Also known as Spade Oak Gravel Pit
The lake from the birders viewpoint on the west bank - January 2001 - Picture courtesy of Paul Earle
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View from the south bank looking towards the sand spit. The white flecks are Gulls after they were disturbed by a Fox - January 2001 - Picture courtesy of Paul Earle
Visiting Little Marlow Gravel Pit (LMGP)
Access - The lake and the immediate surrounding area is owned by Lafarge Aggregates who have kindly allowed birders and other members of the public to use a permissive path that runs around much of the perimeter of the lake. This path starts from part the way along the east-west public footpath that runs from Coldmoorholm Lane to Little Marlow village (SU880880). The path runs through the trees, over a wooden bridge that spans a wide ditch and onto the N end of the lake. The path then runs east (clockwise) and around the lake. The southern end of the lake runs alongside the Marlow to Bourne End railway and the western edge runs parallel to the public footpath that runs from Little Marlow village to the River Thames towpath. The permissive path ends just past the cottages where it meets the concrete road that goes to the sewage treatment works. Under no circumstances enter the gravel workings area. This is an industrial area actively used by Lafarge for the grading and storage of gravel and contains potentially dangerous equipment.
Safety - Please be aware that during weekdays, the concrete road that runs from the sewage treatment works to the gravel workings area and onto the main Marlow/Bourne End road is frequently used by very heavy lorries and plant in connection with the extraction and supply of gravel. At other times the road is used by more general traffic to the sewage treatment works. This is not a public right of way and you should use the footpath that runs just to the north of this road. However you do have to cross this road twice when walking around the lake so please be careful at all times.
The Best Places for Birding - The biggest concentrations of birds are invariably around the large sand spit. This is best viewed from the west bank at approximately SU 876876. Better views of the main island can be had from along the south bank by the railway line. Diving ducks and the larger gulls (mainly evenings) tend to prefer the eastern half of the lake. Apart from the lake itself keep an eye over the fields and woods to the north of the lake where Buzzards and Red Kites may be seen. The riverside meadows may attract Geese, Pipits, Wagtails, various migrant passerines and sometimes waders. The sewage treatment works (not accessible) attracts large numbers of the smaller gulls as well as good numbers of Wagtails, Pipits and other migrant birds, which may be seen flying over.
The Best Times for Birding - Interesting birds can be seen at Little Marlow Gravel Pit throughout the year. The following summarises the birds during the main seasons :
Winter - This is one of the more interesting
times to visit as wildfowl and gulls numbers are high. Throughout the winter you can
expect to find good numbers of the commoner ducks including Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and
Shoveler. There is a fair chance of seeing Goldeneye and an outside chance of
Goosander, Smew and Ruddy Duck. Large numbers of gulls are often present on the
lake, with the peak being the last hour or two before dusk as come in before going off to
roost. Several thousand Black-headed Gulls are not uncommon, while Common and Lesser
Black-backed Gulls may number several hundred, possibly reaching one thousand or so.
Herring Gulls are much scarcer and Greater Black-backed Gulls more so. This site is
regularly visited by Yellow-legged Gulls throughout much of the winter and are usually
seen in small numbers at the pre-roost gatherings. There is always the chance of a
much rarer gull turning up. See bird list for possibilities.
The site is not particularly good for waders in winter, apart from Lapwings and Snipe that are often out of sight in the reeds. Jack Snipe may be present but the chances of seeing one in the open are remote. There is however always the chance of a seeing a Water Rail along the edge of the reeds.
Chiffchaffs are seen every winter with most birds seen or heard in the hedgerows alongside the sewage treatment works. There is always the chance of locating a "Siberian" Chiffchaff of the race "tristis".
Spring - This is the time of year when birders are looking out for early or scarce migrant birds. The sand spit offers the best place for visiting waders but does not tend to hold birds for very long. Small parties of Whimbrel have been seen in most recent years but they don't always land. See the bird list for other possible waders. The Spring offers the best chance of seeing a Hobby and there is also the chance of one of the scarcer Grebes or Garganey. With luck migrants such as Wheatear, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail may be found in the riverside meadows. Overhead Sand Martins arrive first, followed by Swallows, House Martins and Swifts. The vegetation and hedgerows surrounding the lake usually produce the commoner Warblers including Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.
