13 Common Terns.

My first BLUETHROAT in a few years

The exceptionally long-staying WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT by the Lyle Hide at Welney WWT (Craig Shaw). The bird was still present in mid August.


A dry day with southerly winds, although temperatures dropped sharply in the evening.


(1800-2030 hours) A rare afternoon out with Frossy (aka Mick Frosdick). Had seen very little of him in a long time so it was great to catch up and share a few fond memories. Our target bird was a beautiful male WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT that had taken up territory close to two of the hides north of the main centre. The bird had been singing and showing well in the first three hours of daylight and being highly crepuscular in their actions, I wholly expected the same to be repeated tonight. It didn’t unfortunately though, and along with five or six other observers, we really struggled to get on to it. It was skulking in a sheltered ditch (the wind had freshened up quite a bit) and if it hadn’t been for the very sharp eye-sight of Kester’s father Ian Wilson, I doubt whether we would have seen it at all. Ian managed to locate the bird very late on actually sleeping (roosting) in the ditch and I was able to get my ‘scope on it and obtain full frame (but obscured) views of it up until dusk. It barely did anything other than occasionally open its eyes when I pished lightly.

An adult WHOOPER SWAN was still present on the reserve, whilst up to 4 pairs of Limosa EUROPEAN BLACK-TAILED GODWITS were in full display over the Washes. – my first of the year. A few Common Snipe were drumming whilst Avocet, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, Marsh Harrier (female), House Martins, 8 Yellow Wagtails and both Sedge and Western Reed Warblers were seen. A BARN OWL also flew along the river.

The Arlington Reservoir BONAPARTE'S GULL

My second BONAPARTE'S GULL in Sussex and at the very same site as the first (same bird!) - excellently photographed by David Cooper

Thursday, 19 August 2010


I managed to miss this delightful bird today - here depicted in full glory by Marc Heath. Frustratingly, it had been present several days.

A beautiful day - light winds, dry, blue sky and warm sunshine.


COMMON NIGHTINGALES were the target bird and a total of 6 was recorded - the most confiding the singing male in the scrub by the main car park. At least two were singing from what is now considered Hertfordshire.

The reserve was also highly productive for warblers with a cacophony of sound - Western Reed Warblers, Cetti's, Sedge (14+), Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Whilst in the car park, I received news of a Red-rumped Swallow in East Kent that had been present for the past three days and suppressed. It was still showing so I set off in pursuit.........


It was an 83 mile drive to Minster and just as I pulled up at the manual railway crossing with Bo Beolens, we discovered that the barriers were not working. We eventually raised them physically and drove the last mile to the treatment works.

A local guy was on site and informed us that the swallow had last been seen at 1216 hours. It was now 1315 and for the next three hours, there was no sign of it. Every now and again, a small wave of European Barn Swallows dropped down sufficiently to be seen but the Red-rumped was no longer with them. Two House Martins were in the area, along with a male Yellow Wagtail, rattling male Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Western Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and Common Buzzard, whilst butterflies were represented by Green-veined White, Orange Tip and Peacock.


Later in the evening, I saw my first WHINCHAT of the year - a dapper male in the middle of the moor, as well as 2 Common Whitethroats..


The first-summer male BLACK REDSTART was showing well by the last barn but the real surprise bonus was a EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE in the orchard - the first I have ever seen at this site and my first of the year.


A Red Fox was sunning itself


GREAT CRESTED GREBES had successfully bred, with a pair with two small young on the smaller of the two lakes. Another pair were on the larger lake. There were also 11 Tufted Ducks and a few Swallows flying around.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

BONAPARTE'S GULL performs well


A very frosty start to the early morning followed by a glorious sunny day. Whilst chatting to Chris Pontin in the McMinn's Yard in Chesham, 2 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS noisily passed over at 0720 hours.....


At 1100 hours, the adult BONAPARTE'S GULL in full breeding plumage was showing extremely well along the west shore with 8 Black-headed Gulls. Its smaller size, all-dark bill and bubblegum-pink legs were diagnostic.

