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.

Monday, 29 February 2016

29th Feb 2016

John and I have recently been looking over a muddy puddle that has developed in the cattle field, wondering if we might get some waders there. Well, today that question was answered as John had a Curlew feeding there. I think all the records of Curlew at the reservoir that I know of have been flyovers so it is quite a good sighting. There was also a Chiffchaff in the bushes down the western embankment.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Saturday, 27 February 2016

26th and 27th Feb 2016

A much quieter couple of days on the trot. Chiffchaff was really the only notable species with two yesterday seen by John and one that I saw today.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

25th Feb 2016

After yesterdays flurry of new birds it was somewhat quieter again today. John had another drake Shoveler and the redhead Goosander at lunch time. Both of which were still present late afternoon when there was a meagre gathering of gulls. The funny thing about the Shovelers is that we didn't have any recorded last year at all and we have now had three in the last few days.

Below are some more pictures kindly sent to me by Roger Wyatt taken during his visit yesterday.

All photos courtesy and copyright of Roger Wyatt

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

24th Feb 2016: Med Gull and Curlew

John Friendship-Taylor: First thing this morning was beautifully, clear & crisp and of course...pretty darn cold. Gareth & I met up for a walk around the reservoir & wood, full of anticipation that the cold snap would bring in something of interest.

As it was, there was a bit of a clear out, with no sign of the previous day's Shovelers or Tufted Ducks. The female Goosander, however remained and there were a handful of vocal Siskin near to the entrance. There were also plenty of recent signs of Otters with both very fresh prints and spraints under the railway bridge.

I popped up again on my lunch break for a quick look. On arrival, I enjoyed an entertaining tussle overhead between a very territorial Lesser Black Backed Gull & a passing Buzzard.

There were noticeably more gulls about on the reservoir with good numbers of both Black-Headed & Commons. It was while scanning through these that I picked up the back of the distinctive black hood of an adult Mediterranean Gull. It went on to show nicely for a little while until I had to get back to work. Mike Pollard also managed to see the bird soon after for a short while, before it then unfortunately disappeared.

Roger Wyatt also visited today and saw a Curlew flying over and two Willow Tits. He posted some fantastic photos on the Oxon Birding Blog.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

23rd Feb 2016: Shoveler and Goldies

A had to make a lot of effort to go out early this morning and I very nearly didn't but I'm glad I did. Two new birds for the year list were in the form of two drake Shovelers and a flock of c.75 Golden Plovers flying around to the north west. Along with a supporting cast of Willow Tit, Goosander, a pair of Tufted Ducks, four Grey Wagtails and at least three singing Treecreepers it was a very pleasant walk.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

John had four Herring Gulls again at lunch time today but there was nothing different in the evening.

Monday, 22 February 2016

22nd Feb 2016

John was out on his lunch time wonder today when there were a lot of Common Gulls gathered in the cattle field, a rough estimate came to c.60. There was also five Herring Gulls amongst them. On the reservoir the lone redhead Goosander remained, but there wasn't a lot else.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Saturday, 20 February 2016

20th Feb 2016

Back from my travels this week I was keen to get out early on the patch and see what I had been missing out on, but unfortunately it wasn't a lot. It was the first time I had managed to get up into the Cherwell Valley for a couple of weeks too, so that did add some further interest.

The reservoir was particularly quiet with only a single redhead Goosander of note that was present on my way out, so must have come in at some point while I was up the valley. At the back of the wood there was a flock of c.30 Siskins feeding in the Alders by the river. I had a really good look through them for redpolls but couldn't find any. I did see a Willow Tit briefly foraging high in the trees though.

Walking up into the river valley Reed Buntings were singing and a few Meadow Pipits flitted along overhead. Scanning the rough field the other side of the river I watched a Fox that was stalking something and then sat out in the open for a short while and a Roe Deer was foraging at the far end. A few Herring Gulls drifted over and a Buzzard perched up in a tall Oak to survey the land. A Little Grebe was on the Borrow Pit pool and three Teal flew along the river. All in all a reasonable mix of birds but nothing too exciting.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

17th & 18th Feb 2016

John Friendship-Taylor: Wednesday 17th was almost a complete washout, however I managed a quick visit somehow dodging the worst of the rain. The one thing of note was a female Goosander was at the far north end of the reservoir having a preen.

