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 30 October 2016

30th Oct 2016: Mandarins

I have been in email contact with Ian and he thinks we are more than likely right with our ID of the hybrid gull. Although, it would have been best to have details of the wing plumage all of the other features point towards it being a Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull.

John had a male Pheasant on Thursday - an uncommon bird here and another new on on his patch list. He also had there Fieldfare over. In the gull roost in the even he had an adult, a 2CY and a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull.

Saturday I had a walk around and although nothing major I had a Chiffchaff, the first I've seen here for a few weeks, and two Willow Tits.

This morning Steve and Colin had two Mandarins fly over south at 08:00 and when they got back to the reservoir at 09:20 found two drakes settled on the water. The Mandarins breaking the 2015 Big Bird Year list total! They also had a Snipe that nearly land at the reservoir edge and two Lapwings circle the Borrow Pit. Both Clive and John managed to see the Mandarins and John had twenty Golden Plover over (yet another patch tick for him!) and a Peregrine over.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

26th Oct 2016

Things feel a bit stagnant and it's easy to think there isn't a lot going on. However, there are subtle changes day to day but nothing too exciting.

On Sunday Clive and I were out and there were five Great Crested Grebes, but on Monday Steve confirmed we were back down to three. The odd Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Siskin went over and we also had a Lesser Redpoll over. Generally I think most of these birds going over this week have been local birds but maybe some are proper migrants. Oddly this autumn has been really good for Yellowhammer and on Sunday we had three over and on Tuesday I had two and one go over. I assume these birds are local birds now rather than all being migrants. Tuesday Morning I also had a Lapwing over.

We have found checking the gulls the most interesting thing here lately and there has been a fairly constant daily presence of Yellow-legged Gulls either bathing and loafing with Lesser Black-backs at the Borrow Pit in the day (I had one on Sunday and Steve had two on Monday) or at the reservoir in the evening (John had four Monday, five on Tuesday and we had one today). There has also been the odd Herring and Common Gulls around too.

Late on Monday evening John had an odd gull the ID of which he couldn't quite clinch in the failing light and thought it was a hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed gull. We saw it again last night in better light and my pictures are terrible but John got some video so hopefully that is good enough to work it out. We think it is most likely a hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull, but don't really know and will ask around for some more opinions on it from more experience gull watchers. Anymore more opinions welcomed!

Seen with 2CY Yellow-legged Gull to the right

John's video on YouTube:

Friday 21 October 2016

21st Oct 2016: Pintail ?!

This week we had quite a nice surprise. On Wednesday morning John five ducks fly over that were distant but he thought they were probably Pintail. He managed a photo before they disappeared out of view but it was Thursday evening before he really looked at it. We both believe it confirms the identification though. Pintail are really rare here and I think there has only been two records in the last 20 years? It is also the 126th species for the year list, so we now match last years record. Hopefully we can get a few more before the year is over.

All photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Other than that it has been fairly quiet and it appears the Common Sandpiper has finally left.

Thursday morning john had a Lapwing drop in briefly, a flock of forty Fieldfare heading south west, and we now have three Great Crested Grebes. Late afternoon I had two Teal on the river and in the evening Mike and John had six Yellow-legged Gulls (4 adults and 2 2CY). This morning there was a bit of activity overhead with a few Redwings, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks over. Siskins were along the river and in the wood. Also, the Willow Tit and Marsh Tit are both still around - the Willow Tit being very vocal.

Monday 17 October 2016

17th Oct 2016

Apologies for the lack of posts. Last week was rather hectic and I was away in Norfolk with John and Dan for the weekend.

On Tuesday 11th John and Dan had five Yellow-legged Gulls (4 adults and a 2CY), a Yellowhammer over east and a Marsh Tit in the wood. John also had another Yellowhammer on Wednesday. On Thursday 13th Steve had a Great Crested Grebe and a Tufted Duck.

On Friday 14th Mike did the gull roost and saw two Yellow-legs (ad and 1CY) and three Common Gulls. The/a Common Sand was also still present. Steve had to Great Crested Grebes on Saturday but there was not a lot else.