The adjacent scrub harboured both Lesser and Common Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff, with Western Reed Warblers in the reedbed fringe and 3 Shoveler, 1 Common Tern and House Martins over the reservoir.


An evening visit between 1900 and 2000 hours yielded a first-summer female MARSH HARRIER quartering back and forth over the reedbed, whilst 5 Shoveler, a drake Pochard, 5 Common Sandpipers, an adult Common Gull, 46 Common Terns and 6 COMMON SWIFTS were noted.


After rescuing a few wayward straying Sheep (escaped after careless walkers had left the gate open), I made contact with 22 WHEATEARS feeding on the slope SE of the Beacon. At least 5 of these were brightly marked GREENLAND WHEATEARS.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

GROPPERS at last but still no Cuckoo


Another light frost overnight and another day of cool NW winds, although these slackened off to almost nothing by dusk. Clear and blue throughout, with bright sunshine, temperatures climbing to 13 degrees C.

It was another bumper day locally, particularly for scarce waders, with the larger species battling their way into the wind. On the downside, I dipped another Marsh Harrier, but on the positive, bagged a nice PIED AVOCET......

(0700-0800 hours)

Failed to meet the dawn commitments with Roy and Dave B so hence missed the Whimbrel that roosted overnight on Wilstone and flew off strongly east at 0618 hours (and most likely relocated further NE in Bedfordshire).

However, just as I drove over the canal bridge from Tring, Ben Miller texted to say that he had just found another LITTLE GULL, this time on Marsworth. Within minutes I was watching it and yet again, another individual in a very confusing state of plumage. It had a patchy black head and all dark bill, pale grey underwings with some dark mottling on the underwing coverts and all white upperwings, so presumably an adult in transitional plumage or a near adult. It also had the salmon-pink flush to the underparts and as it showed well, it flew between both the Bucks and Herts sections of the reservoir.

Acting on news provided by Warren Claydon and Steve Rodwell, I was extremely pleased to finally connect with a reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER - my first of the year. The bird was showing extremely well perched high on top of grasses in the rough field adjoining the sewage works and sang from 0720 until at least 0755 hours.

The number of SEDGE WARBLERS in the Marsworth Reedbeds had also greatly increased with a minimum of 11 singing males, whilst CETTI'S WARBLERS numbered 3, a 'new' singing male WILLOW WARBLER was located (by the sewage works) and two singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS had arrived, again both in the vicinity of the works.

The only other birds of note were a pair of Shoveler on the Sewage Farm lagoon and a Common Redshank that flew over west calling (whilst Ben saw the first-year Little Ringed Plover that had earlier been roosting on Wilstone jetty)..


As Ben had checked College Lake, I gave it a miss and headed straight for the Chiltern escarpment. It was freezing up there and although the sun was shining, the fresh NW wind kept activity by migrants to a minimum. Just 1 female NORTHERN WHEATEAR remained present on the SE Beacon Hill slope and a single LESSER REDPOLL flew east. Five male COMMON WHITETHROATS were still between the S bend and the penultimate Beacon peak but best of all was a crippling male GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling from a small bush left (west) of the main track up to the trig point, on the upper reaches of the SW slope. The bird was singing right out in the open with its throat and head reverberating with the strange action of its reeling and its beak wide open. It was still singing at 0820 hours.


A party of 4 House Sparrows was in the hedgerow opposite the farm shop. I was joined by Jim Middleton at the top of the steps (he had been on site early enough to witness the Whimbrel) and over the next half hour recorded 1 LITTLE GULL (the relocating bird from Marsworth), an impressive 6 COMMON SANDPIPERS on the algae bunds, 15 Common Terns and the Common Redshank I had seen earlier now roosting on the East reservoir bank.

Other migrants included 1 COMMON SWIFT, 242+ SAND MARTINS, 22 HOUSE MARTINS, 58 Swallows and a singing male Blackcap in trees opposite the car park.