Today (18th) was once again a bright sunny day and following the previous day's heavy rain, birds were unsurprisingly active. A quick visit before work yielded a flock of 17 Lapwing circling the reservoir, while a couple of Mute Swans flew through. I returned again during my lunchbreak and enjoyed the whole Rook colony hammering a passing Buzzard. There were 7 Great Crested Grebe today, most now sporting pretty advanced bredding plumage now.

16th Feb 2016: Red Kite

John Friendship-Taylor: Gareth is away with work this week so filling in for a bit! Steve Holliday visited during the morning seeing a large count of 102 Black Headed Gulls, a Herring Gull, a couple of Grey Wagtails as well as other usual suspects.

I popped up to the reservoir during my lunch to do a quick circuit. It was a gorgeous sunny day, having a real spring feel to it. I'd only just entered through the entrance gate when a Red Kite drifted slowly over the pylons from the east before slowly heading SW. In well over two years visiting Grimsbury, this was the first I've ever seen here. They occur several times a year but until now, they had eluded me, so a nice sighting!

Other than that a walk about yielded nothing really of note and so I concentrated on enjoying a few commoner birds:

Song Thrush, Grimsbury Reservoir

Starling, Grimsbury Reservoir

Saturday, 13 February 2016

13th Feb 2016: Coot

I took a quick walk around the reservoir today. It was a bit dull, grey and even bleak but there was a Coot. A Coot may not be a rare bird at most locations but it is only just an annual bird on the reservoir itself. The only other highlight was the redhead Goosander still being present.

Friday, 12 February 2016

12th Feb 2016

John's lunchtime walk today was a bit quieter but he did have the Goosander and Chiffchaff again. There are more signs of spring being just around the corner with Cormorants being in fine breeding plumage and the Great Crested Grebes displaying. The grebes started displaying intermittently in early January but they have been doing so more frequently in the last week or so.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Thursday, 11 February 2016

11th Feb 2016: Shelduck

A lunch time walk for John and I turned out to be quite productive today. Soon after we got there we spotted two Shelduck but they didn't stay long before they flew off west. We also had a redhead Goosander, a Willow Tit by the river just before the wood and John had a Chiffchaff along the river. I couldn't find much in the wood but as I walked back a lot of gulls were dropping in to bath, including around 15 Common Gulls.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
As there were few gulls around today John went for another look after work and the ringed Black-headed Gull, VK40, was here again.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

9th Feb 2016

John had two Goosanders again today and a Collared Dove to add to his patch year list, but not a lot else!

Monday, 8 February 2016

08th Feb 2016

I had a very quick look in this morning to search for storm blown birds. Nothing too exciting but it was nice to see there were three Goosanders back (1 drake).

Sunday, 7 February 2016

7th Feb 2016: Great Black-backed Gull

John and I showed our 'midlands' birding friend Dan Watson around today and with the help of Mike Pollard we got him onto a Grimsbury mega!

Walking around the reservoir was a bit uneventful as there were several boats out sailing but the wood was full of life in the mid-morning sun. Bullfinches were singing away which was great to hear but unfortunately, there was no sign of the Willow Tits. Getting a few, poor quality, shots of the tits I noticed this Great Tit with avian pox.

While out we got a text message from Mike to say that he had seen a Great Black-backed Gull on the flooded fields in the Upper Cherwell Valley briefly earlier in the morning. Great Black-backed Gull is rare for the area so we thought it would be worth a look, and it paid off as it was still present. I personally haven't seen Great Black-backed Gull here since 2012! There were a few other bits of interest around too with Dan picking up Peregrine as it flew through, 27 Lapwing, two Teal, the Greylag Goose and several Herring Gulls.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

04th Feb 2016

The requirement for a stretch of the legs and some fresh air got me away from my laptop for a short while this afternoon. It was a lovely afternoon and this had obviously perked the Chiffchaff up as it was calling constantly along the river. There was a first winter Herring Gull loafing on the reservoir, which was soon joined by several more and a few Lesser Black-backs and Common Gulls. Herring Gulls really aren't common here but this winter there seem to be more around.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

03rd Feb 2016

It's been a fairly quiet few days again. John had a Herring Gull on Monday and the Greylag Goose Tuesday (not looking too well).

Today John, Steve and I all managed a visit. Highlights being several Herring Gulls flying though, with one lingering and a whopping 189 Canada Geese and two hybrids that are with them.