Saturday, 19 September 2009

GARGANEY at Foxcote Reservoir

FOXCOTE RESERVOIR: About 150 Lesser Black-backed Gulls plus one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Common Snipe and a Common Redshank.

A female/immature GARGANEY was feeding right of the hide near far bank.

A plump immature Western Reed Warbler crashing around in the reeds in front of the hide and a build up in the number of Eurasian Wigeon were the main highlights this afternoon (Ken Earnshaw)
Calvert BBOWT; 10 Little Egret in roost trees, pre-dawn. Only 4 fed on reserve later.

Juvenile Water Rail with dull coloured bill fed in cut reeds/2 Common Snipe/ 15 Pochard/ c150 Hirundines briefly/Little Grebe/ c300 mixed Canada/Greylags/ 1 Lesser whitethroat, 3 Common Chiffchaff in bushes.

Common Sandpiper + 2 Egrets on sailing lake later.

Quainton Hill; 2 Wheatear/ female COMMON REDSTART only popped out of bushes onto fence for 10 seconds top of West slopes/ Lesser Whitethroat/4 Blackcaps/6 Chiffchaff/ only 3-4 Blackbirds/ c50 Linnet (Tim Watts)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Migrating hirundines

Creslow, a high point on a line between Ivinghoe beacon and Quainton Hills. Evening walk produced masses of hirundines on top. Spent a fair while counting/estimating and no hesitation in saying c 550. Underestimate if anything!! Only counted what could see at more or less the same time from one spot. c200 on wires above my head good starting point! c 150 in air and on wire fences on Cattle fields looking East/ c 100 over Creslow farm buildings looking North and c100 over outskirts of Whitchurch. Groups of them were sitting on fine ploughed fields and would say 70% Swallows, rest House Martins but also c20 Sand Martins.

In quick look at cattle fields and disused radar station saw 2 Yellow Wagtail/3 Mipits/ c50 Goldfinch/c50 Starling. Only right of way to this spot involves 20 min uphill walk from Whitchurch. Road to top is strictly private.

In the garden and on guttering tick a.m with a Little Owl being harassed by 4 Magpies!! (Tim Watts)

Thursday, 17 September 2009


At Calvert this evening, at least 7 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS were identified in a very large gull roost (Tim Watts)

Monday, 14 September 2009


Calvert BBOWT; NO sign today but Steve Norman found a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK yesterday evening. It was seen stood with Pochards at quite close range. Steve thought it most likely a male in partial eclipse, and it is almost certainly the bird recently at Pitsford Reservoir in Northamptonshire.

On sailing lake tonight there was an eclipse male NORTHERN PINTAIL in the centre; also 1 Green Sandpiper whilst 4 Little Egrets/Teal/c50 Swallows/Shoveler and big influx of B.H.Gulls on reserve (Tim Watts)

Saturday wanderings (12 September)

Calvert BBOWT; 12 Little Egret in roost trees. All flew towards 1st hide shallows 6:07 a.m. Again very vocal in this intial flight, as groups of 2, 5, 4 and 1 joined up. Only 4 stayed feeding, others flew off site and weren't on sailing lake.

Also 4 Shoveler/ 3 male Wigeon/lot of Blackcaps and a few Chiffchaffs in bushes/influx of Blackbirds.

Quainton Hill; 1 worn, very vocal male COMMON REDSTART on stile top of West slopes/ 2 Wheatear, 1 with broken/damaged leg/ 1 Spotted flycatcher/ 6+ Blackcaps/2 Lesser Whitethroat/4+ Chiffchaff/2 Common Whitethroat/1 juv Willow Warbler. Lot of small flocks of Mipits. All above right on tops, lower slopes empty, possibly something to do with thick fog early on (Tim Watts)

Friday, 11 September 2009

Quainton Hills migrant

Female COMMON REDSTART feeding on Elderberries/2 Lesser Whitehroat/ 6 Common Chiffchaff/1 Common Whitethroat/ Common Raven heard/definitely influx of Dunnocks/Robins/Chaffinch on tops.

First definite arrival of migrant thrushes.8+ Blackbird and 1 Song Thrush in Hawthorns on tops.Probably dreaming, but got brief partial views of possible juvenile Ring Ouzel. All I could see was bits of a 'Blackbird' in bush that had some kind of white markings on flanks (Tim Watts)

Egret joy

Calvert BBOWT; Got in position for Egret roost count at dawn but thick fog!! Plan B!

