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, 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.

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.

Friday, 9 June 2017

9th Jun 2017: 'portlandica' Commic Tern

Well this week has definitely been quiet. Unfortunately I haven't been out too much but John and Steve have been visiting on various days. On Tuesday lunch time John phoned me to say he had a 2CY tern at the reservoir and Steve was there and saw it too. It was awful weather and they were struggling to see any detail of the birds plumage and although Steve had mentioned Arctic Tern, the general consensus was that it was a Common Tern. It stayed the day and actually into Wednesday too, when John saw it in the evening. It was dry then and John managed to get the photos below. After John had posted them on twitter, there was a report of a 2CY Arctic Tern put out by a popular bird news service. We were surprised and a little confused.

I asked for more information and confirmation of the identification and they kindly came back to me with the following. 'The amount of black around the eye is beyond what a Common Tern would show, and, more importantly, all the primaries are of the same age. A Common Tern would have two generations of primaries at this time of year, having moulted the inners and retained the worn outers.'

Very informative and a great record for the reservoir.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

4th Jun 2017

It was a quiet weekend, but there was finally some damselflies out.

Friday, 2 June 2017

2nd May 2017

The end of this week has been fairly quiet again. John has noted gulls gathering up, generally up to 30, with most being Lesser Black-backed and a few Herring Gulls. This evening I popped up and there were two Common Terns foraging over the reservoir.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

30th May 2017

A couple of interesting sightings today. Two Great Crested Grebes are back, seen by Steve at lunch time and John later in the day. John also had a drake Pochard late afternoon/early evening. It is an odd time to see these species here and the assumption is that they are failed breeders moving around already.

Monday, 29 May 2017

29th May 2017

Andy Veitch visited today and saw two Mistle Thrushes, a good sighting for here. A Little Ringed Plover was still at the reservoir and there is still a good mix of warblers singing including numerous Sedge Warblers around the Borrow Pit pool up the valley.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

28th May 2017

On Monday John had two male Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir and Mike had one on Tuesday. Mike also saw the Chiffchaffs feeding chicks and took the photo below.

Thursday Steve saw singles of Brimstone and Holly Blue butterflies and today a male Little Ringed Plover was at the reservoir

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May 2017

Back to normal for the weekend. The only notable bird at the reservoir being a male Little Ringed Plover on Saturday. Swifts are ever present now feeding over and around the reservoir and the odd few house Martins are around.

Great Tits are nesting by the sailing club in the stone building near the river and by the sound of it the chicks are well grown. The Great Spotted Woodpecker chicks are also very noisy now calling when being fed and begging to be fed the rest of the time. Steve also saw Chiffchaffs feeding young at the edge of the wood on Sunday.

On Saturday I saw a Weasel in the wood, chasing after a vole that crossed my path a few seconds before, and there are a lot of Otter spraints around at the moment so it/they are very active in this area again.

Friday, 19 May 2017

19th May 2017: FULMAR (!)

Thursday was a rather quiet day and the only notable bird was a Little Ringed Plover seen by John.

Today though, Steve managed to see a FULMAR over the reservoir. I have no other records of Fulmar from here previously and I think it's safe to assume it is the first time this species has been recorded at this site. It flew in from the south and left again to the south east. On view for less than a minute and Steve just so happened to be there at the right time and looking in the right direction! We often wonder what and how many birds must pass through without being seen and this is a perfect example of one that could have done so very easily. Steve wrote a short account of the sighting for the blog:

This morning it was a bit murky in the showers and overcast with a light westerly wind.  Over 50 hirundine and a couple of swift were feeding very low over the reservoir - the first big concentration I've seen this year.  As i passed the entrance to the sailing club a pair of bullfinches flew in and I stopped to watch them for a few minutes.  Walking towards the gate I noticed a bird flying towards me that  looked "different" and I couldn't work out what it was.  The shape and flight were distinctive and as soon as it banked and I could see its head,  I immediately identified it as a fulmar.  It flew around for a few seconds and then left to the southeast.  

Well done Steve!
*record pending acceptance, Steve has send a description to the O.O.S. and the B.O.S.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

17th May 2017

This morning John and Steve saw a Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. Steve had a Garden Warbler singing in the Upper Cherwell Valley too.

This afternoon John had two Common Sandpipers that stayed through to the evening when we also had good numbers of Swift and House Martin, several Swallows and the odd Sand Martin.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

16th May 2017: House Sparrow

A House Sparrow was a patch year tick for John today. The only other bird of note was a male Little Ringed Plover.

Monday, 15 May 2017

15th May 2017: Sanderling

John had a very good day today and found a Sanderling coming into summer plumage. It is the third Sanderling here in as many years. It makes you wonder if this species really has been a rare visitor to the site or if it has been here nearly every year but there hasn't been enough people looking at various times of the day to see them. A Sand Martin through late afternoon was the only other bird of note.

Pictures courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 14 May 2017

14th May 2017: Long Day Count

Today was the day for the long day count in SP44. Details of the B.O.S. long day count can be found here. I joined up with Clive, John and Dan for the count and naturally we started at Grimsbury and the Upper Cherwell Valley. Our par score was 66.

We started off very well and the early morning rain provided grounded waders in the form of a Ringed Plover (new for the year) and a Dunlin. The rain also meant a couple of fly through Sand Martins made it onto the list, a species I really didn't think we would get today. A Mistlethrush by the water treatment works was also new for the year. Two Common Terns were also a nice surprise as they have not been hanging around at all this year. They were actually mobbing the plastic owl near the sailing club, which I found rather interesting as they are the only birds I have actually seen reacting to this bird deterrent so far. It may be the reason Common Terns have not stayed around as much this year as they have done in the past.

