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 21 January 2024

21st Jan 2024

Quite a cold week with most of the reservoir being frozen over by Friday but thawing out again over the weekend. 
Friday afternoon there were 52 Tufted Duck and a single drake Gadwall on the reservoir making use of the small area of ice free water. Up the valley I heard the (I assume the same) Cetti's Warbler singing by the river and there was at least 7 Snipe along the river.
Mark found a Yellow-legged Gull stood on the ice at the reservoir on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday our first Greenfinch of the year was along the river.

Sunday 14 January 2024

14th Jan 2024

Following the flooding last week the river level has gone very low again, even lower than it was at the end of last year. The freshly exposed mud under the railway bridge had fresh signs of Otter.

On Wednesday there was a little bit of activity and a couple of new birds with Kingfisher, Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Raven and 13+ Siskins. Typically, some of these were birds we couldn't find last Sunday on the short day count!

John had a/the Goosander on Thursday and it was around again today. Also seen today were 64 Greylag Geese at the reservoir and then up the valley, Pheasant, Woodcock, 22 Snipe, 5 Gadwall at the Borrow Pit pool and 5 Lapwing up the valley.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 7 January 2024

7th Jan 2024: A bit wet!

Dawn broke on New Year's Day with the patch (and a lot of other places) flooded. It wasn't too high to get in with wellington boots and a bit of care but some of the pathways around the wood (near the river especially) were too deep to walk along, so I accessed the Upper Cherwell Valley from the Gateway/M&S car park. A good number of birds seen for the first day, including Siskins, a Chiffchaff, a Stonechat, a drake Pintail, 2 Wigeon and a Snipe. A flock of birds passed over really high going south that JFT and I thought were most likely Golden Plover but we couldn't say for definite.

Wednesday morning the flooding was even worse and access to the reservoir not possible in the morning so I went up the valley but Ian managed a walk round in the afternoon. I added 5 Teal and 3 Lesser Redpoll to the year list and Ian had a drake Goosander on the Reservoir, which Adrian T also saw on Thursday.

This morning Clive and I were out and had a really good look around the patch, as part of the B.O.S. Short Day Count of SP44. We had a couple of new birds for the year list with a single Great Black-backed Gull over twice (possibly two birds) and a Lapwing in one of the fields that was still holding some flood water. Other notable sightings on patch were 5 Great Crested Grebes on the reservoir, 2 Gadwall on the Borrow Pit pool, 3 Wigeon, c.40 Snipe in one wet field and 2 Stonechat. Out of patch a Peregrine in town and a Goosander at Wroxton were good birds to get but there was not a lot else really.

Yesterday afternoon one of my friends took this overhead shot as the plane he was on passed over on the approach to Heathrow. This would have been at around 5500 m and a lot higher than most migratory birds would be flying over, but an interesting perspective of the patch and the surrounding area.

Courtesy and copyright of Allan Jones

Sunday 31 December 2023

31st Dec 2023

As expected there were no big surprises for the end of the year. Apparently the Ross's Goose was back on Monday with some Greylags. I expect they've been mostly in the floods somewhere along the Cherwell, as there's been hardly any geese at the reservoir. 

On Wednesday 2 Lapwings did a few circuits of the reservoir before flying south and there was a Gadwall on the reservoir. A few Siskins flew over too.

Yesterday there was a drake Wigeon with 3 Gadwall at the Borrow Pit pool and a Lesser Redpoll flew over. 

This morning Clive had a Peregrine over and there was a Wigeon on the reservoir and a Chiffchaff along the river. 

Happy new year! Fingers crossed for some good birds in 2024. 

Recent photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 24 December 2023

24th Dec 2023

A very quiet couple of weeks towards the end of the year, but that could be down to the lack of visits. A drake Goosander has been seen on and off.
A decent addition to the year list this late in the year was a Cetti's Warbler yesterday, heard singing from the scrub along the River Cherwell just north of the M40. A fairly scarce species for the patch, but with a run of recent records I assume likely to become more regular. 

Hopefully the last week of the year has another surprise or two... Happy Christmas!

Sunday 10 December 2023

10th Dec 2023: Pochard

John was out on Tuesday and found 5 Red-crested Pochards, a Pochard and a Goosander at the reservoir. The Pochard was new for the year and was around until Friday. A Goosander was also present on Weds and Friday at least. 

Yesterday Edwin had 2 Peregrine over the reservoir and there was 3 Gadwall up on the Borrow Pit pool. 

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 3 December 2023

3rd Dec 2023

There was a single redhead Goosander was at the reservoir Tuesday but four there today - 3 redheads and an immature male. 

Yesterday and today there was a Ross's Goose with the Canada Geese - nice to see but certainly an escape from a collection! Also present yesterday was 3 Wigeon and a Chiffchaff at the reservoir and a Brambling just into the Upper Cherwell Valley. Today Clive had a Stonechat in the plantation field. 

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 26 November 2023

26th Nov 2023: Green Sandpiper

Not many visits or much news this week, but a couple of new birds for the year. 

