This is no Farmoor, Otmoor or Port Meadow. This is Grimsbury. It's Grim up north!

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Friday, 6 March 2015

06th Mar 2015: Water Rail... and Kittiwake!

This mornings headline bird was a Water Rail. However, that was soon overshadowed by the real headline of the day... a Kittiwake found at lunch time by John Friendship-Taylor!

I had set my alarm for 6 am this morning aiming to get to the reservoir at dawn. That didn't happen and I found myself wondering leisurely along from the car park at 9 am. The usual suspects were on the reservoir with three Goosanders, six Great Crested Grebes and half a dozen Common Gulls. Along the river a Grey Wagtail was feeding along the exposed mud bank and a Reed Bunting was singing away.

In the wood the Willow Tit showed really well, but very briefly. It just seems to melt away into the vegetation and is not seen again. It is starting to look like it hasn't got a partner which is a shame, but maybe over the next few weeks it will be joined by another.

Graham Soden and I were checking the Otter prints under the railway bridge and I scanned up to look at the Mallards on the river and just as I did I caught sight of a Water Rail skulking through the reeds. This is a good species for here and the low water levels probably made it easier to see. I wonder if it is the same bird I saw in December last year.

In the Upper Cherwell Valley there was around twelve Meadow Pipits in the grass, two each of Kestrel and Buzzard and some Fieldfares going over. The Borrow Pit pool had five Coots and three Tufted Ducks. I'm hoping the Coots stay to breed again this year. Walking back through past the reservoir I note there are now sixteen Common Gulls and the fact that they must be on the move...

Well, I had only been home long enough to have a coffee and check my emails when news came through from John of an adult Kittiwake at the reservoir! I got my things back together as quickly as I could and was soon enjoying views of it and getting some photos. It crossed my mind that I might have overlooked it this morning but there were much fewer gulls than earlier and I think it must have come in with the latest group to stop by. A fantastic find - it is only the third one recorded here I think.

Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor
Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor
Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor

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