On arriving at Little Marlow GP at about 10am on 20th April 2017, local birder Alan Stevens was amazed to find two Black-winged Stilts feeding in the shallow water by the sand spit. News was quickly put out and an initial rush of local birders gave way to a steady stream of admirers. In the first three hours approximately thirty birders managed to see these county rarities. The birds stayed throughout most of the day. During their stay the birds moved quickly around the shallow waters and covered a wide area. The birds were frequently a fair way apart and often flew short distances to reach another feeding area. At one point the birds flew up as if to depart, but quickly dropped back down.
Above three photos from Dave Parmenter. Those below from Jim Rose
There have only been two prior records of this species in the county previously. They were firstly in 1988 when a pair were at Willen Lake from 7th to 18th June, and at Manor Farm, MK where a pair were present on 24th April.
If anyone has any better quality photos of these birds, for inclusion above, please seen to Jim Rose at email@example.com
The complete list of field trips for the period until June 2017 are now listed on the Events tab. Some further details will be added closer to the events but the dates should not change.
The next field trip is to Nagshead in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. This is on Sunday 30th April 2017 and is an all day event.
This is an exceptional woodland reserve and has breeding Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Hawfinches, Wood Warbler, all three British woodpeckers and a wide variety of other woodland species.
For more details click here.
The existing rafts were looking rather sorry for themselves after the bad weather of the last winter. Some were leaning over at an angle and they had all broken away from their position and were close to the west bank.
On Saturday 15th April a group of club members retrieved the rafts, carried out some refurbishments and relaunched them back out onto the lake. They are now positioned fairly close to where they were last summer which proved to be very successful.
Kevin Holt, John Barnes and Andy Radford working on one of the old rafts. The underside of raft on the right waiting for new barrels.
John Bowman arriving with more barrels in tow.
The finished rafts. Looking well used but ready for action!
Chief boatman Mick McQuaid towing the rafts out with a helping push from Andy.
The rafts in place and Mick dropping the anchors. With ten Terns present today it should not be too long before they start breeding.
The series of indoor meetings over the Winter have now concluded. Details of the first indoor meeting for next season (in September) will be published here.
Peregrines are again breeding on the council offices in the centre of Aylesbury. Two webcams are active and can be viewed via the Aylesbury Peregrine Project website. Comments on the latest activity can be seen below the camera streams.
The start of 2017 saw small groups of Waxwings arrive in the county. At first they seemed to prefer adjacent counties which was rather frustrating but eventually they did arrive in a few areas. In fact the first record was of two on 19th December 2016, but then we had to wait until 6th January when one was seen at Walters Ash and a group of thirteen were seen in Aylesbury. Then on 8th a group of twelve were seen in Milton Keynes. On the 10th birds were reported as far apart as Cressex, Bledlow, Buckingham and Weston Turville. Waxwings have also been reported from Stoke Mandeville, Lodge Hill and Bletchley.
The largest flock reported was at Bletchly on 15th when 30 were seen. Since then numbers have significantly diminished. The last report (at the time of writing) was of one at Bledlow on 24th January. So a decent influx occurred but not matched the flocks of over 100 that were seen in January 2013.
Aylesbury – one of the 13 that were present on 6th January (G Smith)
Milton Keynes: The group of Waxwings at Oldbrook.
Milton Keynes: A single bird at Oldbrook on 8th January. (M Wallen)
Milton Keynes: Taken at Witan Gate on 14th January (M Wallen)
Milton Keynes : One of two Seen by the Genesis building on Witan gate on Sunday 15th January (M Appleton)
Please send any further photos for inclusion to the Webeditor
Bearded Tits are scarce species in the county. There have been three records in recent months, one in 2015 but before that the previous record was in November 2012. On 18th January Peter Weisner saw a male from one of the hides at the BBOWT reserve at Weston Teurville Reservoir and put the news out via the Buckinghamshire Goingbirding sightings website. A few birders visited the site later that day but were unable to locate the bird. The following morning Richard Birch and Dave Evans were carrying out one of their regular walks around the lake and saw the bird from the old hide on the south side of the lake. The news was put out again and soon a few local birders arrived to see this very smart male. We then heard that a local birder had seen a Bearded Tit (90% certain) 2-3 weeks earlier!
The bird was again located in the same area in front of the old hide on 20th January and seen by good numbers of birders. With plenty of ideal habitat at this site, hopefully the bird will stay for some time. (Update: The bird was still present until 25th Jan at least).
Above two photos from Adam Bassett
Above two photos and video below from Jim Rose
To view some historical photos of this species, that were taken in the county, click on this link.
The Buckinghamshire 2015 Annual is now available. It is being distributed to all club members free of charge. However non-members may purchase a copy. For more details click on the image below.
For enquiries into purchasing copies of the any of Annual Reports please email R.Andrews18@btinternet.com
Or write to:-
28 Icknield Green
the prices are as follows :-
2015 £8-00 including postage and packing
2011-14 £8-00 including postage and packing
2006-10 £6-00 including postage and packing
2005 £4-00 including postage and packing
2004 No longer available
2003 No longer available
2001-02 £4-00 including postage and packing
2000 No longer available
1995-99 £4-00 including postage and packing
1988-94 No longer available
1986-87 £4-00 including postage and packing
1980-85 No longer available
Please make cheques payable to “Buckinghamshire Bird Club”.
With only four prior records of this species in the county, then two separate sightings in two days is almost an invasion!
7th November 2016 – Willen Lake
The first birds found were at Willen Lake where local birder Paul Moon came across two smart Velvet Scoters on the south lake. They spent all day on the lake fishing and asleep at times, allowing a lot of local birders to get excellent views of a species usually seen way out at sea. For most people it was a Bucks tick and for some a UK life tick. Viewing was easy from just in front of a pub and fitness centre. The birds remained until the 16th November.
Photo – Lucy Flower
Photo Lucy Flower
Photo – Lucy Flower
Photo – Peter Garner
Photo – Peter Garner
Photo – Peter Garner
The was some discussion about the sex of these birds and apparently the whiteness of the belly is a factor, so these two pictures are included here. They are video clips of each bird.
Dorney Lake – 8th November 2016
Before heading north to Willen Lake to twitch the Velvet Scoters, Dave Cleal decided to check out one of his local patches, Dorney Lake. Low and behold he found a single Velvet Scoter on the main rowing lake. It was diving and flying around the lake quite a bit. Word was put out quickly and some of the birders who could not get to Willen Lake (plus a few that did) managed to see this individual. This is the sixth county record. The suspicion is that it may have arrived at the same time as the Willen birds, but was unseen the previous day. The bird was last seen by John Edwards on 18th November when it was seen to fly up and down the lake several times before rising high into the sky and flying off south over Berkshire.
The prior county records are.
1890 Linford – 1 killed on 27th Oct
1948 near Iver – Male on 12-13th Dec
1982 Willen – 11 on 9th Jan
2006 Willen – A 1st winter male on 2nd Feb.
All Velvet Scoter photos from Jim Rose unless otherwise stated.