Sat waiting in 1st hide and at 6:05 a.m 3 Little Egret in, then 5 more, then 2, then 1 TOTAL 11 birds. Amazing views as all 11 fed/hunted, as a team, the small fish in shallows. They caught lots, quickly and easily, even making fish jump out of water ahead of them! Think Egrets got quite excited as very vocal today! With this food supply/safe (if protected/undisturbed) roost site they are very likely to hang around. Possibly more than 11 as 3 on sailing lake later.

A fantastic sight for anyone but if you do visit, from experience, need to be in that hide before they get there - today watched them 'tll 7:10. Last visit got in hide, egrets already there, they stayed a bit but knew I was there and dispersed. Open flap slowly, quiet, no movements is essential (Tim Watts)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Hirundine procession

The largest number of LITTLE EGRETS ever recorded at Calvert BBOWT (Tim Watts)
Today's Sightings
Calvert BBOWT; 3 Little Egret/ 8 fem Teal/ few hundred large gulls on both lakes, many, many more over tip/bushes appeared empty.
Quainton Hill; Base of South slopes,where found some sheltered hedgelines. The ones containing Elderberry bushes had the birds. 1 Spotted Flycatcher/6 Lesser Whitethroat/2 Willow Warblers.Most noticeable birds were the hirundines, mostly Barn Swallow.Estimate 200 over the slopes, all feeding and resting on bushes/wires (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Monday rush-round

A very quick rush around early evening (Monday 7 September)

Quainton hill, base of north slopes; 3 Spotted Flycatcher, only a few warblers.

Calvert BBOWT; 2 Spotted Flycatcher in dead pathside bush. Think my first ever sighting of these actually on the reserve/ 3 Little Egret/2 Common Sandpiper.

BBOWT team have done fantastic job of opening up view/cutting reed section from 1st hide.

Yesterday Ian Burrus ringed 51 Blackcap amongst others in morning session on small area of scrub on Sailing lake (Tim Watts)

LITTLE EGRETS break new site record (6 September)

Calvert BBOWT lake; 5:30 a.m fantastic news for reserve with new record count of 13 LITTLE EGRETS in roost trees. Amazing sight of all 13 flying to and feeding together briefly in cut reeds in front of 1st hide at dawn (Tim Watts)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Saturday Birding (5 September)

Foxcote Reservoir; 5:15 a.m tried early to see if any Egrets roosting but none. Very suprised that no gulls roosted at all. Lot of lake covered in surface weed and wondered if this put gulls off? With this easy food supply Coots all over lake, must be one of sites in Bucks with highest count of these.

Calvert sailing lake; 4 Little Egret/2 Common sandpiper

Calvert BBOWT; 2 Little Egret

Quainton Hills; a good overnight influx of migrants.10 Wheatear, 4 North slopes, 2 Conduit hill, 2 Cimber hill, 1 Denham hill and 1 on path near transmitter; female COMMON REDSTART and TREE PIPIT in tree then tall bushes; 1 Spotted flycatcher, 1-2 WHINCHATS, 1 yellow Wagtail, 4 Skylark over, c10 Mipits, all the above seen on North slopes most at ground level (Tim Watts)

Calvert BBOWT

5 Little Egrets feeding and resting in front of hide 1 from 2.30 - 6.00pm. Two Common Kingfishers also diving from the perches in front of the hide, and hovering and diving while the Egrets were there. A cormorant was also taking advantage of their presence and feeding alongside them (N & P Brazier)


Male Common Redstart- Quainton Hills - 4/9/09

Worth the rollicking I got from Colleen for coming back with my sparkling clean
walking clothes covered in Sheep droppings and being late to do decorating!
Took 150 pics but would have kept going until memory cards full if didn't have
to get back, very unusually this Redstart took no notice of me. Didn't have to
approach it as it was right next to path when spotted (Tim Watts)

Friday 4 September

BBOWT Lake; 5:15 - 8 Little Egret roosting in trees. All flew to cut reed area infront of 1st hide 5:45. Whole gull roost on reserve lake. No small gulls at all.

Quainton Hills; 2 COMMON REDSTARTS, a female in same bush for 3rd week in transmitter field and a stunning, summer plumaged male found at base of North slopes on way home. Also 1 WHINCHAT, 1 Wheatear on tops/ lot of Warblers early on/1 Raven / Swallows over/1 Yellow Wagtail/noticeable increase in Chaffinch/Dunnock/Blackbirds (Tim Watts)