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, 31 March 2017

31st Mar 2017

John and I were out this morning. The Willow Warbler sang briefly along the river and at least one Blackcap was also along the river singing quite strongly. Another possible Blackcap was heard occasionally further up river near the wood and one definitely singing near the car park. A few Sand Martins went through with some lingering. It was hard to know if they were all new birds but they peaked at c.18 at any one time. Two Little Ringed Plovers were present and another Red Kite, or possibly the same one as the other day, was seen circling high over the fields just north of the wood.

John was out at lunch time but there was little change and this evening I saw the three Little Ringed Plovers but little else of note.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

30th Mar 2017: Willow Warbler

This morning John managed to up the year list yet again with a Willow Warbler singing sporadically along the river. There was also two, possibly three, Blackcaps.

The evening seemed rather quiet to start with but there were a few good bits around later on. We managed to relocate the Shovelers (assuming it was the same pair) at the Borrow Pit pool and when we got back to the reservoir there were three Little Ringed Plovers again. A few groups of Sand Martins went through too, totalling 28 birds (17, 6 and 5). Eleven Tufted Ducks on the reservoir was a lovely sight and these were probably birds that have been at the Borrow Pit pool. It is unfortunate that this kind of sighting is so rare at the reservoir.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

29th Mar 2017: Shovelers

John was out this morning and had a pair of Shoveler fly south east over the reservoir. Twelve Sand Martins also flew through north.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

28th Mar 2017

John was out this morning and had a Sand Martin and a Little Ringed Plover at the reservoir. A few of the regular dog walkers also described a bird that flying around just before he got there that sounded very much like an Oystercatcher...

There was a Little Grebe at the reservoir that John spotted at lunch time, a bird rarely found at the reservoir. In the evening John and I were out and were joined by our friend Dan. A flock of c.40 Sand Martins had gathered up below a very dark cloud. They circled widely around the reservoir for quite a while but didn't come down to the water that much. Other than that the only other bird of note was a Red Kite.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Monday, 27 March 2017

27th Mar 2017: Swallow

John was out at lunch time today and had our first definite Swallow of the year (I had a third hand report of one from the 16th) with ten Sand Martins. Early afternoon Colin was out and the Sand Martin total had raised to 28. John also had a Blackcap singing from the scrub along the river again.

Two Sand Martins lingered on to late afternoon but by the time I got there in the evening all of the hirundines had gone. There were three Little Ringed Plovers though so it appears they are just roosting at the reservoir now and spending the day elsewhere.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

26th Mar 2017

Another lovely morning. Quiet bird wise, but great for butterflies. I saw at least four Small Tortoiseshells and two Brimstones.

I had a look for a Mallard nest Jim told me about, it took me a moment to actually spot it! In the wood the Willow Tit was very vocal and even sang for a little bit. A pheasant flew up from the brambles near the ditch and sat in a tree for a bit. I wonder if it may be nesting in there.

This evening Reg had two Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir. The first ones for a couple of days so it's difficult to know if these are the same or new birds.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

25th Mar 2017

I had a good walk around this morning. Despite the beautiful conditions, there wasn't a lot around. There were Chiffchaffs singing in a lot of places, I lost count but it was easily over ten singing birds. I saw the Marsh Tit in the wood but couldn't locate the Willow Tit. It seemed a good day for raptors and at one point I had nine Buzzards over the reservoir.

Into the valley I had a look at the Long-tailed Tit nest Colin and Steve found last week. Two birds were busy back and fourth, apparently still furnishing the interior. The Little Egret was along the river and there were four Greylag Geese at the Borrow Pit pool.

Friday, 24 March 2017

24th Mar 2016

John and Steve were out this morning. The Little Egret was still present but there is now only one Little Ringed Plover (but two were at Baslcote, so possibly two of 'our' birds). John had good views of the Willow Tit in the wood and a Snipe up the valley.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

23rd Mar 2017: Little Egret

John was out this morning. The Knot has gone but the three Little Ringed Plovers were still around. He also had two Sand Martins through and a Little Egret came in at around 08:20. The egret stayed all day allowing Steve and I to catch up with it this afternoon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

22nd Mar 2017: Knot

Ian was out early this morning and saw another Redshank briefly before it flew out north. He also saw a single Sand Martin and two Little Ringed Plovers. A little later John confirmed the three plovers were all present.

Ian went back later and struck absolute patch gold in the form of a Knot. He first saw it at 11:10 and stayed all day. At least nine other people managed to see it and it was a patch and B.O.S. area tick for nearly everyone. As far as I know there has been two previous records at the reservoir, one in 1976 and one I need to confirm I think was in the late 90s.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Monday, 20 March 2017

20th Mar 2017

Following a miserable day weather wise John and I ventured out late afternoon. It was quite windy but the light from the setting sun was fantastic. The three Little Ringed Plovers were still present all together along the western shore.

We had flurry of groups of Meadow Pipits flying over north west which was quite impressive with a few groups over of over 20 birds and we estimated at least 100 had gone over. Along with them six Sand Martins went over and 20 to 30 Pied Wagtails. A Peregrine (female based on size) flew over the reservoir towards town, presumably going to the regular roost site.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

19th Mar 2017

A busy day with lots of people visiting. Steve and Colin were out early and saw two Little Ringed Plovers. They saw a single Greylag in the valley and Grey Wagtails investigating a potential nest site and confirmed a Long-tailed Tit nest along the canal, the latter in the same place as last year.