Summer - Perhaps the quietest time of year with the breeding birds busily raising their young. Look out for Reed Warblers in the reed beds and Kingfishers which are particularly active when they are feeding young in the nest. Easy to see are the Common Terns that nest on the rafts, the Great-crested Grebes with young in tow, while Herons that breed on the main island will have fledged young. Many birds are very secretive when breeding and ducks such as Tufted Duck or Gadwall may only be seen to be breeding when the ducklings appear behind their mother.
Late Summer/Autumn - The return wader passage
starts remarkably early (July), the most likely species being Little Ringed Plover, Common
Sandpiper and Dunlin. The numbers of Swallows and Martins will build up before
gradually moving off and migrant passerines may be found in and around the meadows.
Gulls and Cormorant numbers will also begin to build up and just before winter gets under
way Redwings and Fieldfare start to appear in the hedgerows, particularly along the
Evening Photograph courtesy of Mike Wallen
The following is a list of the birds seen at Little Marlow Gravel Pit in the area bounded by the River Thames in the south, Coldmoorholm Lane in the east and the public footpaths in the north and west. Some species that have been recorded in the immediate vicinity (e.g. The Little Marlow Sewage Treatment Works).
Compiled by Jim Rose and Mike Wallen 14 March 1992.
Last updated by Jim Rose 7th December 2006 with data supplied by Alan Stevens, Adrian Parker and Mick McQuaid.
RED-THROATED DIVER Very rare winter visitor with three records. A long staying bird was present from 16th December 1990 until 12th January 1991. The most recent was present for a short while on 27th November 2005. Click here to see photos.
BLACK-THROATED DIVER Very rare winter visitor with one record of one on 18th February 1979.
LITTLE GREBE 1-3 birds regularly seen.
GREAT-CRESTED GREBE Present all year. A few pairs breed each year. Numbers in winter reach 25-50.
RED-NECKED GREBE Very rare winter visitor but several recent records, the most recent of which was on 8th April 1997.
SLAVONIAN GREBE Rare passage migrant and winter visitor. The most significant record is of one individual that stayed from 1st to 21st December 1996.
BLACK-NECKED GREBE Rare passage migrant. The most notable record is of three summer plumaged birds on 20th May 1995. Click here to see photo.
FULMAR Very rare winter visitor. One record of one on 10th November 1989.
LEACH'S STORM PETREL Very rare visitor usually seen inland after autumn storms. One record of one on 29th October 1989.
GANNET Very rare vagrant with one record. One record on 19th August 1994.
CORMORANT Present all of the year with several pairs breeding on the main island. Up to 120 birds roost in trees on the islands during the winter months. These birds feed during the day all along the Thames Valley. A colour ringed individual ringed as a nestling in South Wales returned for five consecutive winters. Other colour ringed birds have been recorded from Abberton Reservoir in Essex, Cumbria, and Denmark.
The original Cormorant roost trees. Over 100 birds would roost here during winter months. Some of the trees have now fallen down. - December 1989 - Photo courtesy of Mike Wallen
SHAG Rare visitor. Last recorded in Spring 1995.
BITTERN Very rare winter visitor.
LITTLE EGRET Rare vagrant but increasing. The first sighting on 26th March 1991 was the second county record. In 1995 a single bird roosted with the Herons from 6th-15th July. Three were present on 23rd may 1999 with more frequent sighting since. Click here to see picture.
GREY HERON Up to 12 present all year. Birds previously visited from the Heronries at Taplow and Hambleden. In 1994 one pair raised two young in a nest situated low down in Willows overhanging the water in the "Conservation" area. In 1995 the number of nests increased to three and continued at this level in 1996 and 1997. In 1998 the main island was colonised as well as the Cormorant island, the number of nests estimated at 8-9. Numbers increased above this level in 1999 and 2000.
