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.

Monday 30 April 2018

30th Apr 2018

A relatively quiet day today in comparison to yesterday. The Redstart was still around but was painfully elusive and it was only in the evening John saw or heard it properly.

Later in the evening I had two Whitethroats singing along the river. There was c.15 Swifts and 40+ House Martins zipping around, but not a lot else.

Sunday 29 April 2018

29th Apr 2018: Redstart

Colin spent a good few hours at the reservoir this morning and recorded a nice bit of passage. At the peak there was c.150 hirundines and several Swifts, with birds moving through being replaced by new birds almost constantly and eventually less birds were hanging around.
A Hobby and a Peregrine went through north and Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite were all seen today (six raptors in one day here is pretty good!). A Mistle Thrush flew over south east.

Colin noted the Willow/Marsh Tit pair in courtship behaviour and that it was probably a female Willow Tit and male Marsh Tit. Warblers seemed quiet in the cold conditions but there was a Garden Warbler in song near the entrance and a couple of Whitethroats around, including one nest building by the reservoir and another in song north of the railway.
He has also confirmed nesting of Long-tailed Tit (3 nests) and Greenfinch. Song Thrushes are definitely nesting on site somewhere and Starlings off site but nearby, as they are collecting food from around the reservoir and in the cattle field.

I had a Common Sandpiper at the Borrow Pit but there wasn't much more up there. On my way back down the reservoir I found our first Redstart of the year in the scrub along the western path. Later in the evening Mark had three Yellow Wagtails at the Borrow Pit too.

Saturday 28 April 2018

28th Apr 2018: Common Tern

Another Hobby through north this morning, spotted by John. Also, two to three Yellow Wagtails, a White Wagtail, four Common Sandpipers and c.150 hirundines.

This afternoon, Colin recorded our first Common Tern through. Although, it was very high over the reservoir to the northwest and didn't seem interested in even coming down to the reservoir. He also recorded two pairs of Greylag Goose fly over north.

Friday 27 April 2018

27th Apr 2018: Hobby

The weather forecast for today appeared as though it would produce some decent birding. however, the reality was pretty poor. On the plus side, John recorded our first Hobby of the year flying through north in the morning. There was a grounded Yellow Wagtail at lunch time. Otherwise, there was a good number of hirundines and two Common Sandpiper but not a lot else.

Photos courtesy and copyright of JFT

Wednesday 25 April 2018

25th Apr 2018: Shag!!

John started the morning with three Common Sandpipers and four Swifts.

Ian was out in the afternoon and just after a heavy rain storm at about 3pm, a 1st year SHAG flew through from the south. This is a huge rarity for the BOS area and I believe it is the first record for Grimsbury Reservoir. Well done Ian!

Tuesday 24 April 2018

24th Apr 2018: Garden Warbler

John found our first Garden Warbler of the year this morning. There was also a Wheatear in the cattle field and three Common Sandpipers.

At Lunch time there was the first couple of Swifts for the year and c.50 hirundines, mostly House Martins.

All photos courtesy and copy right of JFT

Sunday 22 April 2018

22nd Apr 2018

There wasn't a huge amount of particular note this weekend, but there was a noticeable increase in warblers. That included 11+ Sedge Warblers, several Lesser Whitethroats and a couple of Common Whitethroats. There was also a few Common Sandpipers and the Willow and Marsh Tit were in the wood too.

Friday 20 April 2018

20th Apr 2018: Wood Warbler

When the Black-necked Grebe was here last Friday John, Mike, Colin and I joked that it's nearly time for a Wood Warbler to be found again... Colin said it'd be a about a week away and he was spot on!

One was singing in the woodland this morning when John walked round, in exactly the same place that he found one two years ago. It remained in the same area for a short time but was mostly quiet, but I did manage to see it shortly after I arrived (and finally patch tick Wood Warbler!). John had to go to work but I stayed watching it, as it moved four times to the north-east hop-skipping to isolated clumps of deciduous trees each time. The last I saw of it (c.9am), I thought it had moved further east again, to the willows over the river and assumed it was then gone. However, I later relocated at c.10:40 in the western corner of the wood by the canal. It wasn't reported as seen or heard again after that, but I expect it remained all day.

Courtesy and copyright of JFT
Last week we were only joking of course, but the remarkable thing is that a Wood Warbler has been seen in the area in for three years in a row now. There was a bird in Spiceball Park on 17/04/16 and then the bird at Grimsbury 21/04/18 (which was possibly the same bird?), then a bird in Spiceball Park 26-27/04/17 and this bird today. All sightings in two locations 1.2 km apart.

It's reasonable to assume that these sightings all involve one bird, isn't it? However, a note from Richard Broughton on Twitter (who is off to Poland soon to study Wood Warbler behaviour) indicated this would be be unlikely as Wood Warblers are notoriously nomadic. So does that mean we've really been lucky enough to have three, possibly four, Wood Warblers visit this small area in three years? If so, we are very lucky indeed!

