This is no Farmoor, Otmoor or Port Meadow. This is Grimsbury. It's Grim up north!

There is a running total year list in the link above.

Please send in your bird sightings to the B.O.S. and/or to me directly for inclusion on the blog. If you have some photos you would like to contribute please let me know (contact via the comments box on the right if you do not have my email already). Thank you.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

14th Jan 2018: Pochard

Steve and Colin were out this morning. A drake Pochard was with a pair of Tufted Ducks on the reservoir, before they moved to the Borrow Pit pool. One drake Goosander flew in (and was still present later when John called in), four Lapwing circled over and there was a smart adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

13th Jan 2018: Woodcock and Willow Tit

John and I were out this morning. John was out before me and had 10 Lapwing fly over the reservoir. Whilst he was in the woodland searching through the tit flock a Woodcock flew in to the woodland. Further confirming my theory that he has some kind of magical ability to find birds, especially when I'm not there!

A bit later we found the Willow Tit in the wood, near the junction of the path by the railway and the path by the ditch. It actually sat preening and showed well for several minutes and called several times before flying further into the wood. Otherwise, it was pretty quiet with just a couple of Skylarks going over the only other bits of note.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

11th Jan 2018: Shoveler

I was up at the reservoir early today and joined a little later by John. I managed to pick out a 2CY Yellow-legged Gull in the gloom before it and most of the other gulls departed for the day. A drake Shoveler was new for the year list and there was also a pair of Tufted Ducks.

In the woodland there was at least three Siskins, which flew south, and behind the woodland there was a small flock of Linnets. The Song Thrushes have been singing since the start of the year, which is fairly normal, but I was a little surprised to hear a Treecreeper singing today. On my way back I managed to see the Stonechat thanks to John pointing out where it was (at last!).

It's worth noting that so far we have already seen over half the number of species recorded last year. I wonder if we can beat 2016's species count of 128? Happy bird spotting everyone!

Courtesy and copyright of JFt

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

10th Jan 2018: Goosanders

Yesterday, John had the Stonechat again on the fence along the footpath on the western side of the reservoir.

Today, Graeme Porter found a pair of Goosanders at the reservoir mid-morning that were still present when John visited at lunch time. These were the first ones of this year and I hope we see more, similar to previous winters.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 7 January 2018

7th Jan 2018: Jay and Jack Snipe Plus more

A very nice sunny day today but it was very cold and windy, further increasing the chill factor. Colin was out this morning and Ian this afternoon. Also, as part of the B.O.S. Short Day Count in SP44, John, Clive and I were at the reservoir this afternoon. Several birds were added to the year list including a few good ones.

Colin had a Jay in the woodland, a pair of Stonechats in the Primark/M and S meadow, a Lesser Redpoll in trees near the Borrow Pit and two drake Tufted Ducks on the reservoir. Also Fieldfares, Redwings, a Sparrowhawk, Green and Great spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreeper our “familiar” female Kestrel and the Coot on the reservoir (and 3 more on the Borrow Pit pool).

Again, we failed to find the Willow Tit and Chiffchaff in the woodland but Ian confirmed a Stonechat still present in the cattle fields (so I'm not sure if there are a few around currently). We managed to find a Snipe and a bonus Jack Snipe in the 'usual' field. There was also at least four, possibly five, Little Grebes on the Borrow Pit. the gull roost was a little underwhelming but there was a single Yellow-legged Gull present.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

6th Jan 2018: Brambling and Stonechat

John and Mark were out today adding some good birds to the year list and one oddity that, although interesting, does not count towards the patch or year list.

This morning John did what he does best and found a really good bird for the patch. At least one Brambling heard calling to the east of the river and flying off with a group of four finches and he also had four Wigeon flyover north. Brambling is a surprisingly rare patch bird and there hasn't been one for several years. I think the last one was a flyover I recorded in January 2011.

This afternoon Mark added Stonechat to the year list, with one along the fence on the western side of the reservoir. We are not sure if this is the same bird that has been around for several weeks, and is very elusive, or if we have been visited by several different birds. Late evening Mark found a Black Swan on the reservoir, which is likely to be the same bird recorded at Port Meadow recently. I am not sure, but I expect this is a new species recorded here, but as it is obviously an escaped bird it doesn't go on the list!

Friday, 5 January 2018

5th Jan 2018: Red Kite and more year ticks

I managed to have a look around the patch this morning, concentrating on the woodland. I failed to find the Willow Tit or the Chiffchaff, but I did manage to add a few other bits to the year list. A Red Kite was drifting around over to the west of the reservoir, a Meadow Pipit flew over south, a Reed Bunting flew over near the river and a female Sparrowhawk was hanging around the car park when I left.

Steve also had two Collared Doves. So the year list is ticking along nicely now.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

3rd Jan 2018: Wigeon

John spotted two Wigeon on the reservoir at lunchtime today. Not a lot else around though.

Monday, 1 January 2018

1st Jan 2018: New year, new birds

John and I made our first visit to the patch this afternoon. Mostly it was just the usual birds you can expect day to day but there were a few minor highlights.

As soon as I got out of the car a few Siskin flew over, which was pleasing as there hasn't been many around for a couple of weeks. The Coot was still on the reservoir and a couple of Herring Gulls were loafing on the pontoon. I searched through the roving passerine flock in the wood but failed to find the Willow Tit or Chiffchaff.

