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, 30 June 2015

30th Jun 2015

A beautiful sunny morning during this heatwave with a light breeze making it quite pleasant. The Common Tern is still at the reservoir making regular fishing circuits between perching up on the railings, pontoon or buoys. Five Great Crested Grebes were loafing around the northern end including a well grown juvenile that has flow in from a breeding site somewhere. A Cormorant flew over north west, this being the first one I have seen here in a while.

In the wood I found a White-legged Bumblebee nest that had been dug out by a Badger, but it was very quite bird wise. I was also trying to photograph the Marbled Whites in the Upper Cherwell Valley but they weren't being very cooperative!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

27th June 2015: Siskin

I had a late morning into early afternoon visit today, mainly to look for invertebrates but also to check out the recent birds that have dropped in. The Common Tern was still present, but with a large fishing match on it was no surprise the Little Ringed Plover had gone. Several Black-tailed Skimmers were hunting around the reservoir and I expect these are the ones from the Upper Cherwell Valley.

There is obviously many more butterflies around now, with Meadow Browns and Ringlets around the reservoir and edge of the wood. There was also a Banded Demoiselle around the scrub. The mowers had been put into action again this week and it is a massive shame that the management of the reservoir seems to be intent on cutting it back hard. I am thankful that at least one strip of vegetation has been left on the eastern bank of the reservoir.

In the Upper Cherwell Valley birds continue to sing away and I'm tempted to say these are birds trying to attract mates to attempt a second brood. There was at least two Garden Warblers and one Lesser Whitethroat singing and there was a pair of Bullfinches. All evading the camera.

Invertebrates have exploded into action along here and walking around the river and Borrow Pit pool I recorded many species. Butterflies included Marbled Whites, Essex Skipper, Red Admiral, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Small Tortoiseshells. Damselflies included White-legged, Common Blue, Red-eyed and Blue-tailed as well as Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle. Dragonflies were Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer. I also saw a Cinnabar Moth and a few Mayflies I think are Ephemera vulgata. 

A lapwing was at the Borrow Pit pool, which is nice as I rarely see them actually landed on patch. The pool has some narrow muddy edges now so hopefully it will attract more waders on their return migration. The biggest surprise though came in the form of a Siskin. I hadn't seen any in the winter as they were so scarce and knew I'd see one at some point, I just didn't expect it to be in June though! There are birds migrating at the moment, which is very early but apparently due to a big Sitka Spruce crop this year we are likely to have a big influx of these finches this Autumn/Winter. Hopefully that means Crossbills too!

Friday, 26 June 2015

26th Jun 2015

Inspired by yesterday's visit, John has been again today. He saw a Marbled White butterfly near the entrance gate, which is not new but is a good sighting for here. The Common Tern was still present and has been joined by a Little Ringed Plover. Return migration is definitely under-way.

Thank you

Thursday, 25 June 2015

25th Jun 2015

John visited today and had an adult Common Tern. This is possibly a bird on return migration is it has failed to breed or a breeding attempt was unsuccessful.

Adam Hartley (Gnome) also visited to search for the White-legged Damselflies in the Upper Cherwell Valley. He was successful and also found a pair of Beautiful Demoiselles. You can read about it on his blog here.

Thank you

Sunday, 21 June 2015

21st Jun 2015

A nice walk around this morning but nothing of any particular interest to report. I did enjoy watching more juveniles around though and trying to get a few pictures.

Friday, 19 June 2015

20th Jun 2015: White-legged Damsels

Peter Law visited today to look for the White-legged Damselflies in the Upper Cherwell Valley. He found several females and two males which is great news. His sightings and pictures can be seen on his excellent blog here.

Thank you

Monday, 15 June 2015

15th Jun 2015: Back on Patch

After being away for two weeks in Greece I was really keen to get back and have a look around the patch. I was expecting to return home disappointed that the Mediterranean species that I had become used to seeing daily whilst away were not to be found here. Of course any of those species would be at least be a local if not a national rarity. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed being out birding in England again.

The main thing I noticed was how busy and full the dawn chorus is. Many of the species I saw or heard today were actually rather scarce in Greece and I realised how I take our 'normal' daily species for granted. The other thing I noticed today is how many juvenile birds have fledged in the two weeks I have been away. The main species being Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits but there is now also Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff fledglings around.

As has become more usual of my visits recently, I spent a lot of time in the Upper Cherwell Valley. Along the canal a dead shrew floating in the water looked a lot like Water Shrew, but I wasn't able to confirm that. It would be a good record if it is. A male Reed Bunting also gave away it's nest location by bursting out of the hedge and feigning injury to lure me away. It is the first time I have seen Reed Bunting do this so I watched him for a few minutes before playing along and following him up the path. There are still four Coot chicks at the Borrow Pit pool but it seems the other two pairs have not had any success with their broods. A single Mallard chick here had a nasty looking head injury but otherwise looked unscathed.

A Painted Lady was really nice surprise and the first I've seen locally this year. Several Common Blue butterflies were around but are now rather tatty and well past their best. I was concentrating on finding dragons and damsels again and had some good results. I found fifteen plus freshly emerged Black-tailed Skimmers and one Four-spotted Chaser. Common Blue Damselflies were by far the most numerous with easily a few hundred around if not more. They are outnumbering the Azure Damselflies by around 50:1 now.

Common Blue
Some other species of damselflies were around too but in much smaller numbers. A few Large Red and several Blue-tailed Damselflies were around. My biggest surprise of the day though was a few White-legged Damselflies. I have never knowingly seen these here before, but I assume they have been here and I have overlooked them.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

02nd and 03rd Jun 2015

Steve Holliday visited the reservoir yesterday and today. Yesterday he saw two Curlew fly over south. Also seen were three Great Crested Grebe, six Mallard, female Sparrowhawk, two Swift, six House Martin and two Whitethroat singing. Today ten Canada Geese were present in the evening.

Thank you