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, 26 June 2022

26th Jun 2022

On the 14th there was a Common Sandpiper at the reservoir and a Peregrine flew over and on the 19th Clive had a Common Sandpiper and I had 2 Little Ringed Plovers at the reservoir. Clive also saw the Little Grebes at the Borrow Pit pool have 4 juveniles.

Yesterday a Kingfisher flew down the river and over the road towards Spiceball Park and this morning Clive had a Common Tern at the reservoir. 

Over the last couple of weeks Black-tailed Skimmers have around the reservoir in fairly good numbers and Marbled Whites, Ringlets and Large Skippers have all emerged. 

Today I managed to find a couple of Bee Orchids but I think the scrub is encrouching too much where they are and I doubt they'll persist too much longer. On the other hand there appears to be more Common Spotted and Pyramidal Orchids than usual, with several of each seen around the Borrow Pit.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

12th Jun 2022

Another fairly quiet couple of weeks here really. On the 31st May Wally had a Little Ringed Plover and today 2 Common Terns dropped in late morning.

Otherwise, there's been more Damselflies emerging with really good numbers of Common Blue Damsel around now and I saw my first (several) White-legged Damsels today. There are still Hairy Hawkers around with Clive seeing 2 along the river today and last weekend he also saw 2 up at the Borrow Pit pool as well as an Emporer Dragonfly.

Courtesy and copyright of Wally Warburton

Courtesy and copyright of Wally Warburton

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 29 May 2022

29th May 2022: Redshank

Another generally quiet week. Until this morning when John found a Redshank at the reservoir - number 110 for the year. This afternoon he also had a Common Tern and a Yellow Wagtail.

Courtesy and copyright of Wally Warburton

Swan and cygnets courtesy and copyright of Val Nuttall

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 22 May 2022

22nd May 2022: a Cuckoo?!

It had been a pretty quiet week really without much news, until I bumped into John the dog walker today! He told me he and another dog walker had a Cuckoo calling from the wood early Monday morning. Both Mike Pollard and John were also out Monday morning so it must have moved on or gone quiet by then. 

Otherwise there hasn't been much of note, a Yellow Wagtail flew over today and there was minimum of 3 Hairy Hawkers. 

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 15 May 2022

15th May 2022: Reed Warbler and Hairy Hawkers!

Monday late morning I had a walk around and got our first Reed Warbler of the year, singing from scrub along the river bank. I also had a couple of sightings of a Peregrine flying nearby and then over the reservoir. 

On the 11th John had a Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and c.40 Swifts - our first good numbers of Swifts this year.

Yesterday I headed up later to look for 'other' wildlife and was rewarded with the spectacle of numerous Demoiselles that have now emerged. There were 15+ male Beautiful and 4+ male Banded with many females. When I was watching them I spotted a hawker hunting over the river and a hawker in May can only really be Hairy Dragonfly! There were actually at least two and these are the first record for here and as it turns out the first confirmed recent record in the Banbury area. The last confirmed records being from Anthony Brownett in 1959 from Wroxton Abbey (where Steve Holliday actually recorded one today after seeing the Grimsbury ones). I also saw 4+ Large Red Damselflies, a probable Azure Damselfly and a Grass Snake.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

8th May 2022: Shelducks

Firstly, some late news of an Oystercatcher from last week (w/c 25th) that I heard about through Adrian B and I later found out was seen by dog walker John. 

On Wednesday the conditions looked great but the only birds of note were 3 Common Sandpipers and Garden Warbler seen by Mike Pollard and a Yellow Wagtail seen by Ian Rowe.

There were 4 Common Sandpipers and 2 Yellow Wagtails on the 6th but only 2 Common Sandpipers on the 7th when there was also a Wheatear in the cattle field.

Today was the B.O.S long day count and we were graced by a pair of Shelducks (the first ones we've had for a few years), a flyover Little Egret, a Little Ringed Plover and 3 Common Sandpipers. There was also at least 3 Garden Warblers around. Frustratingly, John and Mike also briefly saw what was either a Whimbrel or Curlew fly over the reservoir and up the valley. Not well enough for them to be sure of the ID (John's fairly sure it was Whimbrel) and not seen by Clive and I up the valley doing the count!

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT (earlier in the week)

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

3rd May 2022: Grasshopper Warbler

John was back out for more again this morning and found a Grasshopper Warbler reeling to the east of the river near the northern end of the reservoir. After I'd joined him and heard it we saw a Wheatear in the cattle field and a male Whinchat (so different to yesterday's bird) fly from the ditch up to the western side of the reservoir. There was also 3 Common Sandpipers, 4 Yellow Wagtails and at some point a Little Ringed Plover dropped in.

Clare Curnow later confirmed that there were 2 Wheatears. Another great morning.

