Saturday, 11 December 2010

Three BITTERNS on site and male MERLIN at Gallows Bridge

CALVERT BBOWT LAKE; Tonight 5 of us located a definite 3 BITTERNS in roost spots - 1 in far end reedbed opposite 2nd hide, 2nd in right hand inside bed and a 3rd in left hand inside bed. The 3rd one climbed reeds at late time of 4:20 but gave by far the best views, sitting right on top of reeds. During the week regulars report daylight flight views to various reedbeds over whole lake and croaking calls heard, all big pointers to there being multiple birds on site.

GALLOWS BRIDGE FARM, earlier; male MERLIN on cut hedge then overflew car park, then after finches on adjacent fields, used undulating flight briefly just before tailgating a finch/ 5 Golden Plover in main meadow, 100 mts from hides (Tim Watts)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

WHOOPER SWAN still present

Gallows bridge farm; Eurasian Curlew calling over main meadow flew over heading West/ 12 Tree Sparrows/ fem Peregrine on pylons/ 2 Raven/ c 120 Skylark/c60 Linnet/ c40 Chaffinch.

Hillesden; adult Whooper Swan with Mutes on Brassica crop in traditional Wintering fields, at valley bottom by brook/ c 120 Linnet

Calvert; visited twice; 39 Wigeon/4 Teal/ fem Shoveler. Bittern flew across lake at 4:15, it came from one of reedbeds opp 1st hide and flew into hidden corner to left of hide. Most strange it's using a different roost spot each night, possibly being hassled by predators? Tim Watts Birding

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Impressive flock of TREE SPARROWS at Gallows Bridge

Gallows Bridge Farm; At one point made it 23 TREE SPARROWS, most of time c10 /Large fem PEREGRINE hunting at far end of main meadow put up 2 Snipe and chased them, for 4th time seen it rest in open on meadow after atttacks/ c 60 Golden Plover+c50 Lapwing flew over heading West. Saw c40 Goldies flying South earlier from my Whitchurch garden.

Calvert; Redhead SMEW still present on sailing lake but can be very hard to spot; also drake Mandarin; 3 Teal on BBOWT lake.

Hillesden; the adult WHOOPER SWAN again in crop field to South of pools with 2 Mutes/ c 60 Greenfinch/c 80 Linnet on set a side strips/ Pools frozen over (Tim Watts Birding)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

BITTERN at Calvert

Calvert BBOWT - late afternoon; Huge gull pre-roost contained 9 Y.L.Gulls and 1 ad Caspian Gull. Waders are scarce here in Spring let alone Winter but flock of 4 Common Redshank flew low over water couple of times then flew towards sailing lake. Later a pair of Goosanders flew in, again headed to other lake. Big increase in Herrings and G.B.B gulls late on from tip.

Icing on cake was a BITTERN climbing to roost at 16:08 in right hand reedbed from the 1st hide - think this is earliest ever had one here. Jolting reeds put me onto it but then wasn't hard to see. It wasn't on their usual favoured area of reed edge against deepwater but in middle of bed, made lot of commotion climbing then spent rest of time stretching neck up and looking all around.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hillesden WHOOPER SWAN still present - Tim Watts

Calvert; Little Grebe / Grey Wagtail

Foxcote; 3 Goldeneye/ 1 Green Sandpiper

Hillesden; adult Whooper Swan still with Greylag flock in crop field/ 7 new Mute Swans/ 2 Meadow Pipit

Gallows bridge farm; 2 hr watch; c 200 Golden Plover in flight once/ c120 Linnet/3 Raven,

Monday, 1 November 2010


30 October - Calvert; noticeable influx of Blackbirds in scrub/ 2 Goldcrests/3 Jays

Hillesden; adult WHOOPER SWAN on main pool veiwable from the track, it looked settled, feeding with Mutes.

Gallows bridge farm; c400 Golden Plover/c 500 Lapwing in flight over adjacent crop fields. 5 TREE SPARROWS on cut hedge by car park breifly also Chaffinches, Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers, House Sparrows on same hedge (Tim Watts)

Sunday, 12 September 2010


All birds found on the tops, lower slopes empty: 3 COMMON REDSTARTS / 10+ Common Chiffchaff/ c 150 Meadow Pipit, 60 in flock on ground in aerial field, 40 feeding at same time on S/E slope, 20 top of N slope and groups of 4-6 seeming to pass overhead for 3 hrs/

Abnormal numbers of Blue Tits on tops - migrants perhaps?/Sparrowhawk chasing Green Woodpecker, it missed!!

