Description

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.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

19th Oct 2017

Colin was out on this very grey and mizzly morning. Not much on the water, but evidently a decent “fall” of Chiffchaffs overnight with a cumulative count of 19 in various bushes around the reservoir edge (inc 5 in one bush!) and even one singing briefly near the water works. Also, good Blackbird numbers (9) so may be evidence of continental birds arriving.

A little later Steve had four Lapwing fly over south and there was 322 Canada Geese were present (plus three hybrids), two Great Crested Grebes and two Mute Swans on the reservoir.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

18th Oct 2017

Steve is back from his holiday and this morning saw a Snipe fly over south, a Stonechat along the fence line by the ditch in the cattle field, two Great Crested Grebes on the reservoir and over 40 Lesser Black-backs.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

17th Oct 2017

Colin has been out a few times in the last few days. On Sunday (15th) there was four Yellow-legged Gulls in the roost and said Gull numbers are quite high at present with up to ~1000 individuals including 400+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There was also a Lesser Redpoll in trees by the sailing club and a Tawny Owl calling in Spicebull Park. The park is outside the patch area, but Tawny Owl is a rare bird for Grimsbury and it's nice to think we have a chance of getting one on patch. 

Today at first light, Colin had eight Cormorants, c.800 gulls inc 2 Yellow-legged Gulls before they dispersed, two Redwings over and at least 1000 Jackdaws dispersing from the roost at 0715 was impressive.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

15th Oct 2017: Autumn arrival

Firstly apologies for the lack of posts recently. I have attempted to do a round up below, but I may have missed a few bits along the way.

Secondly, please check the post from 25th September, regarding the tern seen. Ian Lewington rather swiftly picked up on the fact that it didn't look like a Common Tern and provided a very good peace of identification information. Thank you again Ian.

27th Steve: 2 common gull and a tit flock with 3+ chiffchaff of note.  A grey heron caught and ate a large perch!

30th Steve and Colin: Not much to report at the reservoir, four grey wagtails and three swallows south. In the UCV seven little grebes.

2nd Steve: Two buzzards and two kestrels over the wood.  54 lesser black-backed gulls and c50 black-headed gulls on the water.

8th Colin and I: Colin had a Redwing over early morning, our first of the autumn. I failed to find much of interest, but noted a dramatic decrease in warblers from my last visit (two weeks before!). Later in the evening Colin had three Great Crested Grebes (one juvenile) and in the roost, one Yellow-legged Gull and two Herring Gulls. He also had one, or possibly two, Little Egrets flying over going to roost.

10th Mike: Did the gull roost this evening and had three adult yellow-legged gulls and one 3cy plus a 1cy common Gull, & a little egret flew over.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

26th Sep 2017: Ruff

A Ruff was flying around this morning when John arrived It didn't land and after circling the reservoir a few times it left to the north. There was also two Teal that lingered for most of the day.

Monday, 25 September 2017

25th Sep 2017: Edit - Arctic Tern

This mornings conditions looked really good, light easterly winds with rain starting in the early hours. John was up and out to have a look and found a Common Tern Arctic Tern (see below), a Whitethroat and had more hirundines through. The forecast looked like it would produce more, but it wasn't to be.

Pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT



Not long after I published this post I had a text message off Ian Lewington saying this was an interesting looking tern, possibly a first summer (2CY) Arctic Tern that had failed to undergo it's first primary moult. Unfortunately, even though John saw the bird in the morning and at lunch time, he had only seen it sat on this buoy. so he did not see the open wing or have any photos of the open wing. 

John had sent me a photo of the bird and we discussed it briefly. Even though we both said the bird looked structurally like an Arctic Tern we concluded it must be an Common Tern because it still had dark primaries (for reference see this post of a bird we had earlier this year). 

A couple of emails with Ian later and he was fairly happy to conclude that this was an Arctic Tern, based on it's structural characteristics. However, after a bit of research it was more interesting than just a second calendar year bird. This is what Ian wrote:
'I think we can safely say this is an Arctic (short legs, short bill, cap shape, general shape etc). It was it's state of moult that puzzled me. I've since learnt that 3rd cal year birds do not have a complete pre-breeding moult in early spring unlike 1st summers and adults. In their 2nd summer they have a body moult but do not replace their primaries (except sometimes p1 or p2). There is a hint of a grey p2 tip on the photo. The bill is also more colourful than a 1st summer.
So a bird about 27 months old! Very educational and I don't recall this plumage/age class in the county before.'

So that's another Arctic Tern I've missed this year! 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

24th Sep 2017: Little Gull and a few extras

There was quite a bit going on this week. Nothing too exciting, but a lot more interesting than it can be!

