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, 22 March 2018

22nd March: Little Ringed Plover

John: Well a bit of a shock coming back to the snow having been with Gareth, birding in Morocco! However, at least the last couple of days haven't been quite so bracing.

So to the birds...well this week has seen a little bit of interest. The undoubted highlight to date, has been our first Little Ringed Plover of the season, a lovely male on a freezing cold Monday evening (19/03). Grimsbury seems to have a knack of producing Oxfordshire's first LRP of the year and I may be wrong but I think we've gained that accolade once again!

This morning (22/03) was very pleasant and sunny, bringing about a lot of bird activity. A pair of Sparrowhawks were displaying overhead, a couple of male Bullfinches were singing well from perches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in the wood. So some positive signs of spring!

Other birds of note included both Marsh & Willow Tit (having a right old squabble at one point!) & c20 Siskins in the wood plus a / the pair of Wigeon on the reservoir which I've been seeing daily since Tuesday. Willow, Marsh & Coal Tit from this morning below.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

18th Mar 2018: Chiffchaff

Nice to be home to such beautiful spring weather...!

On Friday 9th Tim Clark had two Wigeon at the reservoir and twelve Tufted Ducks at the Borrow Pit pool. He also noted at least four Stonechats in the field to the south of the motorway and west of the canal. That is a very good number for here in recent years. Mark also had two Redpoll in the wood.

Saturday 10th, late morning, Tim recorded c.20 Siskin feeding in the alders along the edge of 
the reservoir and on the reservoir there just a single Little Grebe of note. A male Goosander flew in but did not stop. One Stonechat remained in the field along the canal and ten Tufted Duck and three Little Grebe were at the Borrow Pit.

Jon Bowley visited on the 11th and found our first singing Chiffchaff of the year. It was along the river and had later moved along to the edge of the woodland. The Willow Tit was in song and the Marsh Tit was also still in the woodland. The number of Tufted Duck at the Borrow Pit had increased to fifteen and there were sixteen Teal on the floodwater by the river in the valley. Two each of Skylark and Meadow Pipit flew over east / north-east.

On Wednesday 14th Mike found fourteen Black-tailed Godwits on the floodwater in the Upper Cherwell Valley. This is a fantastic find for the area! The area was also holding lots of gulls, corvids and Starlings. 

Today Mark was out and about and saw four Yellow-legged Gulls at the Borrow Pit and one at the reservoir. There was also twenty-five Tufted Ducks (20M/5F) at the Borrow Pit pool, which must be the highest count there to date and a very good count for the area now. Amongst the rest were three Redpoll in the woodland and six Song Thrush seen together along the reservoir path. 

I'll be away for work for two weeks now, so John will keep the blog updated as and when he can. See you in the Spring!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

8th Mar 2018

There was just the one Dunlin remaining on Monday when John visited. There was also three Coots, which have stayed up until today. This morning I was hoping to catch up with the Marsh Tit seen recently, but the best I saw in the wood was three Redpolls and I heard a Jay.

John and I are off to Morocco tomorrow morning for a week. Please still send through any sightings and I will update when we are back. Hopefully there will be some Chiffchaffs singing by then!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

4th Mar 2018: Dunlin and Gadwall

Friday afternoon Mark braved the snow to visit the reservoir and there were four Coot, five Tufted Ducks, two Wigeon and a Yellow-legged Gull. 

Snow pictures courtesy and copyright of Mark Ribbons

Colin was out Saturday morning and found a Dunlin, still four Coot, a pair of Wigeon, three Tufted Ducks and two Great Crested Grebes at the reservoir. There was also six Tufted Ducks and four Coot at the Borrow Pit pool. 

Later in the afternoon Mark had two Dunlin, three Wigeon, two Gadwall at the reservoir and two Wigeon, seven Tufted Ducks and five Little Grebes at the Borrow Pit pool. 

Picture (and ones below) courtesy and copyright of JFT
Sunday morning John had three Dunlin, two Gadwall, four Wigeon (two at the reservoir and two at the Borrow Pit pool), a Snipe in the channel by waterworks, Willow Tit in the wood and four Coot, a dead lapwing and five Little Grebe at the Borrow Pit pool.

Philip Walker visited in the afternoon and had a Red Kite circling over over to the west of the reservoir, eight Little Grebe and eight Tufted Ducks. He also had a sighting of a possible Woodcock up the valley but it flew behind trees before he could get a definitive identification, but the size, colour and flight were correct.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

28th Feb 2018

Thanks to John for posting while I was away! I'm just catching up now, so hopefully I haven't missed much.

