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.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

30th Jan 2016

I had a pretty good walk around this morning, but despite a few nice bits here and there it seemed really quiet. Fro example I couldn't find any tit flocks in the wood, the big Redwing flock that was feeding in the cattle fields has apparently gone and I hardly saw any finches (other than Siskins).

There were two Tufted Ducks on the reservoir, which are the first ones I've seen here this year. A Kingfisher and Sparrowhawk were seen along the river, thankfully not at the same time! Around eight Siskin flew over to the wood, but when I got to the wood I found there was actually around thirty birds feeding in there. There were several new Otter spraints under the railway so there has been some activity over the last week or so.

In the Upper Cherwell Valley there were two Teal and a Snipe along the river and a Greylag Goose with the Canada Geese. A fairly decent gathering of Herring Gulls (c.30) was in the fields over the river, just into Northamptonshire but viewing well them was near impossible and by the time I had walked back and driven around to that side they had gone.

Mike has written about the progress of planning for a country park in the valley (see here) and it sounds great. I hope it works out and we get some well managed areas for wildlife.

Friday, 29 January 2016

29th Jan 2016

Steve and John were at the reservoir today. The highlight was a single redhead Goosander, but it seems they are not visiting so much at the moment. There was also eight Great Created Grebes, nine Cormorants, 110 Canada Geese, seven Common Gulls and Siskins around. Steve had 261 Black-headed Gulls flying through south in small groups, I assume these are from the Boddington Reservoir roost.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

28th Jan 2016: Small Gull Roost

I called in briefly after work today to see what was around. Generally there wasn't much, but there was a gull roost of c.300 Black-headed Gulls with one Common and one Lesser Black-backed with them. Hopefully as the nights draw out we can start having a better look at the roost again. I did think that no one had visited since Monday, but John assured me he had been everyday but there was nothing to report.

Monday, 25 January 2016

25th Jan 2016: Greylag Goose

John and Steve Holliday visited today. Highlights were a Greylag Goose (new for the year), two Willow Tits, a Lesser Redpoll (over) three Goosanders (one drake) and several Lapwings (all flying over).

Courtesy and copyright of Steve Holliday

Thursday, 21 January 2016

21st Jan 2016: Goldeneye and Redpoll

John was out early again this morning and was rewarded with a drake Goldeneye. There was also two Gadwall and a Redpoll. The Goldeneye and Redpoll were both new for the year. Another visit at lunch time for John and he had good views of two Willow Tits along the river just before the wood. It's good to know they are still around as sightings have been a bit sparse for several weeks. Unfortunately though the Goldeneye did not stay.

Early afternoon there were several Common Gulls loafing on the ice. Scanning through I found a ringed bird but it was too far away to read any details. It's worth keeping an eye out for it though as it could be from somewhere quite interesting.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

19th Jan 2016: Frozen over

After a hard frost overnight the reservoir was almost completely frozen over. John visited in the morning and a single redhead Goosander remained but was the only notable bird really. I called in very briefly mid-morning and there was a Herring Gull stood on the ice with Black-headed and Common Gulls. I was a little surprised to see eleven Great Crested Grebes still there, all crammed into a tiny area of open water.

Monday, 18 January 2016

18th Jan 2016: Gadwall

Four Gadwall were discovered by John on his lunchtime walk today. We are certainly doing OK for duck records at the moment and it is probably down to the cold snap we are going through causing ducks to move around a bit. The old faithful single redhead Goosander was still present today also and a Lapwing flew over. 

Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor

Sunday, 17 January 2016

17th Jan 2016: Wigeon

Clive, Mark and I all managed a walk around at some point today. Two good birds were on the reservoir, well good for here, a Wigeon (female) and a Little Grebe. A single redhead Goosander and two Kingfishers were also present. A flock of c.100 Lapwings flew over south west and six Herring Gulls flew over all together. The ringed Black-headed Gull (VK40) was also present again today.

Friday, 15 January 2016

15th Jan 2016: Barn Owl and Teal

Yesterday I managed a quick afternoon walk but the only bird of note was a single redhead Goosander. Today John and I were out early morning and again the only bird of note was a single Goosander.

There were 54 Common Gulls at the reservoir as I walked past this afternoon. Walking up into the Upper Cherwell Valley proved more productive though. My aim was to see if there were any owls around and I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of a Barn Owl as it cruised by in the twilight. Also seen were five Teal, a Green Sandpiper that assume is the same one Mike saw at the weekend and a few Common Snipe.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

13th Jan 2016

John and I were both out early again today. The only birds of not were three Goosanders (1 drake) and otherwise it was very quiet...

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

12th Jan 2016

John and I were out early this morning for a look around. We had three Goosanders (all redheads) early on but I could only see one when I left. Unfortunately there was no sign of the Pochards. There were a lot of birds active in the wood foraging in sunny areas, including around 15 Siskins. The tow Kingfishers were along the river, which by pure luck I managed to get very close to without them spooking. Unfortunately it was just a bit too cluttered to get any clear photographs of them.