On Tuesday John had a drake Shoveler in the morning that lingered all day and in the evening he jammed in on a juv/1st winter Little Gull. It was present, sat on the railings, when John arrived but was disturbed and within a few minutes had drifted off high away from the reservoir.

All pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT


On Wednesday morning John also found a Whinchat along the western bank of the reservoir and had a bit of overhead passage, including 90+ Swallows and 30 Meadow Pipits all over in 15 minutes.  In the evening there was a Yellow-legged Gull. On top of that there have been a few Blackcaps around still and Common Gulls are being seen again. 


Sunday morning Colin and Steve were out early and had a Wigeon at the Borrow Pit pool and in the valley had a Reed Warbler, a Willow Warbler and a Redpoll over. The Wigeon relocated to the reservoir while John and I were there, but it soon moved on when the sailing started. We also had our first Skylarks of the autumn over and a steady trickle of hirundines and pipits.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

17th Sep 2017

After the excitement of the start of the week the end has seemed rather quiet. Mike reported no sign of the phalarope on Friday morning and it was gone. However, there were thirteen Grey Wagtails that morning with two Yellow Wagtails. That must be a record number for the site. Also, in the afternoon John had an immature Peregrine over. 

This morning John had a Wheatear at the reservoir and a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits and Swallows over.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

14th Sep 2017

Much to my surprise, the Phalarope was still present this morning. It was on the eastern bank and seemed to remain there most of the day, being seen by several people.

This morning there was some obvious vis-mig, or at least signs that things are on the move. Most notable was at least eight Grey Wagtails, feeding as a loose group around the edge of the reservoir. Over head there was a single Yellow Wagtail, at least 30 Meadow Pipits (including a group of 13) and a large ball of c.70 hirundines.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

13th Sep 2017

Yesterday and today the Grey Phalarope continued to grace us with its presence. At times it has looked weak, possibly unwell, but then it seems to perk up again and become very active. Actually, this evening it had a good fly around and at one point Mike saw it circle high over the wood and it appeared to be making an exit but then it returned to the waters edge an continued feeding. I would not be surprised it it gone in the morning.

The supporting cast has been a 3CY Yellow-legged Gull yesterday evening, a Wheatear most of today and at least four Yellow Wagtails in with the cattle this evening.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Colin (taken on Monday)




Monday, 11 September 2017

11th Sep 2017: Grey Phalarope!!

This evening John found a Grey Phalarope at the reservoir. There have been very strong westerly winds today with numerous sea birds seen along the western coast and a few have been turning up in land. There had been little (nothing) of note at Grimsbury all day and then John goes finds this beauty in the evening on his after work walk.

Quite a few Grimsbury regulars and BOS members managed to see it, some getting a good soaking whilst doing so. Information from Mike Curnow, via Mike Pollard, indicates that this is the fourth record for the BOS area. The first one was found dead in Kiddington in 1982 and there are two records in a records book not yet on the system. I assume this is the first record for Grimsbury Reservoir though.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT


The scene as I arrived, before I'd seen the Phalarope and got absolutely soaked!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

10th Sep 2017

A few minor highlights this week to keep us ticking over. On Thursday John saw a juvenile Little Grebe at the reservoir.

Saturday morning there was a bit of overhead passage with a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits (c.15), House Martins (c.30) and Sand Martins (c.5) over. There was a few Swifts that joined a group of hirundines gathering late morning and I heard a Willow Tit in the wood. Late afternoon a Hobby cruised over, which I was alerted to by the alarm calls of a group of House Martins but the Hobby apparently wasn't on the hunt and just passed over. 

On Sunday afternoon Steve, John and Colin were all out. There was one (possibly two) Yellow Wagtails in the cattle field, 22 Meadow Pipits - mostly overhead but one down at the reservoir edge, a big gathering of the three hirundines (at points c.100 House Martins and c.30 Sand Martins) but it was evident that birds were moving through, a Swift and a Yellow-legged Gull. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

03rd Sep 2017

It's a very quiet week, even by Grimsbury standards. Steve and Colin were out on Monday when they had six Yellow Wagtails over and a Swift.  They also had a Kingfisher at the reservoir and nine Little Grebes at the Borrow Pit pool.

Today Colin had two Ringed Plovers fly through low over the reservoir at 13:45. they didn't stop and were last seen disappearing past the water treatment works. There was also seven Swifts, c.40 mixed hirundines and two Kingfishers.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

26th Aug 2016

This morning John had a juvenile Ringed Plover fly in for a little rest before continuing high south west. There was also a Common Sandpiper and one, or possibly two, Snipe that flew through. Over head there was at least 11 Yellow Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit. So there was obviously a bit of passage last night into this morning.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

23rd Aug 2017

This evening the female Redstart was still present and there was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, both seen by John.