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.

Common Terns Ringing at Little Marlow GP

It has been a successful breeding season for the Common Terns so far, at Little Marlow Gravel Pit.  Five rafts were launched on 24th April and moored together in the SW of the lake.  Ten or so pairs eventually took up residence and as a group fended off a variety of potential dangers including Herons, Buzzards, Red Kites and a variety of Gulls. Birders watching from he bank were lucky if they could count 10 or so individual young, however today (24th June) the actual number was discovered when the young were ringed by local ringer Mick McQuaid.  One well grown young bird actually flew from the rafts as Mick approached.  Two other young jumped ship, one of which swam to the shore and was retrieved, ringed and returned to the rafts (the other was looked after by the adult birds).   Twenty one were ringed and six were left un-ringed as they were too small to ring.  Sadly there were eight dead chicks on the rafts, which may have been due to the torrential rain that we experienced this week. There were also two unhatched eggs.   So the grand total is of thirty-nine eggs laid, thirty-seven chicks hatched and twenty-nine still surviving on the ringing day.  Hopefully they will all manage to fly from the rafts successfully.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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Mick collecting the young from the rafts.

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A ring being placed on the leg of one youngster.

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The ring being tightened.

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One of the swimmers drying off.

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Mick returning from the rafts after completing the ringing. The adults were back feeding the young within five minutes of this.

 

Aylesbury Peregrines

18th June – “1Y” decided to fly overnight and ended up in the Bus Station!  She ended up at St Tiggywinkles Wilflife Hospital where she was given a clean bill of health, so was returned to the platform by Mike and Ted Wallen.  This close up was taken during this process.  After putting her talons straight through the thickest pair of gardening gloves that Mike had, she was released and jumped onto the roof of the box and started calling.  Within 10 seconds the female appeared off the east side of the building carrying prey ( no doubt a stashed pigeon ). and came straight in and landed on the platform and gave food to the chick.  An incredibly quick response!

AS of 19th June “1Y” was still on the platform.

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17th June – Peregrine “2Y” on the windowsill of the council building.

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14th June – An adult bringing in a large prey item.

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13th June – Wing flagging practice.

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22nd May – Supper being delivered.

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16th May – Growing chicks

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7th May – Still waiting for the forth egg to hatch.  Not looking good.

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Meanwhile the adults continue to bring in food (possibly a Pigeon)

6th May – The adults were busy feeding the chicks but one apparently chick died and was seen to be carried off by one of the adults.  An anxious wait to see if the fourth egg will hatch.

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Adult feeding the three chicks late morning.

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Three chicks huddled around the remaining egg.

5th May – Second and Third Chicks hatched.  One more to go!

4th May – First chick hatched.

19th April – A male Peregrine that came into the territory of or resident birds was attacked by the resident male.  Both males ended up tangled in netting that was put up to deter Pigeons.  They were untangled but required checking over as one of the birds was injured.  The uninjured bird was later released while the injured bird was taken into care at St Tiggywinkle’s Wildlife Hospital.  It will be released at a later date.  Fortunately the resident male was uninjured and is back performing it’s parental duties and waiting for the eggs to hatch.

1st April –  4th egg laid!!!!

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The Peregrines panoramic view of Aylesbury. (click on image to enlarge)

 

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1st April – 4 eggs

 

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The cameras on the Aylesbury Peregrine platform are live again in time for the 2016 breeding season.  Peregrines have been seen around the council offices, where the platform is situated, so it hoped that the Peregrines will breed again this year.

The links below will take you directly to the Peregrine website and the cameras.  The cameras are again partly funded by the Buckinghamshire Bird Club.

Aylesbury Peregrine Project website

Platform Camera

Overhead Camera

Black-winged Stilts at Manor Farm

One of the newer nature reserves in Bucks, Manor Farm NR (Milton Keynes) really turned up trumps when a pair of Black-winged Stilts turned up on 24th April.  Ted Reed discovered the birds, soon put the word out which enabled a good number of birders to see these elegant, very long legged wading birds.  Unfortunately the birds could not be found the following morning.  During their visit they moved around quite a bit which made it a bit of a challenge for the photographers.

The species is not uncommon in southern Europe but a rare bird in the UK and this is only the second record for Buckinghamshire.  The previous record was of a pair at Willen Lake from 7th until 18th June 1988.

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Male Black-winged Stilt (Photo © Lucy Flower)

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Black-winged Stilt female (Photo © Lucy Flower)

Mating sequence (BBC)

Black-winged Stilts copulating in what is a tricky balancing manoeuvre! (Photo © Lucy Flower

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Female Black-winged Stilt (Photo © Mark Appleton)

 

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Male and female Stilts (Photo © Paul Gibbs)

Video provided by Bill Parker (change settings to view in HD or in full screen mode))

Tern Rafts at Little Marlow GP

The rafts were repositioned further away from the bank after winter storms had moved them very close to the west bank.  John Bowman brought the boat along on his trailer and Mick McQuaid did the hard work (rowing, droppimg anchors, etc).

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The position of the rafts close to the west bank.

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Mick dropping the anchors in the new position further from the bank.

A short while after work was completed a pair of Egyptian Geese were on one of the rafts but left a little later.  The Common Terns took an interest but did not land on the rafts (it usually takes a day or so for them to take their positions on the rafts).  There are very few Black-headed Gulls visiting the lake at present, so we don’t expect this species to attempt breeding at Little Marlow, as has happened at other sites in the county.

