This blog is about all forms of wildlife I record around North Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes in particular. My main interests for 2012 will be looking for anything I've not seen before.

Friday, December 31

Happy new year and finally some Waxwings

Finally (made the effort/connected with) saw around 100 Waxwings on Century Avenue, Oldbrook at 15:15 today. They were actually landing on the pavement to eat the fallen berries, they would make easy photo's but not sure they'll be any food left by the morning.

May I wish everyone a very happy new year and a good year of wildlife watching in Bucks for 2011.

I'm still compiling my 2010 Mammal summary and will post soon.

Monday, December 20

Medbourne - Pink-footed Goose

Had a nice 'estate' tick this morning whilst driving the wife to work. Saw 4 geese at tree top height flying east into MK. Thought Greylags, job done, then realised the last one was well over a 3rd smaller, looked again and noted short neck and dark head, Pink-footed goose! Must be 'Pinky' doing the rounds.
(Car temperature gauge was -10oC)

Thursday, December 16

Walton Balancing Lakes - Mr Beardie !

A lunch time visit to see if I could connect with one of the male Bearded Tits for the first time. Nothing for 10 minutes, so I strolled to the 2nd hide but this lake was frozen with nothing around at all. I went back to the platform and 5 minutes later directly ahead of me I picked out 1 male and 2 female Bearded Tits. I then tracked the pair at least coming towards me, they showed to about 10 feet and finally the pair flew behind me (over the board walk) and into the next section of reed. From here it was difficult to view as this screen does not have any slats cut in. But from peering around the end of it I could still make out the birds feeding and moving . They showed so well I even managed to see the male has a long metal ring on his right leg, but alas not letters/numbers showed. One squealing Water Rail, a Robin walking along the ice under the Bearded Tits and a fly over Herring Gull made up the rest.

Tuesday, December 14

Short-eared Owl at Linford

A very pleasant year tick today at a local patch. Who said December birding was tough!
I looked at my computer at 13:00 and thought I'd not made any plans for my lunch hour, I had no jobs/chores/xmas/family to think of, so thought I'd give Linford a bash. Met old timer Ray Stroud walking back into the the car park from the reserve, after a quick chat of 'nothing about' and 'someone had defecated on the bench in the bird hide at Willen' (which was nice!) I plodded on regardless. First stop a scan of Swans Way from the Willow tree...within seconds I was watching a Short-eared Owl quartering along the road and ranging towards the canal. Cracking sight - forgotten how long the wings were. Did the ring round and through Nik (on his works xmas lunch) had a conference call with Ray to get him back on the reserve as he'd walked off to get the bus.
So I carried on into the reserve and soon met the noisy Siskin flock flying over head, estimated about 60 now (from what I could see). Then detoured back to Near Hide - {oh for a Bittern standing on the frozen ice} but no joy, the unfrozen patch was a bit bigger and Wigeon had replaced Teal as the most numerous wildfowl. A single female Goldeneye the pick. On leaving the hide a pair of Bullfinch showed really well with the male looking stunning in the December gloom.
Met Rob eager for his SEO tick in the car park as I was leaving. An hour later he'd text it was still there at 15:00. Job done.

Monday, December 13

Saturday - Thursley Common, Surrey

The weekend just gone was set aside for a family visit to my parents-in-law. Still on the hunt for a year tick I'd had my eye on the current overwintering Great Grey Shrike at Thursley Common. With my Bird Guides texts set to anything decent around the Hants/Surrey border I received a report that the Shrike was on 'Shrike Hill' mid morning. So after an early lunch I made the 10 mile journey to 'The Moat' car park and set off along the board walks and started the task of scanning anything that could hold a shrike above it. It wasn't going to be a easy. I eventually got across the bog, lots of it frozen, and to 'Shrike Hill' but had no joy in locating the bird. Best spots, or actually the only spots were 3 Green and 3 Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, 6 Fieldfare over and a flock of 13 Lesser Redpolls. A few Jays and a Mute Swan over made up the rest. I hung on into dusk in case any owls were about but none were. Annoyingly I got another text (later in the evening) of a Great Grey Shrike near my regular patch near Fleet - knowing my luck the same bird. Birding in Decembers tough!

Friday, December 10

Linford Lakes at lunch time

A balmy 4 oC greeted me at Linford today, actually felt warmer than that.
I headed for Woodland Hide and could hear a large flock of finches from some distance away. I saw the birds flying around in a large flock a few times. I finally picked out that these were mainly Siskins and around 80 in total, but very hard to see as they would have shown better from Swans Way near the sheep pens. A quick look from Near Hide produced a near frozen lake, but a hole behind the bund held 55 Teal, the main duck and a small number of Wigeon, Tufted and Gadwall were with the Mute Swans and a few Black-headed Gulls. The odd 'whistling' Bullfinch were also heard.
Other news around the city, the Scaup remains at Caldecotte. Waxwings again in Blakelands and Rob had a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker whilst doing his tetrad in Lathbury.

Friday, December 3

Garden Sparrowhawk

Nice surprise this morning to see a male Sparrowhawk perched on the garden fence above one of my peanut feeders. I had another male for over a week back in March and I alone observed him eat 5 Blue Tits. I wonder if this one will return over the weekend.

Wednesday, December 1

Lunch time

As I said at the beginning of the working week, I was going to use my lunch hours to maximum effect this week. So taking my life in my hands by trying to get out of the car park in CMK I set off to Broughton Grounds as I'd not been for ages and was hoping for some owl action. I then found out that they'd shut the road from the H5. So I detoured to Willen South (knowing Rob had already checked it out earlier) but after 60 seconds of that easterly wind in my work trousers and tears streaming down my face, I retreated to the car. I then headed back into CMK and gave another couple of laps of Lloyds Court and the Library but only Starlings were noted.