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

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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.

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