Dipper - The first since 1994!

On 14th February, local photographer Sarah McKeeman was walking along the Loughton Brook near Bradwell, MK, when she came across a bird she did not recognise.   Sarah managed to photograph the bird and a passer-by managed to identify the bird as a Dipper.  Sarah then posted the photo on her 360 Project page.

This is the first record of this species in the county since one was seen flying along the Thames in March 1994!

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Dipper photos courtesy Sarah McKeeman

 

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Then on 16th February a Dipper was photographed by a Mr HM Johnson in the Emerson Valley Park stream in Furzton, MK.  The photo is was sent to the county recorder who confirmed ID but the quality is not good enough to post here.

The two sites are approximately four miles apart but even so it seems very likely that this is the same individual moving through the area.  Despite several local birders trying to relocate the bird, it has not been seen since.  The Bucks Records Committee consider the bird to be of continental race “Black-bellied Dipper” (C.c.cinclus).

To see a list of all Dipper records for the county visit the county list on this link.

To see a photo of the 1991 Black-bellied Dipper at Three Locks click on this link.

Ferruginous Duck

A scarce duck in the county with only ten or so records.  However the possibility of escapes from wildfowl collections can not always be discounted.  For a list of all records go to the Bucks List 

 

This rather smart drake turned up at Caldecotte Lake on 4th February 2016.  It stayed there for several days and then moved to Mount Farm Lake on 12th February.  It then proceeded to move between the two lakes periodically.

The following photos show all of the identification features of a Ferruginous Duck. While the origins of many scarce ducks is often unknown, this individual is rather wary at times and is un-ringed, so perhaps suggesting a wild origin.  The Bucks records committee will decide in due course whether to accept as a wild bird or a potential escape.

 

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The above photos copyright Andrew Moon

 

Bonaparte's Gull - New to Bucks!

Initially found by Roy Hargreaves on 4th January at Wilstone Reservoir (Hertfordshire). News was soon put out but the bird soon flew off and was only seen by two observers.  The bird was again present on 8th January when it was seen to fly off towards College Lake just prior to dusk, presumably to join the Black-headed Gull roost.  On Saturday 9th January quite a few birders caught up with the bird at Wilstone where is spent quite a bit of time but also fed on nearby fields.  In dreadful weather conditions the bird was found in the College Lake roost at 15:40 by Dave Bilcock and also seen by Lee Evans.  So adding another species to the Bucks county list!

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The Bonaparte’s Gull at College Lake. It is the smallest gull in the centre of the photo. (Photo taken on 9th Jan by Dave Bilcock)

On Sunday 10th January the bird again appeared at Wilstone, again moving between the reservoir and nearby fields.  At 16:40 it was located in the huge Black-headed Gull roost at College Lake, in among an estimated 5000 Gulls, again found by Dave Bilcock.  A group of twelve or so local birders managed to see the bird before it was lost in the darkness.  The bird seems to roost at College Lake every night and at the time of writing, it was seen on 12th January.

The following excellent flight photos were taken by Ian Williams.  These were taken over the fields of Miswell Farm, which is just to the South-east of Wilstone Reservoir and in Hertfordshire.

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Note the greyish “shawel” over the neck.  This is white on most Black-headed Gulls.  Also note the pink legs.

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Note the black bill and the longish black trailing edge to the wings.

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Black-headed Gull and Bonaparte’s Gull – An interesting comparison. Note the much whiter underwing on the Bonaparte’s Gull

If anyone manages to get any further photos of the bird in Buckinghamshire, please forward onto Jim Rose at webeditor@bucksbirdclub.co.uk

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Bucksbirders Email Group

The Bucksbirders Email Group 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.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BucksBirders/info  and click on “Sign In”.  If you don’t already have a Yahoogroups account click on “Sign Up”.  Once signed up you can apply to join the Bucksbirders group.  Once approved by the site administrator you will be able to send and receive messages to and from the group.

Message are posted to bucksbirders@yahoogroups.com

bucksbirders-owner@yahoogroups.com

You may also visit the Bucksbirders group, webpage on the YahooGroups site at :-
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bucksbirders where you may views messages and look at previous posts.

 

 

Bucks Bird Club History

The Bucks Bird Club

piedwagtail-500The Buckinghamshire Bird Club was formed in 1981 and was granted charity status in 1989. It was formed with the objective of bringing together under one organisation all those interested in birds in the county. All birders from the complete novice to the skilled ornithologist are able to enrich their interest and encourage nature conservation by joining the Buckinghamshire Bird Club.

Little Egrets Breeding at Little Marlow GP

Little Egrets have bred in the north of the county for some years, firstly at Linford and then at Willen Lake.  However despite the odd birds being in the area over recent summer there had been no obvious signs that they had tried to breed at what appears to be an ideal site. However this year at least two nests were built and during the second half of June young birds were seen being fed in the nest. The nest sites were difficult to observe from the banks as they were well hidden well under the canopy of the trees. However with the youngsters soon being mobile and walking around the branches, they have shown well on occasion.

The following photos very kindly provided by Richard O’Dare and were taken at the end of June.
(Click on the images to enlarge)

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Hopefully there is another brood to follow very soon.