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.

Red-rumped Swallow - A Bucks 2nd!

With a moderate arrival of Hirundines on 27th April 2022, local birder Adam Bassett managed to pick out a superb Red-rumped Swallow flying over the lake at Little Marlow. He straight away put news out and within a very short space of time several birders were on site. The bird was quite elusive at times and the group of birders had to wait about 20 minutes before it was seen again. It was also easy to miss the bird in among the 50-100 Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins that were present. Gradually more birders arrived on the scene and most birders managed to see the bird before it disappeared sometime before 10:30am.

The bird was extremely hard to photograph as it was constantly on the move. so please bear this in mind when viewing the record shots below. The video clip is well worth watching.

Red-rumped Swallow – Copyright David Bevan above and below
Photo above copyright Jim Rose
Video copyright David Bevan

Black-winged Stilt - A Bucks Rarity

Discovered at Newton Leys by local birder Jenny Baker at 8am on 27th April 2022, this Black-winged Stilt stayed and showed well to many admirers until 19:30 at least. It was not present the following morning.

Photos copyright Mark Rayment

There is an excellent article from Bir Guides about this sighting. Visit

This is only the 5th record for this species in the county following two at College Lake in May 2019.

To see previous photos of Black-winged Stilts in the county click on these links
or search in the Photo Gallery.

Blue-winged Teal - A Bucks First!

On 28th March 2022 local birder David Bevan was checking out the shallow pools at Marlow Low Grounds when he came across an unusual dabbling duck. Unsure of the ID he sent a still photo to a local birding group and this started a discussion and ended up with the various people involved visiting the site to see this interesting bird.

The original photo of the “Unknown” duck.

The bird remained on the same shallow pool for the rest of the day and news was put out that it was a Blue-winged Teal. Over twenty birders managed to see the bird before dark. The bird moved to an adjacent larger pool the following morning and was somewhat harder to view and continued to attract birders. At the time of writing (30th March) the bird was still present.

The bird is thought by some to be a female Blue-winged Teal although the plumage is not typical and others suggest that it is a hybrid. The species is a BBRC rarity and we will have to wait for their decision on whether the bird is in fact a Blue-winged Teal and not considered an escape (The species can be difficult to separate from Cinnamon Teal). The bird is un-ringed so there is nothing to suggest that the bird is an escape. If accepted by BBRC this will be a first record for Buckinghamshire.

A short video taken by Jim Rose on 28th March
Video taken by David Bevan on 29th March when it was feeding with Common Teal
A photo of the outstretched wing by Dick Seekins


The Next Indoor Meeting

The next indoor meeting is on Thursday 1st September when Nigel Slater will give a talk called “ICELAND AND THE BIRD MIGRATION“.

Please note this meeting is being held via Zoom. Please contact Paul Wright at before 31st August 2022 if you wish to join.

For more information
click here

2020 Annual Report

The Buckinghamshire Bird Report for 2020 has now been published. Members will receive their copies by post. Unfortunately all spare copies have now been sold.

It promises to be an interesting read an certainly an essential read for any keen county birders.

2020 Annual Report

For more information click here.


Marsh Warblers Breeding Attempt!!

A singing Marsh Warbler was found in north Bucks by Gyorgy Szimuly (Szimi) on 7th June and within a short time a female was also discovered. They were favouring suitable breeding habitat, so news of these birds was restricted in order to keep disturbance to a minimum. Fortunately a good number of local birders did manage to see the birds, providing many people with a county or life tick!

The female was extremely secretive and although the male was showing and singing to begin with it became much quieter as the month progressed.
In early July food carrying was observed and on one date there was activity suggestive of the young fledging but this could not be confirmed.

Whilst it is hoped that they successfully fledged young, this was not proven and there were no confirmed sightings after early July of either young or adults.

The pair were not easy to photograph, especially the female, although the male did show quite well at times while singing but often partially hidden in the vegetation. The following photos show the male over several days and shows the main features of the bird that allow it to be separated from Reed Warbler.

The top four photos were taken by Rob Cadd who was at the site very early morning on several occasions.
7th June – showing the lower back (Photo – Mike Wallen)
9th June – carrying food. (Photo – Nick Truby)
10th June – The male on one of his favoured singing perches.
11th June (Photo – Nick Truby)
11th June (Photo – Nick Truby)
11th June (Photo – Nick Truby)
The pair! There doesn’t seem to be too many photos of both male and female. (Photo – Dick Seekins)

The following link is to a video of the male singing and shows the very varied mimicry that this species employs:-

This species has only been recorded in the county five times previously, the most recent was of a bird that was trapped and ringed in August 2019 at Hillesden. Prior to that there were sightings in 1956, 1960 and 1974 in late Spring. There is also a breeding record from Chalfont Park in 1931.

