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.

Thursday 31 March 2016

31st Mar 2016: Willow Warbler

Ian Rowe was out this morning and had a singing Willow Warbler along with at least four Chiffchaffs and a Swallow.

This evening John had a Little Ringed Plover and a brief sighting of a warbler, which was probably a Willow Warbler.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

30th Mar 2016

This morning John and I met up for a pre work visit. There were a couple of groups of Sand Martins through (three and nine), three Greylag Geese circled around and a steady stream of gulls over - oddly to the south.

In the evening John had another four Sand Martins and a Swallow.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

29th Mar 2016

A quick lunch time visit for John and I and there was a Little Ringed Plover on the eastern bank. John visited again gin the evening during the rain and had c.25 Sand Martins and c.20 Swallows.

Monday 28 March 2016

28th Mar 2016: House Martins

I ventured out this morning thinking Storm Katie might have delivered something interesting, but it didn't so I swiftly returned home for breakfast. Early afternoon John, Dan and I went for a walk around. John picked out two House Martins in amongst several Sand Martins and we had a few Swallows. It is very nice to have seen all the expected hirundines already. We had really good views of a Peregrine soaring around high above the reservoir. We scoured the area for the Stonechat seen yesterday but unfortunately didn't find it.

We saw our first Small Tortoiseshell butterflies of the year too but there wasn't much else of note around at all to be honest.

Sunday 27 March 2016

27th Mar 2016

Dan Watson and John were out this morning and had three Swallows and several Sand Martins at the reservoir and four Tufted Ducks at the Borrow Pit pool. Late morning I had two Peregrines flying high over the reservoir. There was also a good candidate for White Wagtail but I didn't see it well enough to confirm. Colin Wilkinson saw a male Stonechat in the Upper Cherwell Valley and Long-tailed Tits nest building. Late afternoon Colin had a Little Ringed Plover at the reservoir.

Saturday 26 March 2016

26th Mar 2016: Swallows

Graeme Porter visited this morning and saw the first Swallows of the year - c.10 with 20 Sand Martins. At lunch time I had only had a few Swallows and around seven Sand Martins. In the afternoon Mark and John had two Little Ringed Plovers. 

Friday 25 March 2016

25th Mar 2016: Little Egret

John and I were out for a bit this morning and recorded 56 species in total, 57 if we include Feral Pigeon. A Little Egret and a Yellowhammer in the Upper Cherwell Valley were new for the year. Other highlights were two individual Sand Martins through, a Peregrine perched up and viewable from the reservoir, a Greylag Goose flying around, Willow Tit singing briefly, at least six Chiffchaffs singing, a few Herring Gulls and a couple of Snipe.

Thursday 24 March 2016

24th Mar 2016

Mark and I were out this morning. There was no sign of the Rock Pipit but Mark had the Little Ringed Plover before it flew off. I had four Sand Martins and there were five Common Gulls loafing on the water.

In the evening there were nine Sand Martins.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

23rd Mar 2016: Rock Pipit

I was out early this morning and the only birds of any note were three Tufted Ducks at the reservoir and a further eight at the Borrow Pit pool. This is a really good number for here and I assume they are on passage at the moment. I met up with John and while only a couple of Meadow Pipits and a few Lesser Black-backs went over north we mused about what the next migrant to turn up would be.

We didn't have to wait long as John found a Rock Pipit at lunch time. I of course am happy for him but did swear a little bit as it is my patch bogey bird! It was still present at about 16:30 seen by Mark Ribbons, when there was also four Grey Wagtails around but John didn't see it again later during a quick look after 17:00. There was another, or possibly the same, Little Ringed Plover though.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Tuesday 22 March 2016

22nd Mar 2016: Little Ringed Plover

John was out early doors and had a Lesser Redpoll fly over south, seven Meadow Pipits over north and a Tufted Duck on the reservoir.

Late afternoon I had a walk around and it was pretty quiet, until I found a Little Ringed Plover. That I later found out Tim Clark had seen it earlier in the afternoon. It is obviously the first for the year for here and is apparently the first one recorded in Oxfordshire this year.

Monday 21 March 2016

21st Mar 2016: Sand Martin

The first Sand Martin of the year was recorded by Tim Clark, however it was otherwise very quiet.

Courtesy of Dave Fuller

Sunday 20 March 2016

20th Mar 2016: Egyptian Geese

Saturday was rather uneventful really with not a lot to shout about. The single drake Goosander was still present on the reservoir and I had very good views of the two Willow Tits in the woods but there wasn't much more around. John confirmed the Oystercatcher was still around in the evening, which was a surprise as we thought it had gone.

Sunday morning John was out and had two Egyptian Geese fly over south. I believe this is the first record for the site. There was also the Oystercatcher, the drake Goosander and at least three Chiffchaffs.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
I headed out later in the morning and finally managed to see the Oystercatcher. It is going over into the cattle field behind the bund where there is a large puddle left over from the flooding. If it stays wet, this area could be attractive to other waders passing through during the spring. I also had a Red Kite drift over north west and another Skylark over north.

Colin was out late afternoon and had an adult summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull on the pontoon at 5pm.

