Bird Sightings

Seen an interesting bird?  Then let us know by submitting a record on our on-line database.  It is easy to do but if you need some instructions take a look at the Submit Sightings Page.  To view the latest sightings just click on the menu item for Latest Sightings.

Some birds are not uncommon in other parts of the country or around our coasts, but may be in Buckinghamshire.  If you want to see just how scarce a particular species is then take a look at the Bucks List.

Upcoming Club Events

    No events

County Bird Racing

This is an article looking back in time to when County Bird Racing was popular. At one time there were national competitions which attracted hundreds of teams from many counties across the UK. The teams would consist of four birders who would have to see or hear as many species as possible in a 24 hour period, from within their county. The teams would be handicapped as to what their species target would be and the winners would be the team with the highest percentage of their target.

So in an attempt to document what happened in Buckinghamshire, the results have been pulled together and are shown in two tables.

Table 1 – The List of Participating Teams and Totals. This data can also be found at
https://www.goingbirding.co.uk/bucks/birdracing.asp

The second table is in PDF form and can be downloaded with this link. This table shows all of the species seen for the teams.

It is quite interesting to see how some species have become more common over the years and how some species have become very difficult to find. For example in the early years it was not possible or extremely difficult to see Little Egret, Red Kite, Buzzard or Raven. It was however, with a bit of planning, possible to see or hear Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Willow Tit, Turtle Dove, Ruddy Duck and others. Take a look at the species table for the whole picture.

Since the last race took part in 2012 things have changed further. Turtle Dove and Nightingale have all but gone from the county and birds such as Great White Egret are now a possibility! If anyone does attempt a bird race in the future it will be interesting to compare results. One thing is for sure is that to get even close to the current record of 121 species will be a real challenge!

White Stork in South Bucks

On 8th June, photos posted on Twitter and on Facebook of a White Stork at Cockmarsh, just over the border in Berkshire, were tantalising and several Bucks birders crossed the Thames to try and locate the bird. Unfortunately all that could be gleaned was a report that “a Crane” was seen to fly off north, presumably over the river into Bucks.

A wander around some of the likely places in the area the following day did not produce anything however the video below has since been posted on Twitter. This was taken on Monday 8th at Bradenham about 11 kilometres to the NW from Cockmarsh.

There are 18 prior records of the species in the county. The origin of this bird is not known but there are release schemes in Southern England at present, so a possible source.

Red-necked Phalarope at Little Marlow GP

The Red-necked Phalarope was a gap in the county list for many Buckinghamshire birders. That all changed on Sunday 7th June 2020 at about 07:10 when Little Marlow regular Adam Bassett saw a male land on the west side of the sand spit. He quickly put news out to the county birders and with 20 minutes several local birders were on site with a steady flow of birders arriving during the morning.

The bird fortunately mainly fed along the west side of the sand spit which is much closer than the east side and it fed quite happily moving up and down most of the morning. It was harassed from time to time by Coots but generally just flew a short distance. It did swim from time to time as it picked insects off of the water.

Photography was difficult given the distance to such a small bird and the light conditions.

An interesting size comparison

A video of the bird can be found at https://twitter.com/Adamdbassett/status/1269724081076699136

At 09:18 the bird was seen to fly off high and it was thought to have gone. However it returned just after 10:00 and stayed until 11:53 when it was seen to fly off.

The above photos are courtesy of Adam Bassett (1 &3) and Paul Watts (2 & 4).

Peregrines in Marlow

Peregrine Falcons have gradually been spreading across the country and now breed on many tall buildings and structures across the country, as well as their natural cliff habitat. For the past few years we have been fortunate to have Peregrines breeding on the Aylesbury Council Offices and the MK Stadium in Milton Keynes.

We now have two more sites which are currently home for two pairs of Peregrines, both being seen regularly on the main churches in High Wycombe and Marlow and both are called “All Saints”. Neither site seems to have any breeding activity going on this year but that might indicate that one or more of them are first summer birds and not ready to breed just yet. However Peregrines often stay in the area that they have taken up residence in to breed, so hopefully next year breeding may take place.

Both sites are on secure buildings but the birds can be viewed from the churchyards of surrounding roads. Please respect the churchyards and graves if you visit.

All Saints Church Marlow – Plenty of perching places for Peregrines and plenty of food nearby. There are two Peregrines up there somewhere!
One of the Marlow birds with prey on 31st May
Marlow – 31st May
31st May – Neither of the Marlow birds appears to be ringed.
The female eating an unfortunate Ring-necked Parakeet – 1st June
The male perched higher up the side of the steeple. 1st June

Peregrines in High Wycombe

The High Wycombe birds have been present through the latter part of the winter at least. Neither appears to be ringed. Birds have been reported at both Marlow and High Wycombe within a short time period, so it seems likely that these are separate pairs. The photos below were taken in February 2020 but the birds were still in the area in April and May.

