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

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

15th Aug 2015: Whinchats

After being away and the recent weather system producing a flurry of good records I wanted to get out and give the patch a good grilling today. Although none of the Black Terns were still present this morning there was a lot of interest around and evidence of other migrants that had probably arrived in the last couple of days.

The most obvious birds were the number of warblers around this morning. The majority were Chiffchaffs, mostly along the river but there were birds pretty much everywhere and there must have been well over twenty around. Along the river were at least three Willow Warblers including two singing birds. Blackcaps appeared to be in every bit of scrub but their presence often only given away by their tacking calls. There were many Whitethroats around and a few Lesser Whitethroats also.

A decent gathering of gulls built up over the first hour I was there with peaks of around 150 Black-headed and 75 Lesser Black-backs. In amongst them was a Yellow-legged Gull which I believe is a third winter bird. I suspected a couple of the juveniles were also Yellow-legged to but couldn't quite convince myself of that.

A few Swifts passed through south, as did a couple of Swallows and a House Martin. A Yellow Wagtail was heard but not seen so may have just flown over. Two Cormorants were still around and a female Tufted Duck was loafing in amongst the Mallards. A Kingfisher was heard flying along the river.

In the Upper Cherwell Valley a flock of c.30 Goldfinches were feeding on the thistle heads the other side of the river. A Common Sandpiper flew from the Borrow Pit pool and was seen again later on the river. There were Canada Geese, Mute Swans, a Tufted Duck, Coots and a couple of Little Grebes on the pool. The Canada Geese had a Canada/Greylag hybrid with them which could be the bird that has been at Balscote Quarry for a while, if there isn't one still there.

Around the back of the Borrow Pit I found two Whinchats perched on the dead dock stems, the first for the Autumn and hopefully there will be more. A juvenile Wheatear was foraging around the rocks and at least six Yellow Wagtails were in the area.

I haven't mentioned much about anything other than birds recently, mainly as there hasn't been much around. So today it was nice to see several fresh second generation Common Blue butterflies. There were Common Darters, Brown Hawkers and Common Blue Damselflies around and a blue hawker I didn't get a good view of but think it was a Southern Hawker.

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