More familiar species noted included -:

Great Crested Grebes (12)
Grey Heron (25 active nests on the Drayton Bank)
Continental Cormorant (9 active nests in the two main trees on the Drayton Bank)
Mute Swan (just 2 present, both apparent cobs)
Gadwall (19)
Shoveler (5)
Tufted Duck (127)
Northern Pochard (3 drakes)
Coot (64 counted, with several pairs actively nest-building)

Mistle Thrush (pair gathering food on the bank by the car park)

A41 (BUCKS) - Sadly, yet another dead Badger, this one lying on the southbound carriageway near Tinker's Lodge at SP 956 095


I was just about to undertake survey work around my village when I took a call from Oxfordshire - Phil Barnett had just discovered a HOOPOE. I managed to locate a single YELLOWHAMMER, a singing male Dunnock and a single EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW east of Burton's Wood before moving on....


Whilst on route for Henry Mayer Gross's old stomping grounds, a further dead Badger was seen - on the westbound M40 at SU 855 911.

I met up with finder Phil Barnett late morning and together we explored and searched the Toot Baldon and Marsh Baldon in the hope of relocating the Hoopoe but never did - in fact, it was not seen again all day.

Far and away the highlight was a migrant flock of chats in a pea field just west of Gotham Farm, including 15 NORTHERN WHEATEARS and a gorgeous male WHINCHAT - my first of the year. We also recorded 4 male YELLOW WAGTAILS, a singing Common Chiffchaff and several European Barn Swallows whilst resident birds included Common Kestrel, Linnet and Song Thrush. Butterflies included Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.


After speaking to Lol Carman, I decided to spend the afternoon in Bedfordshire, where several county year-ticks lay in wait. At one site near Stewartby, a mid-afternoon visit yielded a migrant WHIMBREL, a COMMON SANDPIPER and a breeding-plumaged adult BLACK-TAILED GODWIT. The Whimbrel flew off north at 1510 hours and no doubt relocated to the neighbouring Kempston Hardwick complex, after initially landing in Rookery, whilst the godwit was an interesting individual, with an extensively orange bill and black tip similar to European but with other features suggestive of islandica.

Also noted were 2 pairs of Little Grebe, nesting pairs of Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Common Redshank and migrant YELLOW WAGTAIL (2 males) and WHITE WAGTAIL.

(1530-1630 hours)

With Lol now on a roll, I was playing catch up, and with a visit to Willington Cycle Track later in the afternoon, I was to add yet another new bird for the year - a singing male COMMON NIGHTINGALE. Although there had already been two singing birds in the Sandy area, this was the first Beds songster I had heard of and being freshly arrived, with scanter vegetation, it was there for the taking. Despite it being in the heat of the afternoon, and with walkers and cyclists ambling by, the bird was in full song. It was commuting between the flowering bramble and several more isolated bushes and was performing extremely well, favouring the scrubby patch just south of the cycleway almost in line with the pool to the left of the track and 300 yards west of the main entrance.

The scrub was alive with singing warblers, including 15 Blackcaps, several Common Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a COMMON WHITETHROAT and 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS, whilst nearby, the planned scrape area yielded a remarkable feeding flock of 27 YELLOW WAGTAILS and WESTERN REED WARBLERS in the neighbouring patch of Phragmites.


Tried to see all 3 Grasshopper Warblers but failed to even hear any and had similar success with Common Cuckoo. A CETTI'S WARBLER by Lagoon 9 was notable, along with 3 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS.


Again, drew a complete blank on Common Cuckoo, and no sign of the singing male Firecrest either. WILLOW WARBLERS were again very evident, with 6 singing males.

........Just as I was skirting Stewartby, Steve Rodwell 'phoned to say that a female MARSH HARRIER was lingering at Wilstone. Frustratingly, I was stuck in the traffic of the A 421 roadworks, but after taking the back route through Lidlington, Flitwick and Toddington, made good headway. Dave Bilcock phoned to say that the bird was showing again at 1840 hours, quartering the reedbed, and I had high hopes. However, just as I entered Wilstone village, the harrier chose that minute to continue its migration, and charged off high to the north. I had missed it by literally minutes.........