Other sighting today included a Sedge Warbler along the canal, the two Willow/Marsh Tits in the wood (Mark), a couple each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, c.20 Hirundines - mostly Sand Martin, a Yellow Wagtail over the cattle field and a pair of flyover Mistle Thrush (John).

Thursday 19 April 2018

19th Apr 2018

John had Common Sandpiper this morning and a noticeable increase in Blackcaps but the most notable sighting was four Jays in the wood. One Jay is notable for here so four together is a decent sighting!

A little later I had a Yellowhammer fly through south and a Red Kite drift over. At lunch time John saw a group of seven 2CY Common Gulls circle over.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

18th Apr 2018: Grasshopper Warbler and Whitethroat

Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to get out fairly early (earlier than John for a change!). There was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling just to the east of the reservoir, in the scrubby vegetation east of the river. There was also three Wheatears along the western shore early one, but they were pushed around by dog walkers and we could only see two a little later alogn the fence through the cattle field. Other than that a single Lesser Whitethroat was the only bird of note.

At lunchtime John had our first Whitethroat of the year and several butterflies including an Orange Tip.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

17th Apr 2018

A fairly quiet day today day with only two White Wagtails and a Jay noted by John.

Monday 16 April 2018

16th Apr 2018: Lesser Whitethroat

Our first Lesser Whitethroat was singing this morning to the west of the reservoir, heard by John. I heard it later and it was still feeding there but not singing when John went back at lunch time. John also saw three Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover and a Peregrine.

Sunday 15 April 2018

15th Apr 2018: Spring migrants galore!

I apologise for the lack of postings recently, especially as we have been having a very good period of bird sightings... John's tenacious effort for working the patch has very much been rewarded. There have been quite a few things spotted in the last week or so, so I apologise if I have missed anything. All photos in this post are courtesy and copyright of John.

5th: John found four Greylag Geese and four Tufted Ducks at the reservoir, which were later joined by five Shovelers. Mike believes these were birds from the flooded valley that moved as the water receded. There was also a single Swallow that flew through.

7th: John and I had two House Martins, alongside several each of Swallow and Sand Martin, and heard our first Willow Warbler of the year. Kyle later confirmed there were at least two Willow Warblers along the river. 

9th: John found a drake Common Scoter, which only stayed for the day. 

10th: In the morning Mike and John saw our first Common Sandpiper of the year and a Redshank flew through calling. There was also a Redpoll still present, seen along the river. That evening John found our first (two) Yellow Wagtails of year.

11th: An adult Kittiwake flew through going east. 

12th: A stunning summer plumage Black-necked Grebe found by John was present this morning and stayed for two days, enjoyed by quite a few local and visiting birders. 
In the morning there was also at least three singing Willow Warblers, a Little Ringed Plover and a White Wagtail. Through the day a Common Sandpiper and at least four White Wagtails were seen and John Bowley reported a brief sighting of a Rock Pipit

13th: A Little Grebe was on the reservoir, alongside the Black-necked and a Great Crested. This is possibly the first time ever that three species of grebe have been at the reservoir at the same time?? A male Shoveler also flew through and there were two Common Sandpipers later in the day. The Black-necked Grebe was last seen late on the Friday evening and I assumed it moved that night. 

14th: Mike was out early and recorded our first Sedge Warbler of the year and a Common Sandpiper. I was out a little later and there was two Common Sandpipers and a single Greylag went over. The Willow Tit and a Jay were in the wood. The tit was actually quite vocal on the southern edge of the wood. A few Skylarks and a Meadow Pipit went over. 

This morning (15th) Steve and Colin saw a Little Ringed Plover, two Common Sandpipers at the reservoir and nine Tufted Ducks at the Borrow Pit. They also had at least six Herring Gulls go through south-east. This evening John and Mike recorded three Common Sandpipers, at least six male Blackcaps feeding together in the willows along the river, a Yellow Wagtail and a Curlew fly through. 

Wednesday 4 April 2018

4th Apr 2018: Wheatear, Swallow & Blackcap

John: On Sunday, both Colin & Steve were out and about. Their sightings included Chiffchaff and Redpoll in the reservoir/wood area. Up in the Cherwell valley, there were 2 pairs of Teal around the floodwater & 2 singing Chiffchaff. The Borrow Pit held 2 Little Grebe & 5 Tufted Duck.

A drizzly lunchtime visit for me on Monday, yielded a few more migrants with a Swallow flying around the west side. A male Wheatear was sat on a post along the fence through the cattle field (below) and c6 Sand Martin had gone through by the time I had left.

Tuesday produced a couple of Sand Martin, Peregrine, 2 Siskin, 4 Chiffchaff along the river and a few lingering Redwing.

Despite some decent southerly winds and more showers, today failed to produce too much of interest. I did though come across a pair of Blackcaps, our first of the year, as well as 3 Chiffchaff and a couple of Redwing.