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, 20 November 2022

20th Nov 2022: Goldeneye

On Monday afternoon, Mike Pollard found our first Goldeneye since 2019 and also 7 Wigeon, a Teal and 8 Greylag Geese over. There was also 2 Wigeon on Tuesday.

This morning John was up early and had a bit of movement overhead, mostly thrushes but also a Snipe with 18 Lapwing, a Redpoll and a Siskin a few times. A little later Clive and I also had a Redpoll over. There was really good numbers of large gulls up the valley but settled in the fields and difficult to view.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 13 November 2022

13th Nov 2022: Barn Owl

Yesterday evening John Huntbach had a Barn Owl hunting alongside the flood alleviation scheme in the Upper Cherwell Valley.

This morning amongst other things John and I had 3 Stonechats in the U.C.V. and 2 Peregrines over the Reservoir. Edwin also had a Chiffchaff at the reservoir and 20+ Lapwing over.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 6 November 2022

6th Nov 2022: Caspian Gull

A fairly quiet couple of weeks, with both John and I away for some of it. On Tuesday Sandra B had 28 Lapwings fly over the reservoir and a Yellow-legged Gull amongst the large gulls gathered in the cattle field.

Friday John had a good look around the patch and found our first Caspian Gull of the year up at the Borrow Pit pool as well as at least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls. He also had a Blackcap at the reservoir and 2 Stonechat, 3 Redpoll at the Borrow Pit and 10 Lapwing over.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 23 October 2022

23rd Oct 2022: Hawfinch!

Overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday the wind had finally switched direction causing a mass movement of birds from the continent! Locally we didn't see the epic numbers of thrushes recorded elsewhere, but I did see c.50 Redwing (one flock of 30 and singles/small groups), a single Fieldfare, a Dunlin flew in and around a few times but didn't land, a Stonechat in cattle field and a few each of Siskin, Skylarks and Meadow Pipit.

Thursday morning there was low cloud/fog/mizzle and obviously less birds moving. There was 2 Wigeon and 5 Teal amongst the ducks. Redwing and Song Thrush calls seemed to be coming from every bit of cover. Between myself, John and Mike P we had well over 200 Fieldfare over with a couple of flocks totalling 180. There was at least 3 Snipe but there may have been several. Mike saw 3 in flight together, but before that there were several other sightings where I'd seen 1 three times, John had seen 1 and 2 and Mike had seen 1. John also had male Stonechat (not yesterday's bird) in the cattle field.
Thursday morning I had also seen 3 ringed Black-headed Gulls. One with a white ring and black code EMK1 - confusingly this was NOT the same seen by John on the 27th July (that was EKM1 ! ), but I think it is from the same ringing scheme in the Netherlands. One with yellow ring and black code T2VM ringed in Poland near Plock. One with only metal ring seen as other leg tucked up and not visible.

Friday morning a Hawfinch flew over low north-west near the water treatment works. Picked up on calls and seen, but only briefly. Also heard by Iain Brown who I'd just been talking to nearby. Otherwise it was fairly quiet with small numbers of thrushes blogging around and singles of Lapwing, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin over. Mike P had a male Stonechat again and there was at least 3 Chiffchaff.

Polish ringed bird on the left and Dutch (?) ringed bird on the right

Sunday, 16 October 2022

16th Oct 2022: Rock Pipit

On Tuesday morning I had our first Brambling of the autumn flyover west, a Siskin over and several Redwing around. Wednesday morning I had 2 Siskin over and another ringed Black-headed Gull (but couldn't get any details from the ring).
Friday morning was almost completely dead, except for a Rock Pipit that appeared on the western shore and stayed around for a few hours at least. Otherwise 3 Redwing and 1+ Siskin over.
Sunday morning John and I had a few bits fly over - Lesser Redpoll, minimum of 3 Siskin possibly a couple more and 2 Mistle Thrush but otherwise fairly standard.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Sunday, 9 October 2022

9th Oct 2022: Firecrest

It's been a fairly quiet couple of weeks but on the 1st I had 2 Redpoll and a Yellow Wagtail fly over and heard our first Redwing of the autumn.
Then on the 7th John found a Firecrest along the western side near the water treatment works. This is the first site record since January 2003 I think. He also had 1 Redwing.
This morning John and I headed out and were pleasantly surprised with a pretty good birdy morning. We had 55 species in just over 3.5 hrs on site and we didn't even go up the valley! The best were 2 Golden Plover over, 3 Redwing, 60+ Skylark over, 2 House Martin through (+2 other unidentified hirundines), 1 Siskin over, 1 Blackcap in scrub on the edge of the wood, 1 Snipe over and c.6 Chiffchaffs around. There was also numerous Meadow Pipits over but we didn't keep track of numbers.