Then, just as I was about to drive into the Wilstone car park, Simon Nichols texted to say that Kevin Duncan had just found a PIED AVOCET at Dorney and I was on the move again.....


It was 29 miles driving from Tring to Dorney and I arrived on site at 1956 hours. The PIED AVOCET - a fine adult - was still present on the Seasonal Pool and standing in shallow water, occasionally dipping its upturned bill into the water. The first this year in the Three Counties, I was very pleased to connect. It remained until at least 2015 hours, despite the constant fighting of a pair of Common Shelduck

Another nail-biting end to a challenging and quite exhausting day



There was a light frost overnight as the wind switched to the Northwest and freshened during the morning. It remained clear and bright but felt particularly cold in the wind.

It was another good day in terms of migration with more fresh arrivals. I managed two year-ticks - HOBBY and COMMON SWIFT but still failed to find either Grasshopper Warbler or Common Cuckoo. In stark contrast to yesterday, most of the Ring Ouzels had moved on overnight......


Following an early morning call from Dave Bilcock, I was able to connect with the 3 DUNLIN at 0900 hours. They were still feeding on the island on the main lake and involved one adult in transitional plumage and two still largely in winter plumage (see Dave's images above).

There was also a smart adult male WHITE WAGTAIL in the NE corner of the marsh but otherwise, it was the breeding waders which were significant.

In addition to the two lingering COMMON SNIPE, it was great to finally see that the OYSTERCATCHERS have finally settled down to breed with one bird sat on a nest on the larger of the two Eastern islands. At least 7 pairs of Lapwing were nesting, with one pair with fledged young, with 4-6 Common Redshanks also present.

Wildfowl included the two adult Mute Swans, 3 Greylag Geese and single pairs of both Common Teal and Northern Shoveler.

I failed to hear or see the Common Cuckoo, my best being a singing male WILLOW WARBLER.


Two different male LESSER WHITETHROATS were 'rattling' away, with one in the hedgerow 250 yards south of Northfield Grange at SP 947 133 and another SW of Northfield Road at SP 949 128.

The woodland on the Aldbury Nowers escarpment held 2 singing male Blackcaps and a single Common Chiffchaff, whilst 2 Stock Dove, Nuthatch, Robin and Common Blackbird were also recorded. There was one European Barn Swallow quartering the fields and at least one pair of Eurasian Skylarks in the paddock fields.


A third OYSTERCATCHER was present in the quarry, additional to the nesting pair at College.


Despite the sunshine, it must be still too early for Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, with only Peacocks seen and a single Speckled Wood in the coppice.

I was pleased to see the resident population of HOUSE SPARROWS holding up - with 6 pairs in total, with the nucleus around Grace Cottage - as well as one pair of Eurasian Collared Dove, 3 pair of Chaffinch and 3 pairs of nesting Common Blackbird.

The coppice area held a male BULLFINCH, single singing male WILLOW WARBLER, Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap and Great Tit, whilst the main common held at least one singing male Eurasian Skylark.


At the bottom of Inkombe Hole slope, Dave Bilcock and I recorded 33 PASQUE FLOWER spikes (including 16 in full flower) but little in the way of migrants. A male Sparrowhawk drifted over and 3 Sand Martins flew north.

Elsewhere along the escarpment, there was a fall of COMMON WHITETHROATS, with 5 singing males between the S-bend and the Beacon, a LESSER WHITETHROAT showing well on the Steps Hill slope and at least 6 singing male WILLOW WARBLERS (between Top Scrub and the S-bend). The 5 NORTHERN WHEATEARS remained in situ, favouring the SE slope below the Beacon and including two very bright individuals, most likely Greenland-types.

A very bright pipit that appeared to have a long hind-claw and was skulking about in the grass eventually turned out to be a Meadow Pipit.


At the north end, in the Harding's Rookery area, Coal Tit, singing Common Treecreeper and Nuthatch were noted, whilst further south, a circuituous walk between the War Memorial, up the west side of the golf course and out west to farmland NW of Well Farm failed to yield any Cuckoo, Tree Pipit or Garden Warbler.