MUTE SWAN Present all year. 1-2 pairs breed. A herd in late summer may include up to 35 birds.
BEWICKS SWAN Rare winter visitor. The most recent records are of a single bird on 15th November 1995, eight overhead in spring 1996 and two present in the autumn on one day.
WHOOPER SWAN Rare winter visitor. 11 seen flying over on 3rd January 1987.
WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Most often seen singly as feral birds. Genuine wild birds are a scarce winter visitor. There were 18 in October 1991, while in December 1998 and into 1999 a flock that varied between 50 and 72 birds commuted between Cockmarsh and the lake.
Picture - Dusk during the winter of 1998/9 with Canada and White-fronted Geese approaching the main island (Picture courtesy of Mike Wallen)
TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE Scarce winter visitor. One with a flock of White-fronted Geese on 5th December 1998.
GREYLAG GOOSE Previously a scarce visitor but since 1990 numbers have increased with up to 100 birds being regularly seen. In 1995 one pair bred successfully with several pairs now regularly breeding each year.
CANADA GOOSE Present all year with several pairs breeding. In the autumn and winter flocks of 50-300 are not uncommon.
BARNACLE GOOSE Rare visitor. Most are probably of feral origin but seven on 27th April 1999 were considered to most probably wild.
BRENT GOOSE Rare passage bird in winter months.
SHELDUCK Occasional visitor, sometimes staying for extended periods. In 1994 and 1995 extended visits by a pair lead to speculation that they had bred locally.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE Resident in the area and regularly visits the site. Up to 30 birds have been recorded.
|Escaped and feral wildfowl||These have not been counted in the main list but are included here for interest.|
|Black Swan||An Australian species. Seen several times over the years including many sighting between 1995 and 1998|
|Snow Goose||A N American goose. A flock of up to five dark phase birds have been seen in recent years. They are regular visitors to the site.|
|Emperor Goose||This species has a very restricted range from Alaska and NE Siberia. Singles have been recorded over the years.|
|Bar-headed Goose||A goose from India and the Himalayas. There are a small number permanently resident in the area. They have bred at Little Marlow.|
|Ruddy Shelduck||Despite the range of this species extending into SE Europe, the birds seen at Little Marlow are not considered to be genuine vagrants. There have been many sightings from 1997 until present time with up the three seen together.|
|Paradise Shelduck||Native to New Zealand. Seen regularly in 2000.|
|Chiloe Wigeon||From Southern S America. Singles have been recorded.|
|Chestnut Teal||Native to Australia. A single male regularly visited the site between June 2002 and June 2004.|
|Cinnamon Teal||From Western N America and Southern S America. One seen in May 1989|
MANDARIN Scarce visitor. Has bred in recent years nearby on the Thames.
WIGEON Increasingly regular winter visitor with flocks up to 150 recorded.
GADWALL Expanding its breeding range and now virtually a resident in the Marlow/ Little Marlow area. Proven to have bred at the site in 1999 and 2000. Up to 66 birds recorded in winter.
TEAL Increasingly regular winter visitor with numbers up to 150 on occasions. Bred in 1989 (Only one other known site in Bucks in recent years). Click her for photo.
MALLARD Present all year with 20-50 often recorded. Breeds.
PINTAIL Scarce winter visitor. Click here to see photo.
GARGANEY Scarce summer visitor which is occasionally recorded stopping off on migration. Click here to see photo.
SHOVELER Recorded in numbers up to 25 each winter with numbers increasing as more shallow water is created.
RED-CRESTED POCHARD A scarce visitor to the UK but recorded fairly regularly at LMGP with up to three recorded together.
POCHARD Resident in the winter months, sometimes with large flocks forming. In 1989 over 700 were present most of the winter.
FERRUGINOUS DUCK Very rare winter visitor. Two records.
TUFTED DUCK Present all year with 1-3 pairs attempting to breed but low success rate due to Pike and Gulls. In hard winters flocks of up to 400 form.
SCAUP Scarce winter visitor.
COMMON SCOTER Rare winter visitor. Six were recorded on 27th September 1998 with 19 over a few weeks later on 4th October. One flew over on 17th September 2001.