All photos Copyright © 2021

Peregrines Breeding

2021 has seen a significant increase number of Peregrines attempting to breed in the county. Most of these are on the steeples of tall churches or other tall buildings where they are relatively secure from unwanted disturbance. A summary is as follows :-

Aylesbury – The breeding pair in Aylesbury have breed on the specially erected platform on the council offices for some years. This year a single bird fledged and was seen on the top of County Hall in mid June.

High Wycombe – A pair attempted to breed on All Saints church but apparently failed. Hopefully this pair will return and try again next year.

Milton Keynes – A pair again attempted to nest in the MK Stadium. Details awaited.

Marlow – A pair have made use of a new platform that was installed over the winter months on All Saints church (next to Marlow bridge) and as of mid June there were three well grown youngsters getting ready to fly.
The WildMarlow group were instrumental in arranging for the platform and also for monitoring of the breeding. This has been reported regularly on Twitter by @wildmarlow1. A recent video is shown at the bottom of this post. WildMarlow have organised a drop in event at the bottom of Marlow High Street on Sunday 4th July (from 10am to 2pm), so that members of the public can view the birds perched on the spire. Members of the Buckinghamshire Bird Club will also be present.
Telescopes will be provided and suitable Covid precautions will be taken.

The following photos were kindly provided by local photographer Neil Richards.

Parenting activities underway!
The 2021 Juveniles
The above video clip is linked to the @WildMarlow Twitter feed. There are many other videos and photo on this feed.

To see a previous post on Peregrines in the county visit


The Hoopoe is a rare species in the county but this year so far we have had two birds that have been seen by many observers. The first was at Willen Road excavations in Milton Keynes. This individual was present from 22nd to 24th April. Then in the south of the county another was found at Hedgerley Green and was present from 3rd until 6th May.

The Willen bird was found by Milton Keynes birder Mark Baker and was seen by many local birders and others from further afield. It was in a large site and was elusive at times.

Hoopoe – Willen Excavations – Photo copyright Jason Chalk

The Hedgerly Green bird was found by local birder Colin Barnes and seen by many birders However it was seen distantly by most people as it tended to feed on the far side of a paddock. Danielle was fortunate to photograph the bird on the track and therefore much closer.

Hoopoe – Hedgerly Green – Photo copyright Danielle Lennon

Prior to these birds, there have only been about five records of the species in the county in the past ten years.

To see all of the historical records for the species in the county go to

To view historical photos of Hoopoes in the county go to


College Lake Webcam

A new webcam has been installed at one of Buckinghamshires top bird reserves. Take a look at the webcam below at College Lake, the BBOWT reserve near Tring. There is a chance of seeing breeding Oystercatchers and Redshank as well as a variety of wildfowl. Some of the smaller birds may test your ID skills!

Graphs of the Occurrence of Scarce Birds

Dave Ferguson has kindly updated the graphs showing the occurrence of some of the scarcer visitors to Buckinghamshire.  For each of these species there is a graph showing the occurrence year by year and a separate graph showing the distribution of the species during the calendar year.  Some of these are quite revealing.  The species covered are the scarcer species that typically occur annually or near annually.  The rarer species have all sightings listed on the Bucks Species List.

  • The rarer birds with full details of sightings included in the Bucks Species List  include birds such as the Divers, the Skuas, Dipper, Snow Buntings, etc.
  • The scarcer birds with graphs include such species as the rarer Grebes, Bittern, the scarcer Swans, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Pied Flycatcher, Ring Ouzel, etc.
  • The commoner species records are contained in the Annual Reports, the Monthly Bird Bulletins and in the Goingbirding database.

A couple of example of the graphs available are given below:

Graphs for Smew

Smew have always been a bird of cold winters and it has always been unusual to see one before December. However numbers have declined dramatically since 2000 with no records since 2016. Is this due to Global Warming?

Graph for Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper is a decreasing species in the county. While good numbers were recorded on a few occasions in the last century, they have all but disappeared from our annual reports. Note that the largest flock recorded is eight, so the records for 1985 and 1990 refer to multiple flocks.

All of the graphs can be accessed via the  Bucks Species List where the words “See Chart” are given.  Just click on these links to view the graphs. See image below.

Note that the above is just an example image and it contains no links to the graphs.