The highlight was 6 different singing male WILLOW WARBLERS, along with 4 male Blackcaps, 2 male Common Chiffchaffs, a pair of Jays, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Song Thrush, a pair of Yellowhammer and an Orange Tip butterfly. Two Stock Doves were feeding in the chicken pen by Well Farm

Nearby, in trees north and west of the castle remains, the Rookery held 23 active nests.


An early afternoon visit with DB yielded our first HOBBY of the year - a bird giving a fine show flying back and forth over the reedbed and moving as far west as the hide. Mike Campbell and Peter Leigh had first discovered it at 1300 hours.

Common Tern numbers had increased to 18 birds.


There was no sign of yesterday's European Golden Plover flock but a single Lapwing was in one of the meadows immediately beyond the A41 bridge. This area also yielded a singing male COMMON WHITETHROAT and 4 Linnets whilst the village itself held a population of some 35 HOUSE SPARROWS.


I spent a long period from early afternoon surveying the extensive conifer woodlands for crests. At the Hale end, a total of 5 singing male FIRECRESTS was located and 8 GOLDCRESTS, with a hooting TAWNY OWL, 3 singing male Coal Tits, 1 WILLOW WARBLER, the 3 male Common Chiffchaffs, Song Thrush and pair of Long-tailed Tits also recorded. A Comma butterfly was seen, along with 3 Peacocks.

In the small triangular coppice west of the A413 just south of the Wendover Bypass, the Rookery at SP 873 064 held 31 active nests.


I then surveyed the southern escarpment of forest along the Ridgeway, from Boswell's Farm (SP 880 065) through Barn Wood to the north end of Hale Wood (SP 894 072) - a 2.5 mile section of forest. This yielded a further 4 singing male FIRECRESTS and 3 GOLDCRESTS, along with Common Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Song Thrush, Robin and male Blackcap. Most unexpected was another HOBBY - a bird flying high over the ridge above Barn Wood at 1620 hours - one of my earliest ever in Bucks.

Whilst walking back, DB texted to inform me that Jonathon Nasir had just located a male Common Redstart at Miswell Farm......

(evening visit from 1700) (with JN, DB, MCa, and later SR and Warren Claydon)

Mike Campbell and Dave were already on site when I arrived at Miswell Farm shortly after 1700 hours but after scouring the hedgerows and fenceposts north of the 'caravan field', there was no further sign of the adult male Common Redstart.

Not only that, Jon's purple patch continued, as an Osprey being trailed by a Red Kite and Common Buzzard flew over him shortly later, and quickly drifted off NNE as it skirted the reservoir.

I drove around to the main car park and was surprised to see the number of 'new' birds that had arrived during the afternoon, including a summer-plumaged pink-breasted 2nd-summer LITTLE GULL, a minimum of 28 COMMON TERNS (Charlie Jackson counted 33 later) and a huge arrival of hirundines including no less than 320 SAND MARTINS, a massive 43 HOUSE MARTINS and 70 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS, and with them 3 COMMON SWIFTS - my first of the year.

There were also 2 COMMON SANDPIPERS present, 2 LAPWING flew west, a female Mallard was accompanying three ducklings and several Red Kites were overhead, whilst a YELLOW WAGTAIL flew east, as well as 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Later towards dusk, CJ enjoyed excellent views of a WHIMBREL which settled briefly on the East Bank before being flushed by a dogwalker.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

RING OUZEL passage reaches a dramatic peak whilst London HOOPOE rounds off an eventful day

Hoopoe (March Heath), Black Redstart (Steve Blake) and Little Gull images (Simon West)


The fine weather continued, although several degrees down on yesterday's high point of 19 degrees C. Winds remained light but frequently touched SE and as cloud increased during the day, the first rain for some time fell in the Chilterns just prior to dark.

Today was exceptional for RING OUZELS with many seen, along with more BLACK REDSTARTS and late on - a performing HOOPOE..........

