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.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 Review and Highlights

A total of 102 species were recorded during 2013 at Grimsbury Woodland Nature Reserve, the reservoir and immediately surrounding fields.

Great Crested Grebes displaying late winter
Due to the woods’ small size and location it doesn't get too many outstanding species but it does have an interesting assemblage of common species. It often gets good numbers of Siskin and several Lesser Redpoll in the winter periods. The early winter period of 2013 was particularly good for these species. A wide variety of common warbler species breed in the wood. The first to arrive is Chiffchaff (10th March) followed by several others including Garden Warbler. Sadly one of the star species (particularly for Oxfordshire), Willow Tit, seems to no longer be present in the wood with the last record in September 2012. A dead Barn Owl, which probably perished in the poor weather, was found in the wood in January but is an encouraging sign they are still hanging on in the general area. Tit flocks congregating together in the autumn attract passing warblers and often Spotted Flycatchers, which were recorded here in August.  

Spotted Flycatcher
The most obvious breeding species here is Rook with 43 nests counted in the rookery. Evidence of other species breeding was a bit under recorded but a Long-tailed Tit nest was found in early spring. There are now 12 nest boxes in the woodland as nine new boxes were installed to join the three put up by Thames Water. Hopefully these boxes will increase the woodlands breeding population.

The reservoir attracts a range of species particularly on passage but doesn't hold the duck species that it once did. Apart from Mallards, all other duck species are scarce at best, so a drake Red-crested Pochard in January and pair of Common Scoter in March were a couple of the star species for the year. 

Red-crested Pochard
Common Scoters
The most regular wader species recorded here is Common Sandpiper and any other species are always a nice surprise. This year Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, and Green Sandpiper were seen, but in my opinion the best species of the year was a flock of eight Whimbrel recorded in April. 

Little Ringed Plover
Passage migrant passerines included White Wagtails, Rock Pipit and Redstarts. Other passing species included Merlin, Arctic Tern, Osprey and Little Egret.

White Wagtail
The surrounding fields offer varying interest through the year. This year a pair of Little Owls took up residence and stayed through to May – indicating they may have bred but this was not confirmed. Snipe gather in the wetter fields in winter and in January were accompanied by at least one Jack Snipe. Grasshopper Warbler is often heard reeling in the spring time but breeding is not in evidence.

Of interest, two BTO ringed Mute Swans were recorded in the area in 2013. Both had orange rings on the right leg with black letters – one BAP and one BBG. BAP was ringed in Stratford-upon-Avon and BBG has not yet been confirmed.

Mute Swan
Other species of note include regular signs of Otter along the River Cherwell and Oxford Canal and a Clouded Yellow butterfly seen at the reservoir in August.

Otter footprint
Otter spraint