GOLDENEYE Regular winter visitor with 1-5 birds.
SMEW Scarce winter visitor, more frequent in recent years with several extended stays with up to eight birds present.
GOOSANDER Occasional winter visitor.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Rare winter visitor.
RUDDY DUCK Occasional visitor.
HONEY BUZZARD Very Rare migrant. A bird seen at dusk in October 2000 was thought to have roosted at the site.
RED KITE Following the release of birds into the Chilterns in the 1990s, it is not uncommon to see birds hunting in the area.
BLACK KITE Very Rare vagrant. The only record is of one that flew over on 8th May 2003.
MARSH HARRIER Scarce vagrant. Probably annual.
HEN HARRIER Rare vagrant. A few records of birds flying over.
SPARROWHAWK Present all year. Breeds.
GOSHAWK This species is probably present all year and may breed in the area. Seen occasionally at the site. Sightings increasing.
BUZZARD Previously a rare vagrant but now breeds in the area and it is not uncommon to see birds nearby.
KESTREL Present all year. Breeds.
MERLIN Very rare winter visitor, usually only seen briefly hunting in the more open areas.
HOBBY A rare breeding bird in the UK but regularly recorded in the summer months hunting over the lake and surrounding area.
PEREGRINE A scarce visitor, usually in the winter months, with increased sightings in recent years.
RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Present all year in adjacent farmland.
GREY PARTRIDGE A decreasing species in the county but still occasionally recorded in adjacent farmland.
QUAIL Rare summer visitor recorded in adjacent farmland in 1989 which was a "Quail year".
PHEASANT Present all year in the surrounding farmland.
WATER RAIL An elusive species but present most winters in recent years and stays into late spring. May have bred.
SPOTTED CRAKE Very rare vagrant. One seen on 30th March 2003.
MOORHEN Present all year in good numbers. Breeds.
Coot photographed in the Winter of 1997. Photo supplied by Mervyn Wallen
COOT Present all year breeding in fair numbers with increased numbers in winter.
AVOCET Very rare vagrant. A record of 5 on 19th May 1996. A single bird was present on 24th March 2002. Click here to see photo.
OYSTERCATCHER A scarce visitor seen on passage.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER A "schedule 1" (fully protected) species. A summer visitor which attempts to breed most years. Failure to breed usually due to disturbance.
RINGED PLOVER Occurs regularly on passage particularly in the Spring. A possible future breeding species.
GREY PLOVER A rare visitor.
GOLDEN PLOVER Occasional winter visitor. In recent number up to 200 birds have been recorded resting on the sand spit.
LAPWING Present all year, breeding nearby. From late summer flocks of up to 500 birds are sometimes seen.
KNOT A rare visitor, but a flock of 14 in March 1990 is particularly notable.
SANDERLING A rare passage migrant.
LITTLE STINT A rare passage migrant.
TEMMINCK'S STINT A very rare passage migrant. A single bird was seen on 17th May 1994. One also seen on 6th-7th September 2001.
CURLEW SANDPIPER A rare passage migrant.
DUNLIN Regularly seen on passage or as a vagrant, with up to 5 recorded.
RUFF A scarce passage migrant.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER Very rare vagrant. The only record of this north American wader is of one from 18th to 23rd October 1998. Click here to see photo.
JACK SNIPE In recent years has become a regular winter visitor with 2-3 birds present.
SNIPE Present from late summer to late spring with peak numbers of 30-40. Used to breed at this site before gravel was extracted. Suitable habitat maintenance could attract it back as a breeding species.
WOODCOCK Occasionally seen in winter during particularly cold weather.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Rare passage migrant.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT Rare passage migrant. A flock of 14 in April 1988 is noteworthy.
WHIMBREL Scarce passage migrant. Parties of three and five were reported in May 1995. A flock of 77 flying over on 1st May 2000 is the largest flock ever seen in Bucks.
CURLEW Scarce passage migrant.
REDSHANK Regularly seen in some years, mainly in the spring and summer. Attempts to breed in the area in some years.