Diverting away from Wilstone, realising that the Whimbrel had flown off east, my first port of call was the Ivinghoe escarpment, where some 3 RING OUZELS remained present (2 males just east of the fenceline just SE of the Beacon and a female on the southern slope of Inkombe Hole) and 5 NORTHERN WHEATEARS remained from last week. There was nothing new to be seen so I moved east....


It soon became apparent that RING OUZELS were to be the order of the day, with a single male feeding with the Red-necked Wallabies and small Patagonian Deer just south of the White Lion ('scoped from the B 4506 Dunstable Road at SP 995 169), three more (male and two females) in the gully just above the Stone Curlew field just south of the European Bison pen (at SP 998 183) and a further 3 (two males and a female) on Bison Hill, SSE of Icknield Farm - the latter all visible from the B 4506 Dagnall Road.


No sign of any Dingy or Grizzled Skippers on the chalk face but a female RING OUZEL 'chakking' from scrub by the steps from the car park.


Following a call from Lol Carman, Blows Downs were to be my next destination, where a female BLACK REDSTART had just been found - an individual of which I had missed there last week. Following Lol's excellent directions to the T, I eventually located it, showing well on the fenceposts and small bushes in the vicinity of the pallet/gate in the eastern half of the paddocks. I called over to John Temple who was also present and he managed to see it too. It remained faithful to this one spot and was still present when I departed mid-morning.

In the paddock bordering the hedgerow (again, in the eastern paddocks), an impressive 5 RING OUZELS was present (three males and two females), all showing well feeding out in the open on the grass. There were also up to 9 Common Blackbirds present in the paddocks (several gathering food so obviously feeding young) as well as a Song Thrush, whilst on the Caddington Slopes, a singing male Common Whitethroat and pair of Bullfinches was in the vicinity of the second pylon.


After chatting with MJP and RB, I then decided to head NE to Broom, where in the company of Mark Thomas and his extended family, enjoyed a stunning adult male RUFF in full finery feeding with a Ringed Plover and Common Redshanks along the western shoreline. This was my first in the county this year (and perhaps one of the three birds I dipped in North Bucks last night) and was rich ginger on the head, black on the underparts, with bright orange legs. This really was a dapper bird.

Up to 5 Common Terns were present on Peacock's Lake, with a YELLOW WAGTAIL over and a male WILLOW WARBLER singing from perimeter bushes.


A long search revealed nothing more than a flock of 11 continuing COMMON CROSSBILLS and single singing WILLOW WARBLER and COMMON CHIFFCHAFF. Common Buzzards (up to 6 in all) were flighting high above the newly created heathland areas.


Day-ticked SCB but saw little more - the 2 COMMON SHELDUCK and pair of COMMON TERN were noteworthy.

(1300-1410 hours)

Instead of covering Norton Green which I had planned to do, I had to rush down to Tyttenhanger, where Steve Blake had discovered another BLACK REDSTART......

Parking by the Bailiff's Office and mobile canteen, I quickly came upon (at last) my first Herts COMMON WHITETHROAT of the year - a singing male in bushes and scrub by the conveyor belt and Fishing Pit. I was also delighted to see my first ORANGE-TIP butterflies - 3 of them flying around the small wood at the entrance.

The BLACK REDSTART - an adult male moulting towards full summer finery - was present in the fenceline bordering the paddocks situated 500 yards east of Tyttenhanger Farm and the Woodyard and was showing very well in the afternoon sunshine. It was commuting between the scattered Oak trees, a tree-stump, some flowering blossom bushes and the fence wire and was ranging along a 200 yard stretch. Steve Blake managed the record shot above. Another male COMMON WHITETHROAT was sharing this same area, whilst two pairs of TREE SPARROWS was nesting, with a male Muntjac Deer feeding out in full view. A few Peacock Butterflies were also noted.

The main pit held a pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, a pair of OYSTERCATCHERS and 6 Common Redshank, with up to 10 pairs of Lapwing in adjoining fields and singing male WILLOW WARBLER and several Blackcaps.

Shortly after I departed, yet another male Ring Ouzel was found - most probably the male that had visited Croxley Common Moor earlier in the day.