No Wheatears for first time in a while, but had 1 yesterday (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Following the first two WHINCHATS at Gallows Bridge on Sunday, one appeared on Quainton Hills yesterday, along with 4 Wheatears, a Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Yellow Wagtails.

Two juvenile MARSH HARRIERS were on the Upper Ray Meadows all weekend, with another at Foxcote, and with the latter very low at present, an excellent run of waders including RUFF, BLACK-TAILED GODWIT and COMMON GREENSHANK

Sunday, 25 July 2010


A WOOD SANDPIPER is present for a second day at Calvert Landfill, where access is restricted to weekends only

Monday, 19 July 2010

Calvert news flow dries up

Sadly, news has been no longer forthcoming from Calvert reserve and its environs and there has been little to report. One of the keen birders of the area, Jon Holt, has now moved away.

Not that far away at Foxcote Reservoir, water levels are very low and in recent weeks, a trickle of passage waders have appeared, including two Common Greenshanks and several Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers (LGRE)

Peregrines have bred again at a site near Aylesbury raising three young, all three birds still being attended by the adults. This is the third out of four years that a pair has nested at this protected site, the adults being ringed birds.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Gallows Bridge starts reaping rewards of being watched.......

At Gallows Bridge BBOWT reserve on Saturday, 3 GREY PLOVER, 21 WHIMBREL, 3 COMMON GREENSHANK, 4 Ringed Plover and 2 DUNLIN were seen, the GREY PLOVERS still being present on Sunday.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

TURTLE DOVE at Calvert

With the wind dropping and feeling warmer fancied finding a few migrants but still hard work!! Still think lots still to come including the commoner species.

Quainton Hills; base of North slopes- 1 Grey Partridge on roadside, never seen one here before.

Calvert; Greeted by lovely sound of a European Turtle Dove purring on the BBOWT reserve/ 16 Common Terns on rafts/ pair of Gadwall/ Cuckoo

Hillesden; Cuckoo + usual suspects.

Quainton Hills; base of South slopes- 1 Wheatear spotted high up on ridge (Tim Watts)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

More DUNLIN at Hillesden

There were 3 DUNLIN on Hillesden Pools this morning (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Monday - RING OUZEL on Quainton Hills

Quainton Hills; RING OUZEL near base of North slopes. Spotted at long range on branch from roadside, think male. It eventually dropped down but fed close to bushes, this area is dampest spot on hills and where the Fieldfare were feeding earlier this week.Never had an Ouzel in this spot or on Nrth slopes at all before.

Dashed to Calvert but only 13 Common Tern, but lots of warblers in bushes.

Returned to Quainton but no sign of Rouzel, farmer feeding cattle close by so waited. After half hour was just going to give up when it came out, by now I was c 100mts from spot in bushes, just got it in frame when farmer came back down and spooked it!!! I waited another half hour but didn't show (Tim Watts)

Sunday sightings - 25 April

Warren Claydon and Ian had a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling and a LITTLE GULL that flew through, early, on Calvert sailing lake. I joined them and then went to Hillesden.

After a while at Hillesden a male GREENLAND WHEATEAR flew into pools area, then got text from Warren, a WHINCHAT had appeared on open area.

On way out from Hillesden there were 2 Wheatear in Sheep paddocks.

On returning to Calvert there were c50 hirundines and a few Common Swift, Common Sandpiper and 9 Common Tern, all increases from a few hours previous (Tim Watts)

Saturday morning Update - 24 April

Calvert ; 0600 - 3+ of Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroats/1 Common Tern/ Common Cuckoo/ 10 Gadwall

Calvert Sailing Lake; 1100 hours - 1 LITTLE GULL sat on sailing lake/ 2 Cetti's Warblers singing/ Cuckoo calling.

Hillesden; 7 Common Redshanks/ 4 Yellow Wagtail/ Cuckoo/ 2 broods of 3 and 4 tiny Lapwing chicks (Tim Watts).

Friday, 23 April 2010

Quainton Hills today

In the area I managed to cover found 9 Northern Wheatear, 4 in S/E hollow, 4 on top of NRTH slopes and 1 on stone track on summit. Also 1 fem COMMON REDSTART top of West slopes and a poss Black Redstart in aerial compound. This bird was flushed from posts by walkers who got there just ahead of me.

Also 1 Yellow Wagtail/ c 40 Fieldfare feeding/4 Mipits.

Tim Watts

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hillesden Sightings

A few notable sightings from Hillesden:

20/4/10 - 2nd summer male MARSH HARRIER, heading north low over the site. Also Little Ringed Plover, Lesser and Common Whitethroats.

