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, 5 July 2020

5th Jul 2020: Autumn already?!

Following the end of spring migration, summer arrived and also zipped by all in the matter of a few weeks! I know that technically it is still summer, but someone please tell the birds as we are are experiencing Autumn migration already!

On the 16th June Jim had 2 Little Ringed Plovers and one Ringed Plover (was that a late one or an early one?).

John had a White-legged Damselfly on the 17th. This is great news as we know they are definitely still here, but no one else has seen any since so the population must be very low. I expect this is a result of the river being drained a few years ago, but I haven't got enough knowledge of Damselfly ecology to back this up.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
On the 25th Mike saw a juvenile Black-headed Gull and confirmed that Tufted Ducks had nested at the reservoir by finding a female with five ducklings. This is a great record and no doubt a result of the reduced disturbance and that the grass around the reservoir hasn't been cut so far this year.

There were only four Tufted Ducklings left on the 28th, but so far (up to today) those four seem to be doing well. 

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
On the 29th John had three Little Ringed Plovers.

Mike was up on the 1st and found five Common Sandpipers and three Little Ringed Plovers. John also had Essex Skipper and Marbled Whites in the meadow.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

John saw a Grass Snake on the 2nd.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
John had our first returning Yellow-legged Gull of the summer on the 3rd. An individual that only has one leg and has been seen at both Draycote and Farmoor over the last month or so. 

Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller
On the 4th John had the same Yellow-legged again and a Polish ringed Black-headed Gull (Yellow ring with the code T2YX).

This morning, my visit was very quiet except for three Siskin that flew over as I was leaving. I called back in this evening and there were two Yellow-legged Gulls (including the one legged one) and a Herring Gull.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

14th June 2020: Hobby

On the 10th Ian had two Little Ringed Plovers and a flyover Little Egret.

On Friday John had a Common Tern and two Little Ringed Plovers.

Yesterday I had a Hobby over the reservoir fly-catching high up in the blue sky. Surprisingly the first one of the year I believe.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller

Today Clive was out in the morning and I had a walk around this afternoon. There weren't many birds but there were Marbled Whites, Four-spotted Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers around.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

7th Jun 2020

It was all about the return (!) of Little Ringed Plovers this week. Some birds have clearly bred locally as on the 3rd John recorded four (2 male, 1 female and a fledged juvenile).

The next day Mike saw at least three Little Ringed Plovers, including two juveniles. Also the Cetti’s Warbler singing still.

John went up on the 6th and had two female Little Ringed Plovers.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Sunday, 31 May 2020

31st May 2020: The end of Spring?

Juvenile Grey Wagtail. Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller
Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller

Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller
On the 22nd Mike had the Cetti’s Warbler again in the morning and it now seems settled in on territory. Also recorded on the 23rd, 24th and 25th.

Blue Tit nesting along the railway embankment
On Saturday 23rd I was out a bit later with the main aim of recording damselflies. Having bumped into Clive when I got there and hearing about what he'd recorded in recent day, I was hopeful. I managed to record Large Red, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and Azure, as well as Common Blue and both Demoiselles. No White-legged yet, but I'll keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks.


Typical view of a Red-eyed perched on surface vegetation

Large Red



John called in later and had a Common Tern drop in briefly.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

On the 28th there was a male Stonechat up near the Borrow Pit pool (Richie Thompson). This is an interesting record as it is a very late migrant or possibly nesting (although there was no sign of it on the 30th).

Over this weekend there were two Coots at the reservoir on Saturday (30th) and two new Reed Warblers in on Sunday (30th). The Reed Warblers were in the bushes at the northern end (checked and double checked!) and in the reeds along the river just north of the woodland. Some other interesting sighting today were a Mole foraging out in the open right by the river, a Water Shrew foraging in the, very nearly dried out, ditch in the woodland near the railway line and a very small Grass Snake swimming in the canal (possibly hatched last year as I think it's still a bit early for this year?).

Saturday, 16 May 2020

16th May 2020: Egyptian Geese

I was out a bit later today hoping to record some invertebrates as it warmed up. It was a success and I managed to record some of our first damselflies of the year. Although there were very few butterflies around.

Common Blue Damselfly

Beautiful Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle
As I worked my way back from the river valley to the reservoir I came across two Egyptian Geese in the cattle field. This is the third sighting in a relatively short period of time and I expect they will become even more frequent.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

14th May 2020

Mike was out this morning and had the Cetti's Warbler again, in the same area as before.