Monday, 11 January 2016

11th Jan 2016: Pochard

John was out today and saw two Pochard. This is a good record as they have been hard to see here for a few years and I don't remember the last time there was more than one bird! There was also four Goosanders (1 drake) and the Kingfisher at it's favoured fishing spot.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 10 January 2016

10th Jan 2016: Green Sandpiper and Stonechat

There were a few people out today and generally I felt it was rather quiet but the number of birds recorded new for the year shows that wasn't true.

Most new species for the year were relatively common but there was a few notable species. When I was in the wood two Ravens went over, given away by their guttural croaks. Mike Pollard was in the Upper Cherwell Valley early and had a Stonechat and a Green Sandpiper. There were large numbers of gulls around today, obviously drawn to the wet fields to feed. I made a rather conservative count of 1100, made up of c.900 Black-headed, c.200 Common and several Herring Gulls. Three Gadwall also flew over whilst I was up there but they didn't appear to land anywhere. Up to five Goosanders were seen today and Colin Wilkinson counted sixteen Great Crested Grebe. He also saw a pair of Sparrowhawks interacting together and they were possibly pair bonding in preparation of the oncoming breeding season. A little later in the day Jon Bowley saw a Peregrine fly over the Southam Road from directly over the reservoir.

Friday, 8 January 2016

08th Jan 2016

It was very busy at the reservoir today with Steve Holliday and John out early morning, Mark Ribbons and Jim Craik out before lunch, John (again!) and I out at lunch time with at least one other birder. Without anything rare about it must have been the weather tempting people out!

Sunrise - Courtesy and copyright of John
Collectively a good variety of birds were seen. The Goosanders peaked at nine again at lunch time (but numbers definitely fluctuate through the day), the Great Crested Grebe number has risen to 14 (now equalling my highest known peak count), 13+ Common Gulls flew through in the morning and several were present at lunchtime, two Herring Gulls, eight plus Siskins and Chiffchaff (along the river). Two Kingfishers have been showing very well, as you can see from John's photo taken yesterday.

Courtesy and copyright of John
Jim told me about a possible Firecrest along the river that he only saw very briefly. It seems possible as they have been recorded here in winter before. I had a good look for it and didn't find it but it could be there, there is lots of scrub to hide in along the river. Whilst searching I found a very confiding Robin. It is just a shame I either couldn't get it in sharp focus or there was always something in the way!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

07th Jan 2016

John and I both managed to visit today, John went on his usual lunchtime break and I went a bit later in the afternoon. The nine Goosanders were present at lunch time but there was only one present in the afternoon. We have added a few more species to the year list over these visits but the most notable is Willow Tit. I had one present in the wood foraging in the scrub near to the pond.

Courtesy and copyright of John Friendship-Taylor

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

06th Jan 2016

John had the nine Goosanders today at lunchtime and there was approximately 30 Common Gulls present, which is a pretty good count for here.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

05th Jan 2016: Nine Goosanders

John (JFT) and John Dunleavy were out today. There has been an increase in Goosanders and there is now nine (2 drakes). This is the highest count in recent years and the highest count I know of so could be a site record. There was also thirteen Great Crested Grebes, which is one off the highest count I have ever had there. These are not huge counts by any measure but they are very good counts for here.

Monday, 4 January 2016

04th Jan 2016

John visited today on his lunch break and reports there are now seven Goosanders (2 drakes) and a there was a Tufted Duck also present.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

03rd Jan 2016

Steve Holliday was out today and, whilst getting soaked in the rain, recorded five Goosanders (2 drakes), eleven Great Crested Grebes, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Herring Gull (over south), a Kingfisher and a pair of Bullfinch.

I went out later in the afternoon and picked out a Chiffchaff in with a Long-tailed Tit flock along the river. There were also a few Siskins along the river. Of note there was no gull roost this evening and the few gulls that were around left before dusk.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

02nd Jan 2016: B.O.S. Short Day Count

Today John, Allan and I undertook the B.O.S. Short Day Count for the 10 km square SP44. For more information on this survey please see the B.O.S. website here.

This square includes all of the Grimsbury reservoir, woodland NR and Upper Cherwell Valley patch area and we managed to record 46 species here today. Highlights were four Goosander (2 drakes), Lapwings and Snipe. The Lapwings were good and we had four grounded at the reservoir (quite unusual) and c.150 flying over the U.C.V. We also found a couple of fresh Otter spraints along the canal.

Over the whole of SP44 we recorded 64 species, with Peregrine, Teal, Golden Plover and Marsh Tit being the other notable species.

Friday, 1 January 2016

01st Jan 2016

Clive Payne was out and about today for the first day of the year. His highlights were four Goosanders and a Chiffchaff.

Happy New Year!