SPOTTED REDSHANK Scarce passage migrant.
GREENSHANK Occasional passage migrant.
GREEN SANDPIPER Occasional passage migrant.
WOOD SANDPIPER Scarce passage migrant. One present on 8th June 2002.
COMMON SANDPIPER Occurs regularly on passage with up to 6 present.
TURNSTONE Very rare vagrant. One present on 8th May 1998.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL This rare gull is seen with increasing regularity in the county in late winter, particularly at this site. Click here for photos.
LITTLE GULL Scarce passage migrant.
SABINES GULL Very rare. The only record is of a juvenile on 26th September 1997. The forth county record.
BLACK-HEADED GULL Present all year with numbers varying from a few in summer to in excess of 3000 in winter. These birds are attracted to the adjacent sewage treatment works.
RING-BILLED GULL A rare bird throughout the UK with the first Bucks record in 1991. Since then recorded at this site several times, at various times of the year. Click here to see photos.
COMMON GULL Present throughout the autumn and winter months with maximum numbers sometimes exceeding 700.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Seen commonly in Spring and Autumn with numbers sometimes exceeding 2500 in Autumn.
HERRING GULL Seen commonly except during the summer months with numbers sometimes exceeding 200.
YELLOW-LEGGED GULL A sub-species of Herring Gull which is likely to be "split" to full species status in the near future. Regularly recorded in the Autumn with maximum number of 13 seen in Autumn of 1993. The best site in the county for this gull.
CASPIAN GULL A sub-species of Herring Gull which is likely to be "split" to full species status at some point in the future. A scarce visitor but recorded most winters.
GLAUCOUS GULL A rare winter visitor.
ICELAND GULL A rare winter visitor.
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Regularly recorded in Winter in small numbers.
KITTIWAKE A rare visitor. A flock of 17 in December 1987 is notable. Click here to see photo.
LAUGHING GULL Very rare vagrant. Only one record which is being considered by the records committee.
GREAT SKUA A rare vagrant. One seen on 1st January 1995.
SANDWICH TERN A scarce visitor on migration.
ROSEATE TERN Very rare passage migrant. Two reports of this species, the last on 28th May 2000.
COMMON TERN Summer visitor and passage migrant. One pair regularly breeds. In 1994 a pair bred successfully on a raft put out for their use. In 1995 two rafts helped two pairs to raise young with several pairs breeding in subsequent years. To see an article on the Tern Raft project click here.
Common Tern photo copyright Adrian Parker
ARCTIC TERN Occasional passage migrant, seen most years.
LITTLE TERN Rare passage migrant. Click here to see photo.
BLACK TERN Regularly seen on migration in small flocks, with a maximum of 15 being recorded.
STOCK DOVE Present all year in small numbers. Breeds. In recent years the site has become an important winter roost with up to 100 birds present.
WOODPIGEON Common all year. Breeds.
COLLARED DOVE Present all year, breeding in the nearby residential areas.
TURTLE DOVE Regular but declining summer visitor, now very scarce in the county. At least one pair probably breeding every year during the 1990s. A pair still present in the summer of 2000.
RING-NECKED PARAKEET Not uncommonly seen in recent years. Probably breeds in the Bourne End area. Probably bred in the vicinity of the lake in 2002. Click here to see photo.
CUCKOO A regular Summer visitor. Breeds.
BARN OWL A scarce bird not seen in recent years.
LITTLE OWL Present all year. Breeds in the vicinity.
TAWNY OWL Present all year. Several pairs breed in the vicinity.
LONG-EARED OWL Rare winter visitor. Although not seen in recent years the site is suitable as a winter roost.
SHORT-EARED OWL Very rare winter visitor.
SWIFT Common Summer visitor.
ALPINE SWIFT Very rare vagrant. One seen on 16th April 2006 was probably the same individual that had been seen at Maidenhead.
KINGFISHER Present all year. Breeds. An excellent site for this species. Click here to see photos.
GREEN WOODPECKER Present all year. Breeds.
GREAT S.WOODPECKER Present all year. Breeds.
