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, 19 March 2023

19th Mar 2023: Sand Martins

On Wednesday Mike found our first Sand Martins of the year, with 3 and then 4 feeding over the reservoir. There was also a/the male Stonechat and a Peregrine over. Ian had a group of 12 Meadow Pipits drop in during the rain too.

Thursday morning John had 4 to 6 Sand Martins again and a few Chiffchaffs along the river, almost certainly the first new ones in from wintering further south. Later in the morning Adrian had 30+ Sand Martins, a good early arrival of multiple birds.

Friday morning Ian had 5+ Chiffchaffs and 25-30 Siskin.

Saturday morning I had 9 Sand Martins through and 10+ (probably over 20) Chiffchaffs. 3 Redpolls were feeding in the Alders along the river and 4 flew past me a bit later. There were 5 Gadwall up at the Borrow Pit pool. 

On Sunday morning I had 3 Coot on the reservoir, which is odd for here, but not a lot else. A little later Clive had a Peregrine over.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Courtesy and copyright of Edwin Barson

Sunday, 12 March 2023

12th March 2023

Very quiet this week. Adrian had a Chiffchaff on Monday and the male Stonechat was still around on Thursday and Saturday at least.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 5 March 2023

5th Mar 2023

It's been another fairly quiet week, but there has been a few bits and bobs to keep the interest levels ticking over. 

On Tuesday a male Stonechat was along the western path, which seems likely to be a migrant bird away from the usual wintering locations, and was still present up to Saturday at least. Two Peregrines were seen flying over on Tuesday and a single bird also went over on Saturday.

Up to two Lesser Redpolls were seen a few times this week and on Saturday John had c.10 Siskins. Four Ravens flew over on Saturday too.

Sunday, 26 February 2023

26th Feb 2023: Red-crested Pochards

Mike had a pair of Red-crested Pochard and a drake Wigeon on Thursday. Otherwise though, it was just the usual.

Courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Sunday, 19 February 2023

19th Feb 2023

Another quiet week. John had a Peregrine over carrying prey on Wednesday morning and Edwin had a Stonechat just north of the reservoir, but that was about it!

Sunday, 12 February 2023

12th Feb 2023

It's been a quiet week and for the first week/post this year there were no year ticks. John had a male Peregrine over yesterday morning. This morning there was a Chiffchaff along the river and 5 Gadwall (4 drakes) on the Borrow Pit pool.

(photos are actually from Balscote Quarry)

Sunday, 5 February 2023

5th Feb 2023: Shelduck

Thursday morning Bruce Hendrie found a Shelduck at the reservoir and thankfully it stayed around for a while. Mike P also saw c.300 Lapwing over the UCV.

Courtesy and copyright of Bruce Hendrie

Saturday morning I had a walk around and although there are many more birds singing now, including my first singing Reed Bunting of the year, there was little of note. There were 4 Lesser Redpolls feeding in Willowherb along the canal and 4 Gadwall (3 drakes) at the Borrow Pit. As I was leaving a Mistle Thrush flew over the water treatment works. 

Sunday, 29 January 2023

29th Jan 2023

Friday afternoon a pair of Peregrine flew over towards town, there was at least one Redpoll in the finch flock along the river and c.65 Greylag Geese came in to roost as it got dark (too dark to get an accurate count). There was at least 3 ringed Black-headed Gulls stood on the railings. One had only a metal ring but the 2 with darvic rings were from Norway (white ring J0913) and the West Midlands (black ring 2HLJ).

Fairly standard Saturday morning, but there was a pair of Sparrowhawk displaying over the wood and c.300 Lapwings over the valley.

This morning with JFT, the Greylags had been in overnight again and I saw c.45-50 before they left, but as they were already leaving in small groups when I arrived I expect there were more. A flock of c.510 Lapwing flew over the reservoir and then back up to the UCV, where we later saw smaller groups up a few times. The Sparrowhawks were displaying again. There was a Gadwall and female Stonechat at the Borrow Pit and a Raven over. We had 4 Snipe and a Jack Snipe and Woodcock in their usual locations. Also a Redpoll again, briefly, along the river as we were leaving.

This evening Mike Pollard recorded an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

22nd Jan 2023

Thursday morning Mike Pollard saw several Siskins, including 2 males singing, and Adrian B had a female Peregrine over.

Saturday morning Kirsty had a female Stonechat up by the Borrow Pit pool and later I had 2 Gadwall at the reservoir.

This morning the Gadwall were still there and there was a single Teal in amongst the gulls in the middle of the mostly frozen reservoir. There was also 3 Egyptian Geese in the fields up the valley.

Siskin courtesy and copyright of Edwin Barson

Sunday, 15 January 2023

15th Jan 2023

Monday morning Wally had a Wigeon at the reservoir and on Thursday Adrian T. saw c.1000 Lapwing and 25 Golden Plover over the UCV.

