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

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

30th Aug 2015: Tree Pipits and Ringed Plover

John and I arranged a late afternoon into evening visit today. With the wind coming from the north east and a lot of rain earlier in the afternoon there was potential for some interesting birds around.

John arrived before me and was scanning through the gulls already gathering. As I walked up a Spotted Flycatcher was still along the fence line at the southern end of the cattle field. As I got to John he showed me a picture of a juvenile gull on the back of his camera enquiring as to my opinion on it's ID. I immediately said Mediterranean Gull and was a bit unhappy about missing by a matter of minutes. As we watched we picked out a couple of Yellow Legged Gulls (adult and juvenile). We were both also a bit unhappy that there were no waders, no terns or any other interesting passerines.

Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor
We walked up to the Upper Cherwell Valley to check the Borrow Pit pool for waders, but there was nothing. The Wheatear and three Whinchats were busily feeding in their usual areas and the Whinchats were much more confiding than usual. As we scanned around watching the Whinchats John spotted a pipit sat on the fence and before I'd even really seen the bird he exclaimed 'Tree Pipit!'. The bird sat for a few seconds and John managed a few photos, before it flew to the trees further back. I thought two birds flew up but didn't see what the other one was. They moved again and we confirmed both as Tree Pipit and got further good views. Even though I have had this species fly over before in the autumn it is really nice to see some landed here and see them reasonably well too.

Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor
Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor
As we walked back through the wood to the reservoir a Siskin flew over south with a couple of Goldfinches. We watched the gulls come and go and although there were not as many Lesser Black-backed Gulls as previous nights there were more Black-headed Gulls. The Mediterranean Gull came back in and we enjoyed good views and commented about how similar they are to juvenile Common Gulls and how this one seems to have softer features and a 'kinder' face than most Med Gulls. It wasn't until I posted our sightings on the Oxon Birding blog, and someone pointed out the picture I posted was of a Common Gull that I realised the Med Gull was actually a Common Gull. Oh well, we live and learn!

Whilst we were scanning the gulls. A Ringed Plover flew in and circled round. It did land for a short time on the western bank but was soon off on it's way south west again. Five Swift came over and fed over the river for a short while. Most of the gulls had actually left at this point but we were waiting in hope that more would come in. A Ring-necked Parakeet was calling away near the canal so, assuming it is the same one as recent weeks, it is hanging around in the area. Many more (several hundred at least) large gulls did fly in towards dark but none of them stopping on the water. They seemed to be going to roost on the roof of the new warehouse and into the area of the Beaumont industrial estate.

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