LESSER S.WOODPECKER Regularly seen in the Winter. Believed to breed nearby.
WOODLARK Very rare vagrant. One seen to fly over on 1st November 1998 is thought to have been from the increasing population in the county.
SKYLARK Present all year. Breeds on nearby farmland.
SAND MARTIN Summer visitor, breeding nearby. This species could be encouraged to breed by the provision of a suitable sand bank.
SWALLOW Summer visitor breeding nearby.
HOUSE MARTIN Summer visitor breeding nearby.
TREE PIPIT Rare passage migrant.
MEADOW PIPIT Regularly seen in Autumn and Winter in flocks up to 30.
WATER PIPIT A rare visitor, usually seen on the riverside meadows, but has been caught and ringed in the sewage treatment works. Click here to see photo.
ROCK PIPIT A rare visitor. A bird of the Scandinavian race was present for 4 days in March 1993. The most recent record was on 15th October 1994 and April 1997. Usually seen on the riverside meadows.
YELLOW WAGTAIL Regularly seen in small numbers on passage, usually seen on the riverside meadows.
GREY WAGTAIL Present all year in small numbers. Often seen flying into the STW. Small numbers roost in the reedbeds by the lake.
PIED WAGTAIL Present all year with flocks up to 50 seen in Autumn and Winter. May breed. The continental race of this species (White Wagtail) is an uncommon passage migrant.
WREN Present all year. Breeds.
DUNNOCK Present all year. Breeds.
ROBIN Present all year. Breeds.
NIGHTINGALE Rare passage migrant.
BLACK REDSTART Very rare. The only record is of a single bird that spent some of the 1998/99 winter in the gravel workings area.
REDSTART Rare passage migrant.
STONECHAT Scarce vagrant or winter visitor.
WHINCHAT Scarce passage migrant, usually seen on the riverside meadows.
Whinchat at Little Marlow - May 1990 - Photograph copyright Mike Wallen
WHEATEAR Scarce passage migrant, usually seen on the riverside meadows.
BLACKBIRD Common breeding bird.
FIELDFARE Winter visitor, sometimes forming flocks of several hundred. One summer record in 1992.
SONG THRUSH Present all year. Breeds.
REDWING Winter visitor, sometimes forming flocks of several hundred.
MISTLE THRUSH Present all year. Breeds.
CETTI'S WARBLER Rare visitor. Surprisingly there are only one or two records of this species at the site.
SEDGE WARBLER Summer visitor; occasional breeder.
REED WARBLER Summer visitor, up to ten pairs now breeding. Numbers will rise as the reed beds expand.
Reed Warbler - April 2006 - photo copyright Julia Eyles.
LESSER WHITETHROAT Summer visitor, possibly breeding.
WHITETHROAT Summer visitor. Breeds.
GARDEN WARBLER Summer visitor. Breeds.
BLACKCAP Summer visitor occasionally wintering. Breeds.
CHIFFCHAFF Summer visitor, wintering in increasing numbers, with up to 10 in recent winters, making it the most important wintering site for this species. Breeds.
WILLOW WARBLER Common summer visitor. Breeds.
FIRECREST Rare vagrant. A singing bird was by the footpath by the STW on 18th April 1999. Click here to see photo. Also a male on 3rd October 2004.
GOLDCREST Present all year. Breeds in the vicinity.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Summer visitor, probably breeding nearby.
PIED FLYCATCHER Rare Passage migrant.
BEARDED TIT Very rare Winter visitor.
LONG TAILED TIT Present all year. Breeds.
MARSH TIT Seen occasionally, possibly breeding nearby.
WILLOW TIT Rare. Not seen in recent years.
COAL TIT Present all year, breeding nearby.
BLUE TIT Common breeding bird.
GREAT TIT Common breeding bird.
NUTHATCH Present all year, probably breeding.
TREECREEPER Present all year, probably breeding.
JAY Regularly seen all year.
MAGPIE Common breeding bird. A Winter roost sometimes holds in excess of 100 birds.
