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

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Monday, 31 August 2015

31st Aug 2015: Sanderling!

With continuing north easterly winds and rain from the early hours of the morning I got up and out early to see what it delivered. As I walked up I could see a lot of ducks on the water and counted 137 Mallards (and two farmyard mallards). Now that they have moulted and don't hang around in the day as much it was good to find they are still roosting here in reasonable numbers. There was also two smaller ducks that were probably Tufted Ducks but all of the ducks flew before I could confirm that. There was disappointingly little else. A Yellow Wagtail flew over and I decided to move on. As I was leaving a Willow Warbler gave a little burst of song, so there was obviously some migrants in.

As I left another birder arrived and I later found out it was Ian Rowe. He didn't see much but reported a probable Sanderling he heard it and saw it fly across the reservoir through the rain. Later he checked and confirmed it as a moulting adult Sanderling based on plumage and call. This is a great record and the only other one I know of was from May 1966!

With news of the probable Sanderling and interest in the Tree Pipits from a couple of county birders, I returned later in the morning for another look. There had been some more birds arriving through the morning and there was now a Common Sandpiper and around 90 hirundines (but unfortunately no Sanderling). There were mostly Swallows but also at least 25 Sand Martins and a few House Martins. Another Willow Warbler was in song and a Common Whitethroat called but other than that passerines were keeping well hidden in vegetation. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was loafing with Black-headed Gulls at the pontoon.

In the Upper cherwell Valley at least one of the Tree Pipits were still present along with the three Whinchats. There were three Tufted Ducks and I noted how there was only one yesterday and the additional two were probably the ones from the reservoir earlier.

Photo taken on the 30th
Dave Lowe visited in the afternoon and confirmed two Tree Pipits were still present.

This evening I received emails from Steve Holliday and Tim Clark who had been out in the area in the afternoon. Steve saw  two Cormorant, two Heron, 45 plus Mallard, 25 plus Black-headed Gulls, a juvenile Common Gull, eleven plus Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Swift, Grey Wagtail, two Pied Wagtails, 25 plus Swallow, 20 plus Sand Martins and a House Martin, five Goldfinch, one Greenfinch and two Linnets.

Tim had been in the area of Peewit Farm, Little Bourton and saw an Osprey heading south down the Upper Cherwell Valley. The second this autumn and showing that birds must use the valley on migration and what must be missed when no one is looking. He also had a Wheatear in the farmyard there.

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