Late news - on the 27th July John saw a colour ringed Black-headed Gull (it looks like I forgot to put it on the blog!) and this week he had confirmation that it was ringed in 2013 near Delfzijl in the Netherlands.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

25th Sep 2022: Pochards

Monday morning John was out and found a rather confiding Whinchat along the western side, as well as 2 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 3 Little Egrets. I headed up later but unfortunately the Whinchat had moved on, but I did see 2 Little Egret and 2 Little Grebe. Mark R also had 2 Yellow-legged Gulls at the Borrow Pit pool.
John was out again on Tuesday and had 7 Wigeon and 2 Little Egret and on Thursday morning Iain B had 180 Mallard, 27 Tufted Ducks, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Wigeon and 1 Teal.
Friday morning I found our first 2 Pochard of the year and 7 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 5 Little Egret (2 present and another 3 dropped in for a short time) and 3 Little Grebes. This was pretty much the last regular sighting of Little Egrets before they moved on.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 18 September 2022

18th Sep 2022

Another reasonably quiet week, but the Great White Egret was still around up to the 17th as well as up to 5 (!) Little Egrets. That must be the most Little Egrets there has ever been at the reservoir. The floating matt of weed is starting to die off and break down which may be why the Great White has now moved on. 

Other bits this week - John had 2 Little Grebes and a Raven yesterday and I had an adult Yellow-legged Gull early this morning (and possibly a juv too but it wasn't light enough to be certain) and a Greylag Goose over.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

11th Sep 2022

The Great White Egret was present all week with up to 3 Little Egrets, all fishing at the northern end of the reservoir where there was a good matt of floating weed. Proving that a bit of habitat is great for the fish and the birds!

Generally not much else of note this week though, with 4 Yellow Wagtails over on the 7th and 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Snipe (in the cattle field) on the 8th. On the 9th there was a bit of over head passage with 7 Yellow Wagtails and 40+ Meadow Pipits, including flocks of 8 and 13 birds. 

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 4 September 2022


On Monday John, Adrian T and I were all out at various times and between us we saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 Little Egret at the reservoir, a Yellow Wagtail over and at least 2 Yellow-legged Gulls at the Borrow Pit pool.

Thursday morning I was pleasantly surprised to see a Great White Egret patrolling the shore at the northern end of the reservoir with 2 Little Egrets. This is the first one we've recorded that isn't flying over, after two flew over together in 2019 and another one earlier this year. While I was watching it a Greenshank also dropped in very briefly and a Yellow Wagtail went over. 

Friday morning I was scanning through the ducks when I came across what appeared to be a FERRUGINOUS DUCK! Knowing that you need to be aware of hybrids and only having my binoculars I put the news out as probable and tried to get some photos. A few of my record shots appeared to show good features for a pure bird. John and Steve H were the first other people to arrive and with good scope views we were fairly happy it looked pure. 

There have been a few in the area recently, with 2 at Draycote Reservoir and 1 at Daventry Reservoir. News later highlighted that the Daventry bird had gone (but was back on the 3rd) and it's reasonable to assume this was the same bird. The actual provenance of these birds is an all together more tricky conclusion to make though...

There was also the Great White Egret, 3 Little Egrets and in the afternoon our first 2 Spotted Flycatchers of the year. 

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Courtesy and copyright of JFT

Yesterday John had the Great White Egret and 3 Little Egrets again, as well as a Snipe and Wigeon at the reservoir, Yellow Wagtail over and a Spotted Flycatcher. Later in the day I had another Willow Emerald along the river by the wood.

Today John and I had the Great White Egret, 3 Little Egret and a Spotted Flycatcher at the reservoir, a Shoveler, Common Sand and Yellow-legged Gull at the Borrow Pit and our first Meadow Pipit of the autumn over and a Skylark.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

28th Aug 2022: Nuthatch and Green Sand

On Friday Mike Pollard had a (the?) juv Little Ringed Plover again. 

Yesterday Adrian T had a Nuthatch with the tit/warbler flock at the entrance of the wood and a Peregrine over. Mike Pollard also had a (the?) Little Egret again.

This morning there was a Green Sandpiper at the reservoir (very unusual to not be just flying over) and Little Egret again. Clive also had a Peregrine over mobbing a Buzzard.

Sunday, 21 August 2022

21st Aug 2022

On Friday Mike Pollard had a female Redstart and yesterday Adrian T and Mike had 4 Swifts, a Yellow Wag and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

This morning the Little Ringed Plover still present and a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Ravens and a few Skylarks over. Later John had c.5 Yellow-legged Gulls at the Borrow Pit pool.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 14 August 2022

14th Aug 2022: Black-tailed Godwit

On Monday Mike Pollard had a Little Egret and on Tuesday Adrian B had 2 Med Gulls.

This morning I had a Black-tailed Godwit fly over early on and a Little Egret. This is very likely the first year both Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits have been seen here in the same year.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

7th Aug 2022: Willow Emerald Damselfly!

On Monday Mike Prentice had a Purple Hairstreak along the river and Clive had 2 later in the afternoon. Mike Pollard had 2 Yellow-legged Gulls at the Borrow Pit pool on Tuesday. 

Yesterday there was a Med Gull again, a Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Kingfishers and I could hear a Raven nearby but couldn't see it. The main news though was a female Willow Emerald Damselfly along the river, just north of the railway bridge. This is the first one I've ever seen and the first record for the reservoir and this area of the county. I also saw a Grass Snake, Southern Hawker and several Common and Ruddy Darters.