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.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

15th Oct 2017: Autumn arrival

Firstly apologies for the lack of posts recently. I have attempted to do a round up below, but I may have missed a few bits along the way.

Secondly, please check the post from 25th September, regarding the tern seen. Ian Lewington rather swiftly picked up on the fact that it didn't look like a Common Tern and provided a very good peace of identification information. Thank you again Ian.

27th Steve: 2 common gull and a tit flock with 3+ chiffchaff of note.  A grey heron caught and ate a large perch!

30th Steve and Colin: Not much to report at the reservoir, four grey wagtails and three swallows south. In the UCV seven little grebes.

2nd Steve: Two buzzards and two kestrels over the wood.  54 lesser black-backed gulls and c50 black-headed gulls on the water.

8th Colin and I: Colin had a Redwing over early morning, our first of the autumn. I failed to find much of interest, but noted a dramatic decrease in warblers from my last visit (two weeks before!). Later in the evening Colin had three Great Crested Grebes (one juvenile) and in the roost, one Yellow-legged Gull and two Herring Gulls. He also had one, or possibly two, Little Egrets flying over going to roost.

10th Mike: Did the gull roost this evening and had three adult yellow-legged gulls and one 3cy plus a 1cy common Gull, & a little egret flew over.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

26th Sep 2017: Ruff

A Ruff was flying around this morning when John arrived It didn't land and after circling the reservoir a few times it left to the north. There was also two Teal that lingered for most of the day.

Monday, 25 September 2017

25th Sep 2017: Edit - Arctic Tern

This mornings conditions looked really good, light easterly winds with rain starting in the early hours. John was up and out to have a look and found a Common Tern Arctic Tern (see below), a Whitethroat and had more hirundines through. The forecast looked like it would produce more, but it wasn't to be.

Pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT

Not long after I published this post I had a text message off Ian Lewington saying this was an interesting looking tern, possibly a first summer (2CY) Arctic Tern that had failed to undergo it's first primary moult. Unfortunately, even though John saw the bird in the morning and at lunch time, he had only seen it sat on this buoy. so he did not see the open wing or have any photos of the open wing. 

John had sent me a photo of the bird and we discussed it briefly. Even though we both said the bird looked structurally like an Arctic Tern we concluded it must be an Common Tern because it still had dark primaries (for reference see this post of a bird we had earlier this year). 

A couple of emails with Ian later and he was fairly happy to conclude that this was an Arctic Tern, based on it's structural characteristics. However, after a bit of research it was more interesting than just a second calendar year bird. This is what Ian wrote:
'I think we can safely say this is an Arctic (short legs, short bill, cap shape, general shape etc). It was it's state of moult that puzzled me. I've since learnt that 3rd cal year birds do not have a complete pre-breeding moult in early spring unlike 1st summers and adults. In their 2nd summer they have a body moult but do not replace their primaries (except sometimes p1 or p2). There is a hint of a grey p2 tip on the photo. The bill is also more colourful than a 1st summer.
So a bird about 27 months old! Very educational and I don't recall this plumage/age class in the county before.'

So that's another Arctic Tern I've missed this year! 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

24th Sep 2017: Little Gull and a few extras

There was quite a bit going on this week. Nothing too exciting, but a lot more interesting than it can be!

On Tuesday John had a drake Shoveler in the morning that lingered all day and in the evening he jammed in on a juv/1st winter Little Gull. It was present, sat on the railings, when John arrived but was disturbed and within a few minutes had drifted off high away from the reservoir.

All pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT

On Wednesday morning John also found a Whinchat along the western bank of the reservoir and had a bit of overhead passage, including 90+ Swallows and 30 Meadow Pipits all over in 15 minutes.  In the evening there was a Yellow-legged Gull. On top of that there have been a few Blackcaps around still and Common Gulls are being seen again. 

Sunday morning Colin and Steve were out early and had a Wigeon at the Borrow Pit pool and in the valley had a Reed Warbler, a Willow Warbler and a Redpoll over. The Wigeon relocated to the reservoir while John and I were there, but it soon moved on when the sailing started. We also had our first Skylarks of the autumn over and a steady trickle of hirundines and pipits.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

17th Sep 2017

After the excitement of the start of the week the end has seemed rather quiet. Mike reported no sign of the phalarope on Friday morning and it was gone. However, there were thirteen Grey Wagtails that morning with two Yellow Wagtails. That must be a record number for the site. Also, in the afternoon John had an immature Peregrine over. 

This morning John had a Wheatear at the reservoir and a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits and Swallows over.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

14th Sep 2017

Much to my surprise, the Phalarope was still present this morning. It was on the eastern bank and seemed to remain there most of the day, being seen by several people.

This morning there was some obvious vis-mig, or at least signs that things are on the move. Most notable was at least eight Grey Wagtails, feeding as a loose group around the edge of the reservoir. Over head there was a single Yellow Wagtail, at least 30 Meadow Pipits (including a group of 13) and a large ball of c.70 hirundines.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

13th Sep 2017

Yesterday and today the Grey Phalarope continued to grace us with its presence. At times it has looked weak, possibly unwell, but then it seems to perk up again and become very active. Actually, this evening it had a good fly around and at one point Mike saw it circle high over the wood and it appeared to be making an exit but then it returned to the waters edge an continued feeding. I would not be surprised it it gone in the morning.

The supporting cast has been a 3CY Yellow-legged Gull yesterday evening, a Wheatear most of today and at least four Yellow Wagtails in with the cattle this evening.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Colin (taken on Monday)

Monday, 11 September 2017

11th Sep 2017: Grey Phalarope!!

This evening John found a Grey Phalarope at the reservoir. There have been very strong westerly winds today with numerous sea birds seen along the western coast and a few have been turning up in land. There had been little (nothing) of note at Grimsbury all day and then John goes finds this beauty in the evening on his after work walk.

Quite a few Grimsbury regulars and BOS members managed to see it, some getting a good soaking whilst doing so. Information from Mike Curnow, via Mike Pollard, indicates that this is the fourth record for the BOS area. The first one was found dead in Kiddington in 1982 and there are two records in a records book not yet on the system. I assume this is the first record for Grimsbury Reservoir though.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

The scene as I arrived, before I'd seen the Phalarope and got absolutely soaked!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

10th Sep 2017

A few minor highlights this week to keep us ticking over. On Thursday John saw a juvenile Little Grebe at the reservoir.

Saturday morning there was a bit of overhead passage with a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits (c.15), House Martins (c.30) and Sand Martins (c.5) over. There was a few Swifts that joined a group of hirundines gathering late morning and I heard a Willow Tit in the wood. Late afternoon a Hobby cruised over, which I was alerted to by the alarm calls of a group of House Martins but the Hobby apparently wasn't on the hunt and just passed over. 

On Sunday afternoon Steve, John and Colin were all out. There was one (possibly two) Yellow Wagtails in the cattle field, 22 Meadow Pipits - mostly overhead but one down at the reservoir edge, a big gathering of the three hirundines (at points c.100 House Martins and c.30 Sand Martins) but it was evident that birds were moving through, a Swift and a Yellow-legged Gull. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

03rd Sep 2017

It's a very quiet week, even by Grimsbury standards. Steve and Colin were out on Monday when they had six Yellow Wagtails over and a Swift.  They also had a Kingfisher at the reservoir and nine Little Grebes at the Borrow Pit pool.

Today Colin had two Ringed Plovers fly through low over the reservoir at 13:45. they didn't stop and were last seen disappearing past the water treatment works. There was also seven Swifts, c.40 mixed hirundines and two Kingfishers.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

26th Aug 2016

This morning John had a juvenile Ringed Plover fly in for a little rest before continuing high south west. There was also a Common Sandpiper and one, or possibly two, Snipe that flew through. Over head there was at least 11 Yellow Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit. So there was obviously a bit of passage last night into this morning.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

23rd Aug 2017

This evening the female Redstart was still present and there was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, both seen by John.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

22nd Aug 2017: Common Scoters

john had another great day and found four (three drake) Common Scoters this morning. At one point they did fly off north but returned and fell asleep. By lunch time though, they had gone. This is a great record for here, with the last birds being a pair seen in March 2013.

Photo courtesy and copyright of JFT

Monday, 21 August 2017

21st Aug 2017

John had a great day, which started by finding a Redstart at lunchtime. In the evening he then found three Wheatears, which turned to five and then seven! There was clearly a bit of movement and a mini fall as he also had five Yellow Wagtails over. Other than that there was a Yellow-legged Gull.

Both pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 20 August 2017

20th Aug 2017

Canada Goose numbers are increasing still and Steve had 186 on Monday and John had 193 on Friday evening. There were two Yellow Wagtails on Tuesday morning that john saw. Also on Friday evening John had a juvenile Med Gull and around 50 Swifts.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

This afternoon Steve had a Yellow-legged Gull in with 31 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Peregrine over north.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

13th Aug 2017

The highlight of the w week was on Monday, when John found a Dunlin at lunch time. There was also a Little Egret around, a Willow Warbler and two Common Terns. The Dunlin was still present in the evening when Adrian and Sandra visited but it had left before dusk. Of note they also had c.50 Swifts gathered, which may have been passage birds.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

John saw a Wheatear on Tuesday but there was not a lot else around. There seemed to be a steady passage of Sand Martins this week. The most seen was 20 on Wednesday, but there were other smaller groups on other days. There has also been an increase in Canada Geese loafing at the reservoir.

Today Colin was out in the morning and late afternoon. This morning there was a Yellow Wagtail and good numbers of the other wagtails. He also watched two Kingfishers fighting on the pontoon! This afternoon there was a Yellow-legged Gull.

Photos courtesy and copyright of Colin Wilkinson

Friday, 4 August 2017

4th Aug 2017: Spotted Flycatcher

Gareth has been away for the week with work, so I'm (John) filling in for a bit.

Colin & Steve had a walk around the reservoir & Upper Cherwell Valley on Sunday 30th July. They saw 2 adult Common Terns & a Common Sandpiper at the reservoir, while at the Borrow Pit, there were 6 Little Grebe (including 2 juveniles) & 3 Sand Martin. They also had a Red Underwing moth land on a car in the car park!

On Monday 31st July, Mike paid the reservoir a morning visit, seeing a single adult Common Tern and a Great Crested Grebe. At lunchtime I came across the same, plus a couple of ringed Black Headed Gulls loafing on the pontoon, however they were small metal rings and I just couldn't read them!

On Tuesday 01/08, Common Tern numbers were back up to 5 (4 adults, 1 juvenile), on my usual lunchtime visit. The Great Crested Grebe was also still present. Later on that afternoon, Steve saw one adult Common Tern feeding the juvenile. He also counted 64 Black Headed Gull (including 23 juveniles), while Canada Goose numbers had built up somewhat, to 79.

It rained for much of Wednesday 2nd, however I popped in at lunchtime and on my way home. Despite the unsettled conditions, there was a little to get excited about. A Common Sandpiper was new in and there were 2 Common Terns still about (1adult, 1 juv).

Yesterday was been pretty windy and unsettled. Just one Common Tern & 3 Sand Martins the best. Today there was no sign of any terns, however finally something a bit different was about with a Spotted Flycatcher along the fence at the southern edge of the cattle field, a new bird for the year, the first for quite sometime! 

Friday, 28 July 2017

28th Jul 2017

Monday John had a Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper at the reservoir again. Tuesday there were few birds bit John did see Small Copper and Essex Skipper butterflies in the grassland between the wood and the reservoir.

On Wednesday evening John had five Common Terns (including a juvenile bird) and on Thursday there was three.

This morning Mike saw a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and three Common Terns (two adults and a juvenile). Also, John had five Sand Martins at lunch time.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

23rd Jul 2017

There was not a lot happening again this week but on Thursday 19th John had 24 Cormorants fly over, quite an odd sighting at this time of year as numbers are usually only that high in the depths of winter. On the 20th and 21st John also had a juvenile Willow Warbler, a Common Sandpiper and a Common Tern.

Mike was out early on Saturday morning and saw a Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper and a dog walker reported seeing a juvenile Badger in the woodland. A little later the tern had gone but I saw the sandpiper. Mike also mentioned lots of young Whitethroats and Blackcaps and I noticed a large amount of juvenile Chiffchaffs calling too. In the evening John saw a Little Egret, Common Tern and two Sand Martins.

There is a fruiting of Chicken in the Woods fungi in the woodland near the river. Mike got some photos of it which are on his blog here.

On Sunday morning Steve had a single Coot on the res - his first on the reservoir this year. Also four Common Sandpipers and a single Little Egret dropped in to east somewhere.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

16th Jul 2017

Only reports from John this week with his regular visits. He had a Yellow-legged Gull on the 10th, two Common Sandpipers and a Common Tern on the 12th, a Yellow-legged Gull on the 13th and an adult Mediterranean Gull over north on the 15th.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 9 July 2017

9th Jul 2017

There has been nothing too unusual to report recently but there has been a steady amount of notable birds. John had a Hobby recently and there has been the odd Yellow-legged Gull around on most days. On Wednesday John, Dan and I had a walk around. It was quiet for birds but we did see some butterflies about including several Marbled Whites, Gatekeeper and a few Large Skippers.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Yesterday Mike saw a Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover at the reservoir. Today Colin saw c.310 Lesser Black-backed Gulls that had a Yellow-legged Gull with them. There was also a Little Grebe on the reservoir which is quite unusual.

Monday, 3 July 2017

3rd Jul 2017

A Common Tern and a Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the reservoir by John today.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

2nd Jul 2017

Steve had 3 Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir today.

Friday, 30 June 2017

30th Jun 2017

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, it has been a very busy few weeks!

The end of the month was relatively quiet but there were a few notable sightings. The main thing being the start of gulls gathering at the reservoir in the afternoons and the first returning Yellow-legged gulls of the summer. Some days John had 4 or 5 at a time.

Steve had a Great Crested Grebe and 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the 18th.

John had up to 200 big gulls on the 20th including an adult Yellow-legged Gull. On the 21st 4 (or possibly 5) Yellow-legged Gulls - 2 2CY and 2 3CY. An adult was present again on the 23rd. At least 5 again on the 26th and then it went a bit quiet for gulls again.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

On the 27th John had a Little Ringed Plover and one Yellow-legged Gull (ad or near ad) was seen by Steve on the 28th. On the same day Steve also saw juvenile Whitethroat at the reservoir and two juvenile Little Grebes with the two adults at the Borrow Pit pool. We had no evidence of nesting here but it seems that they have.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

11th Jun 2017

Bird wise, very quiet but that is to be expected now everything is nesting or even finished nesting. However, it was the first weekend I saw good numbers of dragonflies and damselflies. There was Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle and Large Red, Common Blue, Azure and White-legged Damselflies. it was a nice surprise to see the White-legged as I didn't see any last year.

There was also a Common spotted and four Bee Orchids and it was fantastic to see four Grass Snakes basking along one of the paths. More than I have seen here in one go than over the last 10 years. The only disappointment, was a real lack of butterflies. I saw one white spp and a Common Blue and other than that the odd Small Tortoiseshell.