Friday 18 March 2016

18th Mar 2016

Well, only yesterday I mentioned the first migrant Chiffchaffs arriving and we seem to have had some today. This morning I had a bird singing on the western side of the reservoir and at lunchtime John had 2-3 along there.

Other than that there was a Willow Tit in the wood, drake Goosander along the river early morning and then back at the reservoir late afternoon, a Skylark over north (new for the year) and noticeably more Pied Wagtails around. Redwings are very vocal at the moment and can be heard singing away quietly from the scrub and trees. I also had a ringed Mute Swan - Z25, which I think is from one of the northern English counties.

Following my early morning visit I got home at about 08:20, just as Michael Hunt had two Common Cranes go over the M40 at junction 11!! I may not have been able to see them from the patch, but if I had stayed 15 mins more I may have done...

Thursday 17 March 2016

17th Mar 2016

The Oystercatcher was still around up until lunchtime today at least but remains elusive and I didn't see it on my late afternoon walk around.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
Yesterday Mark Ribbons, Adrian Bletchley and John were all out and between them they had two drake Shovelers, a Gadwall, 20+ Siskin but no sign of the possible Firecrest.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
Today John had the Gadwall still this morning, which was joined by a drake Goosander at lunchtime. This afternoon the Goosander remained and there was a Chiffchaff along the river. I am assuming that was one of the overwintering birds, but we should get our first spring arrivals any day now although they do seem to be a few days late.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

15th Mar 2016: Oystercatcher

Jim Craik had an Oystercatcher yesterday morning but it wasn't seen at lunch time when John went for a look. Dave Fuller was also there at lunch time and made the most of the good light for photography. He had a 'crest' very briefly along the river that may have been a Firecrest. Two reports of possible Firecrest so far this year, is there one around that remains elusive most of the time.

All pictures courtesy of Dave Fuller

John was back again today and had an Oystercatcher that moved over to the cattle field behind the bund, so it was probably still around yesterday lunch time but out of view.

Saturday 12 March 2016

12th Mar 2016: Another Med Gull

This week has been very quiet. I have been out every day so far this week at various times, even if it was for a quick look over the reservoir, but there has been little of note to report until today.

Highlights from Monday to Wednesday were singles of each sex of Tufted Duck and ten Great Crested Grebes, the most we have had for several weeks. On Wednesday morning there was flooding all around the area and I was very surprised that the Cherwell at Grimsbury hadn't flooded. However, it did at some point over Wednesday night. It seemed very delayed compared to the rest of the area and we should be very thankful the river was so low to start with as things could have been much much worse.

The flooding resulted in lots of gulls feeding in the wet fields and on Thursday I estimated c.700 Black-headed Gulls and 30 Common Gulls were present. There were also five Goosanders (one drake) at the reservoir, which I assume were displaced from the river. Four Goosanders were present on Friday but with most of the water gone from the fields the gull numbers were much reduced.

Today I managed to get a full patch visit in and it was a bit quiet to start with. A Herring Gull flew over south and a Willow Tit made a very brief appearance in the wood. Some very fresh Otter signs were under the railway bridge and there was some large rodent prints that must be Brown Rat.

As I walked up into the Upper Cherwell Valley it became very foggy and I was cursing the weather forecast, again! It cleared again soon enough and I managed to see three Snipe, two Teal and a Green Sandpiper still along the river. Scanning through gulls in the wet fields revealed very little of interest. Back at the reservoir a group of gulls had dropped in to bathe and I picked out the first winter Mediterranean Gull above. I was really searching for one since John had his and there has regularly been birds in the Boddington roost. So, something of interest at last!

Sunday 6 March 2016

06th Mar 2016

A rather quiet weekend to finish off a rather quiet week.

Sat 5th: I had very little of note at the reservoir or in the wood but there was several Common Gulls and a Herring Gull. In the Upper Cherwell Valley there was a Little Grebe, a Coot and three Tufted Ducks at the Borrow Pit pool.

Today I had a Chiffchaff along the river and I assume it was the same one Mark had this afternoon. I finally had Lesser Redpoll along the river too. A Willow Tit showed pretty well in the wood but could disappear into the trees for short periods of time. A Linnet was singing along the canal as I walked into the valley and a Kestrel flushed out c.15 Meadow Pipits. Mark had a Goosander at the reservoir this afternoon and five Snipe in the valley.

Friday 4 March 2016

04th Mar 2016: Linnet

It is fair to say that this week has been fairly quiet, but there have been a few minor highlights and John saw the first Linnets of the year yesterday.

Wed 2nd: John had four Herring Gulls at lunch time but otherwise not a lot. We went for an evening check but it was dead with very few gulls roosting.

Thurs 3rd: John had the flock of 20+ Siskins in the wood which were showing particularly well in the sunshine. Mike also had two Redpoll which is good. On his lunch John had two Linnets too, which were first for the year.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

 Today I headed out early for a good walk around. There really wasn't much around but it was great watching everything in the early morning sun preparing for spring. A Willow Tit made a very brief appearance in the wood but soon disappeared. Another highlight was watching two Treecreepers displaying and creeping in and out of peeling bark on a dead tree. I assume they were looking for a suitable nesting site but they may have just been searching for food.