21/4/10 - 4 COMMON REDSTARTS, 2 Wheatears, 1 Cuckoo (Richard K Broughton)

Also, 3 RUFF were present at Hillesden on Sunday, and again on Tuesday (Per Tim Watts)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Quainton Hills today - first COMMON REDSTART

Spent a mammoth 10 hours on Quainton Hills today. First 4 hours around tops only produced 1 Barn Swallow!! Had suspicions that a ridiculously distant bird was a female Ring Ouzel on slopes near Botolph Claydon but too far to tell. Dropped down to sheltered area at bottom of South slopes and crept through gate on last hedgeline, at same time spinning head left then right. This is Redstart trick! and worked: just got glimpse of grey back and bright orange tail going into bushes. Very wary bird but eventually got good views and some images of a stunning male COMMON REDSTART. Returned later and still in same hedgeline area, but still wary!!

Seeing this bird if still there, involves a 5 minute levelish walk from car. Park on verge by Quainton church, take tarmac track up to hills, and where path splits, take left stoney track by the log pile. Bird was in hedge and on posts either side, but mostly left of the metal gate. Sometimes far down on posts to left (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


CETTI'S WARBLERS (Paul W) - latest counts suggest 2,206 singing birds and rising in the UK

Calvert; 2 CETTI'S WARBLERS, 1 singing loudly in scrub behind hide + 1 in reeds. Also saw both, 1 darted across gap in reeds,shortly followed by a 2nd bird.
13 Gadwall including ' Luke' !!

Hillesden; 5 Redshank/ 2 oycs/ 2 L.R.P/ 1 Little Egret/5 male Shoveler/ 6 Gadwall/ 9 Teal/ 1 Yellow Wagtails/ 4 Common Snipe/ 10 Pied Wagtails (1st passage flock)/ 4 Swallow (Tim Watts)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Quainton RING OUZEL - further details

Female RING OUZEL with large Fieldfare flock on East slope of Denham Hill; not had one in this spot before and never seen one with Fieldfares - it was feeding right out in open a long way from cover but guess 400 + Fieldfare eyes are pretty good early warning system for any danger!!

Counted Fieldfares and an impressive total for time of year with 211. On summit of main hills there were c90 Fieldfare (possibly part of earlier flock?) and 3 Redwing.

At base of Conduit hill, 4 Redwing singing. 6 Mipits seen in display flight in 3 different spots.

The Ring Ouzel wasn't visible when returned at 11 a.m but Fieldfares in tops of trees so it could be lurking in the hedgeline. Very unusually for this date no Wheatears found (Tim Watts)

RING OUZEL at Quainton Hills

Tim Watts has found a female RING OUZEL with Fieldfares on Quainton hills. It is on the Denham Slope viewed from the road (Sunday 11 April)

Monday, 15 March 2010

CURLEW pair showing - LGRE Diary Notes for Saturday


A beautiful day, with temperatures reaching 9.5 degrees C. Spent the entire day in Buckinghamshire, attempting to clean up on a few species I was still missing from the year, with a few brief forays in to Herts during the morning.


Last winter's owl fields north of the A41 all now completely ploughed but RED KITES (4+) still in area.


Just east of Waddesdon and in trees south of the A41, 12 active Rook nests at SP 754 167.


After much searching, eventually located a pair of EURASIAN CURLEW, showing very well on the new reserve pools west of the Edgcott road at SP 670 198 (my first of the year). There were also 8 Common Teal nearby.

At the west end of Grendon Underwood village, 13 House Sparrows were present by the farm buildings at SP 676 209. There were several RED KITES between here and Calvert.


Very quiet, with the only bird of note being the drake leucistic Gadwall (photographed by Tim Watts above). There were 4 Gadwall in total, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 25 Tufted Ducks, whilst migrant Lesser Black-backed Gulls included 1,297 (mainly full breeding-plumaged adults).


Just south of Gawcott in trees by Spinney Farmhouse, 38 more active Rook nests (SP 685 314)


A further 9 active Rook nests in Wellmore, Maids Moreton (SP 709 352)

(1530-1600 hours) Checking the main reservoir with Dave Horton, I eventually located the adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK in with Northern Pochard and Tufted Duck in the extreme NW corner visible only from the far end of the dam at SP 707 367. It was moving in and out of the reeds and was distant.

Otherwise, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Mute Swan, 18 Northern Pochard, 83 Tufted Duck and 8 COMMON GOLDENEYE (4 adult drakes) present.

