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

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Saturday, 11 April 2015

11th Apr 2015: Common Sand and mini fall

This morning's forecast was looking good, not for human enjoyment unless you want to look for grounded migrants! Rain showers were predicted for the early hours of the morning, pre-dawn, that would clear up for a few hours with heavy showers post-dawn.

I headed out for 07:00 and the first bird I heard getting out of the car was a Willow Warbler singing. Great! A very good omen, I thought, and a sign of how the visit would pan out. Before I got to the reservoir I'd heard another two Willow Warblers and several each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. It was looking like there had been a mini fall.

Marsh Marigold by the River Cherwell
At the reservoir there was a Common Sandpiper, but it was very unsettled flying around several times to avoid being too close to any people or dogs. There was a single Swallow feeding over the water. As I made my way around I heard more Willow Warblers and although hard to be sure there was at least another three singing and possibly another two calling birds. It started to rain lightly and three more Swallows flew in to feed. I was making my second circuit of the reservoir and another six Swallows and eight Sand Martins dropped in.

Off into the woods there were another two Willow Warblers singing, so I made that a count of at least eight and probably ten plus. In the Upper Cherwell Valley, during a heavy rain shower five Swallows and two Sand Martins dropped in to feed over the Borrow Pit pool.

Back at the reservoir there was a swarm of feeding hirundines, occasionally stopping to rest on the fence before bursting into the sky again. Three House Martins had joined the flock and there was now approximately forty Swallows and twenty Sand Martins. A fantastic sight and one of the things I enjoy most about birding in spring.

Four Little Ringed Plovers were present again this evening with what appears to be two pairs squabbling noisily. The Common Sandpiper was still present and about fifteen Swallows foraging over the river and trees. 

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