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.

Friday, 30 September 2016

30th Sep 2016

Between us we have been out a fair bit these last couple of days, but generally for nothing new. There are the regular two Wigeon and one Common Sandpiper still and steady trickle of migrants through overhead. Kingfishers are being seen a lot again and there are still several Chiffchaffs around. This morning I had a nice 15 minutes watching two Willow Tits foraging in the pines on the edge of the wood, extracting the pine nuts and then flying off to eat them. Always too fast for me to get good pictures but some are below.

Last night John had another really good session with the gulls, with not as high counts but at least ten Yellow-legged Gulls. tonight there were not as many and the gulls were really skittish but we managed at least six Yellow legs. There were two 2CY birds really early on but they were flushed by a rather loud excitable child. It took quite some time for more to arrive but I saw at least four adult/near adults with two together (one huge one that didn't return) and later three together. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

28th Sep 2016: Marsh Tit

Monday morning Steve found a juvenile Great Crested Grebe at the reservoir, just after we had been talking about not having any around for a while. It was only present for the one day though and obviously a migrant. We really should start predicting birds more often, maybe something rarer... There was also a Common Sandpiper, a Wigeon and in the evening a Green Sandpiper flew over and headed south east.

Yesterday John sneaked in a look before work and found a Marsh Tit in the wood with the roving tit/warbler flock. A great find as they normally turn up in autumn but there hasn't been one here for three years, it was actually a patch tick for him! Reg and the work party were out checking the bat boxes and found a Brown Long-eared Bat. Another good record for the reserve and reward for their hard work.

Both pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT

This morning, with clear skies and lighter winds there was a bit of movement overhead again. A steady trickle of Meadow Pipits went over and although I didn't count them the number was well into double figures. There was also the odd small groups of Swallows and one of three House Martins. I went to look for the Marsh Tit and found it at the back of the wood along the railway. The Willow Tit was also there and a Mistle Thrush flew off and was seen again near the canal. On my way out I saw Steve and as we were stood talking a Green Sandpiper flew in. It circled a few times and looked like it may land but eventually flew off south. Just before I left a little flock of four Siskins flew down into the Alders by the river, they only stayed about a minute though before continuing south.

This evening John checked the gull roost and had a huge number of big gulls for here. Over 1000 birds and at least four Yellow-legged Gulls. He also had quite a large number of Jackdaws around pre-roost.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

25th Sep 2016

The weekend was fairly uneventful really. Some birds of interest but no headliners.

On Saturday John and I had a walk around and just after we got there a 2CY Yellow-legged Gull dropped in. We met Steve up the valley and searched for Stonechats but couldn't find any and assume they have moved on. Other than that generally the same birds remain. Two Common Sandpipers, one drake Wigeon and a Willow Tit were the most notable. Steve had four Grey Wagtail on Sunday, which coincides with birds moving through now.

There was steady bit of passage overhead as before. Sunday morning was less steady trickle and more birds 'bunched up' and I noted flocks of 24 House Martin and 16 Meadow Pipits amongst other smaller flocks. Steve had three Skylarks over the reservoir while he was there.

Friday, 23 September 2016

23rd Sep 2016

With the day off I had a really good walk around and look for birds today. The two Common Sandpipers were still at the reservoir. A few Meadow Pipits were flying over south and every so often a Chiffchaff would give a brief burst of song. A Sparrowhawk gave really good views around the sailing club and is the first one I have seen here for a few weeks. A Willow Tit called but went unseen in the woods and two Yellowhammers were in the field west of the canal between the railway and the motorway. This is of note as we don't get many and it is the first sighting I have had of multiple birds here.

The best part of the morning was the visible migration through the Upper Cherwell Valley. As soon as I got past the motorway I saw there were Swallows flying through. I got to the top of the bund and in my first binocular sweep counted over fifty birds. They were flying south east, apparently following the line of the motorway and not down the river valley. I stood and watched and they just kept coming. For a period of just short of an hour around 600 to 650 birds flew through! I lost count and to be honest an accurate count was pretty much impossible, but I kept a rough tally of numbers and that is a minimum number of birds. Along with them were over 100 House Martins, over 50 Meadow Pipits, three Skylarks and two Grey Wagtails.

John had a Wigeon at lunch time and by the evening John and Mike had three present. John had a first winter Med Gull drop in and a Common Gull in the evening too.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

22nd Sep 2016

I had an early morning walk before setting off for work a large roving tit and warbler flock entertained me for a while, but other than several Chiffchaffs I didn't see too much of interest in with them. Up at the reservoir a single Common Sandpiper was my only bird of note.