Monday, 2 May 2022

2nd May 2022: Bar-tailed Godwit!

An incredible day for the patch today! The star of the show was a Bar-tailed Godwit that John saw fly in at c.6:45 and stayed until c.8:20. That would have been good enough really, but by that time John had already seen a Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpipers, a Common Tern go through, a Mistle Thrush and a Little Grebe and Adrian T had found a female Whinchat!

There was obviously an increase in warblers too, with c.10 Sedge Warblers noted and a few more Lesser Whitethroat. Several extra observers obviously helped with the day's sightings, with Steve and Mark seeing Swift over and finding a Wheatear in the cattle field and Sandra and Adrian B finding a female Redstart. The chats were elusive, but they were all seen again at least once more later on through the morning.

The Dunlin stayed till the evening (despite a lot of human activity through the day), with at least 2 of the Common Sandpipers and 2 Yellow Wagtails.

Some late news from Friday 29th of a male Brambling that stopped in briefly on the western perimeter fence and dropped down to drink before flying off again, reported by one of the dog walkers (John).

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 1 May 2022

1st May 2022

Thursday morning John had 3 Yellow Wagtails and found our first Swift of the year and a female Brambling foraging with Chaffinches along the river. The Brambling was still around in the evening and was great to see as they are usually only a fly-over species here.

Photos courtesy and copy right of JFT

On Friday evening I found our first Wheatear of the year (species 100 for the patch year list) and had Common Sandpiper and 3 Yellow Wagtails.

Saturday I headed out late morning with Steve H, mainly to try and find Large Red Damselfly (but we didn't find any). We had a Garden Warbler along the river but not much else bird wise. Plenty of butterflies though with Orange Tips, Small Tortoiseshells, Green-viened Whites, Brimstones, Peacocks and Speckled Woods all seen. 

Today there was Common Sandpiper early on and 2 Greylag Geese flew over. Hirundine numbers built up through the day and 3 Yellow Wagtails dropped in by lunchtime. In the evening there were 3 Swifts with the mixed flock of c.70 hirundines. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

27th Apr 2022: Garden Warbler

Ian was out early this morning and had our first Garden Warbler of the year. A little later I had a single Yellow Wagtail but not a lot else.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

26th Apr 2022: Whimbrel!

After the painfully quiet weekend, where birds seemed to be turning up everywhere except for Grimsbury, we have had a better couple of days. 

Yesterday evening I had a Redstart along the western path, but only a very brief glimpse as it flushed from the path side scrub to the ditch in the cattle field out of sight. There was also a pick up in Yellow Wagtails, with 5 present by late evening. 

This evening John had a Whimbrel! A frustratingly rare sighting at Grimsbury and typically it only landed for a few minutes before it decided to move on. There was also a House Sparrow, which I think is new for the year (but if it isn't I'd previously forgotten to add it to the year list).

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 24 April 2022

24th Apr 2022

The rest of the bank holiday weekend and this week was fairly quiet in comparison, but we still managed to add a couple of new species to the year list. 

On the Monday Kev had 2 Common Sandpipers and on the 20th had another White Wagtail. 

On Friday I had our first 2 Lesser Whitethroats of the year, one along the river and one along the canal. Another 2 Common Terns also dropped in for a short period of time and a Common Sand around. 

This morning John had a Little Egret fly over and a Common Sandpiper. A little later in the morning I had 3 Yellow Wagtails go over.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Saturday, 16 April 2022

16th Apr 2022: Sandwich Tern!

Ian Rowe had another 2 White Wagtails on the 11th and John had a mixed singing Willow Warbler. On the 12th Mike P found our first Yellow Wagtail of the year with a White Wagtail, also good numbers of Willow Warbler (5), Blackcap (12), Swallow (8) and Sand Martins (30+).

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Ian had a Common Tern briefly on the 13th, perched on a buoy before it flew north. 

On the 14th a Common Sandpiper was at the reservoir and our first Whitethroat of the year was singing at the northern end. There was also 2 Redstarts (1 male) along the western side and then in the hedgerow through the cattle field. 

Good Friday, was good... with our first 2 Greylag Geese of the year, 2 Whitethroats and the 2 Redstart still. Up in the valley around the Borrow Pit pool I had our first 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Whitethroats and a Yellowhammer flew over. A Sedge Warbler was also picked up along the river later in the day. 

However, Saturday was much better! A Great White Egret (2nd patch record) flew over the reservoir south early morning. Generally there were more warblers around with several each of Sedge and Whitethroat across the whole patch, but we couldn't pick out anything new amongst them. On the way out, lingering to search for Redstarts that weren't there, we were rewarded with 3 terns flying in - which turned out to be a Sandwich Tern with 2 Common Terns. 

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT