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, 17 January 2019

17th Jan 2019

John and I were out this morning. Nothing new to report but a near adult Yellow-legged Gull was at the reservoir harassing the Cormorants (32 this morning) and Black-headed Gulls.

In the woodland there was Marsh Tit (just the one bird) and Sparrowhawks displaying again. I thought I heard a Chiffchaff calling but that turned out to be a Great Tit doing a pretty good impression!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

16th Jan 2019

Courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller
Lunch time today John had two Mistle Thrushes fly over north. First of the year and good to get on the list.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

13th Jan 2019

It was a fairly quiet week really. John had a Red Kite and Peregrine over on Tuesday.

On Wednesday John had eight Greylag Geese (a good count for here), a drake Tufted Duck and a Siskin in the morning. There was also pair of Sparrowhawks displaying over the wood.

Greenfinch was new to the year list on Friday morning when four were flying around over the cattle fields. Also Friday morning there was 38 (surely a patch record!) Cormorants at the reservoir and a Marsh Tit in the wood. It was joined very briefly by a second bird, that I could not identify as Marsh or Willow but my gut feeling was it was a second Marsh Tit.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 6 January 2019

6th Jan 2019

Colin was out this afternoon and recorded our first Yellow-legged Gull of the year. There was an adult at the Borrow Pit pool at around 3 pm in amongst a good number of gulls, also including at least 10 Herring gulls.

Also of local interest, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was also recorded at the cattle sheds in Chacombe at around the same time (possibly the same bird) and at the Boddington roost an adult Caspian Gull and a 2CY (first winter) Yellow-legged Gull were recorded (

Thursday, 3 January 2019

3rd Jan 2019

John and I were both out this morning. A drake Goosander on the reservoir was a nice addition to the year list and our first of this winter. I also saw a Kingfisher along the river, north of the railway bridge, bringing the year list to 59 species.

There was a single Lapwing in the cattle field that flew up to join a second bird flying over to the west.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2nd Jan 2019

John was out this morning and at lunch time and added a few things to the year list. Most notable were Wigeon (two drakes on the reservoir), Ring-necked Parakeet and Jay.

As I compile the year list, please let me know if you have any additions to make.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

1st Jan 2019: Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Let's hope it's another good one.

I was out reasonably early today to make a start on the year list. Admittedly, not as early I planned to be though! I didn't see a huge amount of interest with my highlights being a Marsh Tit in the woodland and  17 Lapwings flying over the Upper Cherwell Valley. I did manage to tick off most of the common stuff though.

I bumped into Colin and Steve for a quick catch up and as Steve and I left we had a single Siskin along the river. Colin managed to find a few more bit's after we left. Including Chiffchaff in scrub along the river in the U.C.V. and two Snipe and a female Stonechat in the wet field in the U.C.V. Also, he added a Red Kite to the year list by scanning and seeing one drifting over the western end of town.

Not a bad start at all.

Monday, 31 December 2018

31st Dec 2018: What a year!

The end of the year has arrived and the additional bonus species we were hoping for didn't materialise. However, it was one of the best years I've witnessed and we ended the year on 128 species. Most of this is due to John's persistent visits, but all records count and I thank everyone who's sent sightings over and contributed photos etc.

Other than the odd Yellow-legged Gull there has been a possible Caspian Gull and a possible Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull. There were three Gadwall on the 10th, a Pochard on the 11th and Parakeet on several days. Jays have been hanging around in the wood and a Peregrine was seen going over on the 29th.

Possible Herring and Lesser Black-backed hybrid - JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Yellow-legged Gull - JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Goldcrest and Tufted Duck courtesy and copyright of Dave Fuller

This year's bird of the year comes from a list of a Black-necked Grebe, our second Grey Phalarope in two years, the first White-fronted Geese for over 30 years, a Shag which is possibly the first record for the reservoir, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler... again.

My personal pick is Pied Flycatcher, which was a patch and and county tick.

JFT's montage of the best of 2018

Saturday, 8 December 2018

8th Dec 2018: Recent Roundup

Some of the more interesting and notable sightings from the last month:

17th Nov (Mark): A drake Pochard and two Teal at the Borrow Pit pool and three drake Pochard at the reservoir.

19th Nov (John): Two Eurasian White-fronted Geese over. I'm hopeful these would have been wild birds, as there was a lot arriving in the UK at that time, but they could also be from the feral flock in the Oxford area.

Whitefronts record shot - courtesy and copyright of JFT

20th Nov (John): Nine Wigeon and four Teal.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

23rd Nov (John): Thirty-two (!) Cormorants was a pretty high count for here. There has been a big group roosting in the valley and fishing at the reservoir.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

24th Nov (John and myself): A drake Pochard still at the Borrow Pit and a Yellow-legged Gull seen at the Borrow Pit and then at the reservoir.

25th Nov (John): Four Wigeon at the reservoir. Also of note an adult Caspian Gull in the fields near Middleton Cheney.