Steve went up a little bit later and confirmed two Common Sandpipers and two Wigeon still present.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

21st Sep 2016

I had a quick look around mid morning today and bumped into Steve. Steve had already seen one Common Sandpiper but as we talked we found there was two. He also pointed out two drake Wigeon (probably an adult in eclipse and a first year bird) amongst the ducks and geese. Several Meadow Pipits went over and there were flocks of hirundines, mixed Swallows and House Martins, going over east. Three 1st winter Herring Gulls were of note amongst the low numbers of gulls coming and going and Steve counted 183 Canada Geese plus two hybrids.

As per the comment below. Tim Clark has seen two Stonechats on Monday and Tuesday in the Upper Cherwell Valley. The funny thing about this is that I had said to Steve we should be getting a Stonechat or two through again around now.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

18th Sep 2016

It has been a reasonably quiet week bird wise but there has been highlights here and there. All week a steady passage of hirundines and Meadow Pipits has continued overhead, with Colin noting today that significant numbers of Swallows were moving. A few Yellow Wagtails are still passing over too and a Wheatear was present on Friday. There has been a notable amount of Chiffchaffs around, particularly at the end of the week, with Blackcaps and Whitethroats seen too. The Willow Tit has been in the wood and there seems to be an increase in Song Thrush numbers.

A Common Sandpiper has been around most of the week on and off, assuming it has just been one bird. John had a few other good wader records with two Lapwing seen on Tuesday, a Green Sandpiper flew over on Thursday and a Dunlin flew through on Friday. Clive also had six Snipe fly in and land in the Upper Cherwell Valley on Sunday.

Duck and geese numbers are rising and I had 109 Mallards on Thursday, I think my highest count to date. There has been up to four Tufted Ducks too. Colin found a Wigeon at the Borrow Pit on Sunday, which moved to the reservoir, and had a further 37 Wigeon circle the reservoir before flying off north west. This is a great record for here and must be the highest number for many years.

Mike had an incredible experience with a Polecat in the wood on Friday. Mike stood quietly and it came up to around 2m away from him before it was aware of his presence. Unperturbed, it went off and caught a rabbit shortly afterwards.

All pictures courtesy and copyright of Colin

Sunday, 11 September 2016

11th Sep 2016: Pipits on the move

The end of the week and it certainly wasn't dull but there were no real headline birds, with the overhead passage on Sunday being the most interesting. The Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were both around till Friday. Thursday morning there was a bit of passage with a flock of 37 Swallows and 3 Yellow Wagtails going ~south and a Lapwing flew over north.

Above and below courtesy and copyright of JFT
Taken earlier in the week

Saturday morning John headed out in the rain to monitor for anything coming through. He did find an adult Common Tern and a 1CY Med Gull, so some reward for being out in the rain. The tern was around all day and was near enough, if not already, in winter plumage. Later in the evening Colin was out and confirmed a Whinchat was still up in the valley.

John and I headed out Sunday morning to see if the previous days rained had dropped any passerines but apparently it didn't or they had all cleared out overnight. There was a big Meadow Pipit movement though and we had at least 24 over in the morning. It continued all day with Colin having a steady trickle of singles throughout and a flock of 13 late afternoon. He also had a flock of 30 Swallow and three Yellow Wagtails over south and a Raven over west. The Willow Tit was in the wood and a Whinchat was still up the valley.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

07th Sep 2016: Another Tree Pipit

Somebody turned the migrant tap on again!

John was out yesterday morning and saw a trickle of migrants coming through. A Common Sandpiper that stopped briefly was the highlight but Yellow Wagtails and Swallows on the move and more warblers around showed promise. A juvenile Ringed Plover dropped in during the evening, so he was rewarded for his efforts for the day.

Above and below copyright of JFT

This morning John found the Ringed Plover still present, which it was all day, and at lunch time found two (possibly three) Spotted Flycatchers along the river near the entrance.

We both went out this evening and before I got there John had a Green Sandpiper fly over and went down low near the river by the railway. It obviously stayed in the area as we had it fly over the reservoir again later. A large flock of gulls that had gathered were flushed by a Hobby that cruised over. It hunted over the reservoir for quite a while before departing. Up in the valley we found a pipit and it only took us a mere moment to realise it was a Tree Pipit. It was elusive but we had reasonable views when it settled in a hawthorn for a short time. It was flushed by a Dunnock, at which point it flew towards the pool and we didn't see it again. There were no Whinchats today but they may have already been flushed by dog walkers.

Monday, 5 September 2016

05th Sep 2016

It has been a rather slow start to the month really. Highlights have been few and far between so this is a quick update. Thursday evening John had a 2CY Yellow-legged Gull, Friday there were two Common Sandpipers around most of the day and Saturday there was nothing of note at all.

Sunday there was a little bit more going on. In the morning I had numerous warblers around and a Willow Tit in the wood and in the afternoon Colin had a Little Egret up at the Borrow Pit and two Wheatears at the reservoir. One Wheatear was present this evening but other than that, not a lot.