Not that far away, at Cranley Oak, and in trees south of the A422, 33 active Rook nests.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Leucistic Gadwall

Leucistic drake Gadwall- Calvert BBOWT lake- 11/3/10
Very uncommon/rare form that turned up on the reserve last week. All pictures taken from 1st hide, closer ones when it was in shallows and distant one shows just how much lighter it is compared to standard Gadwall roosting in reeds (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

First record for Hillesden

Hillesden; pair of Red crested Pochard on middle pool was an unexpected first record for the site/ 2 Oycs/ c 60 Golden Plover/20 Lapwing

Calvert; male Goldeneye/ good large gull pre-roost but no unusual ones spotted (Tim Watts),

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Spring is in the air

Calvert; various birds singing and Moorhen building nest; 18 Mute Swans in cabbage field to Nrth of Calvert

Hillesden; 30 Common Teal ( record count here)/ 13 Gadwall/Skylarks singing/ 12 Lapwing with one in partial display flight/ c100 Greylag geese./ 9 Golden Plover flew over calling. My idea of putting overflow pipe into main pool now in progress, theory being it drops the main pool a bit and the overflow spreads via pipework to lower level creating a wet grass area. Also asked for stoney islands to be cleared of weeds ready for the arrival of waders, site with it's new scrapes looks superb.

Grendon Underwood layby; Next to new BBOWT reserve there were c 600 Golden Plover/c 600 Lapwing/c1,000 Starling all wheeling in air (Tim Watts)

Monday, 15 February 2010

First ICELAND GULL of 2010

An immature ICELAND GULL has joined the juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL in the Calvert roost since Saturday (Warren Claydon, Tim Watts).

Friday, 12 February 2010

GLAUC still present

The juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL roosted this evening (per Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


This smart first-winter CASPIAN GULL was photographed on Calvert Landfill on 7 February (Tim Watts)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


The pair of WHOOPER SWANS are still frequenting Blackthorn Meadows south of the A41 at the Piddington turn - new images taken by Adam Hartley.
A quick look early afternoon at various sites yielded;
Granborough hay store; until today next to no small passerines seen here but today fantastic flock of 42 Yellowhammers, as well as c80 Chaffinch and 4 House Sparrows. Plenty of food available so hoping a Tree Sparrow or two will appear.
Calvert BBOWT; 21 Gadwall is most here this Winter; they always seem to build up a bit about now and often 2-4 remain until late March/early April/ increase in Cormorants to 23/ male Goldeneye head throwing to Tufties, Spring is in the air already!
Hillesden; 80 Greylag Geese, floods from River subsided/ c 60 Linnet/ 6 Teal/2 Shoveler (Tim Watts)

Monday, 25 January 2010

GLAUCOUS in roost

The juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL roosted on the Calvert Jubilee BBOWT lake from 1650 hours on Sunday evening (per David Lawrence)

Saturday, 23 January 2010


Calvert a.m : drake Common Goldeneye/ Cetti's Warbler calling/Coot building nest/ 15 Wigeon/ 13 Gadwall

Hillesden; flooded river/fields looked good but just c150 Greylag + c100 Canada Geese found/4 Meadow Pipit/ 21 Lapwing/2 Teal

Marsh Gibbon; 15 European Golden plover and 10 Teal in flight
A41 nr Piddington at Blackthorn Meadows; In Oxfordshire but only 1 field over the Bucks border the 2 WHOOPER SWANS remained in the flooded field in the morning and on Calvert in the afternoon (Mike Wallen obtained the superb image above)
Calvert p.m; juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL in main sailing lake roost (Tim Watts)

Monday, 18 January 2010

The two adult WHOOPER SWANS were at Hillesden Pools yesterday afternoon, and at Blackthorn Meadows again today, whilst 4 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS remain on the BBOWT Lake, and rare gulls roosting include the juvenile GLAUCOUS and the 2nd-winter CASPIAN GULL pictured above (Tim Watts). Standing with the Glaucous in Plate 4 is the very pale 'Herring Gull'

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Kumlien's-like Herring Gull at Calvert

Adam Hartley obtained images yesterday at Calvert BBOWT of this adult HERRING GULL with very pale primaries, a largely unstreaked head and other features suggestive of Kumlien's Gull.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Images taken at Calvert today during Adam Hartley's visit

GLAUC still

The juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL was again showing well from the second hide on the BBOWT lake this afternoon until 15:20 at least when I left. Also 14 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS (Adam Hartley).