JACKDAW Previously uncommon but in recent years a large winter roost has built up of between 300 and 1000 birds. Breeds nearby.
ROOK Regularly seen flying over.
CARRION CROW Present all year. Breeds.
STARLING Common breeding bird.
HOUSE SPARROW Uncommon but presumably breeds in nearby residential areas.
TREE SPARROW Very rare visitor. This species has been declining throughout its range and has not been seen here for many years.
CHAFFINCH Present all year. Breeds.
BRAMBLING Uncommon but increasing Winter visitor.
GREENFINCH Present all year. Breeds.
GOLDFINCH Present all year, sometimes forming Winter flocks of up to 100 birds on adjacent farmland. Breeds.
SISKIN Seen between Autumn and Spring in flocks of up to 150 birds.
LINNET Present all year, forming flocks of up to 150 birds in Winter. Breeds.
LESSER REDPOLL Autumn and Winter visitor in small numbers. Click here to see photos.
COMMON REDPOLL Scarce winter vagrant. The only confirmed record is of one on 2nd February 2001.
BULLFINCH Present all year. Breeds.
HAWFINCH Very rare visitor.
CROSSBILL Scarce vagrant. Has been seen in irruption years when this species are widespread.
YELLOWHAMMER Present all year in small numbers. Usually seen on adjacent farmland.
REED BUNTING Resident, breeding in small numbers.
SNOW BUNTING Very rare migrant. One on 30th April 2005. Click here to see photos.
CORN BUNTING Occasionally seen. Breeds nearby but decreasing.
TOTAL 204 SpeciesIf you notice any errors or omissions from the above list please contact Jim_Rose@Hawfinches.Freeserve.co.uk
HABITAT MANAGEMENT - LITTLE MARLOW GRAVEL PIT
With agreement with the site owners (Lafarge Redland Aggregates), working parties organised by members of the Buckinghamshire Bird Club have taken a number of measures to improve the site for breeding birds. These include :-
1). The erection of nest boxes for species such as Kestrel, Tawny Owl and Mandarin Duck.
Several nest boxes were installed in 1995, two with Mandarins in mind but have been taken over by Stock Doves and Jackdaws.
2). The construction of Tern rafts.
One Tern raft was launched in the summer of 1994 and was immediately used by a pair of Common Terns. A second raft was launched the following summer and a third in 2000, when 10 chicks were raised. The young were ringed by a qualified member of the Bucks Bird Club.
3). The clearance of Willow scrub and herbage.
The partial clearance of the area adjacent to the gravel workings. In this area the gravel silt has formed an excellent shallow feeding area for wading birds and dabbling ducks. This area was gradually being overgrown by Willow scrub and other herbage making it less attractive.
A great deal of effort has been put into clearing Willow scrub since the winter of 1994/95. Not only did this provide a larger clear area but the habitat was improved, in that the Willows were replaced by more useful waterside vegetation. Some of the area is now covered in reeds and sedges, providing a good feeding and breeding habitat for many species.
The adjacent open sandy area has been kept clear during the summer by strimming, the cuttings rotting down and providing valuable humus. This area is used by Herons, Swans, Geese, wading birds, dabbling ducks, Cormorants and gulls for feeding and resting.
4). The planting of vegetation including "Phragmites" reeds around the perimeter of the lake.
This is particularly important as the gradual erosion of the banks on the west and north sides would have eventually caused serious problems. At the same time it has provided excellent nest sites for many species including Reed Warblers.
Phragmites reeds were planted in the autumn of 1994 and the spring of 1995 on the north and east banks. Clumps of "Juncus" grass, a water loving sedge, was planted along parts of the north and east banks to provide immediate relief to erosion, this being very successful. In other areas Reedmace has been planted which will also provide protection for the banks.
5). The provision of an undisturbed area of gravel where Little Ringed Plovers can breed.
This species is always present in the Spring and has successfully bred in some years. A relatively open undisturbed area is essential. This species is designated as "schedule 1" and as such may not be disturbed at the nest site.
6). General management of the main island to make it more suitable for roosting and breeding birds. There has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of birds using the island following this work.