2nd Dec (John): Five Gadwall (three drakes), two drake Wigeon, two Yellow-legged Gulls and a Ring-necked Parakeet at the reservoir.

3rd Dec (John): A pair of Gadwall still at the reservoir.

5th Dec (John): A female Pochard and the Parakeet again at the reservoir.

Hopefully there will be a little bit more of interest before the end of the year...

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8th Nov 2018: Latest sightings

John: With Gareth busy, away with work, I thought I post a bit of an update on the Res, as autumn slowly turns to winter.

The main couple of highlights for me, both came on 21/10 with a female Pochard appearing out of the fog. This was only I think the second sighting this year at Grimsbury. Another second for the year were a couple of Brambling that arrived from the north, circled briefly before carrying on south, calling loudly. 

All in all, it's been fairly quiet. A male Blackcap appeared on 01/11, presumably a new arrival for the winter, rather than a late leaver. Other slight scarcities have included singles of Redpoll, Wigeon, an adult Yellow-Legged Gull, a flock of 35 Lapwing, a pair of Raven and small numbers of Siskin.

The expected rise in Great Crested Grebe numbers has seen them slowly creep up to 7 by today. A Wigeon was about on Monday

Bird movement overhead has slowed too, although this week has seen a few flocks of Fieldfare & Redwing moving through quite high and 1 or 2 Skylark are seen heading through most mornings.

The mild weather this year went well into October, drawing out the odd butterfly, as well as a pair of Migrant Hawker dragonflies on 22/10.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

14th Oct 2018: Cetti's Warbler!

I forgot to put in the last blog that last Friday (5th) John found two Rock Pipits at the reservoir that stayed around for at least a couple of hours. Sorry John!

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Last weeks Rock Pipits
Monday morning continues where last week left off and John recorded c.91 Redwing and a mixed thrush flock of 40 birds flying over. There was also 11 Skylark over, Chiffchaff, Jay, Pheasant and the Ring-necked Parakeet. Then in the evening he found another Rock Pipit.

The highlight of the week came on Tuesday morning when John found a Cetti's Warbler along the river. It was calling and showed very well, but wasn't seen again. I believe this is the first record of Cetti's at this site! There was also a Wigeon that morning and in the evening at least three Yellow-legged Gulls.

At least four Chiffchaffs and three Yellow-legged Gulls around later in the week too but generally not a lot more happened this week. 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

7th Oct 2018: Autumn arrivals

It's fair to say this week has been rather quiet. John's daily visits have yielded very little, but on the 4th he did have a late Reed Warbler in the scrub south of the wood. Understandably, it was checked and double checked that it was definitely just a Reed Warbler. Otherwise the odd Blackcap through the week was the best on offer.

Yesterday morning, with easterly winds and rain, Colin, John and I were out and looking. It was a disappointing washout though with absolutely nothing of note seen at the reservoir. Although, after John and I had left Colin did go up to the Borrow Pit and found a male Stonechat and there was also 14 Tufted Ducks on the pool.

This morning I was up fairly early to try a bit of vis-mig (but not early enough to get up to Burton Dassett!). As anticipated I recorded my first Redwings of the Autumn with 17 going over through the morning, in flocks of four, eight and five. I also had a large thrush over that didn't call that I assume was Mistle Thrush but could have been a Fieldfare. A Snipe flew over, dipping slightly towards the reservoir but not really showing any true intention of stopping. Three Common Gulls drifted over and circled a few times but then departed to the south. There was a steady stream of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and a few wagtails over too. It seemed like there was an increase in finches with odd birds and small flocks buzzing around all morning, including at least nine Siskins - six in with a Goldfinch flock and three over the car park.

A nice surprise was seeing a Willow Tit on the southern edge of the wood and, after hearing it calling, hearing another one calling from around 30 m away. It's the first time for quite a while there has been two around and I can't even remember the last time I personally had two here. There was also at least five Chiffchaffs around this morning.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

29th Sep 2018

I was out this morning and there wasn't a great amount going on, but there was a few bits of minor interest. From when I arrived to when I left there was a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits going over and there was also a group of five Siskins and several Skylark (our first of the autumn) making their way south.

There was a Blackcap in the scrub south of the wood and at least two Chiffchaff in the wood - one singing. I also managed to hear a Marsh Tit a few times but couldn't see it. There were Otter footprints under the railway bridge at the back of the wood, but there's not been much spraint there since the river has been in flood.

Friday, 28 September 2018

28th Sep 2018: Ring-necked Parakeet

A Ring-necked Parakeet flew over while John was out this morning and flew towards Tesco. It could be the same bird that has recently been seen in the Sinclair Avenue area. There was also a Golden Plover over, a Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, a Swallow and several Siskins through south.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

25th Sep 2018

Another quiet day but John did have a Pheasant, two Jays, five Swallows, five Tufted Ducks and a Marsh Tit in the morning and a group of c.50 Swallows over in the evening (which I possibly also had over my house). He may have also heard a Green Sandpiper but wasn't entirely sure.