This evening I had a Reed Warbler on territory in the reedy section of river just to the north of the M40 bridge.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

10th May 2020

Early this morning (when it was still warm!), three Gadwall were on the reservoir and there was also a Common Sandpiper along the edges. When the strong north-easterly wind really kicked in several Swifts and hirundines dropped in, including a few Sand Martins. What I thought was also mildly interesting was a group of c.40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (mostly immature) that dropped in, seemingly from quite high up, showing how many there are generally in the area.

Soon after I left Clive also had a Common Tern and Herring Gull. This evening Mark had two Little Ringed Plovers and a Yellow Wagtail. There are also two juvenile Grey Wagtails now being fed at the reservoir.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

9th May 2020: Ringed Plovers

This morning Adrian T found two Ringed Plovers at the reservoir - our first ones for a couple of years. There was also Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper.

Friday, 8 May 2020

8th May 2020

A Common Tern and two Common Sandpipers the best birds today.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

7th May 2020

Mike heard the Cetti's Warbler again this morning in a similar place to before, but possibly more towards the canal. It may be staying around for a while.

In the evening I had a Common Sandpiper and Yellow Wagtail.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

5th May: mid-Spring update

Sorry for the lack of posts recently and this being a brief round up of the highlights. It's been a good couple of weeks with other bits of interest in between too. 

On the 22nd  Ian had our first Garden Warbler of the year. 

On the 26th I had a walk up the valley and there was a Willow Warbler up by the Borrow Pit pool and there were at least four Lesser Whitethroats around. On the Borrow Pit the Little Grebes only had 2 chicks left and there were 2 pairs of Tufted Ducks displaying and very vocal amongst 30 or so birds.

In the morning of the 29th Adrian had a single Arctic Tern pass through. Mark had a Little Egret and Reed Warbler in the evening. 

Mike was out in the moning of the 30th and found a fairly showy Whinchat. Sandra and Adrian B also found a singing Cetti’s Warbler which was in the hedge between the water treatment works and the cattle field. (It was a patch tick for me!)

All photos courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

In the morning on Sunday 3rd I had a Oystercatcher at the reservoir. A little later Clive had 2 Common Terns and Mark had one still, or another one, later in the afternoon. 

This morning Ian found a nice summer plumaged Dunlin on his walk around and 2 Common Terns.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

19th Apr 2020: More Spring Arrivals!

Adrian was out early this morning and found three Common Sandpipers at the reservoir. We crossed paths (at an appropriate distance) when I arrived and he was leaving and he told me he thought he'd had Lesser Whitethroat briefly in the scrub along the river. Then as we were stood talking one started singing away over the western side of the reservoir. The sandpipers flew high northeast at just gone 8 am.

There must have been even more of a fall of warblers, as there were lots singing and Blackcaps were literally everywhere. When I got to the sailing club there were two Sedge Warblers singing in the sparse hawthorn hedge around the perimeter fence. By the time I got to the wood I'd heard seven singing birds and the odd stuttering, scratching or churring calls of a couple of others. There were also a couple of Willow Warblers along the river and a Whitethroat singing from the scrub near to the wood. There were several more of both Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat up the valley too.

In the UCV there was a male Whinchat and two Yellow Wagtails feeding near the sheep along the flood alleviation bund, north of the EA 'no access' gate. Clive also confirmed the Little Grebes have three chicks at the Borrow Pit.

When I got back to the reservoir there was a male Wheatear in the cattle field, near to the hedge along the canal. There had been a a steady trickle of hirundines through all morning but now there were now c.20 House Martins forging over the cattle field and reservoir.

Colin had a similar number of House Martins in the evening and recorded our first Swift of the year.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

18th Apr 2020

This morning Adrian had two Yellow Wagtails, 34 Swallows and two Sand Martin. I later added a couple of House Martins too, but unfortunately not much else was seen today.

Friday, 17 April 2020

17th Apr 2020

A change in the weather today resulted in a nice little run of commoner migrants, which are to be expected at this time of year but seem to be a bit scarce some days.

Adrian kicked things off with what appeared to be a fall of at least 14 Blackcaps. Ian has several Sand Martins, House Martin and two Sedge Warblers. Whilst Mike had a  Little Ringed Plover drop in while he was there. Later in the afternoon, all three common hirundines were present and there was a male White Wagtail.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

14th Apr 2010

Adrian was out again this morning and had Common Sandpiper and Yellow Wagtail at the reservoir.