Both photos courtesy and copyright of Mike Pollard

Monday 10 October 2016

10th Oct 2016

A Great Crested Grebe was around today, found by John at lunch time. This evening John and I had a quick look and although the weather drove us away, the double rainbow was nice! We had two Herring Gulls and nine Common Gulls before we left. Steve arrived and had two Yellow-legged Gulls (ad and 2CY) with c.250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Courtesy of John Friendship-Taylor

Sunday 9 October 2016

09th Oct 2016

I went out twice today with high hopes of finding something pretty decent, but it just wasn't to be. The best sighting was a group of six Mistle Thrush that flew over west, which is good for here. There were Redwings around, which I guess are now 'local' birds but there was also a flock of c.30 that flew over high and to the south west. A steady passage of Skylarks all day but oddly the later ones were going north. Meadow Pipits were still going over but there are a lot less now. A few Siskins went over too and there was a group of seven in the wood.

The Common Sandpiper is still here and the Willow Tit was in the wood. A Blackcap was still in the scrub at the northern end and there was a few Chiffchaffs around too. In the evening a much smaller group of gulls gathered but there was two Yellow-legged Gulls with them, a 2CY and an adult. Actually the 2CY bird was one of the first birds in and was on the pontoon for a while.

Saturday 8 October 2016

08th Oct 2016

John and Steve were both out this morning and between them they had some good birds. Steve confirmed the Common Sandpiper still present and had two Common Gulls loafing on the buoys. He also found two Blackcaps in the scrub at the northern end of the reservoir, which is good as we haven't seen any for a few weeks now.

John had two Teal fly in and land on the river just north of the reservoir, a single Swallow fly through (quite late), a noticeable increase of Song Thrushes and a few Skylarks over. The Willow Tit was in the wood. Best bird though was a Dunlin at the Borrow Pit in the Upper Cherwell Valley.

Dunlin in situ
Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Friday 7 October 2016

07th Oct 2016

A note from Steve on Wednesday evening was that he had counted 267 Canada Geese in the afternoon. Admittedly, they are not the most interesting of species but this is a very good count for here and they get 'joe public' interested in the bird life too.

The last couple of days have actually been pretty quiet with very few birds on the move and nothing new. A Common Sandpiper remains and must be our longest staying bird yet. Gulls are the main interest and yesterday evening John and Steve had six Yellow-legged Gulls (two juvs, two 2CY and 2 ads) and this evening John and I had six as well (one 2CY and five ads).

Both photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Wednesday 5 October 2016

05th Oct 2016: Brief Rock Pipit

I got the reservoir just as John was leaving today. He was very happy as he had seen his first patch Yellowhammers - two perched in a bush on the western shore. I walked up the eastern bank and as I got to the northern end thought I heard a Rock Pipit. Then I heard it again as it was flushed off the western bank, which I assume had not long flown in as John hadn't seen it. It flew south but doubled back and landed again. I've never had Rock Pipit here before so made my way around for a better look. However, before I got there it was flushed again and I lost it from view. Elation and frustration all in a couple of minutes!

The Common Sandpiper is still present and I had the Willow tit and Marsh Tit in the wood again. A few Chiffchaffs are still around but many seem to have cleared out now. The odd Skylark flew over and at least two Redwings were still around the river.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

04th Oct 2016

John and I were out this morning and there was a a little flurry of activity early on but it soon died off. There were a few Redwings at least in the trees and scrub east of the river but it was mainly only calls heard and birds not seen. The odd Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting flew over. A group of nine Lapwings went over twice and another two later, all steadily moving south east. A really interesting record was seven Grey Herons purposefully flying south west. It is unusual to see that many Herons here anyway but seeing them flying all together like we suspect they were migrating. A Common Sandpiper was still around and a Coot was at the reservoir.

In the evening John looked for gulls and had another good gathering - approximately 5-600 large gulls with six Yellow-legged Gulls amongst them (two 2CY and four adult/near adult).

Monday 3 October 2016

03rd Oct 2016: Returning Redwings

John was out this morning and had a Redwing calling in the wood near the river but couldn't see it. This evening we had a walk around and two flew from the wood. There was also three Common Gulls at the reservoir, so they are coming in but slowly.

Sunday 2 October 2016

02nd Oct 2016

Saturday morning was fairly quiet. Steve and I both went and apart from a group of Siskins (Steve thought up to 18) there wasn't much of note.

This morning John was out and the highlight was Snipe that landed at the reservoir. Something very rarely seen here. There was also one Wigeon, 1 Common Sandpiper, a Blackcap at the northern end and at least seven Chiffchaffs. There was a little bit more interest overhead too with seven Skylarks and some Siskins flying over.