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.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

27th Jan 2015: Wigeon

A visit to the reservoir today reminded me of why I like patch birding so much. It was a nice morning and I virtually had the place to myself. The reservoir was reasonably quiet and the wood had all of it's usual suspects, but a few things turned up that just make working a patch rewarding.

When I say the reservoir was quiet, it had pretty much all the species that have been seen recently but nothing new or unusual to perk my interest. I walked past fairly quickly to get to the woodland to check through the feeding flock of birds I could hear at its edge.

As I got to the wood most of the flock moved over to the over side of the river. Willow Tit, Siberian Chiffchaff, two Chiffchaffs and all the supporting cast. The Treecreepers have joined in the dawn chorus now and two were singing today. A female Sparrowhawk went over causing all the birds to dive into cover and it was soon chased off by a Crow. This was all very nice but it wasn't anything new. With this being my last chance to get out this month I began to settle on the thought that this was it for January, let's look forward to next month. The birds started getting higher in the trees again and as I was scanning a flock of five ducks very high in the sky caught my attention. I couldn't make out enough detail from below but they looked like Wigeon. I watched as they turned to fly back up the river valley and saw the upper wings, they were Wigeon. A new species on the year list.

As I carried on up into the river valley a Buzzard flew in and sat on the hedge around 10 m in front of me. It was a fantastic view but, as always, as soon as I reached for the camera it was off. There was a good flock of Meadow Pipits feeding in the grass on the bund and I estimated at least 50, if not 60 birds. As I walked along two Snipe flushed up out of the wet grass and off into the sky. As I tracked them I spotted a flock of around 100 Lapwings going over quite high. There wasn't a lot going on at the new pool or around the fields so I left to return to the reservoir. Just as I was about to go under the motorway bridge two Skylarks went over and off to the west. Another welcome year tick. 

Back at the reservoir, and not a lot different to earlier, I decided to just sit for a while and watch. Several small groups of gulls came and went. A Buzzard went over and, like the Sparrowhawk earlier, was seen off by the Crows. I was starting to day dream when a dog walker surprised me and  asked 'what are those ducks flying round then?'. So far today I'd only seen Mallards and I almost instinctively said that. However, I looked over and it turned out to be another two Wigeon circling the reservoir but for some reason didn't settle and they went off to the east. I normally only get a few sightings of Wigeon a year and I had two just today.

A pretty good patch visit and I left with two main thoughts - 1) look up more and 2) never write the day off before it's really got going.

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