Philip Walker visited on Friday 23rd. In addition to John's post/sightings Philip also saw a few bits up at the Borrow Pit pool. There was four Little Grebes, six to eight Tufted Duck, a Peregrine flying over up the valley and a male Stonechat perched on the bullrushes.

On Saturday 24th Steve had a Little Grebe at the reservoir along with the now regular Stonechat and pair of Wigeon.

Dave Lowe and Tom Bedford travelled up on Sunday 25th in search of the Willow Tit, which they found, and also saw our first Marsh Tit of the year/winter. The two were associating with each other and could be our 'pair' that attempted to nest last year. Their visit produced some interesting comments on ID from Richard Broughton and Tom has written up their notes and Richards comments here

Monday lunch time John had four Redpolls in the woodland. The (a) Coot has returned, two Lapwing flew over and the very confiding Kestrel was around too. 

The cold snap appears to be causing a little movement of birds avoiding the harsher conditions elsewhere. Today before work John saw 31 Lapwing go over and there were 10 Tufted Ducks (7 drakes) at the reservoir and 15 Fieldfare in the cattle field. At lunch time he saw a further 29 go over, all south or south-east, and another 4 land at the reservoir in the evening. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

23rd Feb 2018

John: It is all pretty quiet at the reservoir right now as we experience the doldrums of winter. Spring is though gradually showing itself, with more and more signs that there is hope!

Still, there was at least something to look at, with both the pair of Wigeon and the 1st-winter male Stonechat seen on and off throughout the week.

There have also been up to 200 Black Headed Gulls roosting on the pontoon on several evenings. This produced the highlight of the week, with a German-ringed Black Headed Gull - AF400. Even more interesting, was that this bird has been seen by Gareth before, not this winter, but back on 5th November 2015! See here

This perhaps shows an incredible faithfulness to certain wintering sites and an interesting insight into how gulls move about.

This inspired me to get round to finding out the info of two other ringed Black Headed Gulls from back in October. I have already had a reply on one (2SKL), which was rung at Pitsea Landfill Site in Essex, by the North Thames Gull Group back on 3rd December 2016. See here

We're just going into a very cold spell over the next few days, so fingers crossed we get a bit of a change up of birds...perhaps some different wildfowl if we're lucky!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

11th Feb 2018

There was obvious a bit of movement of Great Crested Grebes this week, as John saw eight on Monday but there was only four again by the end of the week. John also saw a pair of Wigeon on Tuesday and a Lesser Redpoll on Thursday. I assume the Wigeon were the same birds we saw on Saturday too, so they may have been lingering in the valley. Also on Saturday, I had a Peregrine go over, a Coot and the two Lesser Redpoll in the wood. On Sunday George Best saw the Willow Tit and the two Redpolls were in the wood still.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 4 February 2018

04th Feb 2017

It has been a pretty quiet week to be completely honest. Steve saw a drake Goosander on Thursday. This morning the Willow Tit was in the wood being fairly vocal and there were at least two Lesser Redpolls. The Stonechat is still along the western reservoir fence.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

28th Jan 2017: Round up

Sorry for not posting for a while, this is a bit of a catch up and generally the most notable birds.

The Stonechat that has been at the reservoir is still there and fairly faithful to a particular part of the fence and gets seen on most days. A drake Goosander has been visiting fairly regularly but it definitely doesn't stay around for long. There has also been a good flock of Greenfinch around of 20 or more birds that is very good for here, especially considering how much they have declined recently.

The biggest highlight is a Greylag Goose John saw on Friday 19th, which was  new for the year.

The drake Goosander was seen on Sunday 21st (Allan Jones) and Thursday 25th (John). Yesterday morning I was pleasantly surprised there were actually four Goosanders (3 drakes) on the reservoir. However, three flew off north fairly soon after I got there. Maybe off to Boddington? I also heard a Redpoll in the woodland, but the flock it was with flew off before I could have a look at it/them.

This morning Steve had a drake Goosander on the reservoir and a pair of Stonechats up the valley near the Borrow Pit pool.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

17th Jan 2018: Ravens and Peregrine

Some news from John and a couple of new birds for the year list. Yesterday he had six Ravens wheeling around in the wind, which are likely to be the same ones I've seen over town in recent days. Today, he had a large Peregrine (assumed to be female) drift low over at lunch time. There was also a Great Crested Grebe downing a rather decent sized Perch!

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

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.