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rare Gulls spurn my Year List on to 119 species


Much lying snow still around, with many side roads still in an atrocious condition and quite challenging. The threat of heavy snow never materialised and in fact temperatures climbed to 2 degrees for much of the day, heralding a slight thaw. The easterly wind moderated during the day.

It was a tour of many local water bodies today, with the highlight being a total of 60 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS seen.


Both PEREGRINES were roosting on the flat SW side of the building at 1439 hours, the female eating a Common Starling.

(1500-1600 hours; partly with Tim Watts)

On the main BBOWT Lake, highlight was undoubtedly the site record flock of 16 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS - 14 of which were feeding on the reed-fringed east bank and another pair in the extreme NE corner. There were also 3 Great Crested Grebes, pair of Mute Swans, 14 Gadwall, 22 Tufted Ducks and 9 Pochard.

Vast numbers of gulls were feeding over the landfill, as well as 8+ Red Kites.

Tim had seen the GLAUCOUS GULL roosting and preening on the ice just before I arrived into the hide (see his fantastic photographs above) and after realising it had flown off, I went to the Sailing Lake and scanned. Within a couple of minutes, I relocated it - a very dark juvenile and a typical brute of a bird - in amongst a pre-roost gathering of just 738 gulls. It represented my 117th species of the year.

I then settled down to scan the rest of the flock which contained the regular adult CASPIAN GULL, at least four adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS, 103 Great Black-backed Gulls, 297 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 140+ Herring Gulls (including both British and Scandinavian, several adults of the former now being completely white-headed) and just 12 Common Gulls.

The Sailing Lake also held a single RUDDY DUCK, 8 Eurasian Wigeon and 4 COMMON GOLDENEYES, whilst 30+ Fieldfares were feeding by the road.


As I drove back through Aylesbury on Weedon Road, a flock of 7,000 COMMON STARLINGS wheeled back and forth low over the houses and industrial estates. This was some spectacle, and the sound of the wing-rush as they swept over my head as I stood in Priory Crescent was absolutely awesome.

Lee G R Evans

GLAUCOUS GULL still, as well as site record of RED-CRESTED POCHARDS

Did 4 hour watch at Calvert this afternoon;

Sailing lake; 4 Common Goldeneye

BBOWT Lake; the 16 Red crested Pochard still present, took to air in tight flock 3 times when spooked by walkers, one idiot with dog on reserve pushed them onto sailing lake but they returned later. Always distant so no record pics yet.

The juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL joined pre-roost at 2;30. It preened on ice at edge of lake then on water, then flew to sail lake. Got some better pics.

Also seen; Water Rail on the ice, 159 Coot on BBOWT lake, about 100 more than normal.

Tim Watts

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Ice-free BBOWT Lake pulls in large flock of RED-CRESTED POCHARDS

At Calvert BBOWT today, Warren Claydon recorded 16 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS, PINTAIL, the juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL and the adult and first-winter CASPIAN GULL.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Yesterday's haul at Calvert in images - Tim Watts

The single colour-ringed adult BEWICK'S SWAN, two adult WHOOPER SWANS and juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL that were all present at Calvert yesterday.
The GLAUCOUS was again on site this morning (Warren Claydon), as was an adult CASPIAN GULL and several adult Yellow-legged Gulls, whilst the two WHOOPERS roosted again at dusk.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

CHIFFCHAFF on the ice

This very odd sight befell my eyes yesterday as I visited Hillesden scrapes. Out on the ice was this COMMON/SCANDINAVIAN CHIFFCHAFF - remarkable (Tim Watts)

Wild Swan delight - but just over border

First stop was Piddington, just south of the A41 and right on the Bucks/Oxon county border, where two adult WHOOPER SWANS and two adult BEWICK'S SWANS had been present since 31 December 2009. From my 1st viewing spot only the 2 Bewick's Swans could be seen at the back of the field but thanks to a neighbouring Oxon birder who told me to go further up by the A41, I enjoyed excellent views of the 2 Whoopers close to the road and photographed them (see above).
I also Spotted 2 adult RUFF in flight with the Lapwing flock and these were later seen feeding on the grass (with LGRE et al).
Close by at Marsh Gibbon there were c350 European Golden Plover feeding on pasture field with another 100 in flight in distance with 300 Lapwing.
Edgcott; 200 Lapwing on Sheep field.
Calvert landfill; Herring gulls easily outnumbered LBBG, not whole roost on here but estimate minimum 500 Herrings; 20+ Red Kites continually over fresh rubbish with 26 being maximum seen at any given time. Gulls now just ignoring them but still go up if Buzzard goes over them. 16 Golden Plover and c80 Lapwing flew over (Tim Watts)