Later on I saw the three plovers but one flew off north. A Willow Tit in the wood which called fairly frequently and I had a Raven fly over. In the afternoon Philip Walker confirmed the three plovers were back at the reservoir.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

18th Mar 2017

John and I were out today for a good look around. The three Little Ringed Plovers were at the reservoir but they do move and only one was seen in the afternoon. There were three Greylag Geese in the valley but other than that there wasn't much of note around.

Friday, 17 March 2017

17th Mar 2017

Mark had two Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir this morning, so it seems quite likely that we did have two at dusk yesterday. He also had a Marsh Tit in the wood and at least three Chiffchaffs calling.

John had a Red Kite over and a Sand Martin. He also saw a Little Ringed Plover fly off continuing it's migration north.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Thursday, 16 March 2017

16th Mar 2017: Sand Martins and Little Plover

John was out yesterday and there was very little around and it sounded like most of the Chiffchaffs had moved on. He did see a Small Tortoiseshell though.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT
Today was a little different and at lunch time John had five Sand Martins and a Little Ringed Plover. The plover is apparently the first one reported in the county this year. In the evening there were still two Sand Martins and the plover, which may have been joined by a second at dusk. A Jay was seen at the back of the woods again late afternoon.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

14th Mar 2017: Raven

John had two Ravens over today, which is new for the year. Otherwise it was reasonably quiet with two Siskins being the only other birds of note.

Monday, 13 March 2017

13th Mar 2017

The Stonechat was still present this morning (and through to lunch time at least) and there were several Chiffchaffs along the river still. John had a Peregrine over very high at lunch time and a Siskin over. He also saw a Brimstone butterfly.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

12th Mar 2017: Blackcap

Another new bird for the year for John this morning, when he had a Blackcap singing along the river. This seems very early and we assume must have been a bird that overwintered locally, but who knows. Otherwise there were several Chiffchaffs around still too.

This afternoon we headed out to see if there was a gull roost and possibly get a Med Gull, but the only gulls that came in were two Lesser Black-backed Gulls. We did however see a female Stonechat along the western side and have a Yellowhammer over, so a nice visit. there was also a Jay around at the back of the woods.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Saturday, 11 March 2017

11th Mar 2017: More Chiffchaffs

Well it would seem that Chiffchaffs are definitely moving in now. I had one singing at the reservoir entrance early morning and walking up along the river I had at least another five before I went into the wood. There was another one along the river north of the wood and when I came back there was another one singing west of the reservoir.

I had the Marsh Tit in the wood and met Nick and Anne Truby (from Bicester) who had seen the two Willow Tits. Up at the Borrow Pit pool there was four Tufted Ducks.

Friday, 10 March 2017

10th Mar 2017: Redshank

A Redshank today was a nice find for John and a welcome addition to the year list.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
(John's twitter)

Monday, 6 March 2017

6th Mar 2017: Singing Chiffchaff

As I walked up the path along the river this morning it was great to hear a Chiffchaff give a short burst of song. I was instantly full of joy at the realisation that within six or seven weeks there will be Chiffchaffs singing virtually everywhere I go. As I watched it flycatching a second bird appeared. This was a surprise because even though we have seen a single bird occasionally over the winter, I didn't really think that there may have been more than one around. It is a bit early for birds arriving from wintering grounds further south so I assume these are birds that have wintered locally.

The second bird (above) caught my eye as it seemed to have the general appearance of a Siberian Chiffchaff. Though the more I watched it, I saw more green/yellow colours to its plumage but that was in very bright sun. When I got back home and looked at the photos and compared them to others I was unsure and wondered if it might actually be one. I asked a few friends about it and went back for another look. It was pointed out to me that it actually has green/yellow plumage on the breast, mantle and in the supercilium, which I had somehow over looked and while watching it I heard it call in the classic Common Chiffchaff way. So it definitely isn't a Siberian Chiffchaff, but it was good to have a good look at this bird to refresh my memory of the identification criteria.

Walking back from seeing the two birds along the river a third bird was calling near the entrance to the reservoir. I have no idea where these birds have suddenly appeared from, or if they have been around all winter and have just been very quiet and elusive. There wasn't much else of note to be honest. There were at least four Treecreepers singing and I saw the Marsh Tit. There are a lot of birds singing now and general breeding/nesting activity, especially from the Rookery as the birds shuttle back and forth with twigs to the nests.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

5th Mar 2017

It's been a fairly quiet week again really. Steve has been seeing a few Common Gulls at the reservoir regularly and numbers should increase as they are moving back north east. This was evident yesterday when I saw at least eight different birds move through. We might be lucky and get a few Kittiwakes in with them.

I saw the Marsh Tit on Tuesday and yesterday but as far as I know the Willow Tit/s haven't been seen. Up in the valley I saw two Stonechats around the Borrow Pit pool and they are obviously moving through now with some good numbers at other sites. Also yesterday, Steve saw a Green Sandpiper on flood water in the valley and Colin had a Gadwall at the pool.