We racked up a good amount of species on patch in the morning and left to search other sites. Whilst we were away Tony Crisp saw a Peregrine over the Borrow Pit pool, a bird we didn't manage to see all day. In the evening we finished at the reservoir and managed to add Little Ringed Plover to the list.

The day was indeed long, and rather warm. We struggled to trudge from site to site picking off the one of two species each one would provide. Highlights from other sites were a Spotted Flycatcher and families of Ravens at two sites. At one site further north (thanks to some information from Kirsty) we saw Curlews and Tree Sparrows and a fly through Hobby. It is a real pleasure to see these birds locally and I'm very happy we managed to get them onto the long day count list.

We finished on a rather respectable 75 species, which is nine over our par score.

Ringed Plover, Painted Lady and Curlew courtesy and copyright of JFT

Saturday, 13 May 2017

13th May 2017: Dunlin

I think it's fair to say that it's been a very quiet week. It was so dull that I think John stopped even trying to pick out highlights from his trips!

On Sunday (7th) Steve had one Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover at the reservoir and a Reed Warbler singing in the reeds along the river just north of the flood alleviation scheme. John has had a Little Ringed Plover a few times too but that was the only notable bird.

Today I thought I'd have a look around and see what was happening. To start with it was dreadfully quiet but later on two Dunlin had dropped in and the Little Ringed Plover was with them. Also, in the Upper Cherwell Valley there were two Reed Warblers along the river where Steve had one on Sunday. In the wood a Rook chick had apparently fallen out the nest, I see at least one every year and I assume they just tumble out whilst stretching their wings. there was also a Blue Tit nesting in one of the Willow Tit boxes and heard a Sparrowhawk calling, making me think they are nesting again, but I couldn't see where.

Blue Tit nesting in this box

Saturday, 6 May 2017

6th May 2017

I had a walk around this morning and had a steady stream of Swifts and House Martins through with the odd Swallow and Sand Martin. There was a Reed Warbler singing along the river by the reservoir and a Common Sandpiper, bizarrely along the river in the wood. I think it was flushed as Steve had seen it flying over the car park earlier.

This evening Mark had two Wheatears in the cattle field and a gathering of c.30 Swifts.

Friday, 5 May 2017

5th May 2017

Not much to report other than a good arrival of Swifts today with John seeing c.30 at lunch time and several lingering into the evening.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

3rd May 2017

A pair of Oystercatchers found by Jim this morning were new for the year. Good to have them definitely on the list after only a possible reported so far. Even better was that they stayed till lunch time so John and I could see them too.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

2nd May 2017

A large gathering of 30-40 House Martins seen by John and Dan this evening was rather impressive and our first big gathering of them this year. It was business as usual for all other birds though with one each of Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover being the only other birds of note.

Monday, 1 May 2017

29th Apr to 1st May 2017

What a weekend! This was one of those weekends when (unless you had other more important things to be doing) you really should have been out out birding. As always, Grimsbury was frustratingly quiet at times when other sites appeared to be bursting with birds, but we did manage a few goodies including four new species for the year list.

Saturday was rather quiet and I didn't log anything of note except for a small arrival including a Willow Warbler, Garden Warblers and both Whitethroat species.

However, Sunday was far from quiet. John started out early (earlier than I could bring myself to manage) and he was rewarded with five Arctic Terns that flew through south without lingering. He also saw a Swift go through north and two Little Egrets that flew south west and had a Common Sandpiper and two Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir. I joined him after this early morning burst of activity, but we still managed to see a Hobby and two Common Terns go through north and another Little Egret go south west. At the Borrow Pit there was a Wheatear and a very smart male Whinchat. Colin confirmed later there was a second Whinchat. Other birds included a Reed Warbler, at least three Garden Warblers and Peregrine.
After going off to larger midlands reservoirs to see far more terns inland than either of us had ever seen, we returned to Grimsbury late evening. It was rather quiet and after a short while I decided to leave. I left too early though and as soon as I was home John text to say five Black Terns had dropped in. They stayed for around ten minutes before leaving high to the east.

Some pictures of the birds from Sunday by Kyle here and here and by John here (including some from elsewhere).

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

This morning John and I met up just after 6am. We were, rather optimistically, hoping that the strong migration we witnessed yesterday would continue. We saw a Wheatear fairly early on and soon had two and then another single Common Tern through and a Whinchat appeared along the fence a little way from us. We were very hopeful of some (different and more interesting) waders or more terns, but they didn't arrive. Whilst waiting we saw a Peregrine again, a Red Kite, a Common Sandpiper, two Little Ringed Plovers and a few Yellow Wagtails, but that was about it. There were more new warblers with at least five Garden Warblers and noticeably more Sedge Warblers and there were two Common Sandpipers at the Borrow Pit. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

28th Apr 2017: Curlew and Hobby

Thanks to a heads up from Dan of a Curlew flying south east away from Balscote, John was able to add it to the patch list. It didn't actually go to the reservoir but he could see it from there circling over the eastern edge of town.

This evening John also added Hobby, the 100th bird to go on to the patch year list, seeing one fly over north. Otherwise I believe it was a fairly quiet day.

The fox from yesterday, courtesy and copyright of JFT