At least 16 pairs of HOUSE SPARROWS were located in the village, as well as 8 nesting pairs of Common Blackbird. Nearby, the nesting pair of PEREGRINES were utilising their usual crevice.

(1530-1610 hours)

A party of 3 adult-type LITTLE GULLS, two with full black hoods, was showing well commuting between the green algae bunds directly out from the car park and the surface area out from the jetty. There had been 6 birds present earlier in the afternoon. Interestingly, one of the birds had black peppering in the primary feathers suggesting immaturity, but had a full black hood and typically dark underwing. Two birds also had a beautiful pink wash to the underparts. Simon West obtained the excellent images above. They were loosely associating with 8 Black-headed Gulls.

The 16 COMMON TERNS from yesterday evening remained, whilst new for me was the COMMON SANDPIPER feeding out on the bunds.

Some 8 Shoveler remain, a male YELLOW WAGTAIL flew through and hirundines included 42 Sand Martins and 5 European Barn Swallows.

At STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the 4 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Mute Swan and 27 Tufted Ducks were present, with 5 Barn Swallows patrolling the north bank, whilst MARSWORTH RESERVOIR held 11 Great crested Grebes, 5 Shovelers, a drake Northern Pochard and 2 more Mute Swans. A further 9 Mute Swans was on the adjacent Grand Union Canal.

The horse paddocks held 1 male YELLOW WAGTAIL, 1 adult male WHITE WAGTAIL and 5 Pied Wagtails, with a GREY WAGTAIL by the canal locks and the Marsworth Canal Reedbed holding a singing male SEDGE WARBLER. A further SEDGE WARBLER was in the reedbed wood, where also the first singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER of the year was present (easily audible from the footpath close to the overflow). The male Blackcap and male Common Chiffchaff of the past week or so were both still present and a very noisy CETTI'S WARBLER was by the Sewage Farm.

Overhead of Marsworth were 6 Common Terns, 25 Sand Martin and 7 Barn Swallows.


Well the day was almost over but with confirmation from Paul Whiteman of a North London HOOPOE, I utilised the last couple of hours with a visit there........

I arrived on site shortly after 1830 hours and was immediately updated by Roy Woodward as to the behaviour of the bird. After leaving the east bank of the KGV Reservoir, it had flown to a neighbouring area of fields and had been lost from view. A small crowd had gathered, including Roy, Jan Hein, Lol Boldini, Jonathan Lethbridge and Paul Whiteman, and after spreading out along the A 112 opposite Yardley Lane, I relocated the bird as it flew up from the grassy field and disappeared over the hedge and landed on the lawn of the aptly-named Sewardstone Evangelical Church. As HOOPOES always do, it fed on the vicar's lawn for a few minutes before flying again and entering the air-space of a small housing estate and flats. As Alan Stewart, Paul W and I walked into the cul-de-sac, the HOOPOE flew over us and went back towards the church grounds and then went to ground for a while.

It eventually reappeared and then flew 200 yards eventually to settle in front of some barns just east of the reservoir, where 11 of us enjoyed the best show of the evening as the bird fed out on the track and in the field (see Roy's image above). The bird was constantly alert and nervous, raising its crest at every sound, and after just a very short while, flew back south and returned once more to the church grounds. In fact, this is where it roosted just prior to dusk.

A hugely enjoyable and eventful day

A quiet local day dipping RUFFS



A singing male BLACKCAP close to the garden and my first BRIMSTONE butterfly of the year.


At least 40 House Sparrows noted in and around the village but at the reserve, a search from the hide failed to locate any of Tim Watt’s 3 Ruff (see his excellent images above). I did see a pair of Oystercatchers, pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, 6 Common Redshank, 8 Lapwings, a drake Shoveler, 2 drake Common Teal and both Willow Warbler and Common Chiffchaff in the House grounds.


Little of note other than 4 Shoveler, 14 Common Terns and 5 Sand Martins on Wilstone, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Mute Swans on Startop’s End Reservoir and 9 Shoveler, 2 singing CETTI’S WARBLERS and a SEDGE WARBLER on Marsworth Reservoir..