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.

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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

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.

Bird Watchers Code of Conduct

Five Things to Remember When Birding in Buckinghamshire

  1. Avoid disturbing birds and their habitats – the birds interests should always come first.
  2. Be an ambassador for birdwatching.
  3. Know the law and the rules for visiting the countryside, and follow them.
  4. Post your sightings on the Buckinghamshire County Bird Sightings database (Goingbirding).
  5. Think about the interests of wildlife and local people before passing on news of a rare bird, especially during the breeding season. 

For more information, read the BTO Birdwatcher’s Code.


Photographing birds

Be aware that it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb Schedule 1 species at or near a nest without a licence.

For example, if you are photographing such species at or near a breeding location and you affect the behaviour or breeding success of the birds, then you are breaking the law. If there is any possibility of causing an effect on their behaviour, then you are advised to apply for a licence from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), Directorate of Forestry, Amenity and Lands.

A list of Schedule 1 species can be found at

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.

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!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

You may also visit the Bucksbirding group, webpage on the Google Groups site at :-!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

To view a previous post (2016) on this website for this species visit

Historical Rarity Records

A new facility has been added to the Buckinghamshire Goingbirding database that enables users to see historical records of rarities and scarce species. Up until now the database has only held those records that have been posted by the many birders who have submitted their sightings onto the database. While the Buckinghamshire Goingbirding database has been running since 2009 there are clearly many rare and scarce species that were seen in the county prior to that.

So the sightings data for these species has been uploaded from the PDF document that is held on this website under the “Bucks Species List”. By having them accessible by means of a database search makes it easy to view old records for specific species.

Some of the sightings go back as far as 1760 but there are relatively few prior to 1900. However there are over 800 sightings of scarce and rare species prior to 2009 (when Goingbirding started).

There are some points to bear in mind when viewing these records:

  • None of the uploaded sighting have observers attributed to them.
  • The records in the Rarities section are often a summary of sightings of an individual bird/s when seen over a period of time or by more than one user.
  • Some entries cover the period after 2009 (when Goingbirding sightings commenced) and so there may be duplication (but in summary form) of some records.
  • The Rarity records are taken from the Buckinghamshire Bird Club annual reports and only include records that have been accepted by the Records Committee. Some records have been included for completeness (as they are referred to in a historical record) but where a record is now considered “unsafe” or now outside of the county, then this is stated.
  • The post 2009 Rarity records may also include some that are not included in the normal Goingbirding database as not all sightings are submitted via Goingbirding.
  • Some species that used to be regularly seen but are now rare (e.g. Hawfinch) OR that were once scarce but are are now regularly seen (e.g. Little Egret) are included only for those years where they were scarce. Sightings for the period during which these species were more common can be found in the Annual Report for the former and Goingbirding for the latter.
  • Some species (e.g. Black Redstart and Pied Flycatcher) only have breeding records shown in these lists. These species have charts showing their frequency by year and month on the full Bucks Species List.
  • At present the historical rarity records are only fully up to date until the end of 2016. Other years will be added in due course.

How it works :-

Click on the link to “Rarities” on the main Goingbirding menu.

Select a “Species” from the pull down list and click on “Search”. You may also select filters for “Site”, “Observer” and Dates if you wish.

Example Search for Pectoral Sandpiper

Once the list is displayed you can then click on the Species Name to show all of the other sightings in Goingbirding for that species.

This gives a good comparison between the past (accepted) records and the more recent (post 2009) records. Note that the five “Recent” sightings have been summarised into two lines in the Rarity search but there are four
additional historical records.

Click on the Back button in your browser and then on New Search to search for another species.

In the event of any errors or omissions from the list of rarities please advise the webeditor