As Grimsbury and the Upper Cherwell Valley is in this square, naturally we started here. We had a pretty good morning with a drake Goosander at the reservoir and Chiffchaff and Marsh Tit in the wood but we couldn't find the Willow Tit! Colin counted 307 Canada Geese at the reservoir in the early morning.
We had some good birds in the Upper Cherwell Valley, the best being a Nuthatch (possibly two) in the mature trees just north of the Borrow Pit. A rare bird for the patch but has now been seen for the third year in a row. At the same location there was also a Jay, a scarce patch bird. Colin messaged to say he had seen a Stonechat and Snipe in the wet field east of the canal. We connected with the Stonechat and also had two Yellowhammers fly over but found no Snipe. Tony Crisp saw two Wigeon grazing in the fields with the Canada Geese this afternoon.
We finished back at Grimsbury but we didn't add any new birds. The gull roost had c.500 Black-headed Gulls but only a few each of Lesser black-backed and Herring Gulls. There were very few big gulls in the area today and I think they going elsewhere now.
We saw a few good birds at other sites but there wasn't anything too outstanding. We went to see the now regular Parakeet in town, saw a huge flock of c.350 Linnets to the south west of Wroxton and had five Ravens in the same area and we had Wigeon and Teal at Farnborough lakes. That was about the best of the rest. We tried for the Waxwings in town a couple times but didn't see them, although Mike saw six briefly in the afternoon.
There are a few places we would normally look that are now 'off limits', e.g. Spital Farm Lake/the sewage works and the old Horley Woodland NR. We also seemed to run out of time and not even manage to get to many places. Despite this we did pretty well and had a good day overall.