Yesterday there was 2 Wigeon on the reservoir and up into the valley a Green Sandpiper flew north along the river calling. I managed to pick out a flock of Golden Plovers flying in the distance towards Chipping Warden and what was possibly an adult Caspian Gull in the fields but I couldn't confirm it.

Today Clive had 2 Goosanders fly over the reservoir. There was a couple of Lesser Redpolls around with one at the reservoir and one by the Borrow Pit pool. In amongst a reasonable number of gulls I found a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and what looked like a Caspian Gull, but it wasn't quite right. I sent some photos to John and a couple of other friends and they agreed it looked off and later Ian Lewington confirmed it was probably a hybrid.

Sunday 19 November 2023

19th Nov 2023

It's fair to say it's been a fairly quiet couple of weeks. A few visits from a few different people hasn't resulted in anything particularly notable, but there's been a couple of interesting records.

Last Sunday Clive had 2 small waders fly over but couldn't see them well enough to ID. I'm assuming they were probably Dunlin. Sandra also counted 42 Tufted Ducks.
Wednesday morning I had 47 Cormorants at the reservoir, which I think is my biggest count here. There was also 4 Shoveler (2 pairs).
John had c.50 Lapwing fly over south yesterday. 
This morning a Little Egret was in the cattle field when Clive went round and it was still there this afternoon when John went round. He also saw a Peregrine.

Sunday 5 November 2023

5th Nov 2023

Sandra was out Monday morning and had the Barnacle Goose up at the Borrow Pit pool/fields in the valley. It appears to have gone as it hasn't been seen since then.

Tuesday morning I had 2 (possibly 3) Yellowhammers along the western side of the reservoir with more Reed Buntings than usual and 2 Chiffchaff. There was a noticeable increase of Robins, Blackbirds and Song Thrush too. Thursday morning there was a Fieldfare and 5 Great Crested Grebes again and a Raven over. 

This morning Adrian T and Clive had 3 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler and 40 Fieldfare. 

Sunday 29 October 2023

29th Oct 2023: Osprey, Barnacle Goose and Cattle Egret

A very good week for the patch and quality autumn birding with three new birds for the year and some other good patch birds.

On Monday Clive had a (fairly) late Osprey go over south and Edwin found a Dunlin on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning I had 2 Brambling over and 4 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Great Crested Grebes (a good count for here) and 38 Greylag Geese. A little later in the morning Clive had a Barnacle Goose (second patch record) fly over and 12 Siskins. He then relocated the goose at the Borrow Pit pool. The goose may not be a genuine wild bird but a great patch bird anyway.

Saturday morning the Barnacle Goose was on the reservoir with 58 Greylag and c.250 Canada Geese. A Cattle Egret (second patch record) came in and briefly landed in the cattle field before heading north. It was later relocated near Chacombe by John. 

This morning John had the Barnacle Goose again and 102 Greylags. Later on Clive had a Peregrine over towards town and there was Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Redpoll and Siskins around the reservoir. The goose was also seen again later at the Borrow Pit pool.

Goose photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday 22 October 2023

22nd Oct 2023: Merlin and Brambling

A good week for the patch with a couple of new birds for the year list. 

On Wednesday I had a Merlin (second patch record) fly over west fairly high. Quite a surprise on a morning with some but not a lot of birds moving. A Snipe also flushed up from the cattle field by the farmer and 6 Siskin, some Redwings and c.40 Greylag Geese. 

Yesterday morning John had Brambling over along with 7 Fieldfare, 11 Redwing and 4 Siskin. 

This morning there was a couple of Lesser Redpoll, several Siskin, a Little Egret over south and 5 Raven over north.

Sunday 15 October 2023

15th Oct 2023

Yesterday there was a Stonechat and a fairly late Swallow at the reservoir. Also several Siskins and Skylarks over, as well as Meadow Pipits with some grounded too. A couple of Chiffchaffs were vocal on the western side. A Greylag Goose and at least one hybrid has been in amongst the Canada Goose flock. 

Sunday 1 October 2023

1st Oct 2023

Jonathan Bowley was out on Tuesday, at the reservoir and into the valley, and had 3 Little Grebe, 5 Cormorant, 2 Heron, 37 Mallard, 16 Tufted Ducks, 4 Coot, 1 Snipe over, 3 Common Sandpipers, 3 House Martins, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Blackcap, 9 chiffchaff, 3 Siskin and 1 Reed Bunting.

Today John had 2 Gadwall, 3 Common Sandpipers and 6 Siskin. Adrian T counted 280 Canada Geese.

Sunday 24 September 2023

24th Sep 2023

A bit quieter this week, but the Canada Goose flock is rapidly increasing. Steve H counted 264 on Monday and there was also a Common Sandpiper. 

On Tuesday John saw Little Grebe, 4 Swallows and 2 Common Sandpipers.

On Thursday there was a Wheatear in the cattle field and 3 Common Sandpipers.

There is a Wheatear there, honest