On Saturday Mike Pollard found an Egyptian Goose on the UCV floods, outside of/not viewed from the patch.

This morning there was very little of note at the reservoir or up the valley. I scanned for plovers and the goose but couldn't see any. A little later in the morning c.30 Lapwing did fly over south so there are still some around but possibly further north and quite a way from the patch area. I had several Snipe in the usual field and a Water Rail calling from the flooded reedy area near the river.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

8th Jan 2023: Kittiwake!

Happy New Year all and good birding!

The year started off pretty well with an adult Kittiwake present early on the 2nd. That is the first one we've had since 2019, at which point we'd had at least one for five years in a row! Some other good bits were seen on the 2nd too with Raven, Little Egret and Yellowhammer all being good early additions to the year list.

Wednesday morning 3 Gadwall, that were on the Borrow Pit on Monday, were on the reservoir and there was a Chiffchaff along the river. A female Stonechat was up by the Borrow Pit and in the flooded grass nearby there was 52 Pied Wagtails. A flock of Lapwing were over the valley again and checking photos there was 118 birds. I also had a Skylark over.

Friday morning I had c.250 Lapwing in flight high over the reservoir, most of which went back north to the UCV but some broke off and went south. There was also 2 (possibly 3) Chiffchaff with 1 in the wood, 1 in the scrub on the western side of the reservoir and 1 seen by John the dog walker along the river.

Sunday Clive and I did the B.O.S. short day count in SP44 and naturally we started at the reservoir and up the valley. We had 2 Gadwall and a Tufted Duck at the reservoir, 2 Stonechat up the valley and a Yellowhammer over. We called back in later and had a brief visit from a Yellow-legged Gull.

Saturday, 31 December 2022

31st Dec 2022: End of the year

The Red-crested Pochard lingered up to Boxing Day, but there was also 3 reported on Christmas Day morning. Two Egyptian Geese flew through SE on Christmas Eve and 4 Wigeon were recorded on Christmas Day.

On the 29th Edwin had pair of Gadwall that stayed up to the end of the year, on the 30th John had a Chiffchaff along the river and 8 Lapwing over and today I had a Yellowhammer over.

So we end the year on 127 bird species recorded. A very good total and the highest I've known, only just shy of 128 recorded in 2018. We also had some other really good species recorded with Hairy Dragonfly, Small Red-eyed Damselfly and Willow Emerald all new for the site and another Otter sighting.

Thanks to everyone for the bird and other species records and of course the numerous photo contributions, it would be a pretty dull blog without them!

Sunday, 18 December 2022

18th Dec 2022: Water Rail

On Monday Adrian Tysoe had 18 Lapwing in the cattle field by the reservoir and 6 Pochard and a Teal on the reservoir. Tuesday Mike Pollard had 5 Pochard still and a big number of gulls including c.50 Common Gull and 10 Herring Gull. Wednesday Mike P also had 4 Pochard still and a pair Gadwall.

Friday afternoon I went up the valley but it was pretty quiet. There were 7 Little Grebes on the Borrow Pit pool in a small section that remained unfrozen and several Lapwing in the fields. A purely lucky sighting of an Otter as it swam upriver just at the moment I was looking at that section of river! 

Saturday morning I was out at the reservoir and a Great White Egret flew over south. On the reservoir there were c.75 Greylag Geese and a drake Shoveler. I managed to find a Water Rail on the small flowing water channel between the water treatment works and the canal and later in the day Mike P had 2 Yellow-legged Gulls on the reservoir.

This morning John was out and had a drake Red-crested Pochard, Teal and a Yellow-legged Gull at the reservoir.

Duck and Gull photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Sunday, 11 December 2022

11th Dec 2022

Over the last few weeks it has settled into winter and generally quietened down, but there has been a few highlights and good birds.

On the 25th I had a Peregrine over the Upper Cherwell Valley. And on the 2nd John had a Shoveler, a Yellowhammer, 2 Wigeon and a Snipe at the reservoir. On the same day I had 108 Greylag Geese up the valley (a very good count locally) and a Yellow-legged Gull.

Saturday 3rd John and I had a good yomp around but most of the interesting birds were up the valley, with a Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Redpoll, 2 Jack Snipe, 15 Snipe and a Chiffchaff. Of note, John later had 3 Caspian Gulls just outside of the patch boundaries.

A Dunlin and redhead Goosander were at the reservoir on the 7th, with the Dunlin staying on to the next day. We've had the odd Chiffchaff around but on the 10th Kirsty had 3 and Edwin also had a Stonechat up the valley.

Out agian with John today and there was surprisingly little around. There's been a flock of up to c.30 Lapwings seen several times flying over and we had them twice again today. A 1st winter Caspian Gull and 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls were up at the Borrow Pit. John also picked out a ringed Black-headed Gull at the reservoir (white AF400) which seemed familiar and checking previous records it had been seen at the reservoir before, in November 2015!

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

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