All Saints Church, High Wycombe. One bird can just be seen on the parapet.
Peregrine – female
Peregrine – female
The male

Photos kindly provided by Phil Laybourne, Dave Parmenter and Jim Rose.

Coronavirus - Bird Sightings

Please ensure that you follow “Social distancing” guidelines when birding in and around the county. Some reserves remain closed and will be until such time as the managers of the reserves feel that they can be visited in safety. This is a particular problem for reserves that rely on hides to see the birds.

If you are lucky enough to have found a rare bird that might attract a lot of attention then please tick the “Confidential” box when submitting the sighting. The record will then show in the database in red and only be visible to yourself and the database administrators. This will help prevent a large gathering of birders. The Confidential Box is shown below.

It is important to continue to post your sightings and these will eventually find their way into the Buckinghamshire Bird Club Monthly Bulletin and the Buckinghamshire Annual Report.

The Next Field Meeting

 

All planned field meetings until the end of June 2010 have been CANCELLED due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Future plans for field meetings will be posted here as and when the committee feel is it acceptable to do so and this of course also depends on government guidelines.

 

 

 

________________________________________________

Dipper - Wycombe Rye

Local birder Alan Petherbridge was visiting The Rye at High Wycombe on Thursday 12th March when he saw a Dipper fly past him along the Dyke at fairly close range. He posted the sighting on Bucks Goingbirding Database and that led to David Bevan visiting the site at dawn the following day. David quickly found the bird perched on the waterfall at the eastern end of the Dyke and put the word out. It was of the continental Black-bellied race. By 7am several local birders were on site and managed to get excellent views of the bird. However it disappeared just before 10:30am and was not seen again that day.

The following morning (14th) the bird was re-found and was seen on and off all day either near to the waterfall or close to the streams nearby.

Perched on the waterfall. Photo from John Edwards
An early morning shot taken by David Bevan.
Photo from Simon Hunt
Early morning video clip from Jim Rose

Dippers are very scarce birds in Buckinghamshire with only 14 prior records. The last record in 2016 was in Milton Keynes and only seen by a handful of people. Prior to that the previous record was way back in 1994! Interestingly a Dipper was reported at Wycombe Rye in September and November 1984, so the site does appear to be attractive to any Dippers passing through (but clearly a very rare event!).

To view a previous post on the 2016 Dipper sighting click here.

2018 Annual Report

The 2018 report has just been published (January 2020). It is a comprehensive review of the birds seen in the county during the year, plus other interesting birding articles and many superb photos. The report is supplied free to club members. For more information on joining the club click here.

The report contains the follows topics :-

  • The Buckinghamshire Bird Club in 2018– Peter Garner
  • List of Birding Sites in Buckinghamshire
  • Recording Buckinghamshire’s Birds
  • The Cranes at Gallows Bridge – Rob Andrews 
  • Ten Years of Birding Tattenhoe  – Harry Appleyard
  • Bird Ringing Report 2018 – Adam Bassett and Bill Parker
  • Buckinghamshire Bird Report Systematic List 2018 – Mike Wallen

For information of obtaining a copy click here.

Bucksbirders Email Group

The Bucksbirding GoogleGroups Email Group is a newly created group that replaces the Bucksbirders YahooGroups Email Group.  It is used for two main purposes :-

  • To post information from the Buckinghamshire Sightings Database, for all scarce/rare birds to all subscribers.  This is an automatic process.  All emails posted in this way are also posted to the Twitter feed @bucksbirdnews.
  • To allow all subscribers to post an email to all other subscribers.  Emails must relate specifically to birds/birding in  Buckinghamshire.  Topics vary widely from recent sightings, site information, Bucks Bird Club news, observations of interest, etc.

To join the group you should visit https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/bucksbirding  You will need to submit a request to join this group.  Note that you don’t have to have a Googlemail email address to subscribe.  Once approved by the site administrator you will be able to send and receive messages to and from the group.

Message are posted to bucksbirding@googlegroups.com

WebEditor@Bucksbirdclub.co.uk

You may also visit the Bucksbirding group, webpage on the Google Groups site at :-
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/bucksbirding where you may view messages and look at previous posts.

Great White Egret – Wendover Canal

This individual had quite a few admirers over it’s ten day stay along the Wendover Canal. One reason for this was the fact that the bird was very confiding and at times was only 10 feet or so from birders who were watching from the towpath.

The bird was first reported by Helaine Cadman on 11th July 2019 and was seen almost every day in “The Wides” area of the canal until 20th July. On the 21st a Great White Egret was seen in flight heading SE over Wendover. What may have been the same bird was then seen at College Lake a few hours later on 21st July.

Photo copyright Adrian Roach
Photo copyright Jim Rose
A short video clip of the Great White Egret

To search for all Bucks Records of Great White Egret (up util 2016) visit
https://www.goingbirding.co.uk/bucks/searchhistoricalrecords.asp

To view a previous post (2016) on this website for this species visit
https://bucksbirdclub.co.uk/great-white-egret-in-north-bucks/