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.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

18th Nov 2017

A quick look at the roost this evening didn't produce much. The 'usual' Yellow-legged Gull was present amongst c.95 Lesser Black-backs, which seems to be the same near adult bird as most days. The bulk of the birds were Black-headed Gulls (c.650-700), some of which were already moulted through with full hoods. there was also three Herring Gulls and a couple of Common Gulls.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

16th Nov 2017

John: I have been visiting the reservoir fairly frequently on most weekdays, however it has unfortunately been extremely quiet and so far the site has failed to join the big Hawfinch bonanza of this autumn / winter so far. However we will persevere!

Yesterday I did finally come across something a little bit different when visiting before work, stumbling across a male Stonechat along the western side of the reservoir.

The Great Crested Grebe count was down to 4, while I came across the resident female Kestrel which has proved very approachable in recent days, often found sitting on the fence along the eastern side of the reservoir.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

12th Nov 2017

A fairly quiet week. There has been low single figures of Yellow-legged Gulls coming in pre-roost. John had two Red Kites over on on Friday lunchtime. Sunday midday there was eight Great Crested Grebes on the reservoir but not a lot else!

Photo above and below courtesy and copyright of JFT

Yellow-legged Gull from Friday

Monday, 6 November 2017

6th Nov 2017

John and I were out this morning. There wasn't a lot around but there were seven Great Crested Grebes and several Skylarks over. Up the valley there was a Stonechat by the Borrow Pit pool again and a good gathering of gulls, including a couple of Herring Gulls.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

5th Nov 2017: Catch up

Playing catch up with the blog again. I apologise if I have missed anything of note.

24th John and I: A morning visit for us got our first Fieldfare of the autumn fly over with some Redwings and a a Yellowhammer. John had another ringed Black-headed Gull this evening, this one had a yellow ring on the leg tarsus with 2SKL in black.

25th John and Dan: The gull roost in the evening had a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and there was a redhead Goosander too.

26th John: A good passage of Wood Pigeons, a Redpoll over and more thrushes including a group of four Blackbirds.

27th John and I: Seven Greylags in with the Canada Geese and four Siskins along the river in the morning. At least two Yellow-legged Gulls in the evening, possibly three.

29th: I had a couple of Redpolls over but not a lot else.

1st John: A Redpoll, a couple of Skylark and several Meadow Pipits, as well as thrushes and Starlings migrating over.

3rd Mike: A Stonechat along the hedgerow to the west of the reservoir.

4th Steve: A redhead Goosander at the reservoir.

Today there was a flock of Siskins in the wood possibly into double figures but hard to tell as they were very mobile. Several Skylarks over. A pair of Ravens flew over and Clive had a Stonechat up by the Borrow Pit pool.

Monday, 23 October 2017

23rd Oct 2017

John was out this evening for the gull roost. There were five Yellow-legged Gulls today and a colour ringed Black-headed Gull. The ring was a white darvic on the left tarsus with the black code '26S3'. I found the scheme on cr-birding and it appears to have been ringed at the Cotswold Water Park in Wiltshire. I'm sure John will update us with some details when he has them.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

22nd Oct 2017

Steve and John were out early this morning, John recently back from his honeymoon and getting straight back to the patch! Steve saw two Stonechats up by the Borrow Pit pool and there was a couple of Common Gulls at the reservoir. A few Redwings and Siskins were on the move overheard too. 

I managed a walk around lunch time and there was a small group of gulls gathered, including seven Common Gulls of various ages. In the wood there was a couple of Chiffchaffs and several Coal Tits. I'm convinced we've had a decent arrival of Coal Tits in recent weeks. Otherwise quiet in the very blustery conditions.

Friday, 20 October 2017

20th Oct 2017

I managed to have a look around this morning. Walking up the river side of the reservoir there was a Chiffchaff calling away in the Blackthorn scrub. There was a bit of passage overheard and by the time I left c.60 Redwings had gone over and there were several small groups of Meadow Pipit. A single Lapwing flew in from the north, circled around a bit and then left to the north again. A drake Wigeon also flew in but decided not to land and flew off west.

On the reservoir a group of gulls had gathered which included two Herring Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull. The Yellow-legged was an absolute brute, making the other gulls look small.

In the wood there was a Jay calling a few times and there was a flock of Siskin around, but other than that it was fairly quiet.

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.