John joined me for the gull roost and even by Grimsbury standards it was pretty small. So we were surprised when a 2CY Great Black-backed dropped in, possibly the same bird as last week. On top of that a 3CY Yellow-legged Gull came in, another (adult) Great Black-back flew through and three more Herring Gulls flew through. This was all only amongst c.40 Black-headed and a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

31st Dec 2017: Last Knockings

It's the end of the year and, unfortunately, there hasn't been any big late surprises this year. The last couple of weeks has been fairly standard really. The odd Yellow-legged Gull sighting, a Willow Tit in the wood on and off and a Chiffchaff in the wood a couple of times were the more normal highlights. The Coot has stayed around to the end of the year too, which is really unusually long stay for a bird here.

John saw two Wigeon on the 14th and I had a Lapwing fly over on the 24th. Mike, Colin and Steve did the roost on the 27th and had a 1CY Great Black-backed Gull. Peregrine has been seen in town a few times recently, so could possibly be seen from the reservoir, and Red Kites continue to be a regular sighting over town and the reservoir.

I will be doing a full year round up some time soon, but for now here are John's photo highlights of the year.
Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

12th Dec 2017

John: I managed to dodge the remnants of the snow today for a short walk around the reservoir, during my lunch break. It was nice to see some different wildfowl for a change with 4 Wigeon sat sleeping on the ice with a group of Mallards.

A vocal Mistle Thrush (a scarce bird here) was along the river, together with a couple of Fieldfare, while a calling Yellowhammer went over heading east.

It was pleasing to see the female Kestrel still in situ near the sailing club. I've watched it catching worms in the last week or so, however today, that was out of the question with the ground covered in frozen snow!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

10th Dec 2017

On Monday John had two Red Kites over the reservoir . I have also been seeing at least one bird regularly over town. On Monday there was also a Peregrine and a second Winter Yellow-legged Gull. Yesterday morning, two Wigeon dropped in mid-morning. However, it was very quiet otherwise.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 3 December 2017

3rd Dec 2017

John had a pair of Raven over the reservoir on Monday and a single Yellow-legged Gull on Tuesday.  Another single Yellow-legged Gull on Thursday (the regular 4CY) and four Teal on Friday.

Yesterday morning I heard the Willow Tit in the wood, but couldn't see it, had a Snipe fly over the reservoir and saw one Yellow-legged Gull up at the Borrow Pit pool.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
Colin was out today, 1300-1540, and saw:
2 kingfishers on river adjacent to reservoir
1 snipe over (heard not seen)
8 cormorants
5 GC grebes
1 adult YL gull in roost – very smart bird
1 male goosander circled reservoir twice towards sunset, then disappeared off south. 
Upper Cherwell:
Male stonechat in meadow near M&S
Many large gulls inc at least 8 Herring type
3 Little grebe

Sunday, 26 November 2017

26th Nov 2017

After the Kittiwake on Tuesday, things were pretty much back to normal. On Wednesday morning John had two Yellow-legged Gulls at the reservoir. Thursday lunchtime, John had a male Stonechat along the fence in the cattle field. It is likely to be the same bird that has been sporadically over the last few weeks, but it has stayed mostly out of sight at a safe distance from the reservoir edge.

Today I had a good walk around in search of something of interest. There was a Willow Tit in the wood, it was very vocal and I did have brief but good views. Otherwise, there were only Yellow-legged Gulls of any interest.

To start I saw a 2CY at the reservoir, terrorising all of the other gulls chasing them around or completely away. That was until the sailing boats chased all of the gulls away. Up the valley on the Borrow Pit pool there was around 100 large gulls, including what was likely the same bird I had just seen and a near adult bird. I got onto a bird that could have been a juv Caspian Gull, but all the birds flushed. Over the valley I could see hundreds of gulls, loafing in the field with the mound (just into Northants) and flocks of birds over the fields in Chacombe. There must have close to, if not over, a thousand birds in the area. Waiting around at the Borrow Pit I had good views of at least another adult Yellow-legged Gull but not a lot else. Of note, there have been Caspian Gulls seen recently at Boddington Reservoir and John saw 5-6 Yellow-legged Gulls there in today's roost. So there is a god chance we will get Caspian Gulls in this area again this winter.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

21st Nov 2017: Kittiwake

A day full of gulls. It started really well when John found a 1st winter Kittiwake before work. Unfortunately, it didn't hang around and left with a group of Lesser Black-backs when they were disturbed. After that it wasn't seen for the rest of the day.

Steve was out at around 09:30 and said there was around 140 Black-headed Gulls and there was also four Common Gulls, two Yellow-legged (ad, 2cy) and nine Herring Gulls amongst 159 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. 

At lunch time John and I was hugely surprised by the numbers of gulls around. The farmer had been spreading muck on the adjacent field and apparently this had drawn them in. There were at least three Yellow-legged Gulls at that time and possibly up to five. There was also several Common Gulls and Herring Gulls. It was hard to view all of them well, so I decided to go back later with the scope to have a really good look. However, when I did most of the gulls were gone and